HA Stories

Series 2
ironhand at 2:49PM, June 1, 2013
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So I've been pretty quiet the past few months, solely because I've been having brainstorms for other projects and ideas swirling around for later issues of HA. One thing that is pretty cool is that me and abt will be working on the finale of HA Series 1 together. That is really exciting and I can't wait to get started on that. So I got down to thinking earlier and one of the main things in my mind is season 2. What would be different/similar to the 2 series? So I'm going to throw down my ideas here and there–anyone feel free to have a discussion about what the general rough idea of series 2 could be and thoughts.
So the main idea I'm aiming towards is setting a completely different tone. I think Series 1 has worked insanely well as the same tone seems to be consistent. We've shown the team gather and grow and basically, throughout the series have shown what good this team can do together and their importance. They have been victors over their every battle (so far - I can't predict the future!) - this isn't a bad thing obviously, just merely stating the facts. Now, for series 2. I say we try and change the bright tone we've had throughout series 1. Let's go a touch darker. Dark as in it's tougher to see who's going to win the battle, tougher threats and a general dark mood. Let's see what happens when we push these characters down like they've never been before in their own stories or in the first series of HA. I think the story of JOD that's been thrown around is a cool idea of what I mean, in that it becomes veyr personal to the characters and puts them in places that they, and the readers, will not be comfortable in. Not to say they won't win the battles, but will they come with more costs etc? I already have one or two stories in my mind that are alot more darker than they have been so far and will really differentiate itself from other issues.
I also think series 2 should focus and hone in on perhaps the characters just a little more too. Series 1, understandably, has been about introducing new characters we've not seen before (my character The Bujin, for example) and also highlighting existing characters in ways we've not seen before. Perhaps series 2 could even moreso focus in on these now established HA members, show how they work as a team and individually as well their relationships with one another.
What's good about something going on for as long as HA has is that boy, do we have our fairshare of villains to choose from. I think series 2 could be a way to showcase neverseen/invented villains before that are exclusive only to HA and it gets to the point where some villains can return and be a specific threat to HA and a proper “rogue” - but new challenges are something I'm excited about (this comes with every issue, of course, but perhaps have a different spin on villains in series 2?)
So to sum up, the main point I would make is lets make the tone of series 2 a little darker. We've shown the growth and the strengths of the team, let's put them to test and push them all to their limits and see if they can handle it. Let's have threats never seen before and perhaps old faces too and lets introduce new characters but make sure the established characters get development too,
Feel free to pass suggestions on, guys. This chat and suggestions will help give an idea to me and abt of what the finale of series 1 could act as for a closing to the series and as a springboard to the next series.
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irrevenant at 9:16PM, June 2, 2013
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Personally I think the tone of HA is great and wouldn't want to see it change too much.  Mainstream comics are fill of obnoxiously dark stories nowadays and HA is a nice bright spot of fun and idealism.  It already has enough dark, IMO, with Bombshell's covert agenda and all.  (I suspect this may be mostly an issue of terminology tho, as my suggestions largely mirror yours). 


I agree that it would be good to have some recurring villains and some stories where HA at least temporarily loses.


It would also be good to have more of an overarching story arc for Season 2 (bit still with room for episodic stories).


Perhaps we could have an overall epic mastermind villain for Season 2?  That allows for some back-and-forth:  Villain initiates stage one of his plan, HA confront him, are soundly defeated and the villain waltzes off victorious. There are a few episodic stories while HA simultaneously works on what the villain's overall plan is and how to stop him.  One of the villain's minions acts and HA barely manage to stop him. This draws the villain's ire and he attacks and destroys HA Headquarters - which as a bonus keeps them busy while his minions advance Phase 2. HA will eventually be victorious but the road to victory will never appear certain. In fact it should appear increasingly UNcertain - which can be tricky to pull off without appearing Deus Ex Machina-ey in the final act. 


(Hmm, if you use the Leviathan story arc, maybe HA could move into Atlantis after their HQ is destroyed…) 


I'd love to see even more of a ‘JLU’ feel for Season 2 where the HA core team is supplemented by a large number of auxiliary members, allowing each issue to be a mix of familiar and new characters. 


It would be good to focus on the individual characters a LITTLE more, but ultimately it's an ensemble title. IMO, HA suffers a bit from a lack of ongoing comic titles for its individual members. JLA doesn't have to spend much time focussing on (for example) Superman 'cos he has his own comic book for that.


