Cliff Chiang discusses the art of NEIL YOUNG'S GREENDALE

Cliff Chiang discusses the art of NEIL YOUNG'S...

By DCE Editorial Monday, June 21st, 2010
I love the challenge of storytelling. You know, really digging in, getting your hands dirty with the narrative, trying to figure out what the readers need from a scene. It's hard to pick just a few pages out of 153 as my favorites, but I'd have to say that I had the most fun (and trouble) with Sun's protest scene. It's the climax of the story, where Sun finally finds the courage to speak out to the community and realizes that her voice can make a difference. It's also her last showdown with the sinister Stranger. One of the things I love most about Josh's script is its sincere, human quality. This scene was no exception, but something kept tugging at me. As originally written, the scene consisted solely of Sun's passionate speech to the crowd. I worried that it wasn't visual enough, and early on debated with Josh about bringing in some more of the supernatural elements we'd woven into the book. He was adamantly against it: "Superpowers cannot save the day." And Josh was right. This was above all a book about moving ordinary people to act. In the weeks leading up to drawing those pages, I kept revisiting Josh's argument in my head, until I called him one more time to talk about it. We'd left Sun's "dream" encounters with the monstrous Goat-Man unfinished; what if I found a way to work that into the scene, as a symbolic representation of her speech? Or, in cruder comic book terms, what if they had a battle on the astral plane? (Ha, nerd!) Josh nervously agreed, and I dove back into the script, tweaking and condensing, not sure myself if it would actually work. Could I have my cake and eat it too? Miraculously, it DID work, and both Josh and our editor Karen wholeheartedly approved of the changes. I'm proud of how it turned out, but above all I'm grateful for the generous collaborative spirit that allowed me the freedom to question and reimagine the script. That's a rare quality, but that spirit permeated the entire project and it's what made Greendale such a wonderful creative experience for me. Cliff gd-pencils-page-142 greendale-1142600 gd-pencils-page-143 greendale-1143600 gd-pencils-page-144 greendale-1144600