One of the personal aims when deciding to take the Comics Master course was to test my ability to draw a manga with a legitimate Manga style. When the 2000AD assignment came up, I felt it was an excellent assignment to challenge myself in this way. I chose the Cycle of violence script by Robbie Morrision because it showcased Dredd the most, and it was a story that I felt could be seen within a Manga context.
Fig. 1 images from Weekly Shounen Jump Season Special 1995
In Fig. 1, to my good luck, a Judge Dredd manga already existed, and it gave me precedence along with reference material for Dredd's design. The Manga was a season particular within Shounen Jump. Because it was from the mid-90s, Dredd has a very Power Ranger feel to him, which I loved because the Power Rangers are, in a sense, the Japanese embodiment of UK's Dredd, fighting evil and preserving justice, but in a Japanese way.
Fig. 2 Thumbnail to inked of Page 6
Fig.2 depicts my final design of Dredd, and I chose to simplify his costume and thin down some aspects of his helmet.
Fig. 3 panel 1 of page 3
Elements that make Manga feel like classic Manga are motion effect lines, expressions, sound effects, and halftones. Fig. 3 depicts my attempt to recreate those manga techniques. The Bang sound effect in Fig 2, composed of vertical text, uncommon in western comics, was also inspired by Manga SFX.
Fig. 4 Page 2 lettering
The final element that I feel makes work become truly Manga is the lettering. This was the most significant challenge for me in this assignment. The Dredd script, as it is a western script, is hugely text-heavy for a Manga. I felt that if I lettered the comic with western-style balloons and caption boxes, it would immediately detract from the manga feel. The left page in Fig. 4 was my first lettering attempt. Something commonly seen in Manga is square text boxes with a large amount of white space around the text (again, possible because the scripts are greatly deconstructed, and each page contains about ¼ of the text found here).
But as you can see in my first attempt in Fig. 4, the text was complicated to follow and crowded the entire page, ultimately detracting from the imagery. The right page in Fig. 4 was a second approach to lettering. Fuzzy balloon boxes are also standard in Manga, and I found that these balloons did not feel as overbearing as the other square ones while maintaining the manga effect.
Read the completed Pages here