Behemoth in Paperback (US)

The day after tomorrow, Tuesday August 9, is the release date of Behemoth in paperback! So Keith and I made this poster for you all.

Click here for a wallpaper-size version.

And now for some more exciting news: The Uglies manga!

For those of you who haven’t seen this elsewhere on the interwebs, my OTHER big announcement at Comic Con was the upcoming manga based on the Uglies series. I say “based on” but rest assured, this isn’t simply the same story in graphic form. Instead, we’re telling much the same story as in the novels, but it’s all from Shay’s point of view. (So who’s we, you ask? More on that later.)

Now as you Uglies scholars know, Shay taught Tally everything she knew. Shay was involved in subversive activities long before the novels open, and was part of the Crims back then they were an ugly clique headed by . . . Zane. (Ugly Zane!)

And remember how Shay and Zane almost ran away to the Smoke together, but they both chickened out? Well, that’s the story they told Tally. But what really happened back then?

In these manga—three of them, about 180 pages each–we will tell all!

Okay, we includes me, Devin Grayson, Steven Cummings, and Yishan Li. That’s right, there are four of us. Here’s what we all do:

Devin is writing the scripts. She’s written lots of superhero comics, including a ton of Batman titles, but I was won over by a miniseries she created for Vertigo called User, which is about the fantasy lives of gamers in the real world.

Now you may be thinking, “Why didn’t you write it, Scott? Arne’t you, like, a writer and stuff?”

Rest assured, I outlined every book in detail, rewrote some bits, and approved every word. But, seriously, I don’t know how to write comics scripts! And part of wisdom is knowing what you can’t do. It’s been amazing to see Devin adapt this story to another medium, and get into the mind of Shay. (A great learning experience that I may put to use one day . . . )

Steven is the artist for the series. He’s drawn many western titles for DC and Marvel, and manga books for Tokypop and Udon. He lives in Japan, and has worked bravely through earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns. Again, I’ve paid close attention to everything, approving all the characters, costumes, technology, and the architecture of the Smoke, New Pretty Town, and other locales. Of course, Steven brings his own flair to the characters’ expressions and movements, and to the look and feel of the future. For me, it’s kind of like directing actors who have their own style.

Yishan is doing the toning and lettering for the series. In other words, she shades Steven’s art and adds the word balloons. Key steps, and ones I never really thought about much before this project. But you’ll see below how Yishan’s shading “lights” the scene.

Let me show you how this all works, starting with page 12 of the first manga.

We start with the script:

PAGE 12, panel one
ECU on Shay’s interface ring as she gently puts it down on a bedside table.

1 SHAY: Good night, stupid room.

Page 12, panel two
Pull back for our first establishing shot of Shay’s dorm room. It’s very small and very basic, the only truly decorative elements (IMPORTANT!) being huge software-generated pictures of Shay as a pretty taking up whole walls, larger-than-life and overwhelming (not all identical, though – some variations on the theme; some with weird plastic surgery, cat-like or whatever, but all recognizably Shay). Scott says wall screens are cheap tech in this world, so the images can be animated, changing between frames (though Shay would be used to this, so no need to draw undue attention to it, just let it give the visuals an extra futuristic kick). But these aren’t just projections, they’re mammoth, digitalized photo-posters.
There’s also a bed (see references at end of script), the previously mentioned bedside table with some kind of post-modern light, maybe a super utilitarian desk, and her hoverboard leaning beside a window just big enough for her to crawl through.
Shay has just put her interface ring down on the bedside table and is pulling down the blankets on her bed. She’s not dressed for bed, though, instead wearing her normal day uniform including her hoodie.
NOTE from Scott: we need one specific balloon shape (and maybe font) for objects talking. It can be fairly obvious and zappy.

2 ROOM/ tailless: Sweet dreams, Shay.
2 SFX:

Page 12, panel three
Shay pulls off the parka and shoves it under the covers…

3 CAPTION/SHAY: Got the coat-interior set close to body temp…

Page 12, panel four
…before shaping it to look as much like a person sleeping under the covers as possible.

4 CAPTION/SHAY: …not perfect…

Page 12, panel five
Shay then grabs her hoverboard…

5 CAPTION/SHAY: …but neither are the sensors in this bogus dorm.

Page 12, panel six
…and climbs with it out the window with a brief glance over her shoulder.