I'm very wary of spreading too thin, but in the absence of individual titles, perhaps individual character stories would be better handles in a separate anthology title -  a bit like Heroes Unite Chronicles was going to be.


Hmm, this all gives me an  idea for a villain. I'll post him in the villains thread… 
JimHarbor at 10:15PM, June 11, 2013
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Personally, I really am found of character. Particularly SHELL and the Conti/Nat/Relik trinity. Good superheroes are all bases on fundamental character aspects. Whether it be Spider-Man's determinist desire for good in the face of hard luck, Batman's war against tragedy, or Superman's pure hope it always pushes. What I really would be satisfied with doing would be a series of stories around these icons of the universe Nat has been though so much, and she is my favorite character because she combines so many things i like. A Realpolitik loving hard commander(like Amanda Waller or Nick Fury) a hero who has made a mistake and wants to atone (Hal Jordan or animated Hawkwoman) and of course, red hair (glasses are a plus) So I would love to have her explore the shades of grey she's gone though; kind of a self aware redemption process. Relil is awesome and what's coming up with him is bound to be as well, so I would just love to detail how he deals with the whole actor concept. As both alien and “human” parts of his identity revolve around. Conti is amazing. Abt made a great character, the backstory, the Marstonian empowerment design, her wonderful relationship with Nat. All a beautiful composition. She is like the best character to play off Nat, like Kirk and Spock. SHELL is so great in any shape or form that I would kill for more of his original series. His issues with superhumans, his very Japanese outlook (Even his book's old school manga or his very modern robin feel) just make a great character. Samurai Jack mixed with Iron Man. I'd really live to just write ongoing for all of these but alas, they way the cookie crumbles I've instead made a series of “plot packets” Little story ideas or themes that i keep in a folder. The idea is that even if I can't write or do a particular issue or order or story, the general idea can come up again somewhere else. Maybe even in another writers comic! Hah. But as it is , if i took every idea(at least within 1 “series”) i had it would ads up to, lets see around six issues if I had total free reign, bit since I know I don't I might have to compress or cut them up into any other manner to get it going (I mean, I still haven't set up Equilibrium :P) Things are so much simpler at premiercomics.com but hey different formats eh? The Heroes:Universe idea might still be a good concept for an “in-between seasons thing” eh? Teal dear this rant As long as I get to play with other people's toys im happy =D
Althougj i wonder if we cpuld have it where we sit down and in oice everhthing we think were capable of doing in the set period of time for a “series” (with a proper margin of error of course) and then just budget out issues and page counts t people.
like.if (pulling random numbers) we came up with 9 issues/ 150-200 pages we could carve that up to pelple to make stories.
just a thought.
ironhand at 10:14AM, Feb. 20, 2014
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Another thing to discuss would be the character arcs. Who's going to evolve over the season?
I'd also like to see one big “powerhouse” and then a “street” episode to show the scope of the HA, how big they are and the the different threats they face. 
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irrevenant at 4:40PM, Feb. 22, 2014
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Riffing off Ironhand's Street vs Powerhouse comment, there've been ideas floating around for a while about starting a separate series for shorter HA tales that focus on a subset of the HA team and potentially introduce new ones.  It might make more sense to splice those stories directly into the main HA series in Series 2 as “HA Interludes” or similar.  It'd get more eyeballs AND it would help break up the pacing of HA so it's not all epic slugfests.

In fact it'd be great to have a few short stories that are just about the characters with no biffo at all.  This SHELL story (which looks like it was originally written as an HU Adventure) is entertaining, fleshes out the characters and is both amusing and endearing.  IMO, we could use a bit more of that in HA.  But I'm a softy. :D  You'd slot those stories into the narrative wherever you need to take a little ‘breath’ and recover - for example, between HA#2 and HA#3

I don't know about character evolution necessarily, but I'd like to learn more about Peligroso.  Dude is demon-powered and we know next-to-nothing about him.  Azumorph is another quiet achiever that we know little about.

