Comic Book Creation from the Writers Perspective

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Comic Book Creation from the Writers Perspective

Postby docfalken on Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:16 am

I just finished this months Astonishing Xmen and was marveling at all things Joss Whedon. I am wondering what a comic book story/script looks like and how they delineate the "stage directions" for the characters. Is there a universal format that someone like me could follow so that when I hand the writing over to an artist, he can at least put together something close to my vision?

I'm just curious about the process and am ignorant of it all though I've been a comic book fan for decades.

URLs would be helpful.
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Re: Comic Book Creation from the Writers Perspective

Postby Dave F. on Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:45 am

docfalken wrote:I just finished this months Astonishing Xmen and was marveling at all things Joss Whedon. I am wondering what a comic book story/script looks like and how they delineate the "stage directions" for the characters. Is there a universal format that someone like me could follow so that when I hand the writing over to an artist, he can at least put together something close to my vision?

I'm just curious about the process and am ignorant of it all though I've been a comic book fan for decades.

URLs would be helpful.


Hey Doc, check out the links I've got here from comic writer Dwayne McDuffie: http://homepage.mac.com/dmcduffie/site/Scripts.html

He's not a particular favorite of mine, but I Googled "comic book scripts", turned his page up, and he's got examples of the two most notable styles. The first is what they call "Marvel style", based on the success Stan Lee had using it to write a million comics back in the '60s. In it, the writer basically writes summaries of the actions of the each page or each few pages, the artist then draws the whole issue, and only THEN does the writer script the thing. It's best known for being fast, for giving the artist a lot of leeway in blocking out the action, and for sometimes raising the question of who did more to "write" a book - the writer or the artist who broke down all the scenes visually before the script ever materialized. It's not used terribly often nowadays, but it can be potent in the right hands.

The second style is full script, and there's no official standard way to do it, but as you guess, yep, there are essentially stage directions mixed in. And eeeeeveryone does it different. McDuffie's samples are pretty normal in that the stage directions aren't too convoluted, but you take a guy like Alan Moore, and his directions are just insanely long. It's amazing to read his scripts, because any given panel might have a paragraph or two describing what should be going on! Very dense work.

Anyway, there're several books on the subject. WRITES ON COMIC SCRIPTWRITING is one of the notables, being just a collection of scripts from a wide variety of writers. I think one of 'em's even in the format of little thumbnail sketches on notepad paper, coming from a creator who draws too and so likes to visualize as he scripts.

It's not completely unusual these days to see comic scripts as bonus material in trade paperback collections or hardcovers. Bendis does it pretty often and cult horror comic THE WALKING DEAD is about to have a scriptbook issued.
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Postby Vroom Socko on Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:02 am

I don't have any links, but I can point you to some books. Bendis has both a Powers scriptbook and an Ultimate Spider-Man scriptbook. And Neil Gaiman has one of his Sandman scripts in the Dream County TPB.
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Postby The Garbage Man on Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:20 pm

Where can I get my grubby mitts on some Alan Moore scripts (preferably online)?
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Re: Comic Book Creation from the Writers Perspective

Postby DennisMM on Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:39 pm

Dave F wrote:McDuffie's samples are pretty normal in that the stage directions aren't too convoluted, but you take a guy like Alan Moore, and his directions are just insanely long. It's amazing to read his scripts, because any given panel might have a paragraph or two describing what should be going on! Very dense work.


Moore's script for the first page of "Watchmen" was three single-spaced pages describing nine panels. Yow. He also includes a great many suggestions for reference, if it seems appropriate.
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Re: Comic Book Creation from the Writers Perspective

Postby wereviking on Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:26 am

I don't suppose anyone I dare say knows where to DL a copy of the Bendis scriptbook? I'm reading volume one of POWERS now and realising my work is nowhere as original as I thought it was, thanks to this guy!

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