25 January 2014

The “Owl and Pussycat” Experiment

The Boston Comics Roundtable is conducting a group exercise we call “The Working Method.” One member writes a short comics script—only three pages in all. Artists take that script as far as they choose—character designs, thumbnails, pencils, or all the way to inks and letters.

Members did this first a couple of years ago, at the suggestion of artist Jay Kennedy. One of the resulting comics, “Amazons v. Valkyries” by Lindsay Moore and Laurel Lynn Leake, was eventually published in the Minimum Paige anthology.

The current exercise is using a script by me titled “Owl and Pussycat.” I gave myself the challenge to tell a superhero tale in only three pages, a story that I as a kid could have picked up and understood at the basic level. There are, to be sure, many unanswered questions left about Owl, Pussycat, and their evil nemesis Dr. Megalo—unanswered even for me.

At this point participating BCR artists are sharing their designs for Owl and Pussycat on a Tumblr page. The sketch above is by Roho, for instance. I see my job now as to keep quiet about how I might have imagined those characters or the setting, page layout, overall look, etc. in order to leave the artists with maximum freedom to make their own choices. At the end of February the whole group will sit down and discuss the different choices people made.

This exercise is also open to folks who aren’t involved in the Boston Comics Roundtable, or even in Boston. Here’s the link. We expect to post further scripts of different sorts in the future.

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