If we do end up with a bunch of rookies, it might be fun to do a story that follows the ‘B’ team.  Showing my age here, but there was a very cool episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called ‘The Zeppo’ where the gang were faced with an impending apocalypse (again) but the episode made the A-plot about Xander, the unpowered human of the group struggling to deal with a smaller crisis while everyone else was busy.  The main gang fighting the apocalypse was covered incidentally whenever it happened to cross paths with Xander's story.  It was very effective, I suspect partly because watching the gang avert apocalypse HAD become routine by that point so the audience didn't mind it taking backseat for a change.  Something like: Roof Rat, Blue Jay(?) and maybe a newbie or two are on monitor duty while Heroes Alliance are off dealing with an earth-shattering threat.  A group of villains take advantage of the opportunity to attack HA HQ while it's lightly defended.  You'd hear a bit about the big fight through comms chatter, but HA would be too busy to return and it's up to the B Team to save the day.  (Note I'm borderline on Blue Jay - he's less powerful than some of the core team but he IS a veteran, so if it makes more sense for him to be off with them, we could sub him with someone else).

Regardless of which way things go, it'd be great to see more ongoing plots weaving their way through the season.  This season Bombshell's dealings have been about the only one.  I suspect it's largely an administrative/coordination issue - I doubt it's a coincidence that so far it's only happened with the one character that the central coordinator has absolute freedom with.  The solutions around that one are probably also administrative, I guess?
last edited on Feb. 24, 2014 9:40PM
AzuJOD at 6:02PM, Feb. 22, 2014
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I can say that the stuff I have planned for my Army of JOD will give some much needed character development to Azumorph, because like it's been said he has been a quiet achiever (really quiet)

Also I agree with what was said earlier about HA being a good alternative to the darkness induced apathy that is mainstream comics. They seem to think that superheroes shouldn't have happy lives. I understand that as writers we are not supposed to make the characters lives easy, but that does not mean we have to make them completely miserable!
ironhand at 3:29AM, Feb. 23, 2014
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I completely agree, I'm also a big sucker for “talking heads” and character development - and have been contemplating the idea of having a calm issue where we just show the team dynamics and build on character more to see the different relationships. Like you said, this would take serious planning as each creator would have to say what direction their character could go this season etc. 
I think, as a season, we need to try and work out where we want to be at the end and which plot points/character developments/villains etc we would need to bring in to take us to that end - so there's a build up from the beginning - and the final payoff does feel like a well-deserved finale. Not of course, that this season doesn't have that, because let me tell you: the ending is going to be pretty damn awesome - but more plot points involving the different characters would be great to see.
As for the “dark” aspect, I more meant let's push some of the characters out of their comfort zones and see what they makes them tick. Again, this comes down to characters - so we would have to see the different dynamics there to see what makes them tick. Like I said, it's not a bad thing with the heroes winning, but perhaps a loss (and then a recovery to show how badass they are) would be really cool. Again, this would take a lot of work when it comes to planning the season, because we would really need to discuss where we want to be by the end.
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irrevenant at 7:16PM, Feb. 23, 2014
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Yup yup.  I personally think it would work well to apply sometching like the three act structure to Season 2 as a whole, with things getting worse and worse until the heroes turn it around at the end. I'm far too humble to point out that my proposed villain Shard would work great for this. :P

Thus far HA has been very episodic, which is cool but, because the loose ends are all tied up by the end of each episode it can come across to the reader as everything going HA's way - even though they struggle hard and suffer setbacks within each issue itself.

I wasn't necessarily suggesting a single ‘talking heads’ episode with all of HA in it (though a dedicated “downtime” episode would be cool) - I was thinking more of spreading it across a number of shorter episodes, located either within or between the individual issues.  That would also serve to provide ‘quiet moments’ in the main arc and potentially to underscore it. For (completely made up) example, after HA's pyrrhic victory vs the pink pirate bunny legions, HUB and Azumorph go to Australia to check in on their families amongst all the devastation. (P.S. Please don't blow up Australia just ‘cos its conveniently far away - DC did that to us already, and we quite like it here!). Wouldn’t hurt to show our heroes doing some post-battle cleanup anyway…
last edited on Feb. 23, 2014 7:38PM
shastab24 at 9:41PM, Feb. 23, 2014
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Character development is great.  I could definitely imagine Astral and Sparkle building their relationships with the resto of the cast, platonically and on the off-chance of romantically (that's a big leap, of course).  Plus, the two have their issues to work through: Astral is headstrong, not really thinking strategy and doesn't think much of a group dynamic, and Sparkle is shy and emotional.
 
