Jun 20, 2016

Creating Nevera Tales

Creating Nevera Tales - A Fantasy Horror Comic Book

The World
Nevera Tales is a comic book concept set in a fictional world called Nevera, I came up with the name as a play on J. M Barrie's Never Never Land where Peter Pan lives, because in Never Never Land, nobody grows up. In Nevera, nobody stays dead. I crafted a fantasy horror world overrun with necromancers and undead, where necromancy is the dominant form of magic and magic users wage constant war using various undead minions such as skeletons, ghosts, spirits and other horrors. 

My intention was to create a world with rich enough storytelling potential but rigid enough rules to allow for different stories to take place within it, to provide enough of a structured sandbox for me to explore different characters and stories that could exist there. You can read my articles on general world building by clicking the links to the right. 

The Concept
While building the world of Nevera in writing, illustration and even video games, I had a dream where I was a captive in a medieval dungeon, and the dungeon was shaped like a ring. There were balconies around the inner edge  for guards to keep watch over me and the monsters that were in the dungeon with me. I do not remember if I was a monster, but I do remember being incredibly powerful and strong.

I had the sense that I was to break out of the dungeon, and so with a great leap and climb I scaled a wall up to a balcony and destroyed two of the guards that were posted there. I looked behind me and the monsters had followed me up the wall, as though they were inspired by me, and together we tore up and through the castle that sat above the dungeon.

I remember feeling exhilarated in the dream, and woke up with a rush of adrenaline and feeling of power, and immediately wrote down on a notepad by my bed everything I could remember about the dream. I knew what I dreamed could serve as a great crescendo to a larger story.

The Writing
Later, I set about molding my dream story to fit into the world of Nevera. I decided that the character I played in the dream would be a vampire, to fit the undead theme and explain his power and strength.  Then remembering the movie The Man in The Iron Mask, I was inspired to bind and mask the vampire character so restrict his movements and keep his power in check. I had a vivid image in my mind of the vampire's face fully enclosed in an iron mask, as being undead he would not need to eat or breath.

At that point I also fell in love with the idea of the vampire having to bide his time over generations, much like The Shawshank Redemption, but over a much longer period of time, with the vampire's unique perspective on time and limited senses giving the story a dreamlike feel. The young lord who captured that vampire and now resided in the castle above the dungeon would have a child, and then that child would grow old and have a child themselves. And that child would be the second central character of the story, and be the trigger for the crescendo.

The Concept Art
I still had the vivid image of the vampire, emaciated, bound and masked, and I desperately wanted to see him on paper. So I contacted Marek Jarocki, who had worked on some concept art for me in the past and who had taken an interest in the fictional world I was creating. I described the vampire as best as I could, and with some work-shopping Marek created a character as closer to my imagining than I ever hoped was possible. I knew Marek had experience creating comics for his own stories, and after seeing what he could do with my characters I was confident enough that my story could be told as a comic book, with Marek's skill and talent bringing it to life.

We quickly put together the concept of the child character, who I decided would have some clearly visible illness or malady, and also a motivation to sympathize with the creatures in the dungeon, and then moved forward with the illustration. As the story would be told from the perspective of the vampire, the writing would have limited detail about the child, so the visuals would be very important for conveying her character.


The Layout
Finally I decided that I was proud of the prose story enough that I wanted to keep it in place of actual dialogue, and that the vampire's narration was strong enough exist alongside the panels of the comic book. This opened up some interesting possibilities, for one it would mean that after reading the prose and following the panels a few times, a readers would be able to follow the panels on their own without the prose because they already would know the story. It also opened up the possibility to have the story easily translated into other languages if there appeared to be an audience for it, and it could save time and money on lettering as the prose could be added in digitally.

The Illustration
Finally I split the story across fourteen pages as evenly as I could manage. Marek and I were quick to realize that even with no lettering, the amount of illustration I was expecting for each page was far too much or the panels would have to be far too small, and so we reorganized the story to run across eighteen pages, giving it a much better flow. I described some of the important panels as I saw them in my mind and Marek did an amazing job of committing them to paper, and then together work-shopped the remaining panels in a rough sketch draft. Once I had slept on each page and looked at them again with fresh eyes (I always recommend sleeping on a draft before editing) we tweaked the details and then Marek illustrated the pages as you see them now.

Which is where we reach you, and your opportunity to contribute to this project and own the final product digitally or physically, along with some original art work depending on your choice of rewards, as well as immediate access to the full prose and an audio book told in character. If you like the project, or if any of my articles have helped you in some way, please consider backing or sharing our project. Next time I will write a breakdown of how I planned and executed our Kickstarter project. 


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