What is that, a tree? And some other stuff...
Del Mundo sent me an image the other day and this post was going to just be a glorified ‘hey, ain’t this cool?’ thing that I was going to supplement with Dr. Vallar’s family tree and some other stuff (I think I’ll probably post that later in the week, because that’s pretty cool too), but I started thinking about what Mike had drawn and it sparked a couple of ideas, so...
I thought it might be more fun to show you guys how the back-and-forth of this works when we’re coming up with something. In Mike Huddleston’s last process post he hinted at this in the comments, but we’re all of the very strong opinion that things don’t start and end with a character bio or with a concept sketch. As a result, when we do comics the script isn’t the ‘text’, which means the art isn’t just the execution of it.
We really believe in a feedback loop of creation. Where we’re all constantly evolving the ideas and the art based on what each of us does.
So, with that in mind, there’s this guy, DR. VALLAR, and he’s on the magic moon...
So the original idea for Dr. Vallar was that he’s an INSTITUTE man doing Institute things on KAOSO, then something goes terribly wrong and his entire team is lost. The bodies of his three comrades are found, but his is not recovered. It’s assumed that he’s dead -- he’d have to be because he can’t survive without his environment suit and it would have lost power some time ago -- but without verification, all the Institute can declare him as is ‘missing.’
But we know he did initially survive. The question is how.
Early on when we were spitballing, Huddleston locked onto the idea of Vallar using deductive reasoning and the scientific method to basically ‘science’ his way through surviving on Kaoso.
I thought that sounded cool, and was good stuff to turn into a good story, because stranger in a strange land is always fun. I came up with a lot of cool magic-tech hacks, but I didn’t want to over-note Del Mundo when he started the concepts so the only design note was:
So, over time, as he figures this stuff out, his suit changes from being a standard Institute design to something he’s adapted and changed over time. From a technical device -- a machine-driven survival mechanism -- to an organic one.
You’ve seen these, but I’ll repost to show the progression:
And then I added a ‘for example’: He attaches something to the suit that breathes from him/makes it so he can breathe in the hostile environment.
I just assumed that there’d be a magic squid that can breathe for him that he mushes onto his helmet or something.
Then Mike sent back the drawing that you guys have seen. With the organic suit and the artery/vein tree. (Again, You’ve seen this...)
I was like, ‘what’s this?’
Mike said it was a magic tree that merged with his blood vessels to convert the unbreathable air into oxygen.
I said, cool, but if that’s the case why is it in a bubble?
Then Mike sent an update.
Now this was very, very cool. Great design. Super evocative. (How great is that helmet?) Anyway, it immediately made my mind go in two completely separate directions.
One, was just the way Mike drew Dr. Vallar holding his hand and the way he was looking at the tree made me think, hey, this isn’t just a rebreather, he’s communicating with it. And the cool thing about trees (okay, lots of cool things about trees, but one specific point here) is that the rings clearly mark an accrual in the passage of time and of ‘change’ -- it makes sense that it have some kind of observational record of its environment. A repository of some sort. A limited kind of knowledge base. Not an all-encompassing database with ‘all the answers,’ but some...
And two, since it grows over time, it makes sense that it would also adapt to changes in environment. The idea here being that the environment of KAOSO isn’t static. Like the changing of pressure as you plunge deeper into the ocean, the further you go into the Academy ruins, the more ‘hostile’ the environment becomes. So I told Mike that I think the tree would have to adapt even more as Dr. Vallar went deeper into the ruins.
Maybe it springs out of his back when he needs ‘more oxygen?’
Then Mike sent this. Which was perfect.
I’m sure it will change as it’s rendered into pages and it stylistically becomes its own thing, but that’s basically how you go from a guy kitbashing his suit to survive, to having something visually much cooler that will also add to the ways we can tell story.
Two more things today:
First, a note about how we’re going to be cataloging everything:
COMIC 001 - Pretty straight forward here. This is the numbering for each comic we’re going to be doing. These will be released sequentially, so if 003 comes out, and you didn’t see 002, then you missed one.
[A] - The letter that comes after the sequence number refers to the storyline/character that this particular story is about. So, [A] might be about Dr. Tajo Vallar, and [B] might follow the life of his arch-enemy.
FABLE - That’s the title of the chapter. Nothing shocking here.
The reason why we’re doing it this way is because we’re going to be indexing (and collecting) everything in multiple ways, and we really have no idea which you might prefer, so we’ll do both.
Second, wanted to give you a quick update on yesterday’s post. We sent out the fulfillment emails for the first 500, 250, and 100 annual subscribers— so if you didn’t get one of those and you think you should’ve, be sure to check your promotions and spam folders. And remember, if you signed up at the Founder’s level, you WILL be getting all those rewards, but you WON’T have gotten one of those emails. Yours is coming soon, and it’ll have some important questions for you to answer.
Okay, more later.