Creating the Diamond Island Graphic Novel

Creating Diamond Island

The Beginning

In the winter of 2002, at the request of Joseph Kirsch, Max Winters began plans to work on a project for Ethics Comics, an Ohio based LLC. At the time, neither Kirsch nor Winters could have possibly imagined that this effort would span more than a decade. Gifted at scriptwriting, storytelling, and possessing a keen vision for quality illustration, Max spent some of the year 2003 along with Joseph Kirsch creating developing concepts for Diamond Island. This included creating main character designs, writing the script and drawing the layouts for the graphic novel.

The story and layouts were completed in 2003 and registered with the Library of Congress. Max then began to improvise and redraw all the layouts as well as enhance the script and that next stage was completed in 2004.

Finding an Illustrator

In 2005, Diamond Island ’s gifted artist, Mr. Taylor Bills stepped forward and offered his services at performing the illustrations. Bills’ extensive artistic experience had given him the ability to pencil, ink, color and letter a comic page in its entirety. Kirsch and Winters were taken aback with Bills’ ability to capture the mood and humor of the Diamond Island characters. Mr. Bills joined the Diamond Island graphic novel team, and slowly but surely, over an eight year period, the Diamond Island group has created this more than 200-page full-color graphic novel.

Student Engagement

Most of the drawings for Diamond Island were completed by 2010. In October of 2010, Ethics Comics set out to engage new talent and solicit student artists to participate in the Diamond Island book. Joseph Kirsch contacted faculty at The Kubert School, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and other institutions, asking them if any of their student body might wish to participate in the Diamond Island book. The idea was meant to open new opportunities for student artists and to include fresh new talent in the Diamond Island work.

The Chair of SCAD’s sequential art department, Professor Anthony Fisher, came forward with a most gracious reply. Fisher offered to post signs informing students of this opportunity. Fisher’s response was most encouraging, and along with some help from Professor Shawn Crystal of SCAD’s Atlanta campus, a handful of SCAD students were chosen to create their own closing chapter to the Diamond Island story in order to compliment the Diamond Island book. Lily Cho, Tyler Nelson, and Jeffrey Yu, coordinated their work together, to produce this final chapter to the book, a work which they eventually entitled: “Diamond in the Rough.”

As Ethics Comics moves ahead, we look forward to continuing this custom of including young students and fresh artists in our sequential art releases.