Monday, February 27, 2012

The Lisbon Girls, Oh The Lisbon Girls...

(Big Ups if you get the reference in the title of this blog)

Well, sorry.  I said weekly, but it happens.  A lot of stuff's going on!

Anyways. with a small vacation and other work coming up, we've had a little time, but we're still fully on schedule for the June release of issue #1!  So, still be excited.

I saw on our facebook page someone 'unliked' our does one do that?  I'm amazed by it and I say to that person, thank you for having the good sense not to just 'like' away on things!  But on a sad note, why did you leave us?

Anyways, last entry I wrote a lot about research and the kind of stuff we're doing...I know I told you we'd be interviewing high schoolers and well...on a fated Friday night, at undisclosed Chipotle in Southern California...we did in fact interview some high school kids.

High school girls in fact.  Six of them.  My fiance came with us to take pictures and also served as our, "We're not 25-year-old trying to hit on high school girls" cover.

Intrepid comic book creators we are.

But to preface why we did this...It had a lot more to do with just relearning a lot of it.  Evan and I obviously both went to high school, but we decided we'd been out long enough to be much more of the mind of "remembering fondly" than any other way.  We don't want "Youth" to be some piece of nostalgia.  From a writing perspective, I want this to feel the way it feels to be in high school, which could be anything from where you stand.  But what I don't want to do while writing is think to myself, "Man...that one time was awesome..." because that's not being true to you guys as readers and not trying to expand myself as a writer.  Remembering is cool, but nods to past are meant mostly for the geography of the book and for (totally shamelessly) cameos by our friends and teachers throughout the book, hopefully.

To start, we learned a lot.  It was crazy.  I was really hesistant at first when we sat down with these girls mostly because knowing myself, I don't want to divulge personal feelings about the life I lead, etc.  But these girls were great!  So insightful, even about stuff that I didn't think mattered in the slightest, which is so much.

Evan and I were enamored with just how they spoke, the fluency they had between several conversations and how they moved from subject to subject without hesitating.  I think in general, we all assume high school kids know pretty much nothing because they haven't "experienced" anything yet.  But if there's something they do know, better than anyone else in the world, they know themselves.  Even at a young age, these girls are willing to sit there and discover things about themselves.  Be adventurous, make changes and mistakes...learn.

No topic was off limits.  We asked everything, even stuff we had assumed we'd get false answers for (Boys, Drugs...the naughty stuff) and they answered with all the sincerity in the world.  It was everything we could have asked for and more.  And these girls were just so different, each one of them, it was the best demographic.

I asked them all to write something off the top of their heads into my notebook.  This girl wrote "I have Bieber Fever".  High schoolers with a sense of irony.

 A few things we learned about how it is now in high school:

1) Twitter and text are the big thing.  NOT FACEBOOK.  weird.  Did not expect that.

2) Very surprising: Guys are much more interested in the curvy body type than the "Keira Knightly" look.  I found that really interesting and kind of relieving.  Maybe all that self-image stuff is finally seeping down to where it should be...  Most of the girls Evan has drawn so far fit into that body type, with the exception of a couple characters who have the look of just being naturally skinny.  Good to know we're on the right track.

We found out this girl is the younger sister of one of Evan and Andrea's friends from high school.  Small damn world.

3) Text message talk is tough.  And people say these words out loud and just know.  I don't think of it as death to the English language...It's just a new version.  Also, no one's texting gossip like passing notes.  It's always about making plans, etc.  Gossip is much less prevalent than I expected, actually.  I was pleasantly surprised by that.
We asked for smiley faces  These are all used in texts.  Crazy.

This gal to the left was a fountain of information.  The one smiling was the quiet one.  Evan and I were astounded how much of a dead ringer she was for one of the characters we've already written.
4)  One thing we found really interesting was when we asked the girls to name specific famous people they find inspiring.  On a personal note, until that day I didn't find lady GaGa interesting at all, but then one of the girls pointed out, "I'm inspired just by her originality and her willingness to be herself".  What a cool answer from someone whose often considered "too young" to be listened to! Such an interesting answer.  It really got me thinking about the pop music and other things I don't understand, and how I can employ that into the comic.

 It was such a cool experience to have people on board with what you're trying to do.  From the deepest areas of our hearts, Ladies...Thank you so much.  It might not seem this way, but being open about hopes and fears and all that...just incredibly brave.  It was so cool to hear the honest truth.  Some of it was what we already knew but getting it fresh puts whole new spin on it.  I've been struggling to map out this third issue, and after these girls sat down and talked to us, I have a much better idea about plot points.  It's amazing what research can do for you!
This is my fiancé's little sister on the right.  She put it together.  Thanks Jules!

Now, what does this do for us?  We've got these scribbled notes, some audio interviews...where do we put this?  The answer is everywhere.  This kind of stuff, the research we do, helps put us in the moment.  From a writing perspective, when I feel like I'm not getting into the place these characters are, all I have to do is listen to an interview, look at pictures or read over my notes and it helps.

From Evan's perspective, it's a bit more complex.  We have these pictures, and the memories.  Evan can think of a facial expression, or some sort of fashion sense these girls put in front of us, and take it from there.  But Evan's visual research is as relevant hearing these girls talk.  It's all about the vibe we're putting out with the book, and that's what we're after.  The right vibe.

So a treat for you guys to get excited about...

Evan and I are going to release a teaser book!  We'll be putting the first six pages out at some point this month for you guys to look at, and get revved up for the rest of that issue and the whole series, really.  We'll have more stuff coming up, you just gotta give us time.  We're doing it all on our own, so it's gonna be slow.  But it's coming.  Thanks for being patient and sticking with us.  It's gonna be an exciting year and we'll keep you informed along the way.  Thanks for reading guys.

Until next time,



  1. Fear Before the March of Flames was SO last decade. Al! Congrats to you and Evan on pursuing this! I'm eagerly awaiting your first issue in June ... can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Here's to hoping Aurora sneaks its way into your writing at some point...

  2. I thought those were Julia's friends!