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Creating a “Forgetless” Comic Book

by  in Comic News Comment

CBR News: Nick, let’s take it from the beginning. How did Scott, Jorge and Marley come to be involved in “Forgetless?”

Nick Spencer: I think in a lot of ways, the book started with Scott. I’ve been the guy’s biggest fan for years. It’s been a lot of fun watching him grow as an artist. Of all the artists I work with, I probably talk to Scott the most. We have a lot of similar interests and tastes, not just in regards to comics. When “Existence 2.0” dropped and saw some success, I knew the door was open to do some more work with Image/Shadowline, and the first thing I wanted to do was a project with Scott. There are certain things I know he loves to draw – very fashionable and beautiful women, for one. Big cities, parties, this stuff is his forte, so I literally built the main story for him from the ground up.

As for the Twitter stuff, that was a story decision on my part. I wanted to capture this lifestyle as accurately as I could, to make it a sort of snapshot of a certain subculture in New York at a certain moment, and you really can’t do that without including sites like Twitter and Facebook and YouTube. Those sites drive so much real-world interaction that leaving them out almost would have felt dishonest.

The key to using them, I think, is to make sure it’s not a gimmick of some kind, but rather to stay true to their actual usage. These aren’t intended as narration or as punch lines to finish jokes that start in word balloons. I tried to think of when the characters would actually tweet or text message or whatever, and put them in there. Like in the preview, Derrick isn’t going to be tweeting while Sonia has a gun to his head. It was just about capturing these characters’ lives a little more fully. The really fun thing is when you realize you’re telling a story about a character who’s using a web site to tell her own story - trippy!

Nick, how descriptive do the “Forgetless” scripts get? Do you add an Alan Moore level of detail, or is it pretty detail-free?

Spencer: Oh God, no. I think I write incredibly loose scripts. It’s very rare that I’ll put more than two to three lines of description in. I have zero desire to micromanage visuals. To use an often-abused comparison, I tend to view myself as the screenwriter and the artist as the director. I usually talk about what I’m trying to convey rather than how they need to convey it.

Marley, Scott and Jorge, what is it like for you interpreting Nick’s scripts?

Zarcone: There’s a lot of room for interpretation. I do the line work first then send it out for approvals, make any suggested changes, add some colors and then that’s it.

Forbes: It’s a push and pull situation, I find. Nick will have an idea of how he wants the page to look, but if I see it another way, we will talk about it and see what works best for the scene. Once I have an idea down of how I see the page, I’ll pass along my quick sketches that define the page to him and Kris. Once they’re approved, I move onto cleaning up the rough pages and then applying the colors in Photoshop.

Coelho: Like I’ve mentioned before, he has the whole structure pretty well built. He gives me panel descriptions – detailed, but not constricted – and he was open to suggestions, which I incorporated on layouts and were used, so it felt like pure teamwork. Some visual references, like tweets, YouTube and fashion, are just true reflections of a contemporary story.

Is there anything else you want to add about working together on “Forgetless?”

Spencer: It really has been a thrill. The thing I like about “Forgetless” most is, I genuinely believe it’s something very new and very different for the market. There’s something very unique about both the story and the format. Christian Ward, the amazing artist behind “Olympus” and a good friend of mine, called it a very confident book, which really made me smile. I do think we did something pretty bold here in a sales environment that tends to reward you for falling into some pre-assigned genres.

“Forgetless” #1, written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by W. Scott Forbes with a back-up feature by Marley Zarcone, hits comic book stores today, December 16. Jorge Coelho drew the second issue, which debuts on January 6, 2010.