Mysteryman: All About Eve Behind the Scenes

 

Mysteryman: All About Eve has been on shelves for one week. The reaction to the book has been great.  I hope everyone had an opportunity to pick up their copy, either through one of these fine comic retailers or if you are more of the digital persuasion you can get a hi-res PDF of the book directly through this site HERE.

Out today is The Creep #0  which features some stellar art by Mysteryman: All About Eve Artist Jonathan Case. It’s a great noir written by John Arcudi and you don’t want to miss it. So be sure to pick it up.

I thought I would post briefly on all the work that went into creating just one page of the book.  Specifically I wanted to talk about the creation of the very first page. It’s definitely one of my favorites. I love this page because It immediately brings you up to speed as to who Jack Mason is and why he decides to put on the mask.

Script By Matthew Todd

First things first I had to write the script. After numerous drafts, I wanted to tell Mysteryman’s origin as succinctly as possible. If you are looking for a masterful example of a succinct origin, look no further than the  opening page of All Star Superman #1. In three panels Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly tell us everything we need to know about Superman in order to start the story. (And yes I realize that last sentence may have come off like I’m comparing myself to Grant Morrison but believe me I am in no way that bold).

I first learned about comic script formatting by looking at the backmatter of Captain America #34 Director’s Cut Edition. As I was first writing my scripts I would have it open on my desk seeing how Ed Brubaker formatted his scripts. Since then I have tweaked the format a bit and you can check it out below.

Mysteryman: Prelude

PAGE ONE: 3 PANELS TOTAL

PANEL 1: Wide low angle shot of JACK MASON, Mysteryman’s true identity. He’s performing a stunt on a movie set; leaping from the top of a 1940’s Mercedes Benz truck.  He is aiming to knock a NEFARIOUS LOOKING VILLAIN off of his horse.

NARRATOR (MYSTERYMAN): MY NAME’S JACK MASON.

NARRATOR (MYSTERYMAN) (2ND Inset): I MADE THE JUMP. I TOOK THE PUNCH. BUT I NEVER GOT THE CLOSE UP.

PANEL 2: Medium shot of Jack in a cheap suit and a skinny black tie. It’s the best suit he could afford. He is sitting at a table with a microphone. He is at a H.U.A.C. (House Un-American Activities Committee) hearing. His expression is a crucible of emotions, mainly confusion mixed with seething rage. He has nothing to say to the committee.

NARRATOR (MYSTERYMAN): I WAS A MARINE. I SERVED MY COUNTRY IN THE PACIFIC. THEN THE GOVERNMENT CALLED ME A COMMUNIST… WITH MY HONOR AND CAREER GONE, MY FRIENDS STOPPED CALLING ALTOGETHER.

PANEL 3: Medium shot of Jack in complete costume sans domino mask and hood. He is holding the mask in both hands; his expression is a mix of hesitation and anticipation. This is the reflective moment of acceptance before his life changes and he starts on his new path

NARRATOR (MYSTERYMAN): IF THERE’S ONE THING I LEARNED BEING IN THE PICTURES, IT’S THAT THE WORLD LOVES A HERO. SO I TAKE A COSTUME FROM WARDROBE.

Thumbnails By Jonathan Case

After Jonathan read the script he did these quick thumbnails, which were great. It’s much easier to make any tweaks and/or adjustments at this stage before your artist commits a lot of time an effort into the pencils.

Pencils By Jonathan Case

As you can see Jonathan’s pencils were incredibly tight. As a first time writer I can not describe the feeling I had when I first opened the email containing this artwork.

Inking By Jonathan Case

Next up… The inks, which really brought the pulpy/noir feeling I envisioned for the book and for a while I actually considered actually releasing the book in black and white.

Coloring By Epic Digital

When I had the opportunity to work with the amazing team at Epic Digital I leapt at the chance. Their coloring really made Jonathan’s already amazing artwork jump of the page and I could not have been happier with their work.

Lettering By Troy Peteri

Last but not least. My letterer Troy Peteri works his magic and places the captions, word balloons, and sound effects on the page. His job is really important as he helps control the where the readers eyes go and the flow of their reading experience. A great letterer is like a great audio department on a film set.

It also allows me as a writer to make any last tweaks to the the script. When you see the completed artwork you can sometimes cut out some of your dialogue or narration because the artwork shows what your words are trying to convey. As a writer it’s kind of great to have this one last pass on your script.

As you can see it takes a considerable amount of time and effort just to create one page of a comic book. I hope you appreciated a small look behind the scenes of Mysteryman: All About Eve. Available now.

 

 

 

 

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