GRAYHAVEN COMICS APPRENTICE- Challenge 3- Judge’s Feedback

Before I start, this challenge was VERY close. Both teams gave us strong pitches, but went in completely different directions. One of you seemed inspired by Before Watchmen, reviving a controversial property with a new creative team, while the other went more in the direction of Sandman Overture, bringing back an iconic creator for a “lost story” on his property. Well done. That being said, there is a winner…and this week, it was not unanimous.

Here are the judges’ thoughts.

MARC-

VII FOR VILIFIED

Absolutely terrible name. You got too smart for yourselves. You should have left it as “V for Vilified” as this title makes me want to say “Vie for Vilified? Roman numeral seven for Vilified?”  As a group you seemed to not even be sure what to call this as one of your deliverables was even titled V FOR VILIFIED in the header (I believe it was the one that listed the reasons for selecting the V franchise).

As much as I hate the title, I love the pick of Ales Kot for this. He’s a perfect choice and exactly the type of person I could see a more well-run DC grabbing if something like this were to ever come about. Frazer Irving is also another spot on decision, so you killed it on the creative team for this. Very glad you went with an all-new team because I can’t see the original creators being behind this idea at all…which is kind of what I was hoping for from the submissions (as Andrew made pretty obvious in his description). You really helped your overall score with this creative team.

Now, onto some more bad news. Keep in mind for future pitches that a character list is NOT where you put plot summaries (or lines of dialogue or descriptions of events that will show up in your story summary). It’s just a list where you give the basics on the characters and, again, not plot points (as you did in this).  The plot was good, and true to the original, but again I draw attention to your choice of story name as it comes back to bite you once more. If the VII was so important (and I know it was because of your discussions regarding the thematic V/Five in the original) where is the repetition or even symbolism “seven” in the plot (besides Dominic being 7 and Evey 6)? But that fails as well, as V (the original V) was the first, not the fifth. Evey would have been the 2nd and Dominic the 3rd. You would have been considerably better off leaving that out of the story.  And I don’t really get any real sense of vilification. It’s a nice idea, but not pulled off well. My advice is that you should have considered V FOR VILLAINY (a better representation for the misuse of the Guy Fawkes mask by Savage) or V FOR VICTORY (which would be just as symbolic a lie as Vendetta was)
Book Choice & Title – 3/10
Creative Team – 10/10
Character List – 5/10
Plot – 7/10
TOTAL – 25/40

* * * * *

STRANGERS IN PARADISE: THE HEART OF ME

This is hardly a controversial idea. The fact that Terry Moore himself talked about doing almost this very project tells me that something like this isn’t that far from being believable. If Colleen Doran can finish up A Distant Soil over a decade after her book stopped dead, who’s to say Moore wouldn’t pick up where his own story left off.  And that’s where I think you made what was such an obvious choice (Terry Moore as the creative team) turn into a big disappointment.  If you had someone OTHER than Moore do this, then I would say “WOW! That’s ballsy!” and it would instantly make this feel like someone milking a franchise.  This was the risk you took in selecting a creator-owned franchise rather than a company-owned property that is known for having a particular creative team.

I love the name. It fits the mood of Moore’s original story perfectly and also fits the theme for the story you have written.  And again, this is not the idea of how you write a character list but it does a little bit better a job of telling me who the characters ARE or what they represent, and not what they WILL do in the story.

As a fan of the original story (even though I’ve only read the first four trades) I found myself torn. Do I read the SiP synopsis to see how this fits into the world, or do I avoid spoilers and just read this with an open mind for a good story? I went ahead and read the summary for the original series (DAMN YOU ALL!) so I could judge this properly and based on that, you nailed it. This has the feel of a Terry Moore Strangers in paradise story. I commend you for capturing the voice. But again, capturing the voice of an obvious choice of a crative team for a non-controversial title selection…is that really what we wanted from this?

