Squad Commander Rocket needs YOU!

Yes, it’s a massive cliche. Sue me.

Are you a talented up and coming comic book artist looking to showcase your skills? If so then the webcomic I’m hoping to get off the ground in 2010 needs YOU!

What is it? Squad Commander Rocket (title TBC) will be a weekly webcomic that will eventually be compiled into a one-shot printed comic book of between 20 to 30 pages. The model I’m looking at imitating is that used by David O’Connell on his excellent Tozo: The Public Servant, where the comic page is broken into a three by three grid, and a weekly installment is usually one row of three panels, with odd larger splashes taking up more than one row, or occasionally a whole page. (Take a look here and flick through the archive to see what I mean.)

By telling a story at roughly a third of a page a week, this will hopefully set a manageable schedule for the artist, and result in a full comic ready for print within a year.

What’s it about then? The story is a combination of pulp SF and contemporary drama, intercutting between contemporary London and exciting alien worlds. This is an ideal project for an artist wanting to show that they can draw characterisation and reality, but also action and inventive SF weirdness.

Blimey, that’s a big ask. Maybe. I’m not looking for immaculate draftsmanship or elaborate finishing, and I’m open to whatever art style is pitched to me. I’m also flexible in terms of whether the strip is black and white, full colour, or some form of spot colouring or shading. However the artist for this story will definitely need the following:

  • a good grasp of facial detail (there’s one character who appears at different times of his life, at different ages and wearing different clothes, and they need to be recognisable throughout).
  • an ability to draw buildings (architecture plays a role in the story) – I’m happy to see anything from scanned in and ‘shopped photo ref to silhouetted shapes of tower blocks, but you will need to be able to draw a straight line and be at least willing to draw backgrounds.
  • an ability, and preferably enjoyment of, playing around with the design tropes of 50s, 60s and 70s popular SF in a way that’s recognisable without just copying Dan Dare, Star Trek etc.
  • the discipline to stick within the format and required panel size, so that the individual installments will stack up OK to create the finished comic, and of course to maintain the demands of a weekly schedule.

What’s the deal then? There’s no money up front or per page, I’m afraid. I’ll also be retaining all rights to the property itself until completion. Understandably sometimes artists need to drop out of projects like this, and I’d hate to lose the story altogether. However, on print publication and for any subsequent use of the strip we’ll share ownership and split profits equally between writer and artist (with appropriate shares hived off for a letterer or colourist, if those are done separately).

Although there’s no money in the foreseeable future, this should be a fun project, and a great showcase for your artistic abilities, initially on the web and then in a nicely printed format. I’ll be swallowing the costs of the print run, and acting as publisher, while the artist will get a nice stack of comp copies to do with as you wish.

I’m not going into Squad Commander Rocket lightly – I’ve wanted to publish a comic for a few years, but have waited until I’ve got the right story and an achievable plan for getting that story from outline to finished product.

Finally, this should be a well-promoted strip. My work on Doctor Who, Bernice Summerfield etc, as well as the existing Shiny Shelf website I’m a part of, means that I have a little head start in terms of drawing attention to a new property. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a big name, but I do have a bit of a track record that can be converted into interest here and there.

How do I show my interest? I’ve set up an email address for anyone wanting to contact me to discuss this project. It’s scrcomic [at] googlemail [dot] com. If you think you may be the artist for Squad Commander Rocket, drop me a line and we can discuss it.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to send the link to this post to anyone you feel may be interested.



December 4, 2009. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.

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