After 25 years of creating children's books, comic strips and comic books, comic creator and artist Aaron Warner's latest creation uses photos of real people in place of hand drawn line art to tell the story of a haunted wild west-like town in "Ghost Canyon," a live-action comic book series Warner termed Photo Graphic Novels.
The total cast of 44 actors, friends and family members acted and posed in scenes so the actual script could be added later in word balloons, just like traditional comic books. And while there certainly have been photo comics in the past (technically referred to as "fumetti") most were made using film footage from movies or television shows. Never before has a creator set out to create visuals as cinematic and as stunning as those seen in Ghost Canyon, which could actually evolve the sequential art form.
"This is a story I've wanted to tell for a long time and by using photos, rather than draw each panel like traditional comics, I can create this comic series with an edgier and more realistic look, which I believe readers will enjoy seeing as a fresh take on comics," said Warner from the studio he shares with wife and collaborator, Angie, who assists with the book's production and oversees every photo shoot. Warner's previous features include newspaper comic strips "Adventures Of Aaron," "A College Girl Named Joe," and others, along with illustrating Jonathan Rand's popular children's book line, "Freddie Fernortner, Fearless First Grader."
Since their inception in 1933, comic books have been mostly hand drawn. Warner's innovative approach of using photos shot specifically for sequential storytelling caught the attention of reality show producer and independent filmmaker Patrick Moug of Buoy 22 Films who filmed Warner's unique method of staging real people, mostly friends and neighbors, to create the fictional scenes for Ghost Canyon in locations resembling a western landscape, like a gravel pit in Nashville, MI, and Historic Charlton Park which provided period-correct buildings for interior scenes.
As Warner wrangled over 50 actors, models and horses, Moug conducted cast interviews on the set and captured the fast paced creativity in action for a proposed television series. The show features Warner and his wife, Angie, as they struggle to bring their revolutionary creation to life and then present it to the masses at comic book conventions, competing for fan dollars against powerhouse publishers like Marvel and DC Comics along with a slew of other off-beat artists and writers who, like the Warners, tiptoe the line of creative obsession and financial ruin to see their creations in the hands of readers.
"It's been an amazing process and its a great way for others who have comic ideas to bring their vision to life, even if they have no drawing skills," said Warner, who offers other comic artists jobs through his site, www.CartoonistForHire.com, where anyone seeking to hire cartoonists, designers and even comic writers can be connected to freelance creators directly.