It All Starts Here –
Arclight Comics #0
September 12, 2016
by Ed Williams and Gabby Pietrzykowski
So you’ve read the mini issues. And now you’re hungry for more.
I understand that feeling. The first bite is always the best. It whets your appetite for everything else.
When I finished the script to our prequel issue in 2014 I soon realized how much it would cost to produce it. And if I can be honest—I didn’t have ANY finances to give to that level of production at the time. So I sat back and thought to myself, “How can I get content out to our audience that’s not going to break the bank, but can still be very high in quality for both storytelling and art?”
Just like that.
The mini issues were born.
They gave us a place to publicly test our storytelling, processes, turnaround and execution. We were able to show everyone who we were, but most importantly, who our characters were and how capable we were at telling a story. But that wasn’t going to be the end of it. Nope. I still had plans to keep growing into what would be a graphic novel in 2017. And the step up from our mini issues is a full, 20-page issue.
And it’s headed your way December 2016.
The Prequel Issue – Arclight Comics #0
This is pretty much ground zero for the Arclight Universe. 10 years from now when someone asks you where to get started with Arclight, you’ll point to this issue. It’s our Genesis. And it puts down the first stone of our pathway I hope you’ll be joining us on.
But I don’t want to be the only one talking about this.
I’m ALWAYS talking.
So I wanted to introduce you to our Content Writer Intern, Gabby, and let her take you behind the scenes on her experience with the prequel issue.
A Different Look: Behind-the-Scenes With Gabby
The prequel itself is the brainchild of our founder, Ed Williams, which he penned back in 2014. He had the stomping grounds for everyone set up before the mini issues were completed, and established a lot about the Arclight world with this script. The tone and dimension were set up with this pre-issue, and allowed us to determine the spirit and soul of the Arclight Universe.
It can be done if you let it.
The team recently reviewed and fine-tuned the script, cutting here and pasting there to flesh out the initial taste of our universe. It’s our starting point, like Ed said, for the graphic novels, and sets up a few great plot points. Keep an eye out for our easter eggs, too!
The prequel issue is our starting point for the graphic novels.
The best point to the prequel issue is that it’s a taste for readers to get an idea of what we’re doing here at Arclight. Prequel issues and #0s give the creators the opportunity to showcase their intentions, and draw the audience in. It’s the window dressing of the book, drawing attention in and keeping it with tip-top writing and great art.
You can use this to your own advantage!
Your Prequel/Pre/Issue #0 Sets Us Up For What’s To Come Next
The atmosphere and tone of a comic is best established in the beginning, so readers have an idea of what to expect. But don’t give away too much. You want them coming back for more! Don’t overwhelm your audience with characters and plots and what have you—draw them in. Lead a proverbial trail of breadcrumbs for them to find. Let them determine if your book is worth their entertainment dollar. You’re making a first impression with the first look at your world.
Don’t squander it.
The atmosphere and tone of your universe is best established in the beginning. It sets up the expectation for your readers.
All Your Characters Don’t Need To Be Here
Don’t feel the need to establish every character in your first issue. Character growth and introductions make for excellent story fodder, and you may get new ideas for a character as you space them out.
Too many characters at once make them hollow, not noteworthy and definitely not remembered. You want your readers to get drawn in, to be interested in these people you’ve put on the page. The ultimate goal is for discussions around these character by fans, but cherish every email you receive in the beginning that says glowing things about your characters.
Cramming too many characters into your prequel issue makes them hollow. There isn’t enough space to develop those characters. Your job is to make them noteworthy and memorable. Less is more.
Remember: Plot Is King (Next To Story)
The plot is, not necessarily second, but second to be mentioned. If your characters have no plot, what’s the point of the story? You need to add substance, character drama, interactions, reactions. Show how the world is. Create the cities and towns and forest your characters walk in.
Give them reasons to feel, to care, to stick their necks out for whatever you conjure up. Plot Is King. Plot rules your book and dictates where it’s supposed to go. Good characters make for good books, but great plots amplify the story between the pages.
Art Is Key
Of course, no comic can make it without great art, and prequels and #0s can show readers the sort of style and coloring they can expect. How dynamic are the actions? How detailed are faces? Can the creators convey a reaction simply by an expression?
Find an artist that feels your words and gives life to your sentences.
Your Issue Is a Test Drive
Every comic successful today started with one issue, one look into the world the writer and artist wanted to share with you. They gave audiences a brief taste of what to expect, and drew them in for more.
That’s what you want to wind up doing. Creating a literary magnet that just draws eyes to it. Audiences can grow, but it always helps to give them a nice starting point.
You test drive cars. Allow your first issue to serve as that vehicle. Let readers take it for a spin and see the action for themselves. Allow them to make the decision about your work. You could tell them all you want that your issue is “great” or “spectacular”, but readers don’t want to be told how to feel.
They just want to feel, uninhibited and free.
Your readers are test driving your universe through this issue. They don’t want to be told the issue is great. They just want to feel, uninhibited and free. Your issue should provide that for them.
All you can do is provide a taste.
Get All the Updates To Our Prequel Issue
See why we brought her onboard?
But this is one of many updates on this issue that drops December 2016. If you have an interest in this, I want you to sign up below. That’s where you’re guaranteed not to miss an update and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
I promise I won’t bombard you with a whole lot of emails. We don’t have the time quite frankly. It’s a lot of work to do and we’re just getting started, but definitely hop in the car and join the ride with us!
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