After an inordinately long wait I finally delivered the script for my comic strip adaptation of the Book of Esther to Bible Society yesterday (the day before Good Friday, which seemed like a good deadline to meet. Purim itself just ended. How perfectly timed is that?*).
My adaptation, laid out in rough drawing form (as you see above and below) on a 9 panel grid, runs to 26 pages. I'm rather pleased with it, though I say so myself, and am keeping fingers crossed that I now get the commission to draw it.
Because of the slightly over-laborious process I use to "sell" my scripts, laying them out in visual form rather than just delivering a typescript, I have had a good few opportunities to read, re-read and review the script, and already I'm spotting bits I want to change. There are also parts I'd love to expand. If they really thought it worthwhile, I could expand the story to over 40 pages, and give myself the opportunity for some good scene-setting larger panels, and to expand certain scenes. Even at 26 pages we're speeding through some parts, eg how Mordecai occupies the year he spends waiting outside the Palace gates while Esther's inside getting pampered by Eunuchs (the Eunuchs routine is the only musical number I put in, though there is scope for more. But I'm getting carried away here).
It might not seem much, to my Facebook-full of fellow writers who are rattling out novels and year-long comic book story arcs in this length of time (I started work on Esther in January), but it is the longest single comic strip story I've written for five years** and possibly the most satisfying single thing I've written. Let's see what a) my publishers and b) the world thinks.
(*The longest strip in 2015's Socks graphic novel is the 15 page Christmas Carol. Back in 2011 I wrote and co-drew a 28-page Captain Clevedon, and scripted the second issue, still waiting to be drawn, and wrote and drew a 24 page Sinnerhound. My Bananaman stories of 2013/14 add up to a few dozen pages, but the longest serial only amounted to an 8-pager; and everything else I've worked on has been short strips, the Pansy Potter's all being quarter-pagers, and Samson's Philistine Wife only running to four pages. The last time I was full-time occupied writing and drawing long comic strips was my Bash St Adventures run on the Beano, 2004-09, where my strips would regularly be 16 pages long.)
(**Easter may be March 24th, but I notice Passover isn't until April 21st. How does that work?)
Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.