What’s the best way to introduce readers to your comic? That’s the question at the heart of today’s episode of Strip Panel Naked, the weekly mini-masterclass in comic creation. For the third and final week, the focus of the web series is on the comic Limbo by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard. The book follows a detective stuck in a neon-colored world where people get sucked into televisions and where action figures come to life. So, again, how in the world does one start a comic like that?
“For this episode,” explains SPN host Hass Otsmane-Elhaou, “we’re taking a look at the first page of the book and talking about its creation and the collaboration of its writer and artist.”
Panel selection from Limbo. By Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard. Screencap via
“I’d written a script of pitch pages initially,” explains writer Dan Watters, “but it was nowhere near as tight, and there were sort of issues.” The full look and feel of the comic hadn’t yet been set in stone, even as Watters was working on the early pages, “we hadn’t settled on the 80s thing quite as hard.” But while working with long-time collaborator and artist Caspar Wijngaard, the project began to take off without his pushing it forward. “He wanted to get cracking,” Watters says of Wijngaard, who was waiting on finished pages, “so he just told me he was going to draw it.”
Caspar Wijngaard spent a lot of time worrying about the first page of the comic, and how to introduce people to this wild world. “Three panels in he gets sucked into a TV. I thought people were going to be like ‘I hate this book’ and throw it out the window, have the car run over it.” But he knew he wanted to open strong, and with a startling visual. “I really wanted to open on a weird looking lizard on a stick.” But why was it so important to get these first moments right? Because, to Wijngaard, the whole story rests in those early scenes. “You only have to look at the first panel to know if this is the kind of book that you’re going to continue to read.”
To hear more about the creation of this initial page, and how the duo worked together using the “Marvel Style,” watch the video below: