Proposal for a graphic novel; To Boot: The Mole of Tomorrow Mikey Digby
Introduction: My final project this year will be a graphic novel, of which I will write the script for, and create the paneling. So in other words making it completely by myself from scratch. I chose to write a graphic novel as it incorporates two fields which I hold very dearly to myself; writing and drawing. I also opted to do this over an amination, as I want to utilise quite a surreal element for part of this. The medium of the graphic novel enables the user to involve a powerful part of the imagination, as they have to bring the gaps between panels to life. Within animation, I find anyway, the concepts and characters are much more obvious, as they are displayed in constant motion. With graphic novels the user is forced to use their imagination, and so perceptions of comic strips often change from person to person. I wanted to incorporate this level of user participation within my work. (This being said, I also don’t think I have the technical skills to pull off an animation, and make it look decent).
So who or what is this ‘mole of tomorrow’ you may be asking yourself. Well the story begins in 2009. Mark Allan sends his son Hermit to work at his travel company called ‘Travco’, in order to shatter his dreams of becoming an actor, and to try lure him into the business world. As Hermit is fairly naïve, and inspired largely by themes of espionage, Mark tells him that he is there to be an undercover spy, and to investigate the loss of Travco’s revenue within recent months. (There is actually a loss of revenue but Mark mainly tells him this to make him more keen, in actual fact he just wants him to work). However Hermit takes this role pretty seriously, and when he uncovers a ‘conspiracy’ if you will, he creates an alter-‐ego for himself known as ‘The Mole’. ‘The Mole’ is a
violent sociopath, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s just a shame he doesn’t actually exist. As Hermit gets closer to discovering the truth, the Mole’s antics become more ridiculous, as we are eventually drawn to a climactic ending (or hopefully!).
The Mole: Visualisation
Hermit: Character Visualisation
Concept of Hermit’s face, trying to get a feel for style.
Visualisation/Style As mentioned earlier, I wanted to incorparate a surrealist element within this work. I want to utilise this theme during ‘the mole’s’ narrative, to establish a very obvious difference between the two worlds that the audience will be shifted between. Hermit’s world will be quite conventionally drawn, probably just comprised of pencils and ink, so black and white. The Mole’s world will be colourful with random lines and splatters of colour, quite random looking, but at the same time not so abstract that you can’t tell what’s going on. I guess like many projects that people undergo, the goal is always something similar; to create something innovative and captivating which will provoke an emotional response.
A panel from ‘Black Orchid’, which Dave Mckean did the art for.
Panels from ‘Hush’, a Batman graphic novel in which Jim Lee did the penciling.
Inspiration/Influence: Inspiration for this project comes in various forms, however they are largely comic based (it is logical I guess!). In terms of the visual style for the world of the mole, the artist Dave Mckean has been a very large source of inspiration. There are elements of his work I would like to capture in my own, but without making it look like I’ve just comletely conned his style. I do however really like the abstract feel his work provides and that’s really the main element I wish to capture. Hermit’s world has drawn inspiration from the likes of Jim Lee, and particularly his work in ‘Hush’. For Hermit’s world I plan to apply quite a simple style, but try make the aesthetics interesting and captivating.
Troubles in Narrative: As far as progress goes, I have just finished the first version of the script, however it will need a lot of work in order to make the story truly captivating. I’ve been juggling around with a lot of ideas as to how the story should flow, and when the mole should be introduced etc. Switching between the two worlds is also a crucial element, and I feel it needs to be done justice. This will take quite a lot of work also, as in
order for the audience to not be confused the narrative needs to be clear. However having said this, the mole is a fictional character within the story, and his actions and perceptions aren’t ‘real’, so this is why I feel this component of surrealism will thrive in this world. Also in many of the stories I have seen where the protagonist is effectively insane (which is really the case here), a lot of the narrative is left upto the audiences perception. I guess the key is trying to find the balance where enough is shown so you can depict what is going on, but leaving it open to interpretation in many respects.
A mock up cover which I drafteed.
Bibliography: J. Loeb, Batman: Hush 2003. DC comics Gaiman, N Black orchid 1988, DC comics