Matt Kindt talks REVOLVER--Day 2--on sale tomorrow!
After the pitch was approved and greenlit I started the “real” writing. Over the years my process has always changed from book to book but generally what happens is that I type out a rough outline of all the major action and dialogue—this reads as if someone is just telling you the story around a campfire. Then I take this text, print it out, and draw lines to break up the action into sections and rough page breakdowns.
For Revolver I was given a very specific page count (which I ended up being able to talk my editors into bumping up 20 pages) so I had to be very precise at this stage. In previous books I’d just layed out the pages and let the page count fall where it would. I felt a little constrained at first by this but it was also a good exercise. Almost like writing an episode of a TV show where you’ve got to pace the story out just right to hit those commercial breaks and then end it on just the right note.
I’m also a firm believer in rules—the more rules the better—I think it helps me think differently. If there aren’t any rules then there aren’t any rules to bend which isn’t any fun. If there’s a guideline I have to follow then I end up thinking about different ways to bend that or get around it—sometimes for the sake of doing it. I think this is where the idea for the page numbers came from. But more on the page numbers later. I probably had another 600 pages of storylines that I could have folded into this book. The problem was that it would end up diluting Sam’s experience and take a lot of the gas out of the ending.
The images here are the early pieces of finished art before some of the Photoshop work that I do in post production. The flashback scene of Sam remembering his father’s driving lesson would end up needing the most work with a torn-paper effect to differentiate it from the present day action. That was one of many recommendations that my editor (Joan Hilty) made that really makes a difference. It’s comfortable to work in a vacuum but having a good editor that can see things that you’re too close to—makes all the difference.
Also note that there still isn’t a really detailed description of the pages and panel to panel action. I do all of that in the next step which you’ll see tomorrow in the thumbnails. That’s where the real action happens.
Earth 1 – the first few pages are close-ups of a super-hero comic – a Batman style adventure tale. The captions appear to be in the super-hero comic but as we pull back we realize that the captions are Sam’s thoughts as he worries about getting caught reading a comic during work and also wondering if he’s going crazy or if the day before was just a dream. Sam’s thoughts parallel the action in the super-hero comic he’s reading. Pull back further to show Sam sneakily reading the comic in the bathroom stall at work. Sam’s legs eventually start to fall asleep from sitting on the toilet so long so he gets up, hides the comic in his back pocket and heads out to the hallway. Jan walks by and makes a snide comment about his long bathroom. Sam grumbles about her under his breath after she’s gone.
After work Sam and Maria go out to eat and have an awkward and silent dinner and then go dancing and drinking. Later they go back to Maria’s apartment and we start to realize that Sam and Maria’s relationship is on cruise-control and they are both shallow – more concerned with furniture and house-wares in their apartments then anything of substance. At Maria’s apartment they have sex and as they lay in bed sleeping, the clock ticks from 4:59 to 5:00 AM.
Earth 2 – Sam wakes up on the couch next to Jan who is still asleep. Slowly Jan wakes up and sees Sam looking at her as they lay side by side on the couch. Jan is shocked and just a little repulsed as she gets up quickly. Straightening her clothes, she looks out her penthouse window just to confirm that the world is still indeed wrecked. Smoke pillars punctuate the city skyline. Jan is still visibly shaken by the events from the night before but suggests that they go back to the office to see what’s left or if there’s something they can do to help. Sam is against the idea because of the obvious dangers but Jan actually treats Sam as an equal for the first time. Sam can see in her eyes that she knows she’s in over her head but wants to do something. Jan shows a vulnerability that he’d never seen before and he agrees to go back with her. He feels the first shift here in their relationship to something closer to equals.
The car radio on the ride through the now-burned-out abandoned city fills in details of marshal law being imposed by the government and state-borders being shut down to crack down on the rash of terrorist attacks and security breaches across the country.
Jan and Sam run the dangerous gauntlet back to the newspaper office and when they get there they find that Paul, Michael and several other newspaper employees have also returned to work to see what was left and pick up whatever pieces they can. The bits of radio and TV news everyone has picked up make them realize they’re now living in a police state. They start to barricade the offices main lobby (to deter looters) and set up a generator to run their computers and printers. Paul reveals details of a subversive underground website he’d run before the world went to shit and suggests that they continue with a print version of what he’d started.
Jan starts to return to life and she realizes what needs to be done. The world is falling apart and she rallies Paul, Sam and Michael to action. -- to investigate exactly how hell broke lose and try to make a difference -- to report what’s happening from the street. They’re going to use what’s left of the newspapers resources to be the only operating newspaper left in the country. They use Paul’s underground anti-establishment blog that he’d been keeping (in Earth 1) as the inspiration for the new paper – called “Revolver” – an advocate for survivors and a government watchdog.
As they organize a mobile office with one of the giant vans in the parking garage Jan assumes the leadership role but starts to do it with a little more compassion as she sees her former employees dirty and tired but determined. As they load up the truck with supplies, Sam narrates in captions about being confused. What’s real and what’s not. Worried that he’ll be stuck in this broken world. And then seeing Jan in a new light and suddenly having a clear purpose, he wonders if that would be such a bad thing. As Sam’s captions overlay the action we pan over and show a close-up of the super-hero comic (now with burned edges and tattered) Sam had been reading at the beginning of the chapter. It shows the main Batman-esque character thinking about the duality of his existence and how the cape and mask only amplify his true nature. The charade gives him an extra confidence and strength to do what he knows needs doing but his alter ego won’t let him do.