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Collective Comics Project.


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05:24 / 23.01.02
The Mission

Members of the Underground get together to make a comic anthology. People can work alone, in pairs or in groups. Any style or tool (brush, photos, computer, ballpoint pen, etc.) is acceptable. Anyone committing to the project must produce one page a month until they are done their submission. Writers may seek artists, and vise versa. Artistic ability not required. Let's try and get as many different voices involved as possible.

The Restrictions

All submissions must be the same size for reproduction purposes. It is preferred that all submissions be a minimum of 1 page and a maximum of 8 pages. Longer submissions will be broken apart to be serialized.

The Common Thread

Choose one.

1) Public Domain Character.
Inspired by Tom's thread in the comic forum, we create a character that is present in every story (though not necessarily in the physical sense). This character will be available for use to anyone. The meme starts here.

2)The Story of Us.
Stories of the members of the Underground. Fiercely egotistical. 100% made up. Subjects of stories must be made aware of their use and must give approval. No hurt feelings.

3)No Common Thread.
Who needs rules?


The size, common thread, and any other considerations will be discussed and debated up until the end of next month at the latest. At that point anyone interested will begin work.

One of the advantages to this project, as opposed to the Barbelith Corpse is that no one has to wait for their turn. When sufficient work has been submitted, those first submissions will be put on the web. They will also be photocopied in zine form and sent to each participant.

OK. Who's in?

[ 23-01-2002: Message edited by: moriarty ]
05:34 / 23.01.02
Oooo! I like the idea of a little Alfred Hitchcock-like character cameoing in every story. I'm definitely in for that.
the Fool
06:43 / 23.01.02
I've got about 5 comics finished already. I had a very productive break.

1x8 pager (see 'the fool presents traitor comics')

1x4 pager

1x2 pager


2 one page efforts.

I'll email you one in pdf, see what you think...
15:16 / 23.01.02

A character of our very own to abuse and manipulate!
rizla mission
15:28 / 23.01.02
I am fucking in.

I say c)no common thread.

(Either that or we all make up our own public domain character)
15:35 / 23.01.02
Ooo, Ooo, I think I might play.

And it might actually make me do some work... huzzah!
16:04 / 23.01.02
Um, I have a kinda sorta idea.

Anything important I need to know before I start?

Colour? Page size? Common theme/thread/character? Come on! I'm ready to get cracking!
16:33 / 23.01.02
I'd prefer getting an artist to help me, and I like the idea of a public domain/free source character.
16:36 / 23.01.02
Well, I've got a 4 page story ready to get started...

It's based on a fiction suit (all permission granted) just.. because... it is.

It'll be... Pencils, Inks and Watercolour.
Each page should be A4-ish.

Sound about right?
Captain Zoom
16:43 / 23.01.02
Um, I'm definitely in.
I'll write, but I'm no artist.
(Worst comes to worst, I'll try)
I'm for any of the options. I have a longer story that could stand serialization, but I'm sure I've got some smaller ones to come up with.
I invite everyone to use the character "Captain Zoom". I'd love to see what I've been up to lately.

17:22 / 23.01.02
Well theres a short script of mine that nelson evergreen is working on (6 page story). THat might well fit here if there is space...
17:24 / 23.01.02
Wow! What a great response.

I realize that many of you are chomping at the bit to get on this, but I really think it would be a good idea to set some ground rules before we begin.

I posted a number of options for the Common Thread so that we could have a healthy debate over it. I'd like to now state my personal preference, and why.

I would dearly love to do the common character idea. It's been an itch I've wanted to scratch ever since Tom brought it up. In our own modest way I thought it would be interesting to create a response to the idea that there are only two choices for "mainstream" comics, and that both companies seem to be buckling under their own weight. I figured that instead of just complaining about it we could attempt to create comics that, in their own small way, are a kick in the pants for the artform. Can we pull it off? To quote Jack Kirby, "I'm not sure about the answers, but the questions were interesting."

While a lack of a common character (or shared world) could also accomplish this, the idea of variations on a theme would not only allow the reader a good vantage point for all the stories, but also be easier to market. Many of us spend a great deal of time here, and it surprises me that more Collective projects don't get off the ground. When One Million Words was in production I thought, man, this is the next level. Instead of just commenting on culture, couldn't we, as a community, take our ideas and show them to the world? I would love for a common character and her stories to become almost a messenger for the variety of ideas and opinions that this board contains.

Most of all, I want to have a blast.
Captain Zoom
17:33 / 23.01.02
Would the common character be the only thing common to each story? Could he/she be put into completely different worlds, or would the setting have to be stable somehow? Perhaps the same character in alternate versions.

If that were the case we'd have to work out the ground rules of how this person would react to certain situations and stimuli.

What if we created a setting and then wrote stories based in it? Create a fictional town. That would allow for stories of all kinds but give a common thread to the whole.

