What struck me the most about WATCHING THE WATCHMEN, the extensive behind-the-pages look at the making of WATCHMEN, were the sections where Dave Gibbons discussed the scenery blue prints he put together for portions of the story. He drew a detailed model of Nite Owl’s apartment that he would then use as reference for his angles in the panels. Also, most amazingly, for the part where Silk Spectre’s bottle of Nostalgia cologne hurtles across space, Gibbons actually worked out a star map and plotted a trajectory for the bottle to keep things consistent. Having put together some comics myself, I found that especially impressive since artists more often “window dress” a location with only general impressions of how it should look. It’s even more impressive that he could make fully-realized plans of these locations well before there were computer programs for the task.
I bring that all up because mattydee007 recently brought some videos that Pete Woods has posted on his YouTube channel to our attention, and they’re more-or-less the modern equivalent of what Gibbons did. Woods’ videos are flybys of detailed models he’s created of Metropolis and the Bottled City of Kandor using the 3D modeling program SketchUp. The idea is to set the geography clearly so that whenever he or any other DC artist is designing an angle for a panel, they’ll have a consistent point of reference. While the Metropolis model consists of basic shapes, the Kandor model is actually quite detailed with many complex, acute angles and contours. He said it took him eight hours to make Metropolis, I can’t imagine how long it took for Kandor.
Check out the videos below and let me know what you think, oh wireframe Comic Vine community. I think it’s great idea to encourage consistency and a great sense of verisimilitude in these comics, and, most important to me, they’re basic enough that each artist still has to put his own flourish over them.
== TEASER ==
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.