The core team at TokyoPop that helped bring The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey graphic novel series to life returned once again to San Diego Comic-Con for a look at the popular new series set in the world of the Tim Burton favorite.
DJ Milky (writer, producer, and TokyoPop founder) and Dan Conner (TokyoPop Color Artist) were moderated by Kae Winters (TokyoPop Marketing) for a look into the fun challenges in creating a body of work like Zero’s Journey. From concept to approval then script to approval then sketch to approval then color to approval, then marketing to approval. There’s A LOT of steps that go into making a manga series for Disney not the least of which, you might guess, is APPROVALS.
Working with Disney, under the indirect guidance of Tim Burton’s team, the folks at TokyoPop took on the challenge of creating an entire series of 20 different manga comics around one of the few characters in the NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS universe that doesn’t talk. That in itself raises interesting challenges for DJ Milky and becomes an interesting way of finding ways to keep readers engaged with the character.
Dan Conners also shared some of his process for finding the right colors for the various pages. Sometimes loosely working with the artist who created the drawings (which where themselves influenced by the writings of the script by DJ Milky which themselves were also given under approval consideration from Disney) Conners has the unique challenge of synthesizing the colors from the minds of various different people (plus anticipating what readers and fans want to see) into a finalized piece. Fun challenges also came in how to use color between Christmas Town and Halloween Town.
Below are some of the fun visuals we got to see during the panel!
It takes a lot more than just the three people at the panel and they acknowledged the many talented people who also contributed towards bringing Zero’s Journey to life.
These are some of the individual covers for each of the chapters of the story. Every FIVE chapters are combined together for a single paperback book. By the time the journey has ended, all 20 chapters will be concluded with four paperback books.
These are the trade covers for the first three books (the first two images are cover plus a variant cover for Book 1.)
Book 3 variant cover.
One of the most exciting parts of working on the series is creating new characters such as the ones shown here including Howly, Joelle, Gingerbread Man, and Mr. Miser.
Although Disney expressly did not allow any songs to be written into the stories, there are lyrical poems throughout that we’re pretty confident some talented person could probably turn into songs pretty easily.
Figuring out layout is a fun process that takes direction from the script.
Working through color process.
Covers and finishes also go through perhaps even more arduous approvals process!
— MouseInfo (@MouseInfo) July 22, 2019
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