A couple of weeks ago I published an article in which I used Dall-E and tried to recreate the first page of Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. The article was a smashing success (at least for a small blog like mine) and got great feedback from both AI and the comic book community. Well, great is an optimistic word. The comic book community was mostly negative about the final output and my conclusions, but what are you gonna do? Try out other AI algorithm? Yes, that is exactly what I am going to do 🙂

Some comments suggested trying out Midjourney for the same task, which was kind of a plan all along. After all, people created comic books with it already. In fact, people created whole alternative worlds with it.  So, in this article same target, same distance, different weapon – recreate the comic book Killing Joke using the script written by Alan Moore and Midjourney. And yes, in case you were wondering the cover image for this article is created with Midjourney and the prompt “Alan Moore as a superhero flying, cinematic, extremely detailed, 8K, –ar 16:9”. 

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Why do I want to do this experiment, you ask? Well, I grew up reading a bunch of comic books and even tried to write some of my own. Drawing comic books based on some scripts is a hard and long process. So, I wanted to see what kind of impact recent AI developments will have on this industry.

Picking a Comic Book

Since readers of Rubik’s Code are mostly techies and not all of them are comic book fans, in the previous article, I wrote about why I picked this comic book and how comic books are created. So, I am going to repeat some of those things here. 

What a lot of people don’t know is that comic books are usually created by two creators – the first one writing a script and the second one creating illustrations based on that script. Today, more people are involved in the process, and there are artists which are just doing the coloring, the lettering, and so on, but these two are the leading roles. That is why when people are stating their favorite comic book authors they are usually referring to the writer – the guy who wrote the comic book script.

neil gaiman - sandman

For example, the Sandman Overture that I hold in my hands in the image above is written by Neil Gaiman, but was illustrated by J. H. Williams III. So yes, Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, but also Grant Morission (dare I put his name in the Alan Moore article?), Warren Ellis (even though I guess he is canceled now, Transmetropolitan is still some of my favorites) and self-proclaimed wizard Alan Moore. So, why did I pick Alan Moore? There are a couple of reasons.

Writing Style

Well, when writing a comic book script, authors usually have two styles. The first one is more “free”, meaning the authors generally explain what is happening on each page, or panel without…well, over-obsessing about details. This style is too ambiguous for Dall-E 2 to make a good output. So, I picked another style – excruciatingly deitaled explanation of what is happening in each panel. Alan Moore is having this style. For example, here is description for one of the panels for the Youngblood:

NOW AN OVERHEAD SHOT, LOOKING DOWN AT THE DESK FROM ABOVE. ALL WE CAN SEE OF SENTINEL ARE HIS HANDS RESTING ON THE DESK DIRECTLY BENEATH US, THE REST OF HIS OFF-PANEL BELOW THE BOTTOM FRAME BORDER. HE HAS THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND CARDS OF FOUR APPLICANTS THAT HE LIKES SPREAD OUT IN FRONT OF HIM. ONE IS THE LOUNGE LIZARD, Two ARE  PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN CHARACTERS, A BROTHER AND SISTER VILLAIN/VILLAINESS TEAM CALLED POPPY AND SPEEDWELL, WHO I’LL BE DESCRIBING MORE FULLY LATER. BASICALLY, SPEEDWELL IS A YOUNGISH MALE SUPER SPEEDSTER WHO WEARS A BLUE COSTUNIE, WHILE POPPY IS A YOUNGISH FEMALE ILLUSIONIST WHO WEARS A RED AND BLACK COSTUME. THERE IS ALSO A PICTURE OF SUPREMA’S DEVILISH BETTY PAGE LOOKALIKE ADVERSARY SATANA, ALTHOUGH MAYBE THIS IS MOSTLY OBSCURED BY THE OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS SO IT’LL STILL BE A SUPRISE WHEN SATANA MAKES HER APPEARANCE ON PAGE FOUR. FROM THE TOP OF THE PANEL, MR. HOODS HAND COMES INTO VIEW AS HE PUTS DOWN THE FILE AND PHOTOGRAPH OF ATOMO ON THE DESK TO GO              THE OTHERS.             FIVE PICTURES ARE ARRANGED HIGGLEDY PIGGLEDY, IMMEDIATELY BELOW US. SENTNEL’S BALLOON ISSUES FROM OFF PANEL BELOW, WHERE HIS HANDS ARE COMING FROM. SENTINEL (OFF, BELOW) : Youngblood.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

As you can, it is a pretty detailed description.

