Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jan '09 Q&A Part II

Here we go again with Q's from the comments of last post:

Neil had a question in two parts: part 1:
What other properties would you
like to work on (besides Hellboy)?

Well, excluding Hellboy (as you did in your phrasing of the Q) I have been fortunate to get some Muppet work from Boom’s licensing deal. Anything else Henson-related would be awesome too (Dark Crystal) I’d have fun doing some stuff with the X-Men..the Giant-Sized team is my fave. Star Wars is a no-brainer..anyone who gets to play in Lucas’ toybox is a lucky artist. And I was brought into comics with Eastman & Laird’s TMNT, and I’d love to do some Turtles work. I’m sure there are others I’m just not thinking of…the above represent my major ‘checklist’ for work I’d like to do

Or transversely, which artist(s) would you like to see do a
Mouseguard story?

Oh there are plenty! First person I have given carte blanche to do a Mouse Guard story anytime is Jeremy Bastian. His work is incredible and he has been there for the creation of damn-near every issue. Another, Based on his own comic series and his pinup from Fall, Mark Smylie is an artist/writer that would be a good fit. A further dream list include: Rick Geary, Joao Lemos, Katie Cook, Mike Mignola, Karl Kershel, Nate Pride, Alex Sheikman….basically artists who have a very unique style that is defining and focuses the point of good storytelling . I’m sure again I’m forgetting some.

Kat & Twice Born commented on my thoughts about
magic in Mouse Guard...

Seeing your comments made me want to add that, while I’m against
using the type of magic that the mice would have control of, I’m not against magic in the sense of the supernatural: ghosts, prophecies, various animal’s abilities to seem like they have esp, or things that would seem magical/supernatural to mice in 1152. I have not really employed this yet, but I’m not against using it if I feel it can be fit in to serve the story without seeming like a loophole or a shoe-horned trick.
I’d say a mouse’s views on death in their 12th c. will be the first place I get the chance to explore these ideas.

Harold Kohl said...
Can you describe what led to the changes in their
look since then, and maybe even the look of Mouseguard
Sure. Here are a few images showing the transition. The two problems with the original designs were 1)I was referencing someone else’s work to achieve the look (Tom Phort) so I couldn’t keep it up indefinitely and 2) they looked more rat-ish than mouse-ish. This was important because the reader had to sympathize with the mice and consider them defenseless (not feelings associated with rats). Further changes occurred because I didn’t know what medium I would do Mouse guard in, pencil? ink? watercolor? I didn’t know. It had to be something I felt comfortable with and could repeat page after page.

After doing some OZ illustrations and redrawing the mice about that same time, I realized that I was very comfortable with the inking style I was using and could ‘keep it up forever’ (ß the thought that ran through my mind at the time.) Of course, further changes have happened since Issue 1 of Fall. That has more to do with getting comfortable with the characters and seeing what worked and what didn’t. Eyes got smaller, so did hands and feet, body stature became something I needed to keep more consistent as well as more characteristics to differentiate the mice.

Brandon said…
Is there a future possibility of a nice, large
hardcover Art of Mouse Guard book collecting your earlier work,
development sketches and other
Mouse Guard artwork and materials?
I would love an Art of Mouse Guard book…someday. I think we are way too early into me doing this to really be thinking about an artbook yet. I mean of the five story plots I had when I started Fall #1, we are only almost done with the 2nd. And I have written more since then! If something like that comes along, be sure that I want it to focus on unpublished art, things you haven’t bought already. (though I do like the idea of having covers reprinted sans-text.) Until then, consider much of this blog as an online art-of book.

dark turtle said...
With so many movies based on comic books these days, do
you foresee a Mouseguard movie sometime in the future? I think the CGI format would be the perfect way to showcase the world you've created.
A movie is something that we have been working toward for a while now. Mouse Guard is VERY special to me though, so I’m trying to take it slow and make good decisions instead of quick or simply lucrative decisions. As to the format, I agree, CG. A lot of fans would argue that 2d in a way that "matches" my style would be better. I have a few reasons for wanting to go the CG route (though our plan so-far is to have live action backgrounds and exterior models so as to not re-create all of nature). 1) I want the viewer to be afraid for the mice. If they look like cartoons that can squash and stretch, that fear is gone. 2) I do like the idea of the movie version being something slightly disconnected from the comics. If it tries to look like the comics, but doesn’t (as it never would seeing as how one is a 2d image that doesn’t move and the other would need to move and rotate etc.) it might seem like it ‘fell short’ (thanks to 'sally2315' for the cute photo manipulation')

