Greetings Earthlings, it is I, Leah Lovise! I’m the artist and co-creator of COURI VINE, an all-new comic book about a girl who discovers that her greatest weakness is actually her greatest strength (and ultimately, her super power)!
The idea for a sci-fi tale set in a future world had been bubbling around in my brain for some time. I didn’t know exactly how it would take shape. It all started with a conversation with Jason Stout of the Austin Chronicle, “Let’s make children’s entertainment!” Shortly after that, we developed a world, concept art, and a character bible. The question remained, what is this going to be? I had some ideas. I knew that I wanted to be a part of a project about overcoming obstacles and sustainable living in an otherwise unsustainable setting.
We were so excited when the Austin Film Society awarded us a grant from the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund. This money went toward further development, production of a trailer, and a trip to New York to pitch at the Kidscreen Summit, one of the nation’s largest children’s entertainment conferences. After several months of helping me develop the concept, Jason became super busy making the Austin Chronicle as awesome as it is, and could no longer work on the project with me. I tried roping in other creatives, but was unsuccessful. Here, I was prepping my Kidscreen pitch and was not sure what direction to take. I knew one thing: I needed a writer!
Enter… writer, Vanessa Shealy!
That’s me – I’m Vanessa. Welcome to our blog!
Back when Leah came up to NYC for Kidscreen, she crashed on my lumpy, too-short sofa, and asked me if I’d be interested in writing a few TV scripts around her concept. She wasn’t really sure how the episodes would work, or really where her idea was headed. So, naturally, I was totally on board! Sometimes you don’t have to know where you’re going, but if you like the person that you’re headed there with, eventually you’ll get there. Plus, Leah’s concept totally jazzed me. I mean, who doesn’t want to write about a civilization on the moon?
So we had many, many (many!) conversations. The more we talked the more the concept morphed into a longer, darker, more involved story. That meant a slightly older audience and a different genre. Most importantly, we moved away from a young boy protagonist and instead decided to rethink one of the peripheral characters as protagonist – the “Furrier Courier”, who became not a Courier at all, but a girl with powers she doesn’t even realize yet. We later shortened her name to just “Couri”, and gave her grandfather the clever name given to Leah’s original hero, Doo Dad.
Finally about a year later, we realized what we’re really talking about here is a COMIC BOOK. We shuddered. Neither one of us had ever dared to venture into the overwhelming realm of comic creation. But if you know me and Leah – you know that’s never stopped us before.
Thus began our work on COURI VINE… more about the method to that madness in our post next week.