But how they would interact initially: Astral is an incorrigible flirt (in his astral form) and would probably be the one man on the team unafraid to hit on Bombshell (considering his astral form impervious to her retaliation–maybe not thinking that she can hurt his physical form), and he would probably settle in easily with any of the comic book geeks on the team (who sould those be?).  Sparkle is very shy and likes to hang around Astral, though she's nursing a crush on Brad Stone (though likely intimidated by him as Relik).  She can warm to people if she knows them, though, and that could possibly be an arc with her: coming into her own as a social person.
ironhand at 11:29PM, Feb. 23, 2014
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I quite like the idea of the stories being sort of episodic because it seems structured like a TV series or something. Perhaps have three two-parters (beginning, middle and end?) and the rest are single episodes - but all have a closely knit storyline. Obviously this is a little too hard to talk about when Season 1 isn't finished yet (but will have an awesome ending) - but we could start thinking, anyway.
I'd also like to see the heroes do something other than fighting the badguys. It'd sort of show that they really did take what The Bujin said into account.
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irrevenant at 1:58AM, Feb. 24, 2014
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I wasn't suggesting that each issue not contain a standalone story. The current way works really well. I was suggesting that, in addition to containing a standalone story, most issues also progress the overall season story arc. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Doctor Who. (Conversely, by an ‘episodic series’ I mean one where there's no overall story arc and you can basically watch the episodes in any order. For example The Simpsons). 

Generally there are two or three stories per season that progress the season arc in a big way while the rest nudge it along a little bit or just remind the reader about it.  Dr Who often employs a particularly sneaky variant where the groundwork for the season arc is laid by individual episodes, but in a way that's inobvious until everything comes together for the end of the season arc.
ironhand wrote:
I quite like the idea of the stories being sort of episodic because it seems structured like a TV series or something. Perhaps have three two-parters (beginning, middle and end?) and the rest are single episodes - but all have a closely knit storyline.  
last edited on Feb. 24, 2014 2:37AM
Nepath at 5:08AM, Feb. 24, 2014
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irrevenant has a good idea there. Take a leaf out of HU Adventures book and do small features that focus on the characters who are getting less airtime.
It would be a good incentive for creators and contributors as well. I for example would be more willing to work on a little side project and hand it over when it's done that commit in advance to x number of pages for a comic to then find when it finally rolls around that im pushed and can't do it.
.
My suggestion is that you start a Forum Thread somewhere for people to effectively authorise the use of a character for a short story. They could put their strict dos and don't and then anyone who is interested can simply go and work on something with one of those characters. Once they have a finished piece it goes to Abt_Nihil to be “slotted in” when theres a gap.

Abt_Nihil at 8:13AM, Feb. 24, 2014
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I'm completely behind all this. However, I need to say that the “focus more on characters” and “have more HU-Adventures-like short-shorties” points have been made repeatedly on the forums - really, the only thing that's left is to actually DO them :) I would happily slot them in anytime, and I think Nepath has a good point regarding creating a forum thread like that.
 
Regarding the “administrative” aspect irrevenant mentioned, that is very true: I can easily plan arcs for my own characters and ensure that bits and pieces will be inserted into the individual chapters. For other characters, I very much depend on external input.
irrevenant at 9:11PM, Feb. 24, 2014
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Nepath's idea of a ‘permissions list’ for characters is genius. It would certainly clear up a significant amount of red tape. 

On top of that, I think it would help a lot if we had a less clunky way than the forums for creators to keep in touch, coordinate and discuss more confidential story aspects.

It's hard to go past email (maybe even a private group mailing list?) for that. I don't know how comfortable people are with giving out their email addresses, though.

IMO, part of the issue holding back “HUA-style shorts” is that HU was this massive global organisation where quirky standalone stories like “Fighter and Kat” didn't seem out of place.  HA is much smaller with a more consistent core team so there's less room to create short stories that still feel like part of HA.  You pretty much feel like you have to include at least one core member of the team - which brings us back to the issues and ambiguities around working with other creators and their characters… 
AzuJOD at 11:56PM, Feb. 24, 2014
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What if instead of calling them “Heroes Alliance Adventures” we call them "Heroes Universe Adventures". That way can tell stories about anything H-Universe related, regardless of whether they're HA members or not. We could do stories focusing on the villains if we wanted.
irrevenant at 12:49AM, Feb. 25, 2014
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Interesting you should say that - I was just thinking a short from a villain's perspective could be very cool.

re: Heroes Universe Adventures - it really depends what we intend to achieve with the series.  Discussion has been largely assuming that this will be a part of HA to flesh out areas that are currently largely unaddressed - to explore quieter character moments and tell HA stories that are too short to make up an entire issue.

