Wednesday 11 December 2013

John Byrne's first photo-comic out this week, and much more to come

Out this week is the first Star Trek comic by John Byrne in three years, Strange New Worlds. This particular release is indeed a strange new world, not just as IDW's first Star Trek Annual (twice as long as a regular comic), but also due to the way Byrne has made it: Instead of the usual drawings you might expect in a comic, Byrne has created this new story using stills from the television series, endeavouring to create something that feels like a lost episode. Continue down-page for a preview of this issue. But first, the latest news on further photo-comics Byrne is working on.

If you've been following news on this comic you'll be aware Byrne has been charting how he has developed it on his forum. There Byrne has noted that he has almost completed work on a second photo-comic, The Mirror, Cracked, which he expects to be released next year, and has already released a teaser page for a month or so ago. In addition to this he has also revealed that he has created a further five-page story, which will be included with the first two longer issues in an eventual omnibus book.

Bryne initially started out using pure stills for these comics, but as he has developed the idea his technique has got increasingly complex, recomposing multiple elements into some panels. Here's an example which he posted on his forums, from the second photo-comic; the panel top left is the finished item, all the rest are sources for elements within it:

Going even further, Byrne has also started to create virtual sets. I've previously posted some of his new Klingon sets, here's the latest, a corridor:

As well as adding new locations Byrne is starting to use computer created sets for already established places, as he described on his forum:
This morning I awoke with thoughts of possible future photonovels floating in my brain. One of the things that is most time consuming about working on these projects is "clearing" sets -- ie, removing from images of the bridge, or the transporter room, or the corridors, etc, figures I don't want in there. Sometimes, in order to get the right angle, I have had to remove EVERY figure, and add in others from different shots.

So, since I have been somewhat successful building "sets" for Klingon ship interiors, I wondered if I might be able to convincingly recreate the Enterprise standing sets. I decided to spend today, pre-dinner time, building one. Started at 9 o'clock this morning on the transporter room, thinking it would be the "simplest". (And, oddly enough, it's also the set I seem to have the most trouble finding "clear" shots to use.)
Here is the first draft of that transporter room set Byrne posted, and then a much improved version after several further iterations (the red arrow in the second image is pointing to an errant shadow rather than being part of the decor):

This technique has also allowed Byrne to consider new views of familiar sets:

So it looks like we might be entering a second wave of John Byrne Star Trek comics, but not like any we've seen before. For a look at the first of the photo-comic, Strange New Worlds, continue after the jump for several preview pages. There are several extra features in this issues; an essay on photo-comics, and interview with Byrne. But it kicks off with John Byrne himself introducing the whole concept:


Anonymous said...

I downloaded it. Did your copy have weird coloring like this page did?

rocketdave said...

Sheesh, and here I assumed that using stills instead of traditional artwork was a lazy route to go, but now I see that the process is a lot more challenging (and more fun) than I first imagined.

8of5 said...

Golden: I believe that colouring is intentional as that section is flashback/mental image, and Kirk's shirt is present-day gold, not the muted colours of everyone else in-flashback.

Rocket: Yeah, Byrne's said these take a similar amount of time to make page for page as a regular comic. Both have their challenges, but I'd almost expect a well practiced artist like Byrne to find doing a drawn page easier, in comparison to maintaining photo-realistic finishes manipulating the stills.

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