The other reason, of course, is that I love so many of Alan Moore’s novels and you are probably familiar with some of them too. For example, he is the author of V for Vendetta (he hates this movie adaptation), Watchmen (he hates this movie adaptation even more) and From Hell (I will not repeat myself). Finally, I know that there is a real danger of messing with Mr. Moore’s work, so hopefully, he will not summon Astaroth (yes, this is Jimmy’s End reference) or turn me into a frog.

For this experiment, I have chosen Killing Joke. It is a cult Batman episode drawn by Brian Bolland, with a script that can be easily found online. Because recreating the whole comic book would be a hell of a work, I decided to recreate only the first page.  Here is the original page, which we want to recreate with Midjourney. Ok, let’s dive into it!

Batman - Killing Joke Page 1.

Generating Panel 1. with Midjourney

Alan Moore writes long descriptions. While this is really good if you are an illustrator, this is a problem for my experiment, because Midjourney is just not built to work like that. Before this experiment, I played with Midjourney just briefly and used simple phrases. This is how it is intended to be used, but even the description of the puddle in the first panel of Killing Joke is lengthy. Here it is:

IN THIS FIRST PANEL, WE HAVE A TIGHT CLOSE-UP
OF THE SURFACE OF A PUDDLE. (SEE? AND THERE WERE YOU ALL WORRIED
THAT I WOULDN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING FASCINATING TO DRAW.) WE ARE
SO CLOSE TO THE PUDDLE AS TO SEE IT ONLY AS AN ALMOST ABSTRACT
IMAGE OF WIDENING RIPPLES SPREADING ACROSS A SHADOWY AND
BLACK LIQUID SURFACE. IT IS NIGHT TIME, AND THE RIPPLES THAT WE
SEE IN THE FOREGROUND ARE CAUSED BY LARGE DROPLETS OF RAIN
THAT FALL THROUGH THE FOREGROUND IN DIAGONAL SLASHES. MAYBE
WE CAN SEE ONE DROPLET AS ITS PRECISE MOMENT OF IMPACT WITH THE
PUDDLE, SO CLOSE ARE WE TO IT. ALTHOUGH I DON’T SUPPOSE THAT THIS
INFORMATION WILL MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE TO THIS CURRENT PANEL,
FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE IT IS MID NOVEMBER AND BITTERLY
COLD. HERE, ALL WE SEE IS THE RAIN SPLASHING INTO THE PUDDLE AND
THE SILVERY WHITE RIPPLES SPREADING OUT ACROSS THE DARKNESS.
No Dialogue.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

Here is how Mr. Bolland illustrated this first panel:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

Yes, it is a perfect representation of what mighty Alan described. What I learned from working on this first panel is that Midjourney is a completely different beast than Dall-E. As I mentioned, I played around with it just a little bit in the past, but I quickly realized that I have to change my approach.

Following what are people working on in the chat, I realized I don’t know jack sh*t about what the prompts should look like. So, my first experiment was, well, weird. I realized I have to chop the script into simple phrases, reconnect them and hope that the output will be good. Here is what I got:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

This image is a bit weird, but it is having an artsy feeling that I really like. 