A series that goes beyond HA to explore the wider HUniverse would also be awesome.  Personally I'd be happy to see both series happen (though the HA one may not actually be a separate series from HA proper).  They each bring something unique to the table.  I don't know how practical that would be, though.
AzuJOD wrote:
What if instead of calling them “Heroes Alliance Adventures” we call them "Heroes Universe Adventures". That way can tell stories about anything H-Universe related, regardless of whether they're HA members or not. We could do stories focusing on the villains if we wanted.
last edited on Feb. 25, 2014 12:56AM
Abt_Nihil at 6:12AM, Feb. 25, 2014
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I think HA's structure as an organization (as opposed to how HU was structured) is a problem in theory only. The main point of HA is to integrate superhero characters from dd, and I don't see why any character anyone would want to tell a story about who belongs to the HUniverse couldn't also be an HA story. We've had many characters on HA who have never been formally introduced, but where we only assumed that they had been made part of HA off-screen. And now, with R.I.S.E. (starting in the next chapter), we even have a team of more shady/morally ambiguous characters and villains.
 
I certainly wouldn't mind having stories about characters (whether they're heroes or villains) who have no direct connection to the HA core team, aside from living in the same universe. The way I see it, this fact alone enriches the stories we tell which DO revolve more closely around the core team.
 
This shouldn't mean that I'd want to run any story about any character (I mean, basically any dd character can be an HUniverse character as well, so in some way, many dd comics are potential HUniverse comics :p), but rather that we have a lot of characters who have had much to little screen time, and that it would be great to have stories about them.
last edited on Feb. 26, 2014 4:13AM
ironhand at 11:17PM, Feb. 25, 2014
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I agree that the universe could really be expanded on. If there was a thing such as Heroes Universe, then I would almost defintiely have to write and draw something on Amalgam because that guy is so damn cool. 
In terms of Season 2, what we all seem to agree on is that there needs to be a more interconnected plot going on throughout the season. With these, we would also have to discuss when the payoff for each plot would be - and preferably they would happen at different times. I have ideas spinning around for future issues and plot points that would need to be discussed. Of course, talking about Season 2 is pretty hard at the minute seeing as we've not done the finale of Season 1 yet. But we all seem to agree on what we want when it arrives. Character development is what I've tried to do with the issues I have done so far (for example, Amalgam and Bujin in my ninja issue) and I definitely intend to write more like that when the time comes.
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SympleSymon at 8:34PM, March 11, 2014
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Hey everyone, I'm back - for really reals this time :D

Just want to say how amazed I've been with the work so far in HA, and how genuinely shocked, honoured and humbled that of all the characters, ideas and pieces contributed to this amazing community project, it's Amalgam who seems to be getting the majority of love. And I can't take all the credit for that - sure, I created him, but I did it for YOU GUYS, and you've really breathed new life into him and, to an extent, CLAW as well (I'm sure they're still skulking around *wink-wink*).

But to keep this thread on topic I guess I'll just put it out there that everything people have mentioned are things I've taken into consideration when planning/writing the Villians Unite story, which was originally going to be the season 2 finale, with plot seeds already being sown (defeated villains busted from captivity and “offered” employment with a mysterious new benefactor (Like that spa woman from the fan service issue, Ms Ari I think it was?).
Anyways, i won't rehash the past otherwise this post will be miles long, but basically I was thinking maybe other than have villains freed or going missing, that small, seemingly incorrect things happen from time to time that readers might question as a writer having misunderstood a character's powers or history, or simply having Bombshell turn blonde… because in the finale it would turn out that CLAW is in fact alive and well, and working hand-in-hand with Aburamushi, the Oni Lord and Time Parasite, who's basically sent teams of villains back to alter our heroes' pasts to aid thier plans in the present (I think DC did something like this ages ago, I may be imagining it though?), but with the added bonus that the demon is able to then leech of those heroes stolen pasts to create their malevolent dopplegangers - I remember we had some really cool art of Anti-Bombshell as a neo-nazi type figure, and a few other…. The finale would be a last-ditch effort to save the world and the continuity across time and shifting realities.

