I want to share some of the great work that’s out there with anyone that reads On the Verge on a regular basis. So to start things off, I want to let everyone know (if you’re living under a rock and haven’t heard about it yet!) about reMIND. I found reMIND through a different route than most comic readers. A blog I follow (magCulture.com) had a post about Kickstarter that I bounced over to check out. On the main page there I saw this fantastic piece of art and watched the video that its creator – Jason Brubaker – had created to try to raise money to fund the printing of his graphic novel.
Anyway, I was intrigued by all of this so I visited his site and was blown away by what I found. Here was someone that was doing what I’ve always wanted to do: creating a graphic novel and publishing it – all on his own! He also tracked all his progress as well as tips and tricks in blog postings that I spent several days digging through. I’ve posted a couple of times about my history with comics and I’ve always intended to actually do one of my own some day, so seeing someone actually doing it really spurred me on and this site has been both a huge inspiration and a wealth of information.
So if you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a brief synopsis:
reMIND is a mystical, sci-fi about faith, love and brain transplantation.
Sonja, the lighthouse keeper at a seaside oil drilling town, loses her cat, Victuals. Everyone blames the Lizard Man, the local boogeyman, which Sonja knows is a myth created by her late father to generate interest in the town. But when Victuals unexpectedly returns and has the brain of a strange intelligent creature; it seems someone is doing experimental transplants. With the brain of a lizard and the body of a cat, Victuals must now fight to recover his original lizard body and confront what he thought was the all-powerful god.
The whole story is really good considering he’s not a formally trained writer. Don’t take that the wrong way, but for the most part, artists that write don’t always do that well. But the real star of the series is the artwork. He constructs interesting and dynamic pages that really help tell the story and keep it fresh and interesting for the reader. Maybe this is due to his animation background, but he also manages to balance the more realistic world that Sonja inhabits with the more cartoony Victuals and the Lizard Men which might not be handled so delicately in the hands of a less skilled artist.
While his drawing has remained consistent, the colouring for reMIND has slowly evolved stylistically to incorporate a more sophiscated palette. I find that Jason’s use of ACTUAL painted textures in his work really helps add something that a lot of mainstream comics lack – a sense that someone put a little blood, sweat and tears in to the art. I know that there’s a wealth of colourists that have utilized this type of technique before, but for the most part, mainstream comics maintain the standards that were established with the introduction of computer colouring in the last 90′s and early 00′s. And sometimes computer colouring just looks hollow and generic.
Jason is an artist and animator who’s worked on films and commercials since 1996. He’s currently working at Dreamworks Animation in Visual Development and is just finishing up on Kung Fu Panda 2. reMIND Book 1 is currently being printed so if you like what you see, you still have the chance to get a copy. You can read it online at remindblog.com and find out more about there.
I just want to finish off with a big thanks to Jason for the ongoing inspiration to make the leap into self-publishing! Enjoy some of his spectacular artwork and be sure to check out his site for even more.
Here’s the first couple of spreads to get you excited:
(click the artwork to get a bigger version)
And here’s a couple of my favourite spreads so far:
I love this one. It’s not too often that you see both such a crazy looking expression and a full size splash page of something like this. Jason’s decisions with pacing really help tell a dramatic story. More comics should make use of their space like this (and that’s not advacating more splash pages, just a better use of what “should” be on a splash page I guess).
A perfect example of the evolution of reMIND’s colouring. This page is an awesome use of colour.
I’m not sure how this one will look in print with the gutter of the page running through it, but I like that he’s taking chances with the layout and design of the page. All to often comics have a clear division between the left page and the right page – or there’s a huge splash page. I really like how he’s played with how we normally “read” a comic and I suspect that because of the gutter in the printed version, Victuals will be tucked into it in panels 2 and 5 which should help with him “hiding.” It’s subtle details like this that add to the storytelling.
Again, a wonderful use of space. I love how the left-hand page reads up from the bottom of the page to the top, while the right-hand page reads down from top to bottom. Very subtle, but awesome storytelling. The changes in colour also help to heighten the contrast.
Not only is that an awesome angle on the left-hand page, but I love how a simple shadow in the last panel tells so much.