Hiya. So I thought I would do something new. After all isn't that what I keep preaching? So here goes putting my money, where my mouth is.
Me and B. Clay Moore are already working on a Creator Owned book for DC Comics called THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE WHISTLING SKULL, and the experience for me, working with Clay, has really been rewarding, so I had this other concept for a comic that I wanted to start fleshing out to prep it for launch that I brought to Clay and asked he would be into developing it with me. Much like I did with SKULL. So I verbally pitched it to him, as I still did not have ANYTHING real on paper. Just Ideas rattling around in my head, and scribblings and key words on a half dozen different post it notes along with relevant photo-ref for designing the characters( which I haven't done yet)around the studio. Anyway, Clay LOVED the Idea right away. You how I could tell? Cause he immediately started spring-boarding ideas for the Book, and even new characters, as we sat next to one another in Kansas at Planet-Comicon this past spring. So we went home, got busy with our lives, and work. Then I was thinking about the book again the other day so I began to chat with my wife about it. She is a very talented writer, and full of wonderful ideas. So she came up with a couple of gems, and said I could use them( thanks babe!) So I figured it was time to put something down on paper, no matter how preliminary, to get things rolling. And boy did they. I emailed Clay with these notes, and suggested to him that we do this back and forth Blob about the birth of an Idea. Really from the literal beginning all the way thru to ( hopefully) publication. Clay jumped at the Idea, with one suggestion. "We gotta hold back on some stuff." He's right. If we tell you every little nuance about the story, it won't feel fresh when you finally read it. But, we intend to be as transparent as we can with everything else.So keep coming back, and also check out Clay on his blog for his MONK entries too. I hope you enjoy experiencing the birth of.......
These are the notes I wrote down just the other day unedited or changed....
This would be BUFFALO MONK! Heres a quick rundown.
I haven't written the story yet because I am creating the "world" just now. I always work like that, so I know the rules as I'm writing.
It's a Western set among the bordeland areas of New Mexico or the Equivalent in the township of MURDER. This is a skewed reality with Animals co-existing with Humans. No explanation needed as we throw you right into the story. Everything revolves around the Sherriff of MURDER, and that is BUFFALLO MONK. He's an 850 lb. Silverback Gorilla that wears a full length Buffalo Skin coat. He rides a small Donkey called FINNEUS. He does not carry guns, but a pair of Slingshots in holsters. He uses dried dung from Horses and such for ammo, so youll see it sitting all around the Jailhouse on window ledges, drying out. He has 2 Deputies named DIRTY BIRD ( an Ostrich wearing a Fez and a Paper collar) and a Midget Human named WESLEY, who is addicted to Elegant Haberdashery, and as such, is dressed to the nines at all times. He rides Dirty Bird as his Mount. Down the street is the Saloon called HICCUP MIKES( Mike is human), and upstairs is the ever popular Brothel called, " THE CAT HOUSE" Run by a Human Woman called BEA, and all her girls are Meerkats. There is a Gang of Banditos in the Canyons, north of town headed by the evil "JESUS LIZARDO" a Jesus Christ Lizard ( Basilisk). His men ( comprised of animal and Human Bandits) fear him terribly, and LIZARDO keeps them in line with the fact that someone may have heard of a guy who might have talked to someone that may or may not have seen JESUS LIZARDO walk on water.LIZARDO also has, within, his group, assassins called , " A MURDER OF CROWS."( YES ,THEY ARE CROWS) Anyway, these guys terrorize the town of MURDER with regularity. ALWAYS lurking on the outskirts of the story is a mysterious character barely seen until towards the end. He is watching all of the events in the story unfold, but with a keen eye for MONK in particular. This character will be revealed to be THE NAKED BUFFALO that MONK took his coat from. The BUFFALO is pissed, out for revenge, and to retrieve his hide. I like the idea of ending the story with his reveal, and you realize that we haven't even scratched the surface of this "World", or BUFFALO MONKS back story of how he came to be Sherriff of MURDER, and how he got that coat.
My wife's ideas were the Brothel named The Kat-House, and the group of assassins called, "A Murder of Crows"
-----So now, the next step for me as the Artist is to start breaking down each character to the Nuts and Bolts of who they are. That usually dictates to me what they should look like. That, and my own visual sensibilities as a designer. And sometimes things I design for a character will actually add a bit here or there to the story itself. I also start thinking about the Logo at this point too. Don't know why, but that's my process. This is also the time to start my research. I do tons of this. I mean TONS. I am a stickler for getting things right, and think that is in large part due to the fact that I used photo ref for such a long time. I recently decided to put it down when I started work on SKULL, and I am quite happy with the way I working now, but getting all the details right for a photo shoot has embedded itself in my minds eye, I think, and now I pour over books, and the Internet to collect a visual "Bible", for lack of a better term. These are a collection of images that I print hardcopies of, put them into a folder, and keep them at the ready when ever I am working on a particular Book. So thats where I am at the moment. What's difficult here is the Juggling. I am working on quite a few things currently, and have to toggle back and forth constantly. It can be quite frustrating as an Artist( and to my Family,my Fans and my Editors!) to not be able to devote ALL of your time to one thing. And that comes from fear really. Fear that I won't ever get around to doing it all if I don't start several things all at once, then drudge through the muck of deadline Hell, and making sure each Book get's the proper amount of attention when it needs it. This doesn't always work either. Sometimes I will ultimately be forced to put one or more things down in order to properly finish something else.
So the next step? Wait for Clay to send me back his notes, and Ideas. And in my copious spare time, Start designing the "look" for the main character, BUFFALO MONK. See you soon.
JOLLY ROGER STUDIO