I’m showing you this pointlessly photoshopped pair of pages (composed of 2 screenshots from my iPad, naturally) to illustrate the beginning of my next project, which is sort of the writer’s block version of the fiscal cliff. I didn’t give myself any particular deadline, but a while back I decided that if I couldn’t think of anything original to do, I’d bust out another adaptation of one of my favorite O. Henry stories.
Although my previous graphic novel, for a class, was also based on O. Henry, this one will be a more faithful retelling, taking place in Greenwich Village at the turn of the 20th Century. It’s a short, simple story, so I think the real challenge will be in stretching my cartooning abilities to evoke the strong imagery in the original story.
At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and Johnsy had their studio. “Johnsy” was familiar for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from California. They had met at the table d’hôte of an Eighth Street “Delmonico’s,” and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial that the joint studio resulted.
I think this is a challenge faced by screenwriters as well. O. Henry tells the backstory of these characters in a very economical paragraph; turning it into a “flashback” scene might take up a few pages in a comic book. Ideally, I’ll find my own efficient way of imparting who these characters are, what makes them tick. But if all else fails, “O.” can step in and provide some narration.
Tonight, I went through and highlighted the basic imagery, plot points and dialogue that I thought were essential to the story. Tomorrow I’ll begin scripting, and hopefully figuring out some of the layout.