A New Life, A New Family
17:36 / 23.01.02
I like common character idea. Hell, even if we don't like to do that, the common character moriarty offered previously looks like someone who'd be in something I'd write anyway...
17:46 / 23.01.02
In the thread this idea was originally spawned from, there were a number of ideas for how to make this work. About halfway down the first page was my character idea, The Shifter. She had dimensional powers in which it turned out she existed in all possible worlds, thereby allowing a great deal of leeway for story settings. It was all horribly pseudo-scientific, superhero style.

I was really hesitating bringing her back up because I didn't want to seem insistent for her use. So, again, if anyone else has ideas, now is the time to brainstorm.

By the way, Zoom, I like the common setting idea, but it would put a damper on the possibilty for different genres to be explored (jungle, space, etc.) However, I could easily live with that.

I'm sure that no matter what we come up with, there will be enough room for anyone to make a good story. I just want to do this because not only is it about as freeform as you can get under a set structure, but it is also very good for branding.
A New Life, A New Family
17:52 / 23.01.02
quote:Originally posted by moriarty:
About halfway down the first page was my character idea, The Shifter. She had dimensional powers in which it turned out she existed in all possible worlds, thereby allowing a great deal of leeway for story settings. It was all horribly pseudo-scientific, superhero style.

How about this idea: make it much more vague - say all we have for the common character is the picture, maybe a name. Then people can write any kind of comic they want...
18:38 / 23.01.02
Maybe I'm a bit off on this and this isn't the direction you guys were heading, but I was honestly thinking more along the lines of a character who, in a sort of multidimensional-fiction-walking way, appears as a background or complete front stage character in anyone's stories. Sort of a Doop/ Alfred Hitchcock/ Where's Waldo sort of character but with more or less exposition depending on the writer. EX: The Shifter can either be scooping ice cream in a background scene between a pregnant hitwoman and her mailman lover or The Shifter's whole day of dimension-hopping and grocery shopping can be written about. That sort of thing.

18:53 / 23.01.02
I think that might be a good approach, Flyboy. Some very basic personality traits wouldn't be too bad, either, just to keep consistency.

Essentially, we need a character who wouldn't seem too out of place in almost any situation. I'm thinking a carefree adventurer. Someone who could be in a jungle comic, romance comic, slice of life comic, even a superhero comic. Most of all, I'd like the people involved to be able to bring their wooly ideas into the fray. Make comics that expand what comics are. It's such an infant medium, with so much potential that hasn't been uncovered.

And in reply to your post, Dekapot, I was thinking that the actual involvement of the character is up the person making the story. To be honest, I think it would be really cool if minor characters in one story become major characters in another, so that thread is still there between all submissions, but not necessarily through the first, "main" character.
19:36 / 23.01.02
I'll go with that. How does everyone feel about a dimension hopper like Moriarty's The Shifter? Or maybe an even lighter version therein? Is anyone uncomfortable with that? Name change needed? Ground floor personality traits?
Captain Zoom
21:35 / 23.01.02
I think, if we're to proceed with this kind of character, a name change should happen. Call her Julie Everywhere or something like that, something less super-hero.

Just my opinion though.

23:43 / 23.01.02
Well, if we're to avoid the superhero trappings altogether, then we won't really need a "code name" at all. After all, we don't really have to say how she gets in these wild situations. She could be like Nancy Drew with wheels. Though I think a code name would be kind of cute.

Maybe she could be like Doctor Who. Nobody really knows her name. They just call her something.
Mr Tricks
01:52 / 24.01.02
heh... This looks like fun,

I like the Julie everywhere concept...

perhaps a sort of "bullpen" of charactors can be created in this same light. Thus it might not just need to be about "fitting" this one charactor intoa story context... but having the room to include any # of such charactors... In this same way stories could overlap (the newspaperboy who drops of the morning paper in panel 2 page 1 of the slice of life story gets swept up into the intergalactic comedy featured on pages 17-20)
Meanwhile this sort of treatment could also lead into a sort of story-within-a-story... Each story could feature a breaking point where another story is inserted. the Guy from page one begin's to read the comics section which turns into the next feature that also happens to contain a scene where someone is watching T.V. about some prehistoric jungle adventure which turns into another feature where they sit around a fire telling another tale... about a young boy dragged into an intergalactic comedy...etc...
Mr Tricks
01:53 / 24.01.02
ALSO... I think a Story of Us sort of thing can also be fun!!!
05:40 / 24.01.02
<rubs hands maniacally> More! More!
11:09 / 24.01.02
Ok, I'm in. Will start writing it today.

So, when it's scanned, what should I do? Just come back to this thread and post it here?

P.S.:What about a 12-pager? 8-pagers can be a drag...
11:14 / 24.01.02
Oh, and The Shifter will definitely be in my contribution.
14:05 / 24.01.02
quote:Originally posted by moriarty:
The size, common thread, and any other considerations will be discussed and debated up until the end of next month at the latest. At that point anyone interested will begin work.

I would suggest putting off writing or drawing anything dedicated to this project in particular until we actually make a final decision on what exactly we are doing.