Generating Panel 2. with Midjourney

Generating the second panel was quite a challenge with Dall-E. Namely, the problem was focusing on the details and describing a panel in a way that all the aspects are present. Of course,  while sticking to the script as much as possible. With Midjourney there was a similar problem. Here is the description:

SAME SHOT, BUT NOW WE PULL BACK MAYBE A FOOT OR MORE SO THAT
WE CAN AT LEAST SEE A COUPLE OF THE PUDDLES EDGES, DEFINING IT AS
A PUDDLE AND GIVING US SOME SENSE OF ITS LOCATION. THE PUDDLE IS IN FACT SITUATED AT THE BASE OF ONE OF THE STONE PILLARS/GATE-POSTS THAT FRAME THE GATES OF ARKHAM ASYLUM, THESE PILLARS BEING SE INTO A BLACK RAILED FENCE OF WROUGHT IRON BEYOND WHICH ONLY DARK AND SHADOWY CYPRESS TREES, STRIPPED BY AUTUMN, ARE VISIBLE. IN THIS SECOND PANEL, WE CAN’T SEE VERY MUCH OF THIS..JUST THE ASE OF ONE OF THE STONE GATE POSTS AND A LITTLE OF THE ROAD SURFACE IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM
GATES, WITH THE SIZEABLE PUDDLE RESTING IN AN INDENTATION THEREOF. THE RAIN IS STILL FALLING AND SPLASHING INTO THE PUDDLE, AND PERHAPS WE SEE AN AUTUMN LEAF BOWLING THROUGH THE PANEL SOMEWHERE. THE REAL POINT OF THIS PANEL IS THAT SUDDENLY, REFLECTED IN THE PUDDLE, WE SEE THE HEADLIGHTS OF A CAR THAT IS APPROACHING THE GATES FROM OFF-PANEL ABOVE. IN THE RIPPLED SURFACE OF THE PUDDLE, EVEN THOUGH THE LIGHTS ARE STILL IDENTIFIABLE AS REFLECTED HEADLIGHTS, THERE IS AN INTERESTING OSCILLATING DISPLAY OF LIQUID LIGHT AND SHADOW PATTERNS.
No Dialogue.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

And here is the original illustration:
Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

And here is what I managed to get with Midjourney:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Ugnh… Not so good. The problem that I got is whenever I mentioned “base of the post”, I would get an image of some weird ancient pillar. Here my lack of skill in creating a correct prompt really slowed me down. So, considering other results, this one was pretty good. I mean, I was not going to use this: 

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Generating Panel 3. with Midjourney

The third panel was there to test what I have learned from the previous two. In a way, it is the first panel with something substantial. Anyhow, here is the description for the third panel:

WE PULL BACK STILL FURTHER SO THAT WE CAN SEE MOST OF THE STONE GATE PILLAR, THE BOTTOM OF WHICH WE SAW LAST PANEL, AND SO THAT WE CAN ALSO SEE THE OTHER PILLAR COMING INTO VIEW, UP IN THE RIGHT OF THE FOREGROUND, WE CANNOT SEE THE TOP OF THIS FOREGROUND PILLAR YET, OR THE METAL PLATE AFFIXED TO IT, BUT WE CAN NOW SEE THAT THE STONE PILLARS ARE ARRANGED ON EITHER SIDE OF A WROUGHT IRON GATE ONTO WHICH THE RAIN IS FALLING, DRIPPING MOURNFULLY FROM THE BLACK AND SINISTER IRONWORK. LOOKING BEYOND THE GATE AND ITS PILLARS WE CAN SEE THE RAILED IRON FENCE THAT THE GATE IS SET INTO STRETCHING AWAY TO THE END OF THE ROW, LOOKING BEYOND THE ROW OF RAILINGS AND INTO THE DARKNESS BEYOND WE CAN SEE THE APPROACHING HEADLIGHTS OF A LARGE DARK CAR. THE LIGHTS LOOK LIKE THE SMOULDERING AND WHITE HOT EYES OF SOME INSANELY VICIOUS AND POWERFUL NOCTURNAL PREDATOR, HISSING THROUGH THE RAIN TOWARDS THE ASYLUM GATES. IN THE PUDDLE, WHICH WE CAN SEE ALL OF NOW, THE HEADLIGHTS OF THE APPROACHING CAR ARE STILL VISIBLE, GETTING BIGGER AS THE CAR APPROACHES.
No Dialogue.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

This panel was illustrated like this:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

With this one, I was really happy. In terms of style, it is not similar to the previous ones, but I was expecting problems with the unification of the style between the panels. Anyhow, here is my result:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

I dare to say that I have a feeling that this one would be approved by Alan Moore himself. I mean, it is so dark and gritty and it has that Dave McKean vibe to it. I just love it. The only problem is that I would need to flip it horizontally.

