I keep getting asked how much of Panic Attack! I have figured out in advance and whether or not there is a planned ending.
Panic Attack! is a single story arc and when that story wraps up I’ll move onto something else entirely. I really like it when stories end when they are supposed to. At this point, there’s still plenty of story left to tell.
I talked to a lot of my fellow comic-making friends and most of the ones that burnt out on their comics said they started by sketching every panel, from the beginning to the end of their story and then spent years mechanically drawing finalized versions of what they had sketched long ago. The lack of creativity and surprise made it an arduous task that they came to resent and eventually bailed on.
The cautious, fearful part of my brain wants everything figured out from the outset, but the wiser, rebellious, creative side of my brain wants to keep things fresh and alive. I have the story arc very loosely outlined on a handful of index cards. As soon as I finish a chapter I rough out the next one so I know that the themes, symbolism, plot points, and character motivations all serve the story. I make sure to leave the exact phrasing of the dialogue, poses, character designs, and camera angles a mystery until it’s time to commit them to the page. I’m trying to capture a raw, nervous energy that would completely die if I locked things down ahead of time.
To put it simply, I have a map of where I’m going, but I have no idea what the terrain is going to look like until I get there. It’s an exciting way to work. I highly recommend it.
Come back on May 22nd for the next page!