Twice Born and Brandon both commented on the idea of annual
type releases of smaller stories…
I agree and the comments have already gotten me excited and inspired by the idea. I was even looking over logistics of page counts etc. I have a story about Saxon & Kenzie’s first days as Guard Mice (a story that came out of developing background info for the RPG) A few stories about the June Alley Inn and it’s keeper, and some thoughts about how fun it would be to show all the tricks of a ‘weather watcher’.

Thanks for all your Q’s. I’m going to try for 1 more ‘regular’ post before NYCC, but if you want to continue to ask more questions in the comments of this entry, I’ll get to them for a future Q&A post.


TwiceBorn said...

Thanks again for another intriguing post. Your blog is becoming something i really look forward to reading. I love seeing your rendition of other stuff like starwars, muppets, ect. I also so really love the Mouse Guard version of stuff you've done in the past like indiana Jones and lotr and all that. It will be fun to see if you ever get around to doing work in some of these fields.
I also love the renditions other artists do on Mouse Guard. They're diferent, but very stylistic and beautiful.
Evan though i'm not a huge magic fan, i'm really looking forward to you delving into mice superstition and prophesies and afterlife and the like. It sounds most interesting, i just hate haveing to wait so long for everything.
I'm glad Mouse Guard turned out the way it did stylistically. It's beutiful, i think you've perfected it a long way from those first ratlike drawings. I love seeing those though.
Thinking about what the future might hold for Mouse Guard is very exiting. I'll be waiting on the edge of my seat for anything new.
Again, thanks

Mayhem said...

Regarding magic, I think you take the right approach David. Anything that seems unnatural or unbelievable was often considered magic in olden times, and I'm sure if someone came along with the ability to teleport we today would think the same.

The Japanese were fascinated by the mystique, power and machinations of how it worked after the introduction of "the black powder" (aka gunpower) into their culture during the early 17th century and looked to harness it as much as they could. Something similar along those lines may fit into the Mouse Guard realm.

dark turtle said...

Hi David! Thanks again for the awesome post and taking the time to answer some questions. I'm really glad to hear that you're taking your time with the movie process. I think if creators were given more control over film adaptations, we'd end up with movies that truly honor the original source of inspiration. Please take your time with it. I'm just happy to know that there is a strong possibility for an MG movie down the road.

I attended a panel discussion at last year's LA Times Festival of Books that featured Jeph Loeb, Steve Niles, and Mike Mignola. One of the fans asked them what the process was like having their work turned into movies. Both Mignola and Niles told us how much of a struggle it was to maintain the original vision of their work. Studio execs were constantly trying to change things, in some cases, rather drastically. Steve told us that during a meeting, one studio exec asked him why he insisted on using Alaska as the setting for "30 Days of Night." The exec wanted to use an urban setting instead. I don't know if you're familiar with "30 Days of Night," but the setting is essential to the entire plot. Steve tried to explain that to the exec as kindly as he could, and luckily managed to retain the original intended setting.

I hope you won't have to deal with too many harsh roadblocks during your movie-making process. Best of luck!

Nick said...

Oooo, a short story annual... Intriguing...

Looking forward to seeing you guys at NYCC!

- Nick

Edwyn said...

the first thing i thought of when i read Mouseguard is what a great movie it would make! Im glad your taking the time to do things well!

Brandon said...

Kind of a late response but it would be really awesome to see you do some TMNT! Turtle Power! The turtles are one of my favorite comic series, unique in art and story. I grew up reading the four color graphic novels that First printed. Now, as a comic collector, I've been lucky enough to purchase most of those original issues. The oversized format of the first few issues is awesome! The latest addition to my collection is a third printing of the first issue that I was able to get in near mint condition at a great price. As far as the sketchbooks go, I guess the impression as to their rarity comes from the pretty high prices they are going for on eBay. Since I live in Canada and have not been able to come down for any of the cons, my only option is eBay. But I guess now I'll be waiting for that contest you mentioned!

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