It seems that we may be going through with the idea of creating some sort of Open Source Character. I would hope that those people who have differing opinions on this will still participate. If you decide that a new project devoted to a diiferent common thread (or lack thereof) would be something that you'd like to start up, please let us know so that we can participate. I fucking love comics.

Also, anyone with assorted comic work, or planning assorted comic work might want to check out thezine thread. I'm sure some of the 'Lithers involved in projects would appreciate contributions.
15:56 / 24.01.02
I like the character design for the shifter, but I think I'd like the idea of a Shifter's Club even better.

Sort of like the Three Investigators, only multidimensional.
15:56 / 24.01.02
Newsboy Legion, even.
15:58 / 24.01.02
Or the Forever People.

I agree, but I think it would be cool if something like that happened organically. So the first couple stories could introduce supporting characters that could be used by others as companions or main characters in later stories. Even villains could be showcased as protaganists eventually.

[ 24-01-2002: Message edited by: moriarty ]
16:01 / 24.01.02

I seem to have found an artist, too.
rizla mission
16:13 / 24.01.02
I was walking home last night thinking 'bout this thread and planned out a really cool 5 page comic short story, and I've started doing it and nearly finished the first page.. public domain characters in it yet, but I'm sure I could crowbar one or two in in the background..

..and if it doesn't fit in with the final concept I can use it as part of something else - thanks for inspiring the idea..

THOUGHT: If we're gonna use reoccuring characters - which is a cool idea - can we make sure they're able to change appearance/style to a certain degree, like the Endless in Sandman, so that they won't end up looking incongruous in different genres/drawing styles?
rizla mission
16:16 / 24.01.02
Oh, and a 'shifter club', for want of a better term, is essentially the big, secret, never to be revealed idea behind every comic or script I've written/drawn in the last 18 months or so .. damn, I feel like my secret identity's been exposed!
Captain Zoom
16:28 / 24.01.02
I'll try to write a 4-page something and see if it fits into the general consensus. A group of characters may allow a little more freedom to move, but only if everyone agrees to include one or two of the characters in order to have some continuity through the whole.

The only problem I see with story within story is it can get kind of confusing. If you start a story halfway through another one, do you go back to that story later? And if there's a story within that one? Now if, within the story within the story within the story it went back to the original story, it'd be cool as hell, but really confusing.

On another note, any artists willing to draw a bit for me? I'm really, really shit at drawing.

17:00 / 24.01.02
With The Shifter (aka Jenny Everywhere) or any other characters we start with, it should be agreed that there are certain signifiers that would identify the character, like a costume. Example, in the sketches for the Shifter you will notice she has short hair, goggles on top of her head, and a scarf. If you have the goggles and/or the scarf on the character, there would be a good chance that no matter what style of drawing you use, or what other clothing you put on the character you decide upon, she will still be recognizable.

Please don't just shoehorn the character (or characters) we create into a story you have in mind. The character and the story should complement one another, to the point where you the character used affects the storyline and vise versa. Again, we don't have to start this up right this second. Give it at least another week for all of us to come to some sort of agreement on what this is going to be like.

So far as the story within the story idea, or any other idea for that matter, this will be the decision of the individual creators. The point of an Open Source Character is that at some point there may be people who will be using this character without any consent from any of us. Therefore the same would apply to anyone on Barbelith. All the above are guidelines which I expect to be broken. Somneone could very well create a Shifter (or whatever) story where she doesn't look anything like the character. It could turn out to be a plot point, or it could just be that the artist wanted a new look, or was lazy. That's out of our control.

However, I think it would be good if, at the beginning, our stories firmly established the character. That's the only reason I'm bothering with this nearly needless (and no doubt annoying) editorializing. I want to give this baby a decent push out of the nest. After that, it's on its own.

If you have a story which doesn't involve our initial character, I would suggest creating a character that you would like to use and place her in one of your first stories. After that, the character will be established as a part of the shared world and you can do whatever you please, while still being a part of the project.

It'll be like a family tree, with our first character as the trunk, and all others as branches coming off of her, or off of the branches she has created.

Lastly, continuity. I would suggest avoiding it as much as possible. Consider your story to be the first anyone has encountered. Me, I'm thinking in terms of Indiana Jones. You don't really need to know much about the first three films to enjoy the third, though it might help. Self-contained stories that have fun, push the boundries, or offer up ideas you have that you wish to express. Or any and all of the above.

Man, I'm long-winded.

Lastly, feel free to collaborate in any way you want. Talk to other teams about creating separate stories with similar themes. If you're working with partners, let them offer you insights on your aspect of the project (example, don't just hand an artist a script). Blur the lines between duties to the point that no one knows who's doing what.

And, with that said, although I plan on doing my own comic, 4 pages sounds about right. I'll take you up on your offer, Zoom. Check the first three panels of the Barbelith Corpse to see if you like my artwork.

[ 24-01-2002: Message edited by: moriarty ]

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