Let's be honest, there are a lot of great ideas out there. There are a lot of comics on the verge of being released. Sometimes they just need to be brought to our attention first. TIN is an upcoming comic written by Ilya Dvilyanski with art by Manuela Soriani. What caught my attention was the description:
It stars two robots, Rob and A.L.I.C.E, on a cataloguing mission in space. There is much talk and debate on their ship in regards to whom or what is an adventurer, and if a robot can exhibit these traits, when they stumble across an escape-pod containing a woman named Alice. Philosophical identity crisis aside, there will be heists, murder, self-discovery, and most importantly, adventure.
This made me want to know more.
The entire first issue will be available online at Clunkerspace.com. A new page is being added each Tuesday so be sure to hit "FIRST" when you visit the site to get to the first page. You can also find more information through the comic's Facebook page and Twitter account.
But because we still wanted to know more, we asked Ilya a few questions about TIN and when we could see more.
COMIC VINE: What can you tell us about TIN?
ILYA DVILYANSKI: Tin is a comic book about exploratoration. Both the process of writing it and its setting are about what an adventure is or can be. When I was younger I debated just selling my stuff and just traveling forever. When I got a little older and had a job I went to Thailand to rock climb and just see the country. There was a moment on the beach where I started calculating how long it would take if I just didn't come back to work and lived off my savings (food in Thailand is pretty cheap). I was born in Kyrgyzstan, moved to Belorussia and then finally came to the States. I've been up and down the east and west coast and a few states in the middle. I've traveled around the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Some of the traveling was structured, some of it was more loose. But always I felt like I was a step right behind real adventure. I always planned out my travels and knew where I was going and what hostel I would be in or what train I had to catch. I've never put on a backpack and discovered something. I feel like I'm rambling but where I wanted TIN to start is at that moment of being aware that the adventure you're about to take isn't outlined. It's not planned and it's not safe, and even if you've always wanted to go on an adventure, standing in front of one is still intimidating.
CV: Where did the idea come from? What inspired it?
ID: Completely randomly. In writing terms I tend to be an architect. That means I have huge outlines for my stories before I actually sit down and do any writing. I have excel sheets of scenes and plot lines and characters. Post-It notes scattered with ideas and character maps. Intricate folder structures on my computer trying to contain every aspect of the world I'm creating. I get nervous that the story won't go anywhere so I need the layout before I start writing. Unfortunately what I found is that once I have all these outlines , I have to go back and read and reread them. It starts feeling a lot like homework and the joy of writing towards self-discovery goes away. What's the point of having an intricate and beautiful world if nothing in it can surprise me? I decided to try the other method of writing, gardening (or pantsing, as in writing by the seat of your pants). I decided to try it but had no ideas to go along with it. I was still nervous that I would lose myself in the details, that I would keep writing and it would lead to less than nothing and I wouldn't even know it until it was too late. The exact opposite happened.
I tend to zone out a lot on my morning commute. The gentle swaying of the subway in New York rush hour will do that. I came up with a character, Rob (the tall robot in the logo). Then a simple idea of adventuring. Then a question of how and why a robot would be interested in that. That day I wrote the first issue. I found that not only did details not suddenly disappear when writing without an outline, but natural progression seemed to come... well... naturally. New characters, settings and themes seemed to fall into place really easily. And rereading a story written without an outline was like reading a book I read a long time ago, new ideas and scenarios seemed to pop out of nowhere but somehow seemed familiar to the overall concept. Later on when I had a pretty good structure in place I went back and outlined some sections, just to make sure everything lined up how I intended and any questions I raised were answered. Writing without an outline is really fun.
CV: How did you hook up with Manuela Soriani for the art?
ID: Through Elance. For a while I tried reddit at r/comicbookcollabs and other comic related subreddits but no luck. I started contacting artists from Deviant Art directly but got few replies or prices out of my budget. Elance let me submit a proposal and budget and within 2 days I had 40 offers from artists. I went through their personal work and found Manuela, whose style was my favorite. A few artists obliged with doing a small quick piece based on a scenario I described to see if their style fit with my idea. Overall I couldn't recommend Elance enough. Their website is super easy to use and is perfect for freelance work. It was kind of unbelievable how smoothly everything started to go when I started using it.
CV: What was the process like in creating the looks of the characters?
ID: I started with my own sketches. The first version of one of my main characters, looking back, is horrifying. I knew the attitude I wanted them to convey and where the story was going to go and I wanted to characters to correspond with that. Manuela had some great input that changed the entire concept of one of the characters and has been incorporated into the story.
CV: What can you tell us about your decision to release the first issue, page by page, online for free?
ID: Online is cheap. And as much as I love the story that's in my head, I don't know if anyone except me will care once it's in physical form. It felt right to show as much as I could for free. If I could I would just release the entire thing at no cost. But having an artists costs money. Printing costs money. It all costs money. Although, when the first issue is released in full if there isn't any interest, I will still finish it and fund it myself, it'll just take much longer. In the end if this doesn't make me any money, but I still got to have my idea out there, I'll be happy. I've started too many novels that I've tabled and it's easy to get discouraged when writers block seems like an inevitability instead of a speedbump. With TIN, however, once I started writing I couldn't stop. I can only fund a few pages at a time and I'm saving up right now to get it to print so I know it's possible to do even without a huge backing, it just takes longer.
CV: How much of the story do you have mapped out?
ID: I have the first three issues written. I have about 5 outlined and a few more after that with regards to how I want to story to develop and conclude. For not having an outline, I'm very surprised at how clearly I can see the story as a whole.
CV: Once the full first issue is online, how long until we find out what your next move is? What can readers do to help give this some exposure?
ID: We've had a great start so far on social media so that's always a great bet for continuing to let us know that we're on the right track and that we're putting out stuff people want to see. Word of mouth so far has been playing a pretty big roll as well. They ran my article in Bleeding Cool which felt great. I'm always excited to talk to blogs or sites or just individuals about TIN or anything else. I'll always make time for someone who is interested. I don't have any previous works to point to and prove that what I'm making has any worth so I really hope the stuff that we have released shows promise to people. I plan on trying to pitch to a few publishers in the next few weeks and I'll be thrilled if they pick it up. However I'm also going to release on comiXology and have a Kickstarter to raise funds. If none of that works out I'll continue releasing issues as I'm doing now. A page at a time during paycheck week.