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Scripting for comic books

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  • Scripting for comic books

    These questions are primarily for Mr. Moorcock, but I would appreciate anyone's advice. How do you script for a comic book? What kinds of things does the artist need to know? Do you describe each panel or do you give a general description of that page? I've never tried to do anything like this before, so I don't really have any idea where to begin. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I guess it would depend on whether your comic is story driven, or action (or art) driven. If it is story driven, then it would help to have a coherent script put together. After the script is ready, the pages can be broken into panels with quick sketches to indicate the scenes and dialogue. The artist would take the page breakdown/storyboard as a template, and begin to draw the actual pages. Traditional comics are inked, lettered and coloured (not necessarily in that order) after the pencils are done, though some more recent comics do a digital colour process overtop of the scanned pencils. In the case of digital comics, lettering can be added last.

    If the story is more action driven, then a plot outline would suffice. A storyboard would be made based on the outline, and the art would be done before the actual story is written in. This would be a good option for a writer who is collaborating with an artist, and would give the creative process more of an organic development.

    I suppose an experienced writer could write a page breakdown right into the script, with descriptions of action and the panel layout described. Honestly, I have no idea how the major comic companies go about it (and I would wager to say some of them have no idea either), but generally writing your story in script form is a good place to start. If I find any good websites on this, I'll post links.
    Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

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    • #3
      I talk about this in Death is No Obstacle, I think.
      I use a conventional Fleetway-style method of scripting which goes

      CONTINUITY BOX (if any)
      i.e. THEN SUDDENLY --

      Description of the picture.
      i.e.
      Batman swings into the picture, a large stuffed turkey under
      one arm.

      Joker: TCHA! BATMAN! AGAIN MY SCHEMES ARE THWARTED

      Batman: TOO BAD, JOKER. YOU'VE LAID ANOTHER TURKEY!!


      CONTINUITY BOX (if any):
      i.e. THE TABLES TURNED, OUR VILLAIN SLIPS AWAY...

      That's my method. There's also a 'Marvel' method, which is to do a
      scenario which you later flesh out with dialogue and so on.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
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      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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      • #4
        Thanks for the response! It was actually quite helpful.

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        • #5
          Rick Klaw also writes an intersting take on scripting in Geek Confidential. He highlights taking a Joe Lansdale story to comic form, as I remember. It may be worth tracking down.

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          • #6
            Rick Klaw also writes an intersting take on scripting in Geek Confidential. He highlights taking a Joe Lansdale story to comic form, as I remember.

            The book also has a introduction by some guy named Moorcock :)

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            • #7
              I know this isn't exactly answering your question, but...


              Originally posted by Neil Gaiman
              1. How do you write comics?

              When I decided I wanted to write comics in 1985 I went out and bought Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art. If I were doing it now I'd also buy Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. I'd look at some comics scripts (there's one reprinted in the back of Dream Country, although there are an almost infinite number of ways to write a comics script, and that's only one.)

              And then I'd read a lot of comics and try to work out what works and what doesn't and why. And then I'd start drawing some comics for myself, not for people to see, just to figure out how to get from one panel to the next, one page to the next. If you're going to work with an artist, now's a good time to go and meet artists.

              You'll do best if you realise that there is a lot to know. Most bad comics are written by people who don't know that there is anything to learn... (Many of them were written by writers who are successful in other fields.) Having something to say is fairly essential, too.

              Good luck. Write good comics.
              http://www.neilgaiman.com/faq/faq.asp#advice

              Aside from being a great read, the book he mentions does indeed feature the annotated script for a full issue of Sandman, which is very interesting in itself.
              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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              • #8
                Rick Klaw's book is published by Monkeybrain, the same as Wizardry and Wild Romance! Still available via Amazon or can be ordered from your local bookstore! Very enjoyable about comics and other popular art forms.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bryan Talbot's script for Shadowdeath:
                  http://www.bryan-talbot.com/shadowdeath/sd1.script.html

                  If you're not familiar with this series, you can find covers here:
                  http://www.bryan-talbot.com/shadowdeath/index.html

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