Essential readings for Comic Book Writers:
This list is based off of the curriculum from Brian Michael Bendis’ writing class, as well as other recommendations from friends, and other lucky finds. I picked my favorites or, at least, the ones I believe to be the most helpful, should be read first or even re-read, perhaps studied. Simply put, books you should have at arm’s reach for easy reference.
Here is my Definitive list of Essential readings for Comic Book Writers:
One of my favorite books and the one I recommend reading first. It will give you a solid foundation, from the actual structure of your story to character’s archetypes. This is a great book that you will keep referring to and should keep handy. Plus, I feel like it makes all my writing super Mythical and Epic!
Another great book though, I felt, a little more dense. I found it easier to digest AFTER reading The Writer’s Journey since it builds on some of the principles explained in the first book. The script analysis of Chinatown is particularly exciting. This is a book you should read closely and by that, I mean STUDY it. Just like all the books on this list really. And yes, it is about Screenwriting but the same principles apply to Comic book writing.
The best book about the actual medium. Understanding Comics is a big fat comic strip about comics and how they work. Scott Mc Cloud takes you through everything that makes up a Comic Book, one panel at a time. You should also read his Making Comics.
Tons of good advice from the Legendary Writer with an interesting focus on the ‘Theme’ of your story. Also, the afterwords that he wrote 15 years later destroys everything he recommended doing in the book. Priceless.
More than a book about writing Comics, this is about the entire business of being a professional Comic book Writer. From your relationship with Artists to dealing with Editors, it proves to be the most original and innovative book of the bunch with advice from pros you won’t find anywhere else. This book will take you to the next level. Oh, it also gives you homework.
This is my new favorite book and one I keep handy. Nick Macari little book will truly take you to the next level because it assumes you already know about the writing basics and concerns itself with mechanics specific to the comic book medium. I am still learning from this great book. You can find some of Nick’s advice on his site here and make your own opinion.
More cool books to check out:
- On Writing by Stephen King
- The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O’Neil
- Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon
- Will Eisner Comics and Sequential Art
- Will Eisner Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
- Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers
You can also find Comic book scripts in the back of some trades or Deluxe editions of your favorite books. It is worth checking it out. I especially enjoy the Civil War Script book by Mark Millar.
And of course online, at the Comic Book Script Archive.
Have the most Mythical and Epic of Journeys!!!