Taking a break (part 1)

I got so happy that I got something substantial, so I decided to do something fun. Here is the prompt:

Alan Moore playing guitar

And here is the result:

Alan moore summoning shaquille o'neal for a game of basketball

Ah yes, for the rest of the experiment turn on some Electric Wizard. Back to work!

Generating Panel 4. with Midjourney

Ok, lets go to the panel 4:
NOW WE’RE PROBABLY ON THE SECOND TIER. IN THIS PANEL WE HAVE PULLED BACK STILL FURTHER FROM THE PUDDLE SO THAT WE CAN SEE ALL OF THE STONE GATE POSTS, INCLUDING THE TOP OF THE ONE RIGHT IN THE RIGHT OF THE FOREGROUND, TO WHICH IS AFFIXED A CLEARLY VISIBLE METAL PLATE ENGRAVED WITH THE WORDS ‘ARKHAM ASYLUM FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE’. THE PLATE LOOKS A LITTLE OLD AND TARNISHED IN PLACES, AND THE RAIN BEATS AGAINST IT MERCILESSLY AS IT FALLS. MOVING CLOSER FROM THE BACKGROUND SINCE LAST PANEL, THE APPROACHING CAR HAS NOW MAYBE COME TO REST JUST OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM GATES, PERHAPS WITH ITS FRONT NEARSIDE TIRE ROLLING INTO THE PUDDLE AS IT COMES TO A HALT. THE HEADLIGHTS ARE GLARING STRAIGHT AT US, SO THAT ALL WE CAN REALLY SEE BEHIND THEM IS A SHADOWY BULK REPRESENTING THE CAR. EVEN SO, THERE IS SOMETHING ODD ABOUT THE CAR’S DESIGN THAT IS APPARENT EVEN THOUGH WE CAN ONLY SEE THE VAGUEST OUTLINE. THE CAR IS IN FACT THE BATMOBILE, AND IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE SORT OF TIMELESS EFFECT THAT WE’RE AFTER I FIGURE WE SHOULD DESIGN A BATMOBILE THAT CONJURES THE BEST ELEMENTS OF OUR FAVOURITE VERSIONS. FOR MY PART, I ALWAYS LIKED THE FIFTIES VERSION, WITH THE LONG HOOD TERMINATING IN A BAT-FACED BATTERING RAM. MAYBE YOU COULD COMBINE THE BASIC CHUNKYNESS AND PERIOD CHARM OF SOMETHING LIKE THAT WITH SOMETHING A BIT MORE SINISTER AND FUTURISTIC. DRAGGING IN DESIGN ELEMENTS FROM THE ‘EIGHTIES AND ‘NINETIES, FOR EXAMPLE. AS LONG AS IT’S LONG AND BLACK AND DANGEROUS-LOOKING WITH A BIG FIN STICKING UP AT THE BACK THEN I’LL BE CONTENT. ANYWAY, AS I SAID EARLIER, WE CAN’T SEE MUCH MORE OF THE HUGE CAR HERE THAN ITS SHAPE, CROUCHED THREATENINGLY BEHIND ITS HEADLIGHTS AS IT ROLLS TO A STANDSTILL OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM GATES.
No Dialogue
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

At this point, let me just say that script is fantastic. All my frustrations aside, I can imagine that if I would illustrate this I would be super into it. The atmosphere is built in such a great way. Here is how it looks in the comic book:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

The cool thing about Midjourney is that even if you don’t get a good result, you end up with something very weird and beautiful. I can say that this made my stress levels much lower than when I worked with Dall-E. Here is the image I decided to use:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

I know, there is no fence and the Batmobile looks so weird, to say the least, but look at that! So weird and so cool! I could use some of the other results as well:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney
Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Generating Panel 5. with Midjourney

