Welcome to the premiere of a new regular Monday series at Thrillbent–PRODIGAL, from the team of Geoff Thorne and Todd Harris. We really dig it and we think you will, too. I (me, Mark) have asked Geoff to favor us with an intro–take it, Geoff!
Hi. I’m Geoff.
For the purposes of this symposium, I will be the Voice of Genre 19, the partnership I enjoy with Mr. Todd Harris.
This isn’t due to any special powers or responsibilities on my part but, really, because, in our partnership, it’s my job to handle anything that has to do with words.
As you readers of ARCANUM already know, Todd Harris speaks via his art, and that with ridiculous eloquence. So, hi, again. Geoff again. Let’s begin.
I’ve been asked to talk a little about PRODIGAL, why we did it, how we did it and how it has arrived here where you folks can enjoy it for free. That’s a story I like to tell so, let’s just jump right in.
It’s the time-honored tale of an indestructible boy meeting the world’s most lethal girl and the two of them teaming up to steal things for money. There’s action, bloodshed, treasure, monsters, lots of fighting, lots of lying and lots and lots of running. Sometimes the running is away.
Comics, American comics with super-powered characters in them, are meant to be fun. At some point, the majority of them stopped being that from our point of view.
Don’t get me wrong; the art was still awesome; the stories were certainly more complex and some of them did make us smile but, on the whole, a malaise of darkness had crept into the worlds of “mainstream” comics where “more realistic” seemed to have translated into, “dark, psychotic and unhappy.”
We’re not fans of Unhappy. There’s enough Unhappy in real life. We buy most comics, we collect them, because, at their core, they are meant to be fun. Since they weren’t being fun, we decided to make some that were. PRODIGAL is the first of those.
If you don’t like fun, there is no need to read this yarn. If you don’t like fun, I’m telling you, right now, just turn around and walk away. We have nothing to say to you. However if, like us, you enjoy fun….
Todd can draw, yes? We can all stipulate that my friend Todd can draw his proverbial ass off. You need a guy like him if you’re going to make comics. Not solely because the artists are, usually, the rock stars in the comics industry but also because, selfishly, you want what’s in your head to look just as stellar when it’s on a page. If you’re lucky, very lucky, a guy like Todd can actually improve what you had in your head.
Since ours is an “indie” venture and, since both of us had been burned by indie writers and artists before, on several projects that still have not seen daylight (and a publisher or two as well), we decided to sidestep the main pitfall of such pairings which is ego.
I can draw. Pretty well. Todd is an excellent storyteller, both verbally and visually. But neither of us is anywhere near being capable of doing the other’s job at a level that truly competes. We admitted that, accepted that and made it part of our working structure. What has to do with the visuals is Todd’s kingdom. Mine is the one made of words. When there is a discrepancy about a sequence or plot points, we both stand in our Places of Power and work the problem out like two mechanics deciding the most efficient means of repairing a car.
We are our own pit crew; our single goal is to make the best comic we can, rather than to outdo the other or to “be the boss.” The boss, with us, is the story being told. Only that. No room in that scenario for ego.
To make a story, we sit, I ask what sorts of things, people and places he’s interested in drawing and then I start to spin stories that include them while he sketches. We swap the product of that first sitting. We debate a bit. We refine. At some point, we meet and a loose version of the story is locked down. Todd waits for me to turn that loose story into a solid outline. We discuss. We agree.
I go to write the issue/chapter synopses. Todd waits for scripts, working out character looks, locations, tech, all that. As I deliver scripts, he begins to draw. As he delivers pages, I letter them and sometimes help with the flatting during the coloring stage.
We don’t ALWAYS do it that way but that’s the main method for us. There are only two of us so, whenever necessary, we share the workload. Thus far we’ve created three of the ten initial properties we agreed to make together and a couple of for some friendly publishers that have as yet not been announced (using their characters). So, y’know, mums.
Anyway, that’s it. Wish it was a sexier story but we saved the sexy for the four-color stuff when we can.
And, what a coincidence, here we are and here you are. Shock.
As I said, if you’re a lover of the fun, dig in. If you’re not, to paraphrase a beloved and recently decapitated android, “You have my sympathy.”