Here’s a little something for the process junkies out there as we take a look at how we get from script to finished page on an issue of Alex Automatic.
So here’s the script page for Alex Automatic #1 Page 4. This was a relatively early script for me (I think my second ever full length script), and as you’ll see I still hadn’t learned that you shouldn’t really put dialogue in block capitals (unless that’s how you want the book lettered!). Thankfully, our letterer Colin Bell took this in his stride and no harm was done. Otherwise, this is more or less how I still script. I know a lot of people use professional programmes or have switched to simply using Google Docs, but I use an old Word template that I think I slightly modified from the one Andy Diggle made available a while back. Probably time to modernise!
Next, we move onto James’ artwork. This is a nice example of James’ style, smooth, elegant lines meeting his trademark dark inky shadows. One of the things I like in this page is James’ decision to incorporate panel 4 as a badge style insert panel, which is nice and poppy and also means it doesn’t interfere with how James has set up the flow of the page with the angled panel borders.
Now here’s the page coloured by David B. Cooper. Coop has done a great job throughout the series of really adding to the atmosphere of the book by blending the two clashing styles we’ve used thematically in the series, the pop colour and lightness of those glamorous old TV shows, comics and films we are harking back to and the darker edge of Alex’s “Real life” experiences. Those slimy, lime greens really grab you, while the more subtle shades really add depth and dimension to the action.
Finally, Here’s the page as it appeared in the book, with the final lettering by Colin Bell in place. Much like colouring, I don’t think everyone always appreciates how much of the heavy lifting in comics the lettering does. It’s not just about placement, it’s about adding to the overall tone of the book. It doesn’t just convey basic information but as you can see here it has to do so in the manner intended, in keeping with the style and genre of the book. Colin had a number of font and style choices to make to reflect the various levels of reality Alex and the rest of the cast were experiencing in this issue and he got everything bang on. On a personal note, I always though the name Fissure Men for boat/sea dwelling monsters who multiply when attacked was pretty nifty. It’s not always easy to come with good names for baddies, so quite happy with that one!
I hope you found this an interesting look into how we put Alex Automatic together. And if you like the look of the book, you’ll be glad to know the Volume One Trade paperback collection is live right now on Kickstarter. Check it out!