I knew I would finally have to come to panel 5, and I was dreading it. I had so many failed attempts with Dall-E with this panel, that I knew it is going to be a problem. And guess what? I was right. Here we go, panel number five:

NOW WE CHANGE ANGLE SO THAT WE ARE STANDING BETWEEN THE BATMOBILE AND THE RAILED FENCE OF THE ASYLUM, WITH THE NOSE OF THE BATMOBILE POINTING AWAY FROM US FROM THE RIGHT OF THE FOREGROUND TOWARDS THE LEFT OF THE BACKGROUND, WHICH IS WHERE WE CAN SEE THE GATES OF THE ASYLUM SITUATED, THE HEADLIGHTS STILL GLITTERING UPON THE LARGE PUDDLE AT THE BASE OF THE NEAREST PILLAR. OVER IN THE RIGHT OF THE EXTREME FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE A LITTLE OF ONE DOOR OF THE BATMOBILE, INCLUDING THE HANDLE. OVER ON THE LEFT OF THE EXTREME FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE THE SCALLOPED BLACKNESS OF THE BATMAN’S CLOAK HANGING DOWN INTO THE PICTURE AS HE STANDS JUST OFF PANEL TO THE LEFT. WE CAN ALSO SEE ONE OF HIS LONG GREY ARMS, DENSELY MUSCLES, REACHIGN OUT THROUGH THE RAIN TOWARDS THE CAR DOOR, WHERE WE SEE HIS BLACK-FINNED GLOVE JUST PUSHING THE CAR DOOR CLOSED BEHIND HIM AS HE GETS OUT, STANDING BESIDE HIS VEHICLE AND GAZING TOWARDS THE ASYLUM GATES THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. THE GATES ARE CLOSED, BUT WE CAN NOT SEE ANY PADLOCK, SO PRESUMABLY THE GATES HAVE BEEN LEFT OPEN IN ANTICIPATION OF THE BATMAN’S ARRIVAL. PERHAPS WE SEE A COUPLE MORE LEAVES, TUMBLING FORLORNLY THROUGH THE WINDSWEPT NOVEMBER BACKGROUND. IN THE FOREGROUND, THE RAIN RUNS DOWN THE SLEEK AND SHINY BLACK METAL SIDES OF THE BATMOBILE, DRIPPING FROM THE ODDLY-SHAPED WING-MIRRORS.
No Dialogue.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

And the illustration:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

After spending so much time trying out different things, I realized I can not do it. Everything that I tried resulted in something which is not really fit in and/or has some extremely weird things in it. I mean, look at these:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney
Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney
Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Still, even though these are failed attempts, they are really pretty. So, I decided to embrace the weirdness and turn it up to the max. Here is my choice for this panel:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

I like to think of this one as if Batman is some kind of spirit able to occupy machines as well as humans, so exiting out of a car would be something like astral…I know, it is really bad, but as I said embrace the weirdness. Onwards!

Generating Panel 6. with Midjourney

Ok, lets go to the panel 6:
WE ARE NOW ACTUALLY INSIDE THE GROUNDS OF THE ASYLUM, LOOKING DOWN ITS GENTLY CURVING FRONT DRIVEWAY TOWARD THE INSIDE OF THE GATES THAT WE SAW LAST PANEL. THE WET DRIVEWAY CLOSEST TO US IN THE EXTREME FOREGROUND REFLECTS A BLUISH LIGHT CAST BY SOME SOURCE OFF PANEL. LOOKING BEYOND THAT TOWARDS THE GATES, WE SEE THE WEIRD AND UNEARTHLY FIGURE OF THE BATMAN, SILHOUETTED AGAINST THE RAILS OF THE IRON GATE AS HE OPENS IT BY THE LIGHT OF THE STATIONARY BATMOBILE PARKED OFF-PANEL BEHIND HIM. ALL WE SEE OF THE BATMAN HERE AS HE SLIPS SILENTLY THROUGH THE GATE IS HIS SHAPE, WITH NO DETAIL VISIBLE AT ALL. BASICALLY, I DON’T WANT TO GIVE A GOOD CLEAR SHOT OF THE BATMAN’S FACE UNTIL PANEL 4 OF PAGE 5, SO UNTIL THEN WE’LL HAVE TO RUN THROUGH A REPERTOIRE OF TRICK SHOTS AND SHADOWY SCENES WHICH I THINK I HAVE PRETTY WELL WORKED OUT. IN THIS CURRENT PANEL, ALL WE SEE IS HIS UNMISTAKABLE SHAPE AGAINST THE WROUGHT IRON METAL WORK AS HE ENTERS THE GROUNDS OF THE ASYLUM, THE LONG CAPE FLAPPING DISMALLY IN THE NOVEMBER WIND. RAIN STILL FALLS IN SLASHES THROUGH THE FOREGROUND, BOUNCING UP FROM THE SMOOTH ASPHALT OF THE DRIVEWAY.
No Dialogue.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