Wellll…. that was the idea before I went all AWOL on you guys. Not quite sure what the plans are now, or if I'm even involved or welcome :P
Just my two cents, either way.
Dave
Retake - What happens when a movie star goes from portraying a hero on the silverscreen to becoming one in real-life? Nothing good…

http://www.drunkduck.com/Retake
ironhand at 5:48AM, Sept. 14, 2014
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I know it is still reasonably early to talk about this as we are still not really on the home-stretch to the finale of the current series, but I thought I'd come back to it so we could talk ideas.
I like irrevenants idea mentioned earlier on about a 3-part season story, in a way. Perhaps structuring the series where we advance the overall plot every 4 issues or there-abouts…so the payoff at the end will definitely feel rewarding. Obviously this season-wise plot would have to be introduced in the first issue then advanced upon bit by bit as the series progresses. But this is something we can all discuss once the current series is over (as I'm co-writing the finale, I know where things are going to be left at the end so am jumping ahead)
Just a thought, what if we had one issue every series which acts as a “service” issue or is a little…“whackier” than the others? For instance, this Series we had the great fanservice issue, so what if next series we explore another genre for one issue and play on something like that? I'm totally stealing this idea from FRINGE (if anyone watched that) where every episode 19(or something) of every series was always completely different than any other…having a musical episode, for instance.

Apart from that, I'd just thought I'd come by and say I came up with a standalone story idea recently that I think would fit slot nicely into Series 2.
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last edited on Sept. 14, 2014 12:23PM
irrevenant at 8:59PM, Sept. 14, 2014
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I definitely don't think it's too early to start working on Season 2.  It'll require significantly more planning than Season 1.  There'll be a number of slots for standalone episodes, but the arc ones will have to be at least roughly plotted out in advance, and there may be flow-on effects for the standalone episodes. For example, if the big bad blows up HA's headquarters in issue 3, then issue 4 will have to reflect that even if the main plot is about something unrelated. (HA will have to meet in an empty gym or something when planning their response to the invasion of the tennis monkeys. :D).


I'd say probably dedicate more episodes than one-in-four to advancing the main story arc. Assuming season two is twelve episodes like season one (and it seems to be a pretty good length), then every 4th episode would only give you 3 arc episodes including the finale.  I'd say have 4-5 arc episodes (including the finale) and touch on the arc lightly in 2-3 of the standalone episodes.


It's probably worth following the pattern often used by TV series where the amount of arc-related episodes increases the closer you get to the end. So the arc-heavy issues might be 2, 6, 9, 11 and 12 with issues 4, 8 and 10 touching on it in passing (to roughly the same sort of degree that the “Bombshell's machinations” subplot got touched on in series one) .


This is, of course, a suggested guideline rather than a firm rule.


Note that I suggested starting the arc on episode 2 rather than episode 1.  This assumes that there will be some aftermath from the S1 finale to be cleaned up, and that we want to establish a status quo again before disrupting it.  That really does depend on the nature of the Season 2 arc and the Season 1 finale, though.


I like the idea of having a “wacky” episode in there (and it would probably be good to drop it in-between two darker ones to break up the tension).  That is, of course, reliant on someone actually writing one. :)


I've had a vague idea for a while of doing an HA story featuring Chaos and Monsieur Monkey that would be light in tone. That could be suitable.


It'd be good to get CDMalcolm's Solarcell stuff in there too (not the same episode!).

You've also gotten me thinking that I'd like to write up a script for that “Leviathan” idea we had a while back. Hmm… 
ironhand at 4:38AM, Sept. 15, 2014
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I think the overall ark should be touched upon as much as possible (maybe only just slightly mentioning it, for instance in one issue) but by every 4 issues, I meant it would advance heavily further. I actually don't think the overall ark should really amount to TOO much until the finale (as you said, if we were to destroy the HQ, for example)
As we talk about it, the thing that mainly comes to mind for me is Dr Who (which has already been mentioned)…but one series in particular where they were dealing with the “cracks” in the universe. They'd pretty much appear in every episode, but only every 3-5 episodes or so, they'd actually expand on the idea a little more…working out what it was and uncovering more it's secret. Then, of course, in the finale…it was all about the cracks. Maybe if we did something a little more subtle like that than instead, blowing up the HQ or having a returning villain every now and again. Or maybe having a growing villain would work nicely…it's pretty hard to tell at this point without spoiling what the status quo will be like. More a mystery would be nice to work on, but that would take great care when planning the series (it would have be so that we knew roughly what would happen in each issue so that we could decide when the information would be revealed etc.)
Onto 2-Parters, where do we stand on these? In the series, we had two 2-Parters, which is 1/2 11/12. Do you think we should stick to that or shall we add in more/less? Maybe moving their positioning would be cool…it depends on the story planned. Also depends on how we actually want to structure the series. I'm the type of writer who usually likes to plan pretty much everything from an early stage (I already know pretty much how every issue in the New Guard will go XD)
I'll have to go back and look up the Leviathan story, I can't remember it much. The story I have might work nicely towards the beginning(ish) of the series, as it could easily work as a good way to show more character-work following the status-quo change…especially considering as usually the first issue could be more action-y.
Do we think it'd be good to almost act like a TV-Series and discuss exactly what will happen in the series and then allocate an episode to a writer etc…with abt being the “showrunner”? It could make the series more coherent that way.
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irrevenant at 7:21AM, Sept. 15, 2014
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Re: pacing of the arc, IMO a lot of that comes down to the nature of the arc itself.  We definitely don't want the HA equivalent of the Daleks showing up every 3rd episode. But if the threat is broad and diverse then we can get away with more arc episodes than if it were more standardised and consistent.  If you look at something like the first half of Season 6 Doctor Who, almost every second episode was an arc episode - but they were all different and their interconnectedness didn't become obvious until “A Good Man goes to War”.  I think 3-4 arc-heavy episodes is a good rule of thumb though.

