Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hot Alien Flexes

Today I made a presentation at the Comics Event of the Gay-Straight Alliance/Equality Club at James Madison High School in San Diego, CA. I spoke to a group of students gathered from several high schools in the area about my cartooning career. I showed examples of many of my projects with an emphasis on Age of Bronze. The second half of my presentation was about creating comics, and I asked the students to help me create a two-page comics story as part of my presentation.

I gave them a general outline of what the story would be about:

Character 1 is being chased by Character 2 in a specific environment. Character 1 ducks into hiding as Character 2 runs past. In the final panel Character 1 turns around to see something surprising. (This is actually a variation on a project that Joe Kubert used to assign at the Kubert School.)

I used a document camera so everyone could watch as I wrote and drew following the suggestions the students came up with. It seemed like they were all having a great time. I know that I was having fun.

First we designed the characters.

Character 1: Nelson, an immense musclebound figure with both female and male attributes, jewelry, gloves, and a tiny alien head.

Character 2: Baab, a sheep with a top hat and six legs.

After we decided the story would take place in a supermarket, we wrote the script.


PANEL 1 (Nelson flexes. Baab sees Nelson from a distance. They’re in a supermarket.)

Title: Hot Alien Flexes

Nelson: Noice!

PANEL 2 (Medium close-up on Baab, glaring.)

Baab: How dare they!

PANEL 3 (Baab chasing Nelson.)

Baab: Notice me, Senpai!

Nelson: Never—I’m getting out of here!


PANEL 1 (Nelson ducks into a Women’s Restroom.)

Nelson (thought): The CIA has found me.

PANEL 2 (Baab runs by the restroom.)

Baab: I love you, my muscular plankton!

PANEL 3 (Inside the restroom, Nelson turns to see a huge herd of sheep dressed as CIA agents.)

Nelson: Oh, no—the queers!

Finally I drew these two comics pages, following the script, with some further input from the students. I was racing against the clock to get these pages drawn, since the group was scheduled to Skype with Georgia Congressman John Lewis about his graphic novel series March, published by Top Shelf Productions. So my artwork is a bit rushed.

Make of that what you will. I disavow responsibility.

In the interests of privacy I haven’t posted the students’ names, but they were true collaborators on this comics story and I acknowledge their creative contributions. I'd like to give a big thank you to Mick Rabin for inviting me to make this presentation. It was a blast!

Copyright © 2016 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.