With Starside #3 less than a week away (at least at the time of writing this), I thought it would be fun to talk about the origins of Starside and the creation of the first issue in a new ongoing blog segment I’m aptly naming “Starside Chats.” Before you ask, yes, this is an FDR reference. These segments will detail some of the trials and tribulations the team faced while creating Starside, as well as showing off some cool behind the scenes art. I plan to take a very informal approach to writing these segments to try my best to simulate a conversation between myself and you, the reader. Have any questions? Feel free to post in the comments. Did you like the artwork we shared? Let us know in the comments. My goal is to have this blog section open up a dialogue between the team and the readers to build the foundation of a Starside community! Plus, we love talking to people at conventions and I feel like this is the closest thing to that when Lane and I aren’t at a convention. So, without further ado, let’s chat about Starside!
Allow me to set the stage… In August of 2016, Lane and I began fleshing out a story idea I’d been carrying around in my head for over a decade. I spent 4 hours with her one evening just documenting the chaotic thoughts I had into a kind of master document that we could work off of. It was pretty surreal since I had never spoken to anyone about this story before in any detail, yet there I was spilling it all out to her. At the time, it didn’t have a name. In my head I always just referred to it as “the sci-fi/fantasy story.” I did know early on though that I wanted it to be a comic series so we knew at some point we would need an artist.
About half a year later, Lane was talking to one of her good friends, Rae, about our project (now called “Starside”) and how we were about to begin our stressful search for an artist. Before Lane could talk more about our comic, Rae reminded Lane that her brother Jordan is an incredibly talented artist and could be worth talking to. The two of us checked out his work and immediately fell in love. Soon after, we put together a pitch to send to Jordan and crossed our fingers he would be interested.
It was important for us to have an artist that wanted to do more than just illustrate what we had in our scripts. We wanted them to be as invested in the story and its characters as we were. My philosophy was, if they were going to draw our characters a million times, they should know what makes them tick. Fortunately for us, Jordan said he was interested. On top of that, he matched all the criteria we wanted in Starside’s artist. Much like us, Jordan had never worked on a comic before. We were all in this together and learning as we went blindly into the fray.
By this time, Lane and I had a draft for what we thought would be the script of our first issue. The problem was, I didn’t think about the pacing of the script and how long it would ultimately be so I ended up with a script that was WAY longer than it should have been! See, there isn’t really an industry standard way to approach writing comic book scripts so I just tackled it the way I thought would work best. Fortunately, Jordan found the best spot to break up the script into two issues which definitely worked out for the better since it allowed us to seamlessly transition into working on issue 2 once we finished the first. After smoothing out the divisions, we ended up with story beats that we were happy with and began diving into the full production of the first issue.
It took some time for Jordan to work out his art style and process for issue 1, and who could blame him since he had never worked on comics before. To make it even more of a struggle, the first three pages of issue 1 have no dialogue, meaning his art has to pull the extra weight of telling the story. Ultimately, he went with a style where the color sets the mood of the scene. In the opening, Jack is being pursued by an unknown threat through an alien forest, so to get across his panic, red is the dominant color. But when we cut to earlier in Jack’s day when everything is normal, there’s a warm yellow tone to signify a sort of calm before the storm.
Overall, the production of issue 1 took a full year, which included the crafting of the final draft of the script, working out the best layout of the comic, as well as getting down the art style of the characters and environments. It did get a little stressful during the production though, since (for some reason) we booked our first convention without even finishing our first comic. Everything ended up coming together and with a little extra money for rushed shipping, we made our deadline and attended our first convention without a hitch. For our first foray into the world of comics, we felt like we had a pretty strong start but we knew we could only improve from here.
That about wraps up issue 1’s journey from origin to completion. I apologize if it seems like I skipped over some important details but the beauty of the blog is that if anyone is curious about any specifics during the creation of issue 1, you can always ask a question in the comments and I’ll most definitely respond in great detail. I realized upon reading what I wrote that I didn’t really include any spots to insert art so I’ll add a small gallery at the end of the blog for you all to check out! In the next Starside Chat, I’ll talk about issue 2’s journey. Thank you all for your support and I’ll see you in the next one!