Wednesday, 13 April 2011

More on Comics

This weekend was amazing!  I spent two whole days surrounded by people who love comic books as much as I do!

However, the best part of it was the panel I went to on Saturday morning about Breaking into Comics.  Editors, artists and a writer from Marvel (you know, the X-Men and Wolverine people!) were there, talking honestly and openly about what it took for them to get into the field.  The most fascinating part was that it seems no two people take the same route in!  For some of them it was something they "fell" into on the back of creative works in other industries, and for others it was something they had fought for since they first discovered comics.

There were two things, however, that stuck with me.  The first is that, as a writer, I'm going to struggle to get into comic books without an artist to work with.  My script may be the greatest thing ever, but without the visuals to make it easier to read, no editor is even going to bother.  They have too many scripts to read that they've requested, so there is little to no chance that they'll have the time to read my unsolicited one.

The second thing that I will remember is from the writer Kieron Gillen whose two pieces of advice were simply to "Do Stuff" and "Not Mess Up".  They remind me of a quote I read when I was just starting out writing that said "If you write, you're a writer".

Words for all of us to live by, I guess!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Comic Books as Literature

This weekend, I'm off to London to go to a huge Comic Book convention. I've never made a secret of my geekiness and my love of comic books, but something I've only recently come to realise is how interested I am in actually writing them.

This isn't, however, something I would tell to a writing or critique group. Why not? Why is is that writing comic books is seen as such an insignificant for of literature?

The skills needed to write a comic book are different to a novel or a short story, but that doesn't make them any less legitimate. The biggest challenge seems to be that you have to try and tell your story almost in two separate ways - one to give instructions to your artist, and one to entertain your audience. Show, not tell is still a fundamental part of this storytelling process, but it seems to take on another layer when you're working in such a visual medium.

People compare it to screenplay writing, but while the physical format of the writing is similar, I can see a lot of differences too - the primary one being that you have static images to work with, rather tham moving ones. It must be a lot harder to portray a character's terror when you can't see his heart thundering or tell that his palms are sweating.

There's a panel at this convention that is about breaking into comics and is being presented by some big names in comic editing. I can't wait to hear their advice and discover what steps I need to take. And maybe in another few years, it'll be my name on a comic book, being picked up by a little girl who is dreaming of being a writer...
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