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PLOTTING AND WORLD BUILDING Your story’s location is a character in its own right. You’ll have your protagonist and antagonist – those are crucial – and you’ll have supporting players, but the setting is really important, as it’s the thing that unites all the characters. If you’re telling a story about magic, you’ve got to have a magical universe, where you focus on the magic of that world as well as that of the characters. RECEIVING TREATMENT

Treatment is set in a crime-ridden society of the future, in which TV offers relief to the depressed masses. The word ‘treatment’, in fact, was my inspiration for the story. I heard the disturbing story of Millwall Football Club fans who would visit distant towns wearing surgical masks to conceal their identities, assault local football supporters, and leave a card saying, ‘You’ve received treatment’. I wanted to use the phrase in the opposite way – to describe something beneficial instead, so I developed the idea of a sick society needing treatment.



In Treatment, certain cities have no-go areas for the police. I looked at pictures of old Detroit and extrapolated that into the future, which was a perfect setting. I had to ask, why are these people working for the Treatment? My breakthrough thought was that they’re on a reality TV show. People want to tune in and watch these gladiatorlike heroes going into places where normal people wouldn’t go and collecting the bad guys for the bounty or advertising fees. Then I had the idea of it being like a sport, with a league, where they move from small towns up to bigger cities. So, as you develop your characters, evolve a situation in which you think they will work well. That setting will then feed back into the characters.

Treatment Dark Horse Comics, 2011 Dave’s initial thoughts for Treatment included quotes from Ovid on medicine and ideas for chapter headings: Disease, Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery.


Locations, characters and scenes for The Originals Not all of these world-building notes were incorporated into the final work, but they helped Dave envisage a fully realized and believable universe.

How Comics Work  
How Comics Work