Comic Roots ….The History of WWHFA

My experimentation with comic story telling while flying in an online squad is what gave birth to the idea of “The Blue Max Project”.  I updated the blog this week to create links to the WWHFA Comics and  The Bloody April Journal under the “Source” page.  I will post later about “The Bloody April Journal”, but I thought it might be appropriate to give a bit of the story behind where the WWHFA comics came from.

Three years ago, I was stumbling along with the WingWalkers, trying to learn how to fly Rise of Flight and learn the joys of online play.  I naively posted on Sim Hq that I was going to host a mission and invited anyone interested to come fly with us.  This caught Fawlty’s attention at the Old Fokkers and he eventually called in The Black Haze.  I remember the first night  I offered to host I had no idea what kind of hardware was even required.  The server speed was crawling slow but everyone was very polite and said they had a good time. The idea continued to develop, we got stronger hosts and various members created better missions for us to fly.  What developed was six months and ten missions worth off competitive events with anywhere from 12 to 20 flyers.  It was great fun and for me a great introduction to the Wingwalkers, Squad Life and the Flight Sim online community as a whole.

I still couldn’t fly worth a crap, I couldn’t build missions, I really couldn’t host, so I tried to figure out what I could do to contribute.  I organized the events, I developed briefs and maps and creating “comic teasers” to advertise the events.  I  read my first set of AAR’s (after action reports) after the first event.  This was new to me and I didn’t realize how much people put into these creative writing efforts.  The AAR’s increased the immersion in the game by writing first person accounts of the action with a little story telling mixed in.  It got me thinking about what I might be able to do……

By using the in-game recorder, I found I could hunt around for interesting dogfights in the game and save screen shots.  The idea of doing a comic version of an After Action Report came to mind, and I spent hours digging thru the footage, much like a documentary producer, finding action that no one but the individual flyer may have witnessed.  I pieced together these screen shots into a comic format and started building a story around them. The real joy was when random events in the game started creating story lines that I had never considered.  The whole French Spy idea really developed when I accidently posted our strategy map on the enemy side before a key event.  It was fun for the other flyers as well because they knew that their heroics or incredible failures might show up in the comics a few weeks after they played the game.

Needless to say, I spent a lot more time working on the comic than learning how to fly, but it cemented my relationship with the squad and helped me build lasting friendships with many other flyers in the online flying community!  Please wander over to the “Sources” page and wonder thru these comics (Most are about ten meg pdf files)

The earliest comics where done in power point and really focused as mission briefs issued before the event and  documenting the dogfights after.  The story line was secondary.

WWHFA_Ex1

Gradually I started to introduce stronger story lines in the comic and add images from outside the game, digging thru google images to find stuff that extended the story and the graphics.  I also started using “Comic Life” software to give the graphics a more comic book look.  I filmed the mission, took screen shots, modified in Photoshop Elements, pasted into Comic Life and finally converted it into a single pdf…..It took hours….

WWHFA_Ex4

 

By the time I got to the final comic, I was actually doing mission building to create scenes to fill in around what actually occured during the event.  I also used photoshop to manipulate the screen shots and add events that didn’t actually happen at all.  The effort became much more story oriented.

WWHFA_Ex2

Sample Chapter and Sortie Posts Added!

Stepped back from the blog software and spent a little time this week creating some sample pages for the Chapter List and the Sorties List.  I’m past the half way point of outlining the book and my hope is to create a simple summary for each chapter and each dogfight in the format shown below.  These pages will become my reference guide and “cliff notes” if you will for the original story to use when I start my version of the story for the graphic novel.  Hoping it will be a resource I can fall back on.

If you go to the page labeled “Story Pages” you will now find a drop down menu with this first example page for Chapter 1

If you go to the page labelled “Sortie pages” you will find a drop down with this first example page for Sortie #1.

Building these pages is a way for me to “learn” the story.  It reveals itself to me a little differently every time I run thru it.

I have an idea in my head that if I get all of these built I may post them on some of the Aviation sites or Flight Sim sights on a weekly basis along with a single sketch cartoon almost like a weekly serial.    I think it would generate some interest in the blog and expose people to the authentic Blue Max story instead of the version Hollywood cooked up!

Salute!

WWGeezer

Welcome to “The Blue Max Project”

The site is only a skeleton, but she is up and running, so I guess I should introduce myself.  WWGeezer is my “call sign” or my uniform for those familiar with flying in a squad.  For the last three or so years I have been active member in the Wingwalkers, an online flying squadron with a twenty year history that has focused on Il Sturmovik and Rise of Flight flight sims. Besides hanging out with a great group of fellas ( and gals) it has opened up a rather unusual creative outlet for me.  Comic Art, Military History and Story Telling have merged into a project that this site is dedicated to.   More will be revealed as the project develops but the focus right now is in two areas

1. Getting the Blog whole and functional

2. Documenting the content of the original novel “The Blue Max” by Jack Hunter

I’m about half way thru outlining the novel, I will publish that first and than move into documenting the sorties in the book.

Will keep you posted as things develop!!

(Special Thanks to Sandman for setting me up with the domain for this Blog and for the Wingwalkers for letting me hang out here!!)