Re: 2-parters, I asked Abt_Nihil about that once and his answer made a ton of sense: It really depends on where the natural breaks fall in the story.  HA7 was longer than HA1 and HA2 put together, but it made sense to make it one issue because it was one long sprawling story with no convenient break points.  HA1 and HA2, on the other hand, had a good natural break point in the middle of the story so it made sense to make it two issues.  So I'd say stick to it if it makes sense and don't if it doesn't. :)

I'm a planner myself, or try to be.  I've drawn four (unpublished) pages of Chaos and I already have the first season planned out issue by issue xO.  But I suspect a creative community-based project like HA needs more flexibility.  Each creator has their own style and ideas, and detailed pre-planning would stifle that.  I suspect a good balance is to plan the 3-4 arc-heavy episodes and leave the community the freedom to come up with the individual stories in the spaces in-between.  Depending on the nature of the arc it might impact the standalone stories a little bit but that should be limited to broad guidance like “If you can, please include a mysterious glowing crack in one of your scenes” and “Assume that HA HQ will be unavailable from episode 6 onwards ('cos it's blown up)”.  (I'm not necessarily pushing for HA HQ to be blown up, BTW - it's just a good example of how changes made in the main arc can have an impact on otherwise non-arc episodes).

I see Abt_Nihil as already being HA's showrunner. :)

The outline for Leviathan is at http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/173638/?page=18#2962100 .  I'm looking at tightening up some of the specifics.
ironhand wrote:
I think the overall ark should be touched upon as much as possible (maybe only just slightly mentioning it, for instance in one issue) but by every 4 issues, I meant it would advance heavily further. I actually don't think the overall ark should really amount to TOO much until the finale (as you said, if we were to destroy the HQ, for example)
As we talk about it, the thing that mainly comes to mind for me is Dr Who (which has already been mentioned)…but one series in particular where they were dealing with the “cracks” in the universe. They'd pretty much appear in every episode, but only every 3-5 episodes or so, they'd actually expand on the idea a little more…working out what it was and uncovering more it's secret. Then, of course, in the finale…it was all about the cracks. Maybe if we did something a little more subtle like that than instead, blowing up the HQ or having a returning villain every now and again. Or maybe having a growing villain would work nicely…it's pretty hard to tell at this point without spoiling what the status quo will be like. More a mystery would be nice to work on, but that would take great care when planning the series (it would have be so that we knew roughly what would happen in each issue so that we could decide when the information would be revealed etc.)
Onto 2-Parters, where do we stand on these? In the series, we had two 2-Parters, which is 1/2 11/12. Do you think we should stick to that or shall we add in more/less? Maybe moving their positioning would be cool…it depends on the story planned. Also depends on how we actually want to structure the series. I'm the type of writer who usually likes to plan pretty much everything from an early stage (I already know pretty much how every issue in the New Guard will go XD)
I'll have to go back and look up the Leviathan story, I can't remember it much. The story I have might work nicely towards the beginning(ish) of the series, as it could easily work as a good way to show more character-work following the status-quo change…especially considering as usually the first issue could be more action-y.
Do we think it'd be good to almost act like a TV-Series and discuss exactly what will happen in the series and then allocate an episode to a writer etc…with abt being the “showrunner”? It could make the series more coherent that way.
ironhand at 8:02AM, Sept. 15, 2014
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Pacing-Wise, that is very true. At the minute the best idea that comes to mind (out of the ones I've seen) seems to be your Shard/Nth story. In fact, that does quite remind me of the “cracks” from Dr Who that I mentioned…it's a long time away yet and we have to see others opinions, but perhaps glimpses of the shards here and there could build to something. Maybe a few tweaks (where you said it was another universe coming through, maybe we could go even a little vaguer…something I may have to explain to you in an email as it could spoil something I may/may not bring up in the finale of this Series)…but the more I think about it, it could really work. 
I agree with the two-parter theory, too…as well as the planning. Like you said, a more controlling/guiding hand on the ark-episodes is necessary. We could also let any of the writers pick up on the ark in their standalones, too, if they wished…just not as much. For instance, I integrated Bombshell's dirty-dealing into the ninja issue without really being told it would move her ark onward. 
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Abt_Nihil at 7:05AM, Sept. 18, 2014
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posts: 1,459
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(1) I agree with what the two of you are saying :)
 
