[Haven’t read Hologram yet? Check out the original four-page story from Tim Corrigan’s Ka-Blam! #1, with pencils by Scott McClung and inks/letters by Tim himself. It’s only an origin story, but the new work builds on it.]
The storytelling challenge
Hologram actually was the second character I picked back up in returning to small press self-publishing. The first was Patriot, and I wrote a 30+ page script that Tony Lorenz is diligently working through (despite my considerable self-doubt, the man perseveres). In both cases, the core question of how to tell the story of a character whose story hasn’t been told in over thirty years…and who has over thirty years of story to tell…is the challenge I’m trying to meet.
With Patriot, it was one giant story. But big books take time, and I wanted to work on another character in a different way, one where we have smaller bites along the way. Then, when the arc is complete, it’ll be as substantial as the Patriot script. That’s what I’m doing with Hologram. We have a 12-issue arc that, once completed, should make a reasonably satisfying story.
How do you tell a life story?
How does one, as the story goes, “Count the Days”? My answer: Google Sheets! I literally built a timeline of what happened to our protagonist on a near-daily basis over the course of this first story arc. As in:
- Day 1 – Gets his powers
- Day 2 – Tries to eat a sandwich and realizes he can’t pick it up
- Day 5 – Dog walks through him
That type of stuff. Obviously more interesting than what I’ve presented here (You think I’m going to give you spoilers? Ha!), but still challenging. Sketching out a story like this makes you think long and hard about the progression of one’s life on a macro level. What happens to people over the days, months…and years? What happens to their relationships? What happens to their self-awareness? What challenges do they face? What do they conquer, and where do they fail? When you’re writing what essentially is a biography, you think about these things.
In thinking about our man Joe, I find myself thinking about my life and how I have progressed. I think about those key relationships that come…and go…over time. I think about highlights and lowlights. And I think back on the key moments that changed the direction of my life. I won’t say that this book is autobiographical (No super-powers here), but you can bet that I’m using elements of my life as springboards to tell the story you are about to read.
Not your everyday minicomic
While I won’t give out spoilers, I will say that we cover something like three-and-a-half years in this first 12-issue story. With only a dozen eight to 16-page minicomics to tell the story, the book’s narrative flow can get choppy. The small page size of the minicomic lends itself to full-page illustrations, and this story uses a LOT of them. Each page then becomes a vignette, telling a story in itself. Artist William Henry Caddell and I have put a great deal of thought into each page and what goes on it as a result. Sometimes there are stories within stories…perhaps you look at them as Easter eggs previewing future events.
Once this timeline took shape and I had a sense for the evolving story, I felt that the book couldn’t just start with Joe getting blasted and moving on from there. As a result, Chapter One will be a classic overture. You know, the Broadway shows let the orchestra warm up by playing sequences of show tunes to come before the show starts, giving the band a chance to get in rhythm but also giving the audience a sense of what’s around the corner. That’s what we’re doing in Chapter One. Pay close attention to the words as well as the pictures. We’re going to throw a lot at you, and in a bit of a random fashion. Don’t fret if you don’t get it, things will smooth out in Chapter Two.
My better half in this endeavor
As to the other half of this creative team, William Henry Caddell. William is a brave soul, a gent who actually answered my call for artists in a Facebook group and fashioned a talent barter arrangement where I write scripts for his characters (a noir-ish hero character and a demon so far) while he draws pages for Hologram. Our shotgun marriage is working out well so far…we’re still learning each other’s tics and probably will for a while. It will be fun to grow with William as things simultaneously get deeper and more fantastic for our lead character and his supporting cast. Thank you, William, for taking the leap of faith and giving Hologram a shot.
With no further adieu, we hope you enjoy Hologram when it drops on August 1st, 2021. Let us know what you think through the Contact link at the top of the page…or click right here!