Sunday, February 10, 2008

Big, dumb, fight comics

Cleaning out old files and such today, I ran across an email I wrote to Melissa nearly three years ago. Dave Land, my editor at Dark Horse, had just asked me to work up Gear School as a story pitch and I was casting around for a way to tell the story. The pertinent (non-mushy) part of the email follows:

So over yesterday and today I read this collection called Global Frequency written by Warren Ellis (probably my favorite guy writing comics today). GF is very often a big, dumb, fight comic, which is the same way I've described Gear School to you -- the stories [in GF] are also, more often than not, a Race Against Time. Very simple, self-contained things that always resolve and center around the action and not around the characters. So, why is it I found myself nearly crying on the street today as I finished up the last issue?

Ellis is using the framework in a really interesting way. The structure of each issue is a given: "There is an immediate, time-specific threat that must be eliminated." And on that he can hang whatever other elements he wants. And he wants to hang a lot of other elements. He's coming from a pure pulp angle, too. The story is the king, characters function to serve the story, but the glimpses we get of those characters are always interesting and intense and, like today, poignant.

I'm bring this all up because I'm thinking of the structure of Gear School. Yes, I want to make it fun and big and I want giant robots smashing each other to bits, but I also want someone out there to get a catch in their throats while reading it. I want there to be something just beneath the surface that resonates with the kids who will (hopefully) be reading it.

I still think everything I wrote about Global Frequency and Warren Ellis is true. What I'm not so sure about is how well I hit the target with Gear School.


r. d. Smedley said...

Hi, I am a camp conselor in Asheville NC. I read gear school years ago when it first came out and used to buy extra copies to give to friends and family members as a gateway comic. This past week I through a copy of volume one in my camp back pack and the kids have fallen in love with the story. One little girl in particular has read the book at least once a day every day this week. I managed to locate my old copy of volume 2 and the kids are devouring it as well. So I have to ask on their behalf and my own if you have any plans to return to the gear school universe and continue these wonderful stories, I know we would all love to learn more!

adam gallardo said...

R. D., first, sorry it's taken so long to respond. Second, thanks for reading the series and sharing it with the kids you work with.There are any plans for a third volume at the moment, though I've been toying with the idea of asking since the project fell by the wayside mostly because the book's editor left DH. I've also been considering a YA novel set in the GS universe. I can't make any promises, however...