(2) As for individual chapters: I think “Leviathan” would be a nice chapter to have in maybe the first quarter of the season, along with SympleSymon's “Psychosis Wave”. And perhaps AzuJOD's JOD story, depending on whether we need to set it up first or can make it self-contained. Also, we should look through the story pitches again and see whether anything particularly lends itself (at least I would have to look, but maybe you remember off the top of your head). Other than that, we'll see who's available to write something. My first priority is still to get people to write what they LIKE to write, not what HA requires them to wrote.
 
(3) We should really REALLY make sure that in season 2 we can get some of the short stories we've been talking about forever.
 
(4) As for the overall arc: I agree with the structural things you said. What I'd add is to work out a bit how the arc affects some of the characters, and to remember to write these things into the chapters. My personal preference would be something like: Have a character who goes through some major changes connected to the arc. And have another bunch of characters who are somehow (if only temporarily) affected by it. I.e. what happens should make a personal difference for someone - it shouldn't just be building up a baddie or destroy HQ or something like that.
 
(5) We'll probably have the RISE story play out over maybe the first half of the season, so it would make sense to have the overall arc be somehow intertwined with it, or be connected to the fallout of the RISE storyline. I have the feeling that RISE won't be significantly affected by what's going to happen in the season 1 climax, so anything substantial must happen in season 2, and preferrably early on. Meaning: HA and RISE will, by their very nature, clash.
last edited on Sept. 18, 2014 7:22AM
ironhand at 7:43AM, Sept. 18, 2014
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posts: 323
joined: 7-29-2007
Abt_Nihil wrote:
(1) I agree with what the two of you are saying :)
 
(2) As for individual chapters: I think “Leviathan” would be a nice chapter to have in maybe the first quarter of the season, along with SympleSymon's “Psychosis Wave”. And perhaps AzuJOD's JOD story, depending on whether we need to set it up first or can make it self-contained. Also, we should look through the story pitches again and see whether anything particularly lends itself (at least I would have to look, but maybe you remember off the top of your head). Other than that, we'll see who's available to write something. My first priority is still to get people to write what they LIKE to write, not what HA requires them to wrote.
 
(3) We should really REALLY make sure that in season 2 we can get some of the short stories we've been talking about forever.
 
(4) As for the overall arc: I agree with the structural things you said. What I'd add is to work out a bit how the arc affects some of the characters, and to remember to write these things into the chapters. My personal preference would be something like: Have a character who goes through some major changes connected to the arc. And have another bunch of characters who are somehow (if only temporarily) affected by it. I.e. what happens should make a personal difference for someone - it shouldn't just be building up a baddie or destroy HQ or something like that.
 
(5) We'll probably have the RISE story play out over maybe the first half of the season, so it would make sense to have the overall arc be somehow intertwined with it, or be connected to the fallout of the RISE storyline. I have the feeling that RISE won't be significantly affected by what's going to happen in the season 1 climax, so anything substantial must happen in season 2, and preferrably early on. Meaning: HA and RISE will, by their very nature, clash.
I've just sent you an email with a plan me and irrevenent have come up with via email. I agree that we have to somehow move the characters along emotionally and capture their reactions (that is something that will need to be touched on closer to the time, I suspect…it's hard to tell at such an earily stage as we don't particularly know who it would affect)
I also agree it should be about what people want to write. I'm hoping there's enough gaps within the story to give freedom to everyone, even in the issues that might be more central to the season-plot.
I also agree with the short stories. I still want to write one for RISE and me and irrevenent are discussing a Chaos one at the minute. Hopefully one of them can get down before the current issues' end. 
Stop looking at my signature and read my comics!!

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