Anatomy of Story Collaboration (SPOILER ALERT)
This is one of my favorite pages from my comic The Army of Dr. Moreau #4, even though half of the page was never in the original script. In the initial script, only the second and fourth panels were in the story. Since the beginning, I’ve given Carl Sciacchitano (the artist) as much creative freedom as possible. While doing layouts for this issue, he expanded the sequence from the previous page, and carried part of the action over to the next page. At the same time, he included two new panels, the first and the third, which he felt added a bit more character to the story and resonance to the death of McNally (I told you there were spoilers). He ran all of this by me before fully committing to drawing it, and I agreed with his choices. The problem was the dialog for the first and third panel didn’t exist, because neither had been in the original script. Writing dialog for the first panel was no problem, but the third panel was difficult, especially because the original dialog for the second panel had been meant to end the scene. Honestly, I wrote at least three versions of that third panel, which when you really study it, is a scene in and of itself. All the earliest dialog was garbage—it merely reinforced the action. “Got get this grave dug.” “Make sure you get the rest of his ammo.” That sort of stuff. Carl felt there needed to be more to this scene, and he drew it, but I was at a loss for how to give it more character. Then it struck me—I needed to have the characters say what they were thinking. By changing the dialog to something connected to what they were thinking, as opposed to what they were doing, I could give more life to Hadley and Beckett. This led me to change the dialog in the second panel, which had already been written, but needed a change of tone and meaning, and helped to shape the dialog of the fourth panel. This issue, and the overall story is much better, thanks to the collaboration with Carl. The Army of Dr. Moreau is published digitally by Monkeybrain Comics, and is available exclusively through Comixology.