Graphic Novels: Writing Your Own Comic

Graphic Novels: Writing Your Own Comic - student project

The Premise

     This comic idea originally started after I saw the Tezuka Manga Contest was doing international submissions for its 100th year. Though I don’t plan on submitting something for it at all, it did get me thinking “What kind of comic would I make that fits in with the genre of comic Shonen Jump publishes?” I really love the kind of stories that play with the established tropes and themes to make a different point.

     So for my story I wanted to do the kind of ‘hero without powers suddenly gains them and is able to go on a hero’s journey’ mixed with ‘friend turns to the dark side and the hero has to fight/try to turn them back to the light side’ but from the friends perspective. From there it kind of took on a life of its own but I’m having a lot of fun with the setting so I took this course to try and flesh out everything!

 

What will your protagonist learn? How will they grow?

  •      Over the course of the story Ashe will learn to value herself more and rather than accepting things she is told are true at face she will seek out her own truths, and fight for the world she wants to see.

Why does it matter if they go on this journey?

  •      Because of the way her world is set up her options in life are stunted by going on this ‘journey’ she learns to take control over her future in a way she wouldn’t have thought of before.

What is the alternative? (what if they fail)

  •      If Ashe fails to escape from her immediate surroundings she will likely die or used by others and even if she does escape without a plan she would still end up used and considered not fully a person.

Why do you care about this story?

  •      I’ve always enjoyed underdog stories but still feel a bit let down when the solution the author reaches to enable the hero is to give them some secret overpowered ability or have them so ‘under powered’ that they naturally repel the abilities of others. For this story I never want the solution to the problem at hand to feel like some gotcha power, everything that Ashe does should be feasible for humans to do. It’ll be her ingenuity and perseverance that allow her to thrive. 

Theme

  •      If you can’t beat em’ change the game.

Story

  •      A young orphan resigns herself to her fate in a world that doesn’t see her humanity.
  •      She is taken from the world she knows to one with a new set of rules and standards.
  •      To survive she uncovers a fundamental truth about the world.
  •      With newfound knowledge and drive she carves out a space for her and those she cares about.

Plot

  •      The world has been at peace since the hundred year war was fought nearly a millennium ago, since then society has advanced without the now taboo art of alchemy. However in the last twenty years a shadowy organization has risen that threatens to destroy the peace. In a small human settlement lives lives Ashe an orphan of the temple.
  •      Despite being a teenager she has yet to be adopted or taken in as an apprentice, this is due to her lack of mana, without which she has no hope of becoming a citizen and by extension seen as a ‘person’. While making a last ditch effort to develop her mana Ashe runs into a band of thieves and rather than kill her they take her hostage.
  •      Due to her athletic nature and ability to hold off the thieves as long as she did she is forcefully made a part of the organization. Despite her lack of magic she displays an overwhelming capacity to learn and adapt to her situation. Determined to escape she needs to learn to overcome her limitations and turn them into strengths.
  •      Though the path before her is long and hard Ashe is not swayed easily by failures and will meet any challenge head on. During the course of her training Ashe finds out what she has always feared, that her body holds no mana, this realization devastates her. Realizing that even if she escapes there will be no ‘happy ending’ for her she gives up on escaping herself and instead focuses on getting out the people she’s grown to care about even if it means her death.
  •      Eventually one of the friends Ashe is trying to escape with realizes that she doesn’t plan on escaping with them he refuses to go along with the plan and, through his belief in her she finds a new way to look at her world and situation. Though her plan fails as a result they are more determined than ever to escape together.
  •      Finally accepting her lack of magic Ashe starts trying to learn a new method of helping herself, the nearly forgotten and taboo art of alchemy. Going off only old stories and fairy tales she makes several attempts and though is unsuccessful at first finally manages to make her first invention, flash paper.
  •      Now that Ashe has discovered that alchemy is real and that she can use it both her and her friends are given new hope in escaping their situation, some of the higher ups start to take interest in Ashe. Outside of the walls of her prison old friends start their own journey in direct opposition to Ashe.
Maxine Westfall
Animator/Illustrator