And the illustration is here:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

This one was hard to get as well and I was not very happy about it. In style, it is completely different from the rest. However, I was keen to keep the weirdness going on once I embraced it! So, my result looks like this:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Taking a break (part 2)

Alright, I finished two-thirds of the page, so I decided to spend some of the credits on pure fun. So, here is a cool image of Alan Moore generated by Midjourney: 

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Generating Panels 7, 8 and 9. with Midjourney

Let’s bring this home! I am putting panels 7 , 8 and 9 together because they were more of the same. Picking up the text from the script, removing long descriptions so they can fit the prompt and that Midjourney can “focus” properly. Here are the descriptions of panels 7, 8 and 9, respectively:

(PANEL) 7.
REVERSE OUR ANGLE AGAIN, SO THAT THE OPEN ASYLUM GATE IS NOW IN THE EXTREME FOREGROUND WITH RAIN DRIPPING FROM THE PEELING IRONWORK. LOOKING THROUGH THE OPEN GATE AND AWAY UP THE DRIVE TOWARDS THE ASYLUM’S MAIN BUILDING, WE SEE A REAR VIEW OF THE BATMAN AS HE WALKS SOLEMNLY UP THE DRIVE AWAY FROM US, THROUGH THE RAIN. HIS CAPE FLAPS ABOUT HIM, IT’S SHARP BLACK TIPS TRAILING THROUGH THE PUDDLES AT HIS FEET AS HE WALKS. HIS BACK IS TURNED TO US, SO THAT WE CANNOT SEE HIS FACE, BUT WE GET A SENSE OF HIS BUILD. HE IS BROAD SHOULDERED, WITH A MASSIVE CHEST AND ENOUGH SLAB-LIKE MUSCLE ON THE REST OF HIS PHYSIQUE TO SUPPORT IT. AS I SEE BATMAN HE ISN’T LITHE AND ATHLETIC- LOOKING. HE’S A VERY BIG MAN, AND THE FACT THAT HE IS CAPABLE OF SUCH STUNNING ATHLETICS DESPITE HIS SIZE IS WHAT IS REMARKABLE ABOUT HIM. HE IS FAST, AGILE, INTELLIGENT AND HIDEOUSLY POWERFUL IN TERMS OF PHYSICAL STRENGTH, AND I WANT HIS PHYSIQUE TO ECHO THIS IRON HARDNESS. I THINK THAT BATMAN HAS SUFFERED A LITTLE FROM HIS PROXIMITY WITH SUPERMAN IN THAT ARTISTS AND WRITERS HAVE PERHAPS FELT COMPELLED TO PLAY UP HIS INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY, KNOWING THAT HE CAN’T COMPETE MUSCLE-FOR-MUSCLE WITH SUPERMAN. HERE, I’D LIKE TO RESTORE SOME OF THE BUILT-LIKE-A-BRICK-SHITHOUSE BATMAN THAT I FONDLY REMEMBER FROM MY BOYHOOD. LOOKING BEYOND HIM HERE AS HE WALKS AWAY UP THE DRIVE AWAY FROM US THROUGH THE RAIN WE CAN SEE THAT THERE IS A POLICE CAR PARKED UP AT THE END OF THE DRIVE, RIGHT OUTSIDE THE STEPS THAT LEAD UP TO THE DOUBLE DOORS OF THE ASYLUM’S MAIN ENTRANCE. IT’S