Today, part 2 of an ongoing Twitter rant about the issue of comics creators allotting more “developmental time”—or “dev time,” in game-design speak—to their work. Last time, I detailed how too much “dev time” can, alas, be the proverbial devil’s candy for undisciplined sorts like myself. Now, onward:
One thing I’ve definitely noticed over the last decade or so is that I need much less preparation than I think I do before starting a story. Extreme example: When I began laying out a certain well-received Empowered one-shot, I hadn’t yet figured out the ending—but “broke” it by the time I was on page 12 of the layouts.
So, here’s my modern comic-creating credo: “Quit futzing around with developmental work and GET ON THE G-D COMIC PAGE IMMEDIATELY, DUMBASS.”
That advice? For lazy, shiftless creators like me, who’ll wheelspin for weeks if given the chance. Sternly disciplined creators? Ignore it. Then again, if you were that sternly disciplined a comics creator, you wouldn’t be wasting time online by reading this, would you?
I understand the idea behind wanting more “dev time” for comics work, given how many books could charitably be described as “undercooked.” I have my doubts, though, as to whether more time for developmental work would increase the quality of modern comics all that much. A lazy, unimaginative writer isn’t likely to become any less lazy and unimaginative if you give him a few extra weeks on a deadline. Most artists would love more generous deadlines, but many wouldn’t care much about allotting time for prepwork before starting their pages.
Ah, but I do think a particular form of “dev time” would be valuable for comics creation—but I wouldn’t allot it to preplanning or—ughh—“worldbuilding.” Rather, comics could be improved considerably if—in some magical alt universe—we could invest more “dev time” in the actual work stages.
What, exactly, do I mean by this? Find out in our next Empowered commentary, folks!