A Division of Souls: The Graphic Novel?

One of my many ideas for the Bridgetown Trilogy, if I wasn’t going to turn it into a wacky multiproduct entity (No, there won’t be any Saisshalé-O’s breakfast cereal, sorry) was to give the books a visual approach.

Part of this was inspired by the frequent comment that my style of writing is very visual.  I went to the Miami Vice School of Writing Cool Scenes Using Music back in the day, and having a degree in film studies from Emerson College, so I’d say that comment is spot on.  It’s just the way I read and write: I see the scene visually and try to describe it that way.

A year or so ago I thought I’d try my hand at laying out the first scene of A Division of Souls, just for the fun of it, just to see if I could pull it off.  In retrospect I could probably rein it in a bit in terms of pacing, but I like how it ended up.  There’s a distinct hint of Dave Sim’s Cerebus in there (specifically latter half of the Church & State storyline), which heavily influenced me back in my college days.

Hope you enjoy!

Page 1: introductory page
Page 2: Establishing shot of central Bridgetown with Tower
Page 3: Zoom in on Nehalé, Shirai’s calling him
Page 4: Nehalé’s conversation with Shirai
Page 5: Establishing shot, just to show how vast Nehalé’s POV is
Page 6: Nehalé starts the Awakening Ritual.  I love this particular page — it’s got all the main characters reacting, though you don’t know who they are just yet.
Page 7: Slow zoom out as the Awakening Ritual begins
Page 8: Close-up of hands as Nehalé gathers power.  Zoom out again with small thumbnails added in between to show just how many are willing to assist.
Page 9: Close-up of eyes opening as he pushes all the energy back out to prime the Rain of Light
Page 10: Establishing shot just to show how huge his energy blast is
Page 11: Cut to another close shot to show his (and the building’s) reaction to the ritual
Page 12: Quick zoom out.  The Tower remains the centerpiece of the shot as we pull back to one of the northern neighborhoods; one of the apartment buildings edges in at bottom right.
Page 13: slow pan to the apartment, to one of the windows.  We see a girl’s bedroom.

One of the interesting things I learned about doing this exercise was teaching myself to look at the story from several different angles; not just visually but also in terms of storytelling.  I’m aware of stories where there are differences between the multiple official versions.  [Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an excellent example; also, many animes differ considerably from their manga counterparts but are still part of the same canon.]  I thought it would be fun to play around with that, changing the delivery up just a bit but retaining the core story.

And yeah, I know I broke a few filmic rules with some of the weird cuts.  That’s something I’d have fixed in the revision stage.

I’d have loved to draw more of it, but this was done when I really should have been working on the editing and revision of the trilogy!  Maybe sometime in the future when I have more time, I’ll pick it up again.



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