Thursday, March 30, 2006

Night Time

"Night Time" is a short comic story I wrote and drew a couple of years ago for a great local literary magazine, Taddle Creek. They had let me draw a story for them once before, when they first began running a short piece of "illustrated fiction" (why, oh why can't we just call them comics?) in each issue, and I always liked how the editor just let me go ahead and do whatever I wanted, without needing to submit an outline or anything -- a kind of freedom that I've experienced very rarely.

Anyway, the editor even let me set how many pages I needed, and I stupidly told him I only needed four; even though I didn't even have any idea at that time what I was going to write. After I wrote it and laid it out, of course, I found out I needed a bit more space but by then the page count had been set. So, I actually decided to go with what I thought at the time was the strangest of all possible layouts -- a 15 panel grid. In the end though, I think that the grid was the best design decision for the story. It forced a "beat" and structure to what was, essentially, a very impressionistic story about memory.

I drew roughs on grid paper, using post-it-notes to replace/correct panels and copy. The final art was drawn with brush pens and markers, one tier at a time over 4 days. I have to thank Claudia for doing all the scanning and amazing digital cleanup.

I was happy enough with this story that I later collected it up into a mini-comic in a slightly different format. The story as it appeared in Taddle Creek was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards (finalist, not winner) and the mini-comic got a very kind review in the local Toronto weekly, the eye.

I'm currently working on another, much longer format story in a similar style which I'm hoping will find a publisher when its complete.


Chris Wahl said...

Matey, you do some beautiful work.

Great stuff.

Paul Rivoche said...

Wonderful work Michael! Thanks for posting it. Very inspiring!!!

I love everything about it.

Looking forward to seeing the longer story you mentioned you're working on!

m cho said...

My thanks to the both of you gentlemen for your kind comments. You both know I admire your work as well!

chris samnee said...

Wow...just wow. This stuff is brilliant!

Keep up the great work, man.

Adam said...

Thanks for sharing that with us, Micheal. When I finished reading it I was kinda underwhelmed (maybe I was expecting some grisly end, I watch too many horrors), however, the more I think about it the more I think this will be something I will remember for a long time and always tell others about.
Very clear narration and some stunning use of silhoettes and shadow too.
Thanks again.

john montgomery said...

Hey Mike, I loved this piece when it first appeared in Taddle Creek and I still love it now. What I also loved was arguing with Tim and Conan about which panels we wanted to buy off of you! Great work and a really nice blog as well. Keep it up.

Nick Iannitti said...

As a heretofore unspoken admirer of this site and your work, I must say it is a pleasure to, each day, pop over from my blog to visit yours.

I am extremely impressed by your skill with a brush.

lelandwng said...

great play on the darks and light. in the style of will eisner. were you heavily influenced by his style?

m cho said...

Chris: Thanks, Chris. You know I'm a regular visitor your blog and a fan of your work! I luv that recent Monster retirement home pic you did.

Adam: Thanks, Adam. I'm glad you find it memorable to tell others about.

John: Hey John! Long time no talk. Thanks for the comments -- I remember that day very well too. And Tim's many many wisecracks...!

Nick: Thanks a lot, Nick -- I appreciate the kind words.

lelandwng: Thank you! Yup --I'm big Eisner fan myself but I didn't think it was visible or anything. But its extremely flattering if you think my work reminds you in any possible way of the late great Will Eisner. After all, he literally wrote the book on good comics storytelling.

Mike Thompson said...

Terrific work as usual, Michael!

mayseoul said...

dear Michael Cho,

just already i found a gread comics, NIGHT TIME. i have worked as a comic artist and publisher in korea. i wish to introduce your work to my readers. if you O.K., would you send me an e-mail to this e-mail address?

Raina said...

Hey, neat. This is like Lynda Barry meets Adrian Tomine! Two of my very favorites! I've always stived to make comics like this one, but don't know if I've ever succeeded as well as you have. Great work.

Don Van Horn said...

Just a wonderful story Mike. I have to find me a copy of that mini comic.

sandy jarrell said...

Pretty. Great tonal work. And where some folks see Tomine or Barry, I see Toth & Cooke. Really nice job.