Friday, 16 January 2009

Fathering The Sisterhood

Over the past few months there's been a few mentions of The Sisterhood on these pages. Now that publication of this latest one-shot is imminent it seemed a good time to give you an idea of what it's all about. Firstly, here's a few lines from the initial premise put together in November 2007:
In the far future the Church is all. Not since the middle ages has the domination of church over state been more manifest, but in this future the church rules on an interplanetary scale, system after system bound by rigid dogma – a dogma as convoluted and contradictory as the different belief systems that it has adopted into one.

The Church’s rule is absolute, but it is also ruthless. Anyone and everything that does not conform is branded undesirable and is marked for conversion. Anyone and everything that opposes conversion faces one thing – annihilation.
The church has many agents, but along with it’s popes, cardinals, bishops and priests is another faction that are feared by those even at the higher echelons of the church itself.

They are the Nuns of the church, women with the appointed the task of maintaining the proscribed faith and ruthlessly destroying any who would dare to oppose the church and its teachings.

They are The Sisterhood.
Or to put it another way: Space Nuns with Big Guns. The concept came after meeting with Dan Barritt at the 2007 Thoughbubble, deciding I wanted to work on a one-shot with him, and then coming up with an idea that seemed to suit his art style. The Sisterhood seemed ideal for that, Dan's manga-inspired artwork deserved showcasing with a story that could feature some of the elements so associated with that: science-fiction, action heroines, and hardware.
Following the original premise Dan and I spent a couple of months bouncing designs back and forth, locking down the look of the character's and the world they inhabit. This was a rewarding experience, the creative wellspring had just been tapped and the concepts and ideas gushed forth, not all of them useful and one or two pretty useless. I'll admit the useless ideas were mine. What was more exciting though was how the concept continued to evolve, the initial storyline I'd developed transmogrifying into something that really drove home how collaborative comics are.
I usually work on a comic script in sections. There's couple of reasons for this. Firstly I personally hate decompressed comics and the feeling that a 5 page story has been stretched out to 20 for no great reason, so I work on each six pages as a mini-episode in itself. This means that during those pages the story has developed somewhat and given me a focus to really tighten the dialogue and to lose any flab. By the end of page six there has to have been some development to carry the story forward into the next six, and so on. The second reason is that if something goes horribly wrong and I need to re-write or re-work a script substantially, scripting in smaller segments seems to allow me to fix things without too much of a headache. It's also useful to find out what the artist thinks as we go along as in some cases the story changes in the latter stages because of the feedback from the earlier stages.
The Sisterhood is a case in point, with a conclusion springing from some comments Dan made after receiving the first few pages of script that only enhanced what we'd already planned. The story road remained the same, but now there seemed some more interesting things to look at along the journey. Of course it didn't end there, at each stage of The Sisterhood's completion Dan and I would swap suggestions to fine-tune what we had, right through to the finished art stage. It's a great way to work and a true synthesis with writer and artist, creating comics as a collaborative process which is what they always should be.
Pending any last minute disaster The Sisterhood will be heading for the printers in February, and with the distinction of being Time Bomb's first full-colour comic. At the moment we're hoping we'll have some preview copies available for Hi-Ex but if not will be available through our online shop shortly.

No comments:

Post a Comment