Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My UW Comics

I blogged earlier this month about some... ah... creative differences we were having about an internal United Way campaign here at work. Since the campaign officially launches today, I thought I'd provide some updates.

I was, fortunately, able to skew folks away from a strictly Arayan male and got them to go for more of a silhouetted figure. He's still pretty decidedly male, but at least he's not race-specific. There was also a week-long, contracted debate with the legal department about how close all of my designs were to Superman. They argued that, and I'm not making this up, that anyone in tights with a cape regardless of coloring or the specifics of the design was too close to the man of steel and opened us up for a potential lawsuit from DC. We ultimately had to use several arguments combined together before they tentatively agreed that it was passable.

The scripts were largely written by the project manager, and obviously tout the benefits of contributing to the United Way. The newspaper and radio tower were my additions beyond the script. The first and penultimate strips she left more open-ended, and I had a little more freedom to play with the format. I actually quite like that penultimate strip, with the second figure breaking the confines of the panel and the third figure breaking the confines of the entire strip.

Another interesting creative note, in the first strip, I was deliberately trying to obscure the character to provide some sense of anticipation. Although with a figure that has no details or decipherable features, that's a bit difficult. Hence, that strip features the fast-moving, blurry version of the character as well as a close-up that centers on his chest.

On a final note, that last piece features a mirror in the hero's face, so the reader winds up staring at their own reflection.

3 comments:

Matt K said...

So... what's your verdict, at this point? Worthwhile in the big picture, or a fiasco that you wish you'd never heard of?

Sean Kleefeld said...

Actually, my end of the project went pretty smoothly all things considered. The PM got the brunt of the design arguments, and she was pretty firmly in my corner from the start. I basically just needed to say, "Here's my thinking behind this" and she took that and ran with it.

And that was all centered around the character design. Once that was approved, the comics themselves weren't given any roadblocks at all. So it was kind of a fun/cool design challenge to take several strips that were essentially identical and try to present them as if they weren't. Obviously, there's still something of a same-ness across several of the strips but hopefully they're different enough to provide some interest.

The one thing I didn't like was just the time I had to work on it. I would've liked to have been able to provide more than five character poses, and gotten better background photos to provide more consistency in the halftone screens.

So, yeah, overall, it was worthwhile on my part. But I'm still disappointed about the character design.

Matt K said...

Okay. That's not too bad; good show sticking in there and making this much better than it could have turned out otherwise.