So you may or may not have noticed that the Agbaje Bros. just finished another chapter of the graphic novel Project 0.
|Click to Read Project 0: 2.1 Pre-Dawn Darkness|
In it we’ve introduced a few new concepts and characters, so I wanted to take you through the process now that I can talk about it without thinking about spoilers.
Making any production is all about having cool ideas and problem solving, hopefully with more cool ideas, so one thing really leads to another.
For this chapter we had to give a big opening to Ciro and Kareem. They’re like brothers out on the lam. A master and apprentice duo of bandits that would run all kinds of awesome jobs together. But where we are in the story we may not get to see these two acting alone for much longer. That said we had to make this as cool, and purposeful, as possible.
We’ve talked about how the thumbnails changed from a big beat ’em up entrance to the more subtle one we put together. Trying to find the right balance on the scale between child soldiers, and super powered teenagers with attitude.
|Don’t get too eager…|
Since they’ve been described as saboteurs, a lot of their missions probably rely on, um, sabotage. So we didn’t want them blazing through enemy troops this time. We were thinking it’d be cool if they had stealth suits.
We did some designs for infiltration gear, but with the way the action picks up in the coming chapters, there won’t be any time for them to change back into their normal costumes.
We put up the sketch below when we were still trying to come down on using the suits or not. Then there was a stroke of genius. If modders can do basically anything, then they don’t need dark clothing. They can make themselves dark. Living shadows. Silhouetted saboteurs.
|This ain’t ‘Who’s That Pokemon’ anymore.|
Shadow mode also saved us a ton of time from a production standpoint because we didn’t have to detail their features, and it just looks cool anyway.
Once the pages were drawn, we realized that if these guys are really going to be stealthy, they’re probably not going to be chatty. And since we’ve already established that we won’t see their faces, the question now was how do we bring out their personalities?
|There’s a time and place for witty banter…but it wasn’t in this chapter.|
We kind of worked our way into a dialogue trap. Action sequence, and a quick congrats. We used to joke that you can boil down every exchange to ‘Good job let’s go.’
|This mock up is overwritten in Comic Sans MS intentionally|
So we decided to let Kareem explain a few things to the audience during the quiet moments. The narration tells you everything you need to know about them for now. We got some backstory out of the way so they’re free to talk about other things later.
It also worked out nicely that they both get extended monologues to establish the tone of their characters. Kareem’s narration lays out a few details about the situation for the audience, in line with his straight arrow persona. Ciro’s telepathic broadcast is a taunt to his enemies, showing that even though he’s the leader he’s the more reckless and cocky of the duo.
Now to bring it home.
Visually, partially by accident and partially by design, there are a lot of parallels between moments and panels of Owen’s adventure and the saboteurs infiltration. (Part 1 on top, Part 2 on bottom)
Even though the circumstances of these 11 pages are far removed from what the first 26 pages were about, the visual links help to keep the series dual focused.
The audience gets hints as to how closely related these worlds are, even before our characters do.
Part 1 was whimsical and quiet. Here, we were able to push the series darker and more action based without turning it into ‘teen angst’ or ‘gritty realism.’ It was a good exercise in story telling tone and style. We made a very different chapter from the first part, without losing the established simple charm of the Project 0 universe.
2.2 is going to introduce the last major players of this darker side of the story. For 2.3, well there’s only one thing left to do once you build up two worlds…
I gotta say thanks if you’ve made it this far down the page. And thanks again for enjoying Part 2.1. I like to think the pages here were as awesome as possible, and everything worked out to serve a purpose. But that’s just me. Comment here or on the Facebook, let us know what you think.
|He had to say it for real at least once|