Book Choice & Title – 5/10
Creative Team – 5/10
Character List – 7/10
Plot – 9/10
TOTAL – 26/40

I give this challenge by a very slim margin to HIVE MIND. While I’m not wowed by their decision on the book or creative team, I think they wrote a more professionally done pitch and constructed an excellent story that fits the nature of the original. I don’t think either team nailed it, but Hive Mind tapped theirs in just a little harder with the hammer.

RAY-

VII for Vilified:

This was one of the properties that immediately came to mind for me. Moore’s original set up a very dark, compelling world that had a lot of room for expansion. I was also not a fan of the gimmicky title – V for Vilified would have been stronger, and I don’t think that the numbering had enough of an impact to justify the confusing title.

On to the creative team – this was a stroke of genius. Ales Kot is one of the best new writers in the business, delivering hits from both independent creator-owned work and (short lived) big two issues that turned around a book quickly. I love his work, and his dark, offbeat style is perfectly suited to this title. As is the moody work of Frasier Irving. Honestly, I can’t think of a better creative team for this title. Moore would definitely not be on board for this in any way, so switching it up was a good move.

I agree with Marc – the character list was overly long and seemed to be sort of a disjointed mix of character profiles and plot points. While I do appreciate the thought the team put into their characters, I feel like this could have been pared down a bit to make it more readable. Once we get into the meat of the story, though, I feel like this is an extremely solid pitch. V left off with a ton of unanswered questions, and the idea of Evey trying to carry on for her deceased mentor has a lot of promise. There’s a really realistic take on a world in chaos after the fall of a dictatorship here – too many books fade to black when the government falls. I would definitely read this project.

Selection and Title – 6/10
Creative Team – 10/10
Character list – 5/10
Plot – 9/10
Overall – 30/40

STRANGERS IN PARADISE: THE HEART OF ME:

I find this interesting, because the two teams couldn’t have gone in more different directions. Team A did a full on Before Watchmen revival of a controversial property, going even further and doing a sequel. Meanwhile, Hive Mind gave us more of a Sandman: Overture or Brother Lono – a creator going back to their fan-favorite property years after the fact to tell a lost story. I think Strangers in Paradise is rife with potential for expanded stories, and they explained it well. The title is a tiny bit generic, but it fits well with the tone.

Obviously, creative team here is pretty much a no-brainer. Terry Moore has a fully creator-owned project here, and he has expressed the desire to revisit it. While I can’t say it’s exactly imaginative or creative, if they wanted to do this property, this is pretty much the only choice they could make.

The character list is a bit more concise and well-written than the other team’s. It gives us a lot of details, but keeps it focused to what we need to know going in, rather than going into the plot. The plot itself seems very…laid back, I guess the word would be. I like the idea of a Rashomon-style quest, as they try to figure out the true story of a figure who looms large in the history of the franchise, but it seems more like a side-story for long-time fans of the property than anything that would really get people from the outside excited. I think this is a capable pitch, but the other team’s plot had a lot more excitement.

Selection and Title – 7/10
Creative Team – 8/10
Character List – 8/10
Plot – 6/10
Total – 29/40

So for me, by a hair, my vote goes to Team A and “VII for Vilified”.

Over to you, Drew and Glenn. We won’t be unanimous this week.

ANDREW-

I’ll start with HIVE MIND. When I saw you guys throwing some of the original ideas together I was getting worried as you seemed to be leaning toward self-contained stories with characters populating work for hire universes which was a bit off the mark of what we wanted. Then you pleasantly surprise by picking one of my favorite properties ever. There have been rumors of Moore revisiting these characters but considering that there were also rumors of more Preacher, Bone and other complete stories I can’t really fault the choice of book.

As a comic fan I don’t want anyone else but Terry Moore touching these characters but as a judge I was hoping you’d embrace the ‘what the hellness’ of the task and go with a different creative team. It’s a tough situation to be in having to take off the creator of the book who may be willing to do it  (and who is the perfect fit) but I’d have liked to see you go through the process and see what you came up with. I’m not going to take away all points for this section but I can’t give a full score no matter how much of a perfect fit Moore is in reality because it’s too safe.

