How Tag-Team Comix Are Made

April 13, 2010 by

So I thought I’d take a moment to discuss with you, gentle reader, the process that it takes to make a tag team comic.

Let’s take a look at “Oscar’s Commute!”

Step 1: Plot (30 minutes)

Here the first person in the chain writes a short paragraph laying out the story. Sam Carbaugh took the reigns on this one.

Step 2: Story (1 hour 15 minutes)

The next person, in this case Dennis Pacheco, breaks the plot down into greater detail. You can see that, in this case, the plot changed fairly dramatically.

Step 3: Thumbnails (1 hour 15 minutes)

Now, without giving too much of this story away, here are some of the thumbnails that Pat Barrett drew.

Step 4: Lettering & Panels (1 hour)

I don’t have a picture of this stage by itself. But rest assured Robyn Chapman did a bang-up job!

Step 5: Pencils (4 hours)

Now things are starting to come together! Here’s a panel from one of the pages penciled by Colleen Frakes.

Step 6: Inks (4 hours)

Finally, it’s time to slather on the inks. On this comic, that was my job. Check out the same panel as above, but inked!

And that’s how it’s done! It’s JUST that EASY!

Cover Up

April 7, 2010 by

I was on the Midtown Comics podcast, and despite following Mark Millar (!), I think I acquitted myself pretty well.

To hear the interview, subscribe to the Midtown Comics podcast on iTunes and download the April 5, 2010 episode. Or download it from the Web right here.

The cover’s all done, except for some minor tweaking of the color scheme. Here it is:

Tag Team #1

See you at MoCCA!

—Dennis

What the Heck Is “Tag Team Comics” Anyway?

April 3, 2010 by

A Panel from Depth

Tag Team #1 showcases the talents of six up-and-coming cartoonists: Pat Barrett, Robyn Chapman, Colleen Frakes, Morgan Pielli, Sam Carbaugh, and Dennis Pacheco.

OK, you’re saying, that’s great, but…what IS Tag Team Comics? Hold your horses, I’m getting to that.

It started as a conversation between me and fellow cartoonist Morgan Pielli about how to create a comics anthology with a quick turnaround time that wasn’t as high-pressure as a 24-hour comic (and therefore wouldn’t have a drop in quality and coherence at the 19 hour mark).

What if we divvied up the comics making process into a few well-defined steps? What if, instead of each working on our own story, we all worked on each other’s stories? And what if we added time constraints so that all the creators had to be in the same room at the same time, and working on the same step at the same time? What if, at each step, each creator was encouraged to punch up the story—improve it—make it her own?

What you’d end up with is Tag Team Comics: a sweatshop-style comics anthology with an indie vibe. Here’s how it works:

We break the comics-making process into six steps. Six cartoonists gather in a circle, and we start the clock. At the end of each step, you pass the comic you’re working on to the next person in the circle. At each step, you’re encouraged to develop the story, improve it, and put your own stamp on it—a process that in animation is called “plussing.” By the time you see the finished story, you might not even recognize it. Each person does every step once. And every person works on every story.

Here are the six steps:

  1. Plot
  2. Story/Draft Script
  3. Thumbnails
  4. Lettering/Panel Borders
  5. Pencils
  6. Inks

The stories can be in any style and any genre, and don’t have to have anything to do with each other. All the stories are totally independent—with one exception: every story must contain a certain item—a specific item the team works out beforehand. In the case of Tag Team #1, the “thing” (as we called it) is a bus pass, good for 30 days of travel.

Tag Team #1 premieres at MoCCA Fest 2010 in New York City.