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B to the F: The Novelization of Back To The Future
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what are the haps
I thought it’d be fun, today — when the comic is out and you can buy it and you should!! — to share how the first page of Adventure Time #1 went from start to finish.
Initially I knew I wanted to tie the comic to the show and let people know, yes, this is the same thing you’ve been watching on television, just in another medium. It seemed like doing something with the credit sequence would be a fun way to do it. I actually wrote out two versions of this scene: the first one, which used a different idea that you’ll probably see later, and this second one, which was actually a better, funnier way to introduce “Adventure Time! In comics form!”
Here’s the script (very little changed on this page from first to final draft). The point of a comics script (I believe) is to make it clear to the artists what you’re imagining, and they’re not generally made public, so you’ll probably notice a different style than what you normally see from me! For on, the punchline is said in the first sentence: this way the artists can see where this is going and what we’re building towards.
First page is a riff on the credit sequence of the show, but now in comics form!
Panels are 3x3 on this page.
We see the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, as in the first scene of the opening credits, but it’s from a slightly different angle than what we’re used to. In the foreground is a old camcorder held in Jake’s stretched-out hand. The camera is positioned such that the opening credits from the show could be filmed on it. The conceit here is that Jake is filming the credits we see before each episode of the show. In the background we see the Ice King’s mountains.
We see the Ice King floating by his lair, again with Jake’s hand holding the camera. Jake’s hand recedes into the distance, where we can see the Candy Kingdom.
The Candy Kingdom and its inhabitants. Jake’s hand holds the camera and it snakes off into the sky, but out of view of the camera.
Princess Bubblegum riding Lady Rainicorn in the sky, waving to Jake’s camera and hand!
Marceline playing her guitar, Jake’s hand holding the camera filming it, the Tree Fort in the background.
The camera and Jake’s hand filming the Tree fort, Jake’s hand going up over the Tree Fort and into the far side of the fort we can’t see. Again, his hand is high enough that it’d be out of the frame of the camera.
We’re in Finn’s bedroom, just like in the opening credits. Everything’s the same, including BMO, asleep in the right-hand side. This panel is from the camera’s POV and has “* REC” in the corner and little frame borders in the corner. We see Jake putting the camera on a shelf (his hand reaching out towards it). Jake and Finn are both looking to the camera.
JAKE: Okay dude! Three… two… one…
Finn and Jake fist-bump, like in the opening credit sequence. A nice burst where their fists bump. This panel is also from the camera POV, with “* REC” and the rest.
SOUND EFFECT: BUMP!
Same scene, a second later, still from the camera’s point of view. Finn and Jake, post fist-bump.
FINN: Awesome! What are we gonna do with the footage?
JAKE: Aw, I’m sure we’ll find a use for it somewhere.
ALT: Okay Finn, now let’s go outside, and you look to the right, and then I’ll jump on your head.
Yes: the comic contains alt text, printed beneath the page. They’re not in every page in this issue (and the alt you see here isn’t included) because we were worried that it was too much text for a first issue, but they’ll all be there in issue two! And there’s some alts that show up in this issue that I’ve never been able to do on the website. HOW MYSTERIOUS!
Here’s the rough pencils of this page by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline! Click to make bigger:
Pretty awesome, right? I was 100% excited when I first saw these panels. So rad! And it really shows how much amazing work the artists do: I get to describe a panel with one sentence or two (ie: panel 3), and they fill in all the details. It’s less “a picture is worth 1000 words” and more “20 words can be worth one picture worth 1000 words”, and it’s a crazy economy like that which makes me say writing is the easy job in comics, and artists do the hard work.
On the final page we ended up making the camera visible instead of shooting from within it (to make it more clear that Jake had placed the camera there and wasn’t, you know, just waving to us, as you could read from the pencils) so we lost the “REC” at the top, but it let us show more of the room and makes the gag stronger, so: TOTALLY WORTH IT. Here’s the final page! Again, click to make bigger:
So pretty! Anyway, this is how comics go from CRAZY IDEAS IN MY HEAD to CRAZY IDEAS IN YOUR HANDS!
The comic is out today at a comic book store near you and online; it would be awesome if you bought it!
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