 

I think the cast list is okay. When defining the cast for the property I don’t really want to see much about what they will actually do in the story but more about the character themselves and with maybe a brief line or two about the importance of their role in story and not a biography

I do think you nailed the plot. In keeping with Terry Moore as your creator here you certainly seemed to capture his voice. I can tell that several of you were very familiar with Strangers in Paradise and were able to translate it into a very good representation.  I really liked how you chose to tell the story via flashbacks from 20 years after the story ends. One of the tough choices in this project was whether to continue a story or go prequel via Before Watchmen and you were able to use both in an effective way given how Ashley is discovering the missing pieces of her own life.

Book Choice- 10/10
Creative Team- 5/10
Cast-7/10
Plot- 10/10
Overall- 32/40

Alright the TEAM WITH NO NAME, you all seemed to latch onto the possibilities of the concept from beginning and had a few interesting possibilities before settling on V pretty early on and running from there. Can’t really do much better than to pick an Alan Moore property since Before Watchmen was the inspiration for the challenge and there is enough wiggle room in the original story to milk the franchise if needed.

Love the creative team. I’m a fan of both characters and I can’t imagine a more perfect fit for this story than Kot and Frazier. I think I emailed the other judges as soon as you made the selection and was raving about it. Kot has the voice and Frazier has the look that would compliment both the writer and subject matter.

The character list goes much too in-depth with the plot. Like I said earlier with the other team, what this should really be is a basic list of the attributes of the characters chosen and how they relate to the story without getting into plot details.

I like what you came up with for the story. You definitely maintain the tone and spirit of the original and find a way to milk the franchise in a pretty believable way. You pick up the story shortly after the events of the original so it feels like a more natural continuation and I like how you continue to examine the themes from the original in terms of what can society achieve and what should the methods be to reach that. The journey itself seems like one that could be filled with great moments of introspection and of social commentary, especially in Kot’s hands. And as you leave the story, the door is wide open to examine this world even more.

Where I think you fall a bit short is in the extras here. Like Marc I think ‘villainy’ fits much better than ‘vilified’ given what you tell us of the story. And while the VII play is cute from a marketing standpoint but Dominic doesn’t seem to take the role until the very last moments of the story and as Marc mentioned he wouldn’t technically be the 7th if that’s where the intention was.

Book Choice- 10/10
Creative Team- 10/10
Cast-3/10
Plot- 8/10
Overall- 31/40

This was very, very close. I think you both chose excellent properties in different directions and the casting was the weakest for both. It comes down to who I think did the better overall job on the plot both in the way you detail the story and how you craft it technically. With that, I’m going to give the slightest of edges to HIVE MIND for Strangers in Paradise.

GLENN-

Here we go again with another great effort by both teams overall.  I’ve been watching with fascination as one team decided on their property very quickly and the other team flirted with various ideas until coming up with something very solid.

Let’s see how it all shakes down

Strangers in Paradise: The Heart Of Me

Disclaimer: I know NOTHING about this property *dodges various fruits and vegetables*.  So this should be interesting.

Okay well firstly, thanks for the synopsis on the property.  It’s very much appreciated.  You make the book sound very interesting and one that would probably also grab my fiance’s attention in my continuing goal in brainwashing her to comics.

It does seem like an odd little combination with a rom com mixed with gangster elements.  I’m sure the book isn’t like that but that’s how it comes across here.  Not a bad thing as it’s an interesting blend that if done right could work very well.

Your book idea sounds interesting and seems to give fans the continuation to these characters they loved and probably miss a great deal.  Filling the readers in what they’ve missed through flashbacks is a tried and tested method that works well anywhere and its the same here.

Since Moore now is busy with Rachel Rising I’m not sure if he’d have the time for this book anymore.  If he’s said he would like to come back to it at some point though I’m sure he will get around to it.  His willingness to come back seems like this choice is a bit ‘safe’ to me.