BLUE LIGHT IS ONE (HENCE THE SOURCE OF THE BLUE LIGHT OFF PANEL IN THE FOREGROUND LAST PANEL) AND WE CAN SEE THERE ARE TWO DARK FIGURES LEANING UP AGAINST ITS SIDE AND FACING US, EVEN THOUGH WE CAN’T SEE WHO THEY ARE HERE. I FIGURE THAT THE BLUE LIGHT ATOP THE POLICE CAR MIGHT PLAY INTERESTINGLY AROUND THE EDGES OF THE BATMAN’S BIZARRE SILHOUETTE AS HE WALKS TOWARDS THE PARKED CAR AND THE ASYLUM DOORS BEYOND. THE TWO FIGURES, WHO PROBABLY WON’T BE VERY VISIBLE HERE, ARE COMMISSIONER GORDON AND A UNIFORMED PATROLMAN. GORDON LEANS AGAINST THE SIDE OF THE PARKED CAR AND SIPS A PLASTIC CUP FULL OF STEAMING COFFEE WHILE THE PATROLMAN STAND MORE UPRIGHT AND ALERT, PROBABLY IN AN AT-EASE POSITION. ALL OF THIS DETAIL, INCLUDING THE IDENTITIES OF THE TWO MEN, WILL NOT BE APPARENT HERE, BUT I’M GIVING IT TO YOU FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. BEHIND THE PARKED CAR THE ILLUMINATED AND WEIRD FAÇADE OF ARKHAM ASYLUM RISES US, ITS WINDOWS OMINOUSLY BARRED.
No Dialogue.
(PANEL) 8.
NOW WE ARE EVEN CLOSER TO THE POLICE CAR, LOOKING AT IT SIDE-ON SO THAT WE SEE THE UNIFORMED OFFICER STANDING FACE ON TO US OVER ON THE LEFT AS HE STANDS WITH HIS BACK TO THE CAR AND COMMISSIONER GORDON FACE-ON OVER TO THE RIGHT, LEANING AGAINST THE CAR AND DRNKING HIS STEAMING COFFEE, MAYBE LOOKING UP WITH A QUIZZICAL AND CONCERNED LOOK OVER THE RIM OF HIS CUP TOWARDS THE EXTREME LEFT OF THE FOREGROUND, WHERE WE CAN SEE THE BATMAN ENTERING THE PICTURE FROM THE LEFT, IN PROFILE. SINCE BATMAN IS (a) CLOSER TO US AND (b) TALLER THAN EITHER THE COMMISSIONER OR THE PATROLMAN IN THE BACKGROUND WE CANNOT SEE THE TOP OF HIS HEAD HERE ABOVE THE BOTTOM OF THE NOSE AS THE FRONT OF HIM ENTERS THE PANEL ON THE LEFT. HIS EYES AND UPPER HEAD ARE INVISIBLE BEYOND THE TOP PANEL BORDER AND ALL WE CAN REALLY SEE IS HIS MOUTH, WITH THE BIG AND DETERMINED SQUARE JAW AND THE GRIM AND DISAPPROVING SCOWL OF THE LIPS. THE BATMAN DOES NOT APPEAR FROM HIS POSTURE TO SO MUCH AS GLANCE AT EITHER GORDON OR THE PARTOLMAN AS HE WALKS PAST THEM EVEN THROUGH BOTH OF THEM STEAL GLANCES AT HIM WITH DIFFERING LOOKS OF UNEASE. THE PARTOLMAN LOOKS UNEASY JUST TO BE IN THE BATMAN’S PRESENCE, WHILE GORDON LOOKS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE BATMAN’S POSSIBLE STATE OF MIND. RAIN DRIPS FROM EVERYTHING, INCLUDING THE BATMAN’S JUTTING AND GRIZZLED CHIN. GORDON GIVES THE LARGELY-OFF-PANEL VIGILANTE A PENETRATING LOOK OVER HIS COFFEE CUP, AND THE BLUE LIGHT ATOP THE CAR WASHES OVER ALL OF THEM AS IT CIRCLES.
No Dialogue.
 
