Hey, if it’s OK for Lucille Bluth then why not the first issue of my comic book?
While getting Charlatan ready to pitch to publishers, my inner critic (hate that guy) kept coming back to a couple of ways in which Issue 1 might have started more effectively.
First off, by trying to start in media res I might have gone too far with that concept. I started with a robotic Hunter-Seeker unfurling above Earth and then I cut to Lucy clutching her beloved “Toadums”–also known as the Totem of Power–but as time passed I began to worry that I jumped too far into things without enough explanation. In Issue 1 I tried to bring the reader up to speed on both the robotic space killer and the fact that Lucy basically found the Totem (or more precisely it found her) but those early pages seemed a bit flat to me over the months following our original TPB publication.
Add that to the fact that I needed to devote a decent chunk of the first part of Issue 1 to establishing the characters of Lucy, Augie, and Mary Halford and you end up having an action-packed story that launches with too much whimper and not enough bang.
So in 2013 I tried to fix this in a couple of ways with some new pages. First off, now readers get to see Lucy digging up the Totem for the first time in her own backyard. The artifact is established more centrally as an object of focus and power. That same scene also gives readers and inkling that Augie is maybe not the strong heroic type and that he has a playful loving relationship with his family. Mary gets the better of Augie both verbally and physically and this will be an important element of our ongoing story.
We also get 3 pages of action early on to help balance out the book. Readers now see the origin of the Hunter-Seeker from Issue 1 and get some important pieces of the Defuwan mythos that were not present in the first book. But most importantly we get some ACTION. An evil villain from the past has been defeated, his planetary stronghold is being destroyed, his bickering minions are strangling and yelling at each other, and as a last spiteful act a thousand deadly robots are launched into space for a 1000 year journey–whew! I think this delivers a much better set-up for the battle that dominates the second half of Issue 1 and it give the reader a taste of what’s to come.
So, in case you weren’t one of the 12 people who bought a copy of our self-published Charlatan Preludes TPB (I kid, but not by much), I thought it might be fun to show the old beginning and the new beginning so you can see the changes as they played out.
For the new beginning, I removed 2 of the original pages and replaced with 5 new pages. Would love to hear your thoughts on whether or not you like Charlatan’s facelift.
Charlatan Issue 1’s New Beginning
Charlatan Issue 1’s Old Beginning (See Below):