6 CAPTION/SHAY: Sometimes I think they want us to sneak out.


Okay, first I take a look at the script and add notes or edit dialog. Then Steven reads it and emails me and Devin with any questions. Once everything is clear to him, he does very rough “thumbnail sketches,” which look like this:

At this stage, I approve things like the furniture and the general flow of the page. I love all the high camera angles and such. We’ve already discussed ugly dorm rooms, which are really basic, kind of like a rustic summer camp. And of course Shay and her dorm uniform have already been drawn a few times and approved.

With my blessing, Steven moves onto the pencils stage.

As you can see, lots more details have appeared. I still love the page, but I’m leery of the books on the shelves at first, because there aren’t a lot of physical books in Tally’s city. But Shay does take handwriting classes, so I can imagine her keeping a diary or maybe having some old-fashioned books around. Plus, technologies don’t completely disappear. There are people who still write with fountain pens, after all.

Speaking of fountain pens, the next stage is inks!

I don’t usually have comments at the inks stage, because everything has already been approved (and it’s hard to erase now, dude!). But that’s okay, beacuse it’s starting to look pretty real.

Next it goes to Yishan for toning and lettering. And thus we have the final version:

Click here for the bigness!

So that’s basically how it works, except with more emails between me and Steven and Devin (and our editor) than I’ve let on, plus lots of up-front design work on costumes and characters, x 180 pages for each book.


But we are on our way, and the first manga will be out from Del Rey in May 2012. Of course, there will be lots of previews between now and then, especially after I get back from the Goliath tour.

Hope you like the look of things. Ask any Uglies manga questions you have below, and I’ll try to answer them in my next post.

58 thoughts on “Behemoth in Paperback (US)

  1. 1st comment!

    I always wondered how Shay and Tally’s hair looked. It was hard for me to picture anyone from the books because the only clues to how their hair looked like was a ‘frizzy’ for Tally’s hair, and black for Zane’s.

    But this looks awesome!

  2. I can’t wait to see the rest of the manga! At first, I was confused (I’m used to reading manga right to left) but I got the hang of it. Now that I have a taste, I must have more!! Uglies is getting much more popular! I can’t wait to see what else will happen!

  3. Pretty art is pretty!
    Okay, questions: Any particular reason you chose left to right instead of right to left?
    Two, regarding the Uglies light novel in Japan- did you try to branch out and make the characters look different from that one?

  4. wow, thats cool that the (sort of) uglies is getting made into a manga! thats totally awesome. i dont really read manga so much anymore but i think for scott-la i’ll do it!

  5. Hey again Scott, it was awesome to meet you (twice) at Comic Con! Where can we buy this manga? I’m excited to read it 🙂

  6. You should, like, give us a slight sneakity-peakity every so often. Just enough to make us want it more, you know?

  7. Here’s a question. How, if at all, do you think the creation of this manga will influence the making of the movie? Do you think the casting director will try to chose actors based on their appearance in the manga, etc. ?

  8. Well. This looks quite impressive, I must say, though I’ve never been a big fan of comic books or manga. What IS manga, anyway? What sets it apart from plain old comic books? Is it a different illustrating style or something? ‘Cuz I’ve read a good deal of The Walking Dead comic book and this doesn’t seem to deviate from that all that much. And if this is manga, what’s anime (which I hate) then?

    So it seems Uglies is quite the thing with you WesterFans, inferring that I should read it. So I will… eventually. After I’ve read Goliath multiple times I shall descend upon my local book store and purchase it as soon as funds allow.

  9. Great insight into the production process: love the way the comic scenes are framed! The cross-pollination between books, comics and movies is truly awesome.

  10. Joker-la, manga is anime in comic form, for a simple definition.

    For a complicated one, manga is the Japanese word for comics, much like anime is the slang for “Japanese animation.” Generally, Anime is based off Manga, (or light novels, but that makes everything complicated so I’m ignoring them, haha) much like we have book based movies here.
    If you don’t like anime, you prooobably won’t like manga.
    This is a bit different though, as it’s an American manga. I presume it will be your typical American comic, just in a typical anime style, and not have any normal anime-esque features you would dislike.