9.
SAME SHOT EXACTLY, ONLY NOW THE BATMAN HAS WALKED ACROSS THE PANEL AND IS ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR OFF THE RIGHT HAND SIDE, WITH ONLY THE BACK OF HIS COSTUME VISIBLE HERE AS HE DOES SO, HIS FACE ALREADY VANISHED OFF THE RIGHT OF THE PANEL. IMMEDIATELY BEYOND HIM, POLICE COMMISSIONER GORDON STARTS TO STRAIGHTEN UP AWAY FROM THE SIDE OF THE PARKED POLICE VEHICLE, HANDING THE HALF-FULL COFFEE CUP TO THE SURPRISED-LOOKING PATROLMAN WITHOUT LOOKING AT HIM AS HE PREPARES TO FOLLOW THE BATMAN OFF-PANEL. THE SILVER HAIRED AND TRENCHCOATED FIGURE OF THE COMMISSIONER DOESN’T TAKE HIS YES OFF THE BATMAN FOR AN INSTANT AS HE PREPARES TO FOLLOW HIM UP THE STEPS AND INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE ASYLUM. THE PATROLMAN LOOKS BEMUSED AS HE TAKES THE STEAMING CUP UNQUESTIONINGLY FROM THE POLICE COMMISSIONER’S HAND. BATMAN WALKS SILENTLY ON WITHOUT SAYING A WORD.
Alan Moore

Writer, Wizard, Mall Santa, Rasputin Impresonator

And here are their illustrations:
Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with OpenAI Dall-E 2

Aaaaaaand finally my results:

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Final Result and Conclusion

So, here is the comparison. 

Alan Moore - Killing Joke Generated with Midjourney

Before going into my thoughts on this approach, let me start by saying that I am a complete Midjourney noob. I realized that while observing what people put in #show-and-tell channel of this Discord server. I also observed how people craft their prompts and was amazed by the results they got. So, what I realized is that I am restricted by Alan Moore’s script. The amazing brilliant script that was building a world for the illustrator and slowly pulling her in and putting her in a state to draw something beautiful, was ripped apart…by me. This was done with Dall-E and with Midjourney as well.

However, in general, I really liked the experiment. It showed me that I need to learn more about crafting prompts for Midjourney and that this is a skill on its own. In the previous article, I said that there will definitely be a niche of AI-generated comic books, both scripts and illustrations. I still stand by it. My feeling is that their style will be similar, so bringing something that is your own into the mix will come down to your skills with words and prompts. I think Alan Moore actually would like playing around with these tools, because of the magic feeling of turning words into images.

Apart from that, I noticed that Midjourny has its own style so the whole thing looks more uniform. For now, I can see this as a tool that might assist authors in visualizing their scripts better, and for illustrators to shorten their work by generating some details/background or drafts for each panel.

In the previous article, I was a bit doomy/gloomy about the future of the creation of comic books and content in general. I still stand by that one as well. I can definitly see a future where comic book author uses tools to generate script based on a few keywords (take any GPT-3, T5 or whatnot) and then use another tool to generate illustrations, like Dall-E for example. Who knows maybe that will be just one tool. Looking even more into the future, the author herself might be made obsolete. Imagine a crawler that pulls keywords from the tweets from comic book fans (hopefully those tweets are not generated as well by some other AI) and turns them into a comic book by the tool which generates scripts and illustrations.

Thanks for reading!

Ultimate Guide to Machine Learning with Python

This bundle of e-books is specially crafted for beginners.
Everything from Python basics to the deployment of Machine Learning algorithms to production in one place.
Become a Machine Learning Superhero 
TODAY!

Ultimate Guide to Machine Learning with Python

Everything from Python basics to the deployment of Machine Learning algorithms to production in one place.

Become a Machine Learning Superhero TODAY!