Assuming You Survive

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the storyboards from the first issue of the comic Margaret Treanor Frey and I are doing together, “Assuming You Survive”. When we first started this, I wasn’t sure what the division of labor was going to be — I felt a little guilty leaving all the drawing to her, since it’s so time-consuming and so much work. (But she’s so much better than me, it quickly became clear making her draw everything was by far the best plan.)

As a co-writer, mostly I meet with her on Zoom / Slack for an hour once or twice / week, where we brainstorm theme and structure and plot and characters. Sometimes she asks me to fill out a character’s Pinterest board, to help give references for the room she’s drawing.

One of the main characters, Sita, is South Asian-based, so Margaret tends to leave it to me to define her — she just asked me if Sita wears a bindi, for example. Sita is pretty mad at her paladin husband, who is always on the road, rescuing people, which is super-virtuous and all, but ends up leaving her with all the domestic labor and child-rearing…

So I think Sita only wears a bindi when she’s dressing up for a party and wants to match her outfit, OR if he’s somehow managed to win himself into her good graces, in which case, she would wear a traditional red one, sign of a married woman.

Anyway. That’s the sort of thing I do, and Margaret does all the real work! I love it when she shows me storyboards of scenes we’ve drafted dialogue for; it’s super-interesting seeing how varied her layouts are. (I’ve read _Understanding Comics_, which is great, but it’s super-dense, and I think I’d have to draw comics for years before I really was able to integrate much of his advice.)

In this scene, Sita is arriving, uncertain, at the inn in Adventure Village. She’s left behind judgmental relatives who didn’t really understand why she took up adventuring in the first place, much less had romantic relationships (and kids) with ‘monsters’. She’s had enough of her kids being teased and excluded, and is hoping to find a place where they can belong.

I mean, I’m not saying Adventure Village = Oak Park, but there are some similarities. 🙂




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