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Exclusive Guest Column: “I make comic books. But my first love is comic strips.” – Nate Cosby

The Daring Double Life of Ace Adams

Last month, The Daring Double Life of Ace Adams (formerly Alter Ego) launched on Kickstarter. The 100-page all-new graphic novel from writer Nate Cosby, artist Jacob Edgar, colorist Kike J. Diaz, and letterer Rus Wooton hit its goal and then some and is in its final 48 hours!

As the campaign winds down, we have an insightful exclusive guest post from Nate Coby about his collaboration with Jacob Edgar to create a one-page script that helped pitch the story!

Find out a bit about the process behind the curtain and support The Daring Double Life of Ace Adams!


Most of my time in high school was spent doodling obvious riffs on Calvin & Hobbes, Foxtrot, Wizard of Id, Mutts, Hagar The Horrible, Peanuts, etc. The challenge of a comic strip is in efficiently expressing yourself. You need to find the fundamental essence of what you want to say and show, do it, then get out. The writer part of me loves that. The editor part of me loves it even more.

When I worked as an editor at Marvel, I’d get bored during meetings and doodle short strips, giving myself the personal challenge of portraying the important aspects of characters in three panels.

There was Iron Man…

Professor X…

The Sentry…

I was just screwing around, passing the time. I encapsulated Spider-Man’s origin with the help of Colleen Coover, which was used as the recap page of Spider-Man Family #4…

When I quit Marvel to start my own company, I got busy, which meant less doodle time. But just for fun, every once in a while I’d tweet out short quotes from the point of view of characters. And my Buddy Cops co-creator Doc Shaner would add art to them, like The Spectre…

…and Captain Marvel…

Chris Eliopoulos and I were asked to do a one-pager for Archaia’s Free Comic Book Day book, which was a flip book. I took the “format” as a challenge, and came up with a story that was both about flipping, and required a flipping of the comic itself…

So when it came time for Jacob and I to start promoting The Daring Double Life of Ace Adams, we had plenty of interior pages to show, that Jacob had drawn, Kike J. Diaz colored, Rus Wooton lettered…but there wasn’t a short sequence that succinctly sold what the book was about as a whole, so I thought, well heck, Jacob’s been doing one-pagers of Superman, Batman & Robin for years…

…let’s do one for Ace Adams!

My original script was a montage of sorts, showing The Black Dog and Whiz-Bang in action at various times of day. But it felt too obtuse in its intentions, too busy…plus it required Jacob to draw a bunch of backgrounds, and that wouldn’t be nice of me to ask for…Jacob’s a comic artist with TRIPLETS, for god’s sake.

So I thought back to the Captain Marvel strip that Doc drew so effectively, which was just a series of middle shots, with incredible attention to facial expressions and body language. I knew Jacob could nail that sort of thing, so I wrote a script that had Ace changing from Dog to Whiz, and speaking to the viewer.

I didn’t ask Jacob to “move his camera” at all…so all the great choices to tilt up, zoom in, focus on boots, those are all his.

The idea was to convey the central reason that Ace chooses to be two different superheroes…one at night, one during the day. Ace explains himself, shares this idea of not being deterred by helping, even when knowing that there’s no way he can actually fix or solve anything. Just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. And he does it while changing, to give the reader the sense that Ace is always moving, always changing and adapting to his situation.

Kike did a beautiful job of providing texture on the backgrounds without having it compete for attention with Ace. He pops out quite nicely. And Rus did his requisite masterclass on lettering…I particularly love the way Rus sometimes puts balloons “higher” than the panel borders, so they’re drifting into the gutters. It’s a small thing, but I feel like it subtly “attaches” panels to one another, and creates a cohesion across the page.

And voila! A one-pager that gives you a sense of our main character, and the journey he’ll be on throughout our 100-page graphic novel.

Zeismic