My friend Brandon (who keeps refusing to answer my e-mails now that he’s a fancypants graduate student — maybe he’ll read this and feel guilty) once told me that in the lazy afternoons, he’d been watching soap operas with sound off, writing his own dialogue for the characters on the screen. I thought that sounded like a fun writing exercise, but wasn’t sure what the equivalent would be for drawing.*
Then, a few weeks ago I came across a crappy-looking movie that was shot in the same whaling town one of my characters lived in. So I picked up the DVD, sat down with my sketchbook in front of the TV. But instead of watching it, I used the fast forward and pause buttons to freeze-frame scenes that I thought were pretty decent. Then I super-imposed my own characters over those scenes.
By the time I’d made it through the movie, I had several pages worth of comics panels (without dialogue — but you could certainly add dialogue), and it occured to me, you could do a whole comic like this, if you really wanted to.
* Though, come to think of it, Kenneth Koch used to give his poetry students comic books that they’d never read, and order them to white-out the speech balloons without reading the dialogue, and write their own….