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Updated: Doug Murray on 50Girls50

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Broken Frontier asked Doug Murray if he could tell a bit about the experience so far with the project and the way the art (supplied via the forum at Image) has been presented, to which Doug replied: "My experience with this project has been interesting--and a bit surprising.  I've been in the business a while but I wasn't really prepared for the scope of comic artists that are out there.  I've seen submissions from Poland, Germany, South America, and Mexico-and these guys know how to draw!  I expected to see maybe 25 or so entries--but it looks as if it's going to be at least double that--maybe more.

The internet has changed the world in a lot of ways--it has certainly changed the way we comics folks do business--and it has done so for the better.
 
Aside from the quality of the work, the other thing that struck me about those posting was how nice they were.  To a person, they praised the work of others, gave advice when asked, and were generally friendly and--yes, I'll say it--very family like.  It was a pleasure to see."

Having said this, Doug finished his thoughts with: "After all this, I'm really look forward to working with the winner--I'm sure the book will turn out looking really great!"
 
Broken Frontier then wanted to know about the deadline for the writer, instead of the contestants, to which Doug replied "I have to have the completed script for number one--and the storyline for the first arc, done by the time we pick a winner--not an easy thing.  I may hold up the final script just long enough to see who wins--every artist has strengths and I would like to kind of mold my script to the strengths of whoever wins--as long as they can draw the girls!"

Doug concluded this first statement, stating that "All in all then, this has been more fun than I expected. Maybe Frank and I will try something similar in future."

After this, Doug went on to parlay his interesting times choosing the last finalists:

"Picking the finalists was far more difficult than I had anticipated.  First, I had expected around 30-40 entries in all--we ended up with more than 130.  That made it really interesting.  I decided to work at the winnowing in the most methodical way I could, and so, I first eliminated any entries that were obviously unprintable--these came from younger artists and those who were trying things out for the first time and usually had major problems with anatomy and story-telling.
 
With these eliminated, I than looked for simple things--layouts that didn't really tell the story, static layouts, inking that was too flat, off-model characters--the kind of things that happen when you get a bunch of artists trying their hand at the same storyline.
 
That left around 40 entrants still in the mix.  From that point on, I really started to nit-pick.  I had designed the six-page script to tell me a number of things: Pages 1-2 would show me if the artist could do an action sequence that featured hardware and tech.  Page 3 showed me if they could do a creature and layout a splash page in an interesting and dynamic way.  Page 4 was a test of layout skills, showing as it did several different world-views over a unifying feature.  Finally, pages 5-6 showed me if the artist could draw the female figure in a variety of positions, keep the various faces straight, and make a rather static panel layout work.
 
Thus, from that point on I eliminated anyone who had a problem with any of these things--some people had great characters that were right on-model--but they did an indifferent job laying out the action sequences.  Some were uneven in the way they drew the same character.  Some couldn't handle the hardware.
 
That left me with about 15 entrants.  I got really nit-picky then.  If there was one face that was off-model, distorted, or in any way 'off'', I eliminated the entrant.
 
That left me with six entries.  Frank Cho went through his own system--and ended up with six of his own.  We agreed on two entries leaving us with ten.  Rather than go over them ourselves, we made the decision to do one more page--one that would take the hardest thing in comics--laying out a page of talking heads--and doing it in a timely manner--something that will happen this weekend.
 
I want to say that most of the entries were really good--the art was top-notch--better than some professional work I've seen--and it was an honor--and a real effort--to eliminate any of them.  I don't want anyone to feel bad--it was that close."

Broken Frontier wish the finalists, but also Doug Murray and Frank Cho all the best and thank them for bringing so much juice to the comic business!
 
Images shown are panels of some finalists. See more of their work and the other finalists at Image Comics.

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