Comic Book Resources brings you an overview of Archaia Entertainment’s “How To Tell A Better Story Through World Building” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, written by Andy Liegl. Hosted by Archaia Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Christy, the panel featured ‘Mouse Guard‘ creator, David Petersen, ‘Rust‘ creator, Royden Lepp, and ‘Cursed Pirate Girl‘ creator, Jeremy Bastian.
Christy began by citing key elements which go into successful world building and the implementation of those ideas on the printed page: Characters and costumes, culture, history, language and colloquialisms, and location and architecture. Christy said the process is almost theatrical in nature — what goes into making a great world in the sequential format are all elements representative in the best stage productions throughout history. He cited William Shakespeare and how each of these elements are integral to his works; even in 2012 his works can be altered to present the same play in a different context (such as a western-themed “Macbeth”).
“This is a different discussion from plot or story,” Christy said before posing a question to his panelists. “That’s part of it — but you have to start from scratch with a blank page. How did you guys do it?”
“I started late in terms of design,” Petersen said. “‘Mouse Guard’ is a comic about medieval mice with swords. My main characters all wear cloaks. I originally had them naked but then thought it didn’t work.” He continued to describe how each city in “Mouse Guard” has a unique culture. At times he had to get literal in creating the environments of these locales — what do they provide naturally? If it’s sandy, the garb of the locals and the look of the buildings should represent that element, coarse and rough.