I touched on the topic of collaboration in an earlier blog post, called “The Joys of Collaboration,” but it was really short, and it didn’t answer the question that I know you’re wondering about, namely, “What does each of the three creators of The Electric Team contribute to the comic as a whole?” This Quicksand-and-Pandavars sequence, from page 36 to page 39, has been a strong collaboration among all three members of Team Electric Team, so let’s break it down as an example of how we work.

I knew, from a conversation I had with artist Samantha Albert months ago, that she liked the idea of showing the Electric Team trekking across the plains on their way to track down Major Ager. It made sense that the Team would have what is known in the RPG world as a “random encounter,” that is, a monster or other obstacle that isn’t tied in with the main plot, but is just something you run into along the way. I asked Abby, creator and co-plotter of the Electric Team, what that encounter should be, and she replied, “Quicksand . . . and panda bears!” I filed that information away.

When the time came to plan the scene in more detail, I asked Abby what the panda bears would be like. Were they sneaky conniving panda bears, or more bestial carnivorous panda bears? She said they had wings, and shot lasers from their eyes, and had snakes for tails. Which, yeah, was way better than what I was thinking. We talked this over for awhile and decided to call these creatures “pandavars.”

To choreograph the fight scene, Abby and I got out our Electric Team toys and some stuffed animals and staged the fight on the living room rug. Our previous fight scene, with the Electric Team vs. the vegetroids, was in the heroes-versus-an-indiscriminate-mass-of-foes style, which is a handy way to introduce your heroes and show off their abilities. This time, though, I wanted to have a specific number of enemies (3) and to keep track of where every character is at all times. It took some work–and by work, I guess I mean “play”–to plan it out, but we did, and came up with neat touches like the pandavar laser beaming Plant Man’s arm while Plant Man is trying to pull Leeta out of the quicksand. Once we knew what we wanted to happen, I then agonized over how to fit this sequence of events into a series of boxes that fit on a certain number of pages. Eventually I scripted the pages and sent the script off to Sam.

Sam really rose to the occasion. In the finished pages, she constantly reminds the reader where the characters are in relation to one another and keeps the flow of the action clear. Plus, she brings big excitement, like in this panel of Mr. Amazing zapping a pandavar:

Amazing Vs Pandavar

More impressively, look how she manages to fit every character into one panel, with multiple actions taking place simultaneously, and still keep it all clear to the reader:

Fight Scene

A comic book fight scene lives or dies based on its art, and I would say this scene lives, thanks to Sam.

But it’s not over yet! Be here Friday, to see Brianna and Mr. Amazing team up in brilliant pandavar-battlin’ action!