“Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero” writer Brandon Jerwa joins CBR News today for a very special look into the creative process behind the fan-favorite Dynamite Entertainment comic book based on the hit SciFi television series. In this commentary, Jerwa discusses issues #0 and #1 of “Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero.”
Take it away, Brandon.
By Brandon Jerwa
Let me start by saying a big “thank you” to all the Battlestar Galactica fans that support the Dynamite comics. I know I speak for everyone involved when I tell you that we all work really, really hard on these books – double-and-triple checking the facts, sharing ideas, making changes based on feedback from our liaisons at the television show and just making sure we’re churning out the very best that have to offer.
There are days when I’m sitting at my desk watching the DVDs for the umpteen-millionth time and I think to myself, “Wow, I get to be a part of this amazing world.” The thanks for that, of course, go to Dynamite…but we couldn’t do it without the readers.
As I sit here writing the commentary for issues #0 and #1, I am still basking in the great news that the book’s initial 6-issue order has already been expanded to 12 issues! I pitched it as 12, so I’m pretty happy about that. A book like this can’t go on forever, obviously, but 12 issues is definitely a good stretch of playground to run around on. Plus, my “Battlestar Pegasus” one-shot is dropping in October, and that one’s definitely a companion piece to this series. The show might not be coming back full-time until 2008, but we’re doing our best to fill the empty void in your life until then.
Now, on to the commentary…!
ISSUE 0 (FREE COMIC BOOK DAY)
Since the book was free to begin with, I figured it couldn’t hurt to share all 8 pages with you here. If you don’t already have a copy, try to track one down if you can – there’s a pretty spiffy installment of the Eisner-nominated Lone Ranger series on the flip side.
I wanted to start with something fairly calm and mundane, joining Adama and Tigh as they stroll down the ramp towards their first day in command of the Galactica. Adama’s been here before, back during the first Cylon War, but now he’s returned as the Big Man in Charge.
Note Captain Kelly, the ship’s LSO and under-utilized crewmember on the TV show. He seemed like a perfect person to greet the new boss.
I wanted some kind of personal stake for Adama, who takes pretty much everything personally – but I wanted to avoid the usual familiar connections or deep, dark secrets that often come along with that territory. A former mentor was definitely the way to go.
As an aside, I should note that Julian DiMarco – like 95% of my supporting characters in every book I’ve written – is based on a real-life friend of mine.
Procedural dialogue is something I’ve always been fond of, and this is a perfect world to apply it in. It’s a hell of a lot easier than nailing down the naturalistic dialogue from the TV show, but you can see that I gave it a shot in this scene between Adama and Tigh.
Man, that explosion just JUMPS off the page! Kudos to InLight Studio for their great work.
I love the angle on Captain Kelly in the third panel. It gives a great sense of urgency for the reader and makes it really seem like we’re all going down together.
No time to beat around the bush when you’ve only got eight pages to play with. They find what they’re looking for fairly quickly, but that might not be the good news they’re hoping for…
See? I told you this wasn’t all good news. DiMarco clearly isn’t all that thrilled to see his old friend. What do you do when you have to rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued?
Oh, frak! This place is crawling with Cylons! They are in neutral space, after all, so the toasters have just as much right to be there as the humans do. And that , my friends, is where we say “to be continued!”
Sorry, kids, but we’re not giving this one away! The first hit’s free, but you pay for the rest. I’m willing to share a few pages with you, though, nice guy that I am…
Better times – Bill and Saul have decent relationships with their wives and they’ve just accepted a plum assignment on a ship that’s considered a bit of a dinosaur. What could possibly go wrong?
Back to the present situation: Tigh’s in charge while Adama’s away and even that minor bit of stress will lead him towards his “old friend.” Tigh’s alcoholism is something that I have to be careful with because I think it can come across heavy-handed. It IS a facet of his character, though, and thus it will play out in my story.
Adama’s mad, folks – watch out! He feels betrayed by a friend and he doesn’t like not having the answers. Regular series artist Jackson Herbert has done a great job of making the characters identifiable, and this last panel with stone-faced Adama is a perfect example of that.
Another flashback, this one offering a glimpse at Bill “Husker” Adama behind the stick of a Viper back during his days as the X.O. of the Columbia under the command of Julian DiMarco.
This scene – nailing down the friendship between these two men – is something that not only sets up things later in this issue, but will also have some resonance before the end of the first six issues.
The mystery deepens on this dark, red-hued planet…who is this human hiding out in the rocks and why is he shooting at Colonial soldiers? I love the shadowy look of this world; some people may see it as dark or murky coloring, but it’s exactly what I asked for.
Someone’s got a secret! Adama wasn’t expecting to find much of anything on this “uninhabited” neutral space planet – so you can imagine his surprise when he sees the devastating wreckage of a settlement, followed by Julian’s confession that he’s the one who caused the damage!
That’s it for me, kids – I hope you enjoyed my guided tour through the first two issues in the series, and I hope you’ll show up for each new “episode” at your local comic book shop!
Now discuss this story in CBR’s Indie Comics forum.