The Black Wall - Project Synopsis
Twenty years have passed since the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11 and America has become a much changed place. Hank Mitchum has spent his years outside of the military wandering from state to state, job to job, until his mother's death brings him back to Reno, NV where he grew up. It is here that his eyes open to the reality of a changing society far removed from the pre-terror world where the presence of the state was felt much less.
Hank becomes intertwined with this safeguarded world when his old military friend Mark Stern offers him a job within the security-industrial complex. The chance at easy money from an easy job has Hank saying yes no matter what his qualms are. At the same time Hank meets a young prostitute that he saves from the brutality of a Federal Security Guard, but quickly loses to the alienated, violent world that has come into being in the waning years of empire.
Though Hank has suspicions of the business his friend Mark is in being of questionable nature, he must decide between exposing conspiracy and showing Sara the way to personal freedom.
The anxiety of Hank's struggle is set against an America growing more chaotic by the day: A group of Senators make an attempt to unravel the police state. Labor unions start a nationwide garbage strike when demands aren't met. Inflation is hitting food and gas prices. Washington is digging it's claws deep into Africa, provoking a new ground war as part of the war on terror.
The Black Wall is a story about the fatal decisions made in a world left to the philosopher kings and soldiers of fortune.
This is not a story that lies within the confines of mainstream ideology, and it is certainly no friend to the authoritarian state as it exists right now. I don't believe this story has a right or left direction as it focuses in on the corporatist state, the police state, and the surveillance state, and how personal freedom and civil rights work within a world that accepts these dangerous conditions as normal. While my personal ideology falls somewhere within the anarcho-libertarian world view, I can't see a liberal who understands the importance of civil liberties having problems with the presentation of the story. I only mention philosophy because I don't believe a partnership on this project could survive without being up front about it. Any artist that signs on will probably have to be on board with the ideas presented or at least open to new ideas.
I'm looking for somebody who is as serious about their art as I am about writing. I'm not looking for a beginner or a pro, but somebody who is where I am, ready to make things happen with a strong project. I'll be up front, I can’t pay a lot per page, but I definitely don't expect anybody to do this for free. I've personally had it very good for a long time with my other projects, but that dynamic isn't the norm. I don't take skill or time lightly. As a writer I understand the thousands of hours you have put into your work and I will put forth the best price I can. Any earnings will be a 50/50 split after what has been paid up front has been earned. This is of course negotiable.
I may envision the finished look of this comic one way, but you may read the script and see something else entirely. This is actually the most exciting part for me personally. Here's how I see the comic: Black and White, heavily influenced by noir style comics, with the gritty look of films of the 1970's. After reading the script, you may try to convince me that this should be sparsely colored or full-colored and that we need a colorist. It may be the case that my idea of how this should look is very unoriginal and you have something much stronger to offer. I want to hear it! I can't wait to hear it.
Now the look of the world is very important and I don't think there is much compromise here. It is the near future, but America has never gotten out of its economic depression. It's a future of two worlds. One where we are getting used to the facts of stagnating prosperity, but also where we still spend and vacation and try to live the dream of the consumer. It's a world of Disneyland and depravity, the past and the future, smartphones, drones, pimps, and pushers. While most of the story takes place in poorer areas, we will see the slick future that we are always presented with in movies, but in far out of reach places for the average person.
MY WRITING STYLE:
The style I've developed over the years is pretty straight-forward. I don't think there is an industry standard for comic writing, and if there is, I'm not sure where I fall. I used to write comics in a very episodic fashion, but I have completely dropped that with The Black Wall. This story is structured through acts and scenes of varying lengths. I don't write them in print comic length. I don't believe a story appearing on the internet should be that confined or structured. I am very detail-oriented and describe the character's mindset and atmosphere of the locations at the head of each scene. The pages of the scene are broken down panel by panel with description of the action and feeling that should be presented within the panel. I also like to use a lot of symbolism within the visuals.
I don't want to come across as a control freak. I'm very much into the artistic partnership aspect of comic books. I also understand that you are trying to interpret written words into a visual medium in a very limited space. Things will obviously change from script to fully drawn page. I try to conform one scripted page as much as possible to working on one piece of paper. I may get overzealous sometimes and you'll need to control that.
I don't have professional experience, but I have been seriously working on my own writing for the last ten years. It is how most of my free time is spent, and I personally love spending it that way. It is sometimes obsessively spent that way and I have to force myself to step back from it. I have written screenplays, short stories, comics, and blogs. Right now I have three comics online. Two old, Coffee Time and Across the Way, and one current, Tales of Hammerfist.
I consider the two older comics a huge education for me. It's where I really learned to do this and since I placed the dialogue bubbles onto the page myself it is where I really learned that overwriting can ruin a page. I also learned a great deal about pacing. I used to feel that an online comic had to be more episodic, but crafted correctly I now know that they can work like any other story. Momentum in the online comic world is important.
The most important lesson I learned is to have a finished script. Both comics had a general direction but were largely improvised. My current project, Hammerfist, is completely mapped out and the script is about half-written. The Black Wall is 95% finished, with the remaining 5% being tweaks to details as of the writing of this synopsis. I've learned the importance of the artist knowing the extent of the commitment, and this project will be a multi-year one. As of right now, the comic is 264 pages long. During the month of May I will working over the final draft, so I imagine that is a good estimate of how long it will be.
If you've made it this far, you might have a real interest. So lets get into some other details of The Black Wall. I would like to see two pages appearing online per week, but understand if you can only do one, or prefer to start at one to get used to the schedule. I think two would be ideal though.
With the completion of each Act, I would like to see a release in print form (unless of course they are shorter acts), with a full book being released once the whole thing is online. The plan is to also have an e-book, and I would like to figure something out for mobile devices where you can flip through one panel at a time. This isn't a hobby. Profits are important.
I only expect art for the comic, but any help creating art for the books, website, internet advertising, flyers and such would be helpful. I'm pretty decent with Photoshop, so it isn't expected.
This comic will fall under the Coffee Time Comics banner.
If anything feels off-base within this synopsis, please let me know. I don't mind criticism and find feedback helpful. Thank you for taking interest in this project.
You can contact me through email by using scrim
or just message me on The Webcomic List.
- John Kratky
_________________Coffee Time Comics