We’ve got an official release date for Worlds Apart – and it’s in just a little over two weeks from now!
Not familiar with Worlds Apart?
There’ll be another announcement soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to shift gears a bit for this post.
Worlds Apart is the first published project where I’ve written a traditional comic script. It’s the culmination of a journey for me – as a creator, yeah, but equally as someone who loves and appreciates this wonderful medium too.
I’ve had my nose in comics for longer than I’ve been able to read, so really, if I wanted to talk about all the books and issues that brought me to this point, we’d be here for days. Instead, I’m gonna single out two particular comics that directly inspired Worlds Apart, narratively and visually.
I Kill Giants
by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura
It’s hard to talk about this book’s influence on Worlds Apart without spoiling you too much about either comic, so if this all sounds like I’m going in circles, I apologise.
In I Kill Giants, Joe Kelly blends fantastical elements with a powerfully emotional story. And, yeah, you could say the same about any number of stories. However, there’s a slight, but very key difference here.
Most stories use the fantastical as little more than a set piece that complements the emotional. I Kill Giants, however, cleverly uses the fantastical in service of the emotional. It’s there to provide the safety of familiarity for the reader – and for the main character – when faced with the true bigness of… well, real life.
And it’s that narrative approach that informs my own for Worlds Apart, where the familiarity of genre elements help to communicate the comic’s messages – a message that’s big and difficult, but also important.
(I know I spoke pretty exclusively about the writing here, but comics are a visual medium. It needs to be acknowledged that Ken Niimura’s art and storytelling are absolutely astounding. That said, the next comic I wanna talk about is almost completely focused on the art side of things, so…)
Phonogram: The Singles Club #4
by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
An entire single issue told mostly from one angle may seem like a fairly simple concept – but that’s only because Jamie McKelvie does it so damn well.
In the hands of another creator, this issue could’ve ended up monotonous, at best. McKelvie, however, is a master of expressive facial features and body language. He uses the seeming rigidity of that single angle to accentuate the chemistry between the two main characters, which is just one of the many reasons why this remains my favourite single issue ever.
I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to work with Nurjannah because she’s excellent with facial expressions, but I didn’t mention why exactly that’s so essential for this particular project. Worlds Apart draws visual inspiration from The Singles Club #4, with the main character, Charissa, spending a fairly decent chunk of the book seen from a single angle too.
It’s a huge ask for any artist. I was very detailed in my script, but at the end of the day, it was all up to Nurjannah to visually realise it. The fact that this is her first published work and she absolutely nailed it is a testament to how amazing she is. (And, again, how patient she was with me.)
(It’s also worth giving a shout-out here to Sophia Susanto, our editor. My initial plan for much of Worlds Apart was to stick to a four-panel grid, like how The Singles Club #4 mostly sticks to a six-panel grid. While she knew that there were in-story reasons for why I wanted to go with that approach, she also understood that our audience are still hopefully predominantly non-comic readers – so Sophia suggested that we should vary the layouts just a little more. After seeing the pages, it’s clear that this was the right – and smart! – call.)
Again, if you’re not familiar with Worlds Apart, you can read the comic’s synopsis and see why this project’s so important to me.