More than 1,000 hours of collaboration has resulted in a new 200-page graphic novel, "Packs of the Lowcountry."
Co-creator John Dudley said the comic offers a mashup of sci-fi and horror - with special super heroics for good measure - taking place in a world (including the "former" South Carolina) overrun with monsters, from werewolves to giant kaiju-like sentinels and everything in between.
Dudley said the project was a collaboration with artist Don Cardenas, not just with content, but also penciling.
"Don also created an original soundtrack for the story," Dudley said. "The ambient, purely instrumental music is part industrial, part heavy and entirely awesome. It's up on SoundCloud now and I highly recommend giving it a listen while reading 'Packs,' or reading any moody comic, really. "
Dudley said he first teamed up with Cardenas in the winter of 2014. They've found a groove with what's called the "Marvel Method" of comic scripting, he said, which allowed him to fully trust Cardenas' visual story and instincts.
"Basically, this style has the writer providing the artist with a general idea for what needs to happen on each page," Dudley said. "For example, I'd send Don some general dialogue and the action and setting beats, etc. Then he would put together the rough page layouts. We'd review these together and make any necessary alterations. Then Don would lay down the pencils, then the ink. Finally we'd send those pages over to our colorists, who work digitally."
Dudley said he worked on a few short comic stories before "Packs of the Lowcountry," but nothing major. What's different about "Packs" is it's a complete story and not an ongoing comic series.
"'Packs' began as a prose project I had in my head, as somewhat of an homage to much of the storytelling from the mountains of comics I have read. It needed pure forward momentum, and pure energy only available through the comics medium. It just didn't feel right as a prose project.
"Then one day, I just wrote a long-form comic script. I just did it. At the time, I didn't even know any artists who could possibly illustrate the darn thing.
"Now, in many cases, a comics writer in my shoes would likely have needed to pay an artist to co-create their work," Dudley added. "Illustrating 17o-plus pages takes hundreds of hours for an artist. Ideally they should be paid for their efforts.
"But co-creating a story, and mutual passion for the story to be told, makes for an exception. I got lucky by being an active member of a comics community [11 O'Clock Comics] and met Don via those forums. We met over a cup of coffee and discussed the story. He thought it sounded right up his alley and then off we went."
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Find "Packs of the Lowcountry" at comixology.com.