Monday, January 24, 2011

We're Back!

Wow, it's been a long time since October, hasn't it? Actually, it's been a long time since any update on The Four Kingdoms - so I guess it's about time for some new news! Despite some definite interest in the comic pitch at NYCC last October, there haven't been any bites as of yet.

These past five or so months have been dedicated to a few different projects, ranging from a new one-sheet pitch of the comic to a possible webcomic prequel detailing the first days of the Four Kingdoms War.

After some helpful suggestions from fellow comic creators, Rachel and I have decided to begin producing our story as a webcomic series. Instead of being a prequel, however, we will be telling the story that was originally pitched, and the one that we've been detailing in this blog since the very first post. While things are still a little ways off before we can start posting material, we plan to keep what followers we have up to date on how the comic is coming along as we put the webcomic and its respective site together.

Again, sorry it's been so long since our last post - now that we're back to producing the comic, you can expect more frequent updates here - we'll shoot for one new update every 1-2 weeks with in-progress material to show off, and some in-depth stuff regarding all the changes we've made to the story over the last few months.

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What exactly are those changes, you might ask? Well, for starters, we've abandoned the 17 x 26 cm page size. For those not into the metric system, those dimensions hash out to the much more convoluted 6.625 x 10.25 inches - also known as the current "standard" American comic book size. Funny thing about standards is that people like to buck them!

After some experimentation, we've decided that the up-and-coming SQUARE format will be our modus operandi going forward. David Petersen has been a vocal proponent of the format he pioneered with Mouse Guard, and with good reason - square pages are easier to block out, easier to panel, and easier to read. And should one decide to print them out, you'll find they're easier to hold as well.

Other changes are more story-related. The script and story outline have both undergone considerable edits, though I am quite sure they are for the better. Even the characters themselves, as you can see from the concept art, have undergone some aesthetic changes based on further experimentation with the various races and their cultures.

To help illustrate just one of the more noticeable character design changes, Rachel put together this fantastic "before and after" piece to explain our creative process here:

Click for Full-Size
Perhaps the most obvious change thus far is the name. "The Four Kingdoms", while still adequately describing the continent that the story takes place in, will no longer be the name of this tale. While the name holds a special place in my heart, since it was the original name for long, it was never a particularly good name. There are simply too many "Kingdom" stories out there, and finding a good name for the comic became a long and arduous challenge. Finally, we settled on a name - one that calls up the forest that surrounds Quinlan's home city of Terria.

The new name of this story is to be "Beyond the Western Deep".

Rachel and I are very excited to be working on new content for this tale, and we hope you'll stick around for the ride as we commence full production on this new webcomic venture.