Improv Comic: The first adventure of Stonewall Jaxon, PI

Last week you all voted on the elements that would make up a comic book, like an audience shouting ideas at an improv comic troupe. Today I give you the first part of that collaborative effort, a story I've called "Stonewall Jaxon in 'The Case of the Trekky Time Snatch'". I'll be working on the conclusion this week. The issue is after the jump, and be warned -- it's about 330KB in size, so if you're on dial-up it might take a minute or two.

Before I get to that, I wanted to say just a few words about the experience. First, creating a comic based on people voting on various random options (the results are here) is pretty fun. Coming up with a story and being forced to incorporate certain elements out of my control was a great challenge and I'm happy with the way it's going so far.

Second, creating comics is hard work. I wasn't going 100% on this due to all of the other responsibilities of the job, but still, most of my working time the past seven days was devoted to this project. And I only got three pages done. Granted, I also had to write the issue, and also granted I haven't ever done this before, but still, that's slower than I thought it would be. It's given me a new level of respect for the folks who do this for a living.

Third, I understand why the Rob Liefelds of the world get pushed into leaving out backgrounds. They're a ton of work and you don't feel like they really do all that much. I mean, background is pretty much synonymous with "unnoticeable". But I realized a funny thing while doing this -- if you don't draw it, it's not there. All of those little bits of scenery like trash or bricks or clouds, the page doesn't start out with those already there, waiting for you to draw the interesting stuff.

Finally, I drew all of this in Flash, using a template I created based on the ones available online for comics creators. I did this so that the whole issue would be in vector format, able to be output either for web resolution or for print. If it were ever to be colored you'd have to lose that flexibility, as the coloring would need to happen in a bitmap program like Photoshop, but at least the original ultra-high resolution lineart would still be available.

Now I hope you'll join me after the jump for my very first effort ever at a comic book, and as far as I know, the first publicly-generated Comic Book Improv!

(Note: To change pages, click the arrow buttons at the top right and left. If you want to view this outside of the blog frame, you can click here -- your browser should play it full-size in its own window, which you can scale as large as your monitor will allow instead of forcing it to be the width of this column. Let me know how that works!)

Edited to add: Also, you can right-click on any part of the page and choose "Zoom in" to get a closer look.


9 Responses to Improv Comic: The first adventure of Stonewall Jaxon, PI

  1. DJ says:

    So far so good. I can’t wait for the rest of it.

  2. Whit says:


  3. Ashton Thomas says:

    Wow, this really is impressive.

  4. Jeff Hebert says:

    Thanks guys, glad you’re liking it so far! Have you figured out yet how Jaxon already knows the image is a fake?

  5. William A. Peterson says:

    D’oh! Autographing something from “The Original Series” (TOS) crew is rather like Sgt. Alvin York autographing something from World War I, isn’t it?
    How’d they know, back then, that there would be any other series?
    Sorry, that was a little too easy for an old “Encyclopedia Brown” fan! šŸ™‚

  6. cybersavant says:

    Well, I don’t think Bill was 38 in the last season. And even if he was, they wouldn’t sign a picture for him, would they?

  7. Frankie says:

    Sorry I missed this, i forgot all about it.

    It’s good. Can’t wait for the conclusion.

    I’d have to agree with William on the TOS thing.

    Me thinks Leah might be one of the ninja cheerleaders.

  8. Wesley Belk says:

    “Oh and no way Billy has $200.” LOL! Looks good, wish I could draw half that good, I’d have tablets filled up with sketches, but le sigh, I’m doomed to a life of writing out everything I imagine…

  9. Susie Q says:

    Wait a minute. What? It can’t be that short?