  11. It looks fantastic 🙂 I’m so excited to be seeing more of Shay, she is my favourite character out of Uglies because her motivations could stem from any number of things. Also, it’s almost like a shrine to beauty in the corner of her room. Fancy.
    Anyway, will any pages be in colour, or is it all going to be in black and white?

  12. This is great!:) When will we be able to buy the mangas? And, um, why isn’t the forum working???????

  13. So…is the the mysterious “Croy Project?”

    I hate manga, but I obviously will have to read this when it comes out.

    Also, there is very little description of the clothes in the whole series, so I got really excited to see Shay’s outfit! I honestly pictured dorm uniforms having a plaid kilt EXACTLY like the one in the illustration! Maybe someone important read my fanfic…JK LOLZ.

  14. Hey two things 1.realy cool manga I like all the detail and i think it will be interesting to see everything from her point of view 2.i know this is off topic but are the forums not working or is my internet being screwy

  15. I love manga! This is gonna be awesome! The only problem i ever have with movies or stuff like this is the characters are so different then what they were in my mind.

  16. So the forum isn’t working for anyone else either? That’s good, so it isn’t just the bi-polar rainbow leprechaun that lives in my attic screwing with the Internet connection.

  17. Sweet! This will certainly be interesting….can’t wait till it’s out.

    Scott, the forum isn’t working! All of the members are going to eat you now…

  18. @Fuhreesha, u have one of those too? thank god cuz i thought i was goin crazy or somethin! *laughs hysterically for no reason*

    P.S. never read manga before but have an open mind to this.

  19. @Hannah: Yes, of course I have one of those! Who doesn’t?

    I thought it was spelled “forums”, not “forumz”…MY WHOLE LIFE HAS BEEN A LIE! :UUUU

  20. First of all: UGLIES UGLIES UGLIES!
    I love how Uglies is totally blowing up, the more attention on it, the better. Same with Leviathan, which would make epic movies and comic books as well. I really don’t like manga, or anime but as long as it’s SW-based, I’ll give it a try.
    Also, I’m glad the forum isn’t totally screwy, it’s just being worked on. I was sort of spazzing out from with-drawl symptoms. It’s pathetic how much I enjoy going on there…

  21. This sounds really cool! I don’t know much about manga but I might read these.
    And I can’t wait until the forum is up again xD

  22. lol-you’d think I’d be more upset about the forum being down….but-Im ok 😛 hahah. the last time this happened-I lay on the couch and stared off into space. My mum thought something was seriously wrong 😛 ahahah.

    ‘Jump up and down HEY jump up and down HEY I don’t care what people say. Jump up and down HEY I’m gonna shout it out-I believe in jesus!’

    hehehe sorry-that song is stuck in my head from vbs and Echo’s post made me think of it 😛

  23. Yeah the forumz is being worked on!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I spent the day with forum withdrawal syndrome. I lay on the floor, in front of the computer having random seizures. -__-

    My only solace was thinking about Uglies manga. I even tried drawing my own. (in between seizures) But it was terrible. -__-

    * has seizure*

  24. Oi, Scottmeister. Dude. Maybe a little warning before you decide to update the forums? XD I shut my computer down after I got a 404 message….AFTER trying to reply to a conversation…and my reply was lengthy. Yes indeed. 4 sentences. *beams* Lucky for you, though, I pressed the ‘back’ button, Ctrl+C’d my post and then stuck it into a word document program thing BEFORE shuttin it down…..

  25. Yes, I agree with Clankinist. A warning might have been nice. Then again, maybe us forumers needed some time away, bahaha.
    @Echo, I’m just shocked you said that. *rolls eyes* 😀

  26. Nice! I do enjoy good comics and manga, so I’ll be sure to pick up this when it comes out! The only thing is- Shay looks a bit too pretty. Like, perfect face and hair and eyebrows and everything. I was curious for how the movie was going to handle it since the acters are usually all done up for movies, when for this one only pretties should be getting that treatment. I wonder how the other characters are going to translate into manga-form…

  27. uglies is being made into a movie!! gosh i havent been here in a while but ill sure pick it up! about everything else im lost! i need a fill in anybody care to fill me in?

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