While the challenge was going I discussed with my fellow judges whether something like ‘Tellos’ would be eligible.  This is a series that the creator Todd Dezago says he will get back to but it could be next year, in ten years or never.  You made the right choice with Moore on the book but realistically if he wanted he could bring back the book next solicitations and I was thinking of something a little more outside the box.

That being said your outline and your characters sounds great.  From what you’ve educated me about the book it seems that this would be a logical next step for the franchise I think fans would enjoy.

Good job

Book choice: 5/10
Creative team: 10/10
Cast: 7/10
Plot: 9/10
Overall: 31/40

VII For Vilified

Still need a team name guys

The titles okayyyy but seems very wordy.  You would have been better just with ‘VII’ I think.  Less is more and all that.  Just sounds like a mouthful and makes the whole thing sound a little cheesy from the outset.

Now I have read V.  I didn’t particularly care for it and thought the film adaption was farrrrr better *avoids more fruit and veg*.

That being said this is the type of book I was thinking of to go with the challenge.  Alan Moore is infamous for not wanting his toys played with by others and after Before Watchmen I could very well see DC doing something like this because…it would sell.  I think he has a little more creative say about this one though since it’s 100% his thing whereas Watchmen is an adaption of other people’s work.  He would dump all over it and if he does have the control I imagine he does it would never see the light of day no matter how good your outline is.

But eh

Let’s see what the stories look like

So largely your book deals with the fallout of V’s actions at the end of the first book and the consequences it would have upon Britain.  You have a state in turmoil that both Evey and Dominic have to fix before things get worse.

It sounds like a post apocalyptic nightmare that is likely would be the result of V’s actions if it happened for real.  When I read (and watched V) it always gave the feeling to me that after his destruction of the government the British people would find a way to make this new world work.  What you present is an option I never considered that everything goes to pot.

It’s an interesting idea but sort of casts V and his successors as the cause for more chaos.  Sure they don’t have the crazy prime minister and his weird computer girlfriend anymore but is this world any better?

Just seems to take the whole thing and make it a bit of a very bleak road of misery.  The whole pitch as well seems like an introduction to the next story rather than the next story itself.  Like an unnecessary epilogue that makes you feel like the whole events of V where slightly pointless.  I think you would have been better doing a true sequel but it just feels like build up to the next chapter rather than the next chapter itself.

I like the logic you use with Kot writing but I really think that this is one property that really needs a British writer.  It’s like having an American play the Doctor, it just feels…wrong.  Someone like Paul Cornell would have been spot on or heck even Grant Morrison.

On the flipside I think you can’t do much better with your artist choice.

I don’t really dig your characters that much though.  Apart from the holdovers from V they all sound a little…dull and unnecessary.

Fantastic property choice but feels like a wasted opportunity.

Book choice: 10/10
Creative team: 5/10
Cast: 4/10
Plot: 6/10
Overall: 25/40

Overall

Both teams put in a solid effort but I think one team did come out on top.  They went a slightly safer route but they took the franchise in a logical next direction whereas I think VII missed the mark a bit.

Congrats to team Hive Mind!

Final Results:

So by a vote of 3-1…congratulations, Team Hive Mind! A well-earned comeback.

Steve, you’ll have immunity in the next team task. Unfortunately, Team A, you’ll be coming to the boardroom. Sam, you have immunity this week, so Mary and Nathan, you’ll be joining Jeremy in the boardroom.

 

PAST EPISODES—

Challenge 3- Completed Projects- http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2013/08/10/grayhaven-comics-apprentice-challenge-3-completed-projects/
Challenge 3- http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2013/08/05/grayhaven-comics-apprentice-challenge-3/

Challenge #2-Final Projects-  http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2013/08/03/the-apprentice-2nd-challenge-completed-projects/
Challenge #2 Judges- http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2013/08/04/grayhaven-comics-apprentice-2nd-challenge-judges-feedback/
Challenge #2- Boardroom- http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2013/08/04/grayhaven-comics-apprentice-2nd-challenge-the-boardroom/

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