Tag Archives: comic book writing

Essential readings for Comic Book Writers

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:

51473OvY5zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_voglers-writers-journey

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!

 

51c1Pf0fe7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

 

61KgveZjO7L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_mc36c

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.

 

59704

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.

 

9780770434359

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.

 

wwgbg

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:

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!!!

-Nico

 

Wrestling with Comicbook dialogue.

I recently had he opportunity to rework the dialogue on the Arthur King 8 pages story that I wrote last year and which was drawn by artist DKaotic.

You can find it here.

I have been reworking the dialogue and lettering on the story in order to get a chance for it to be published in an Anthology this year. Once it is set in stone, I’ll tell you everything, I swear.  But for now, I would rather not.

This was a great opportunity to get feedback from an editor and give Arthur a stronger voice and more colorful language. I also fixed some of the lettering and actually cut some of the lines because some of the panels had way too much dialogue in them. It truly helped the flow of the story and created a superior version of the Comic that people really seem enthusiastic about. Good stuff.

Still, I feel bad. DKaotic’s artwork is so pretty that I would rather not put ANY balloons on top of it.

Check it out:

Artie01ArtOnly

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More good news came when I got my feedback from Top Cow. As you may already know, I am participating in the Top Cow Talent Hunt for the third consecutive year. I have to submit a 22 pages script based on the characters from the Aphrodite IX and IXth Generation books.

One of the big differences this year is that each participant who submitted his script and/or Artwork before the first deadline of January 15th received feedback in the second half of February.

I did receive mine. It was not only very positive but also very helpful. I am currently revising the script and doing my best to improve the dialogue in some specific scenes, literally agonizing over which word to choose in each sentence. I actually decided to step away from my latest draft for a week and take a step back because I know I am overthinking it.

The good news is that the final deadline is May 15th so there is still plenty of time to implement improvements.

+++

Lastly, here is a link to some very cool advice for Comicbook Artists:

10 Rules for Drawing Comics

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I wish you all a Merry March.

-N

 

 

Wizard Con Portland 2016

It’s wednesday, wednesday, WEDNESDAY!

It’s new comic book day and, from now on, the day of the week when I put a new post on my blog. I know, it’s been a while. Honestly, I simply forgot to post. I was busy. I have sciatica.

Enough said.

A couple weeks back, I went to:

Wizard Con Portland!

But first,

Pretty pictures:

Wizard Con Portland- Sasquatch by Steve Lieber

I really enjoy buying original sketches from Artists at Cons. It is a bit expensive but well worth it. Check out Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spiderman) here.

In that vein, earlier last week, I received a commission from Emi Lenox:

StormByEmiYou jealous, yet.

You can find Emi here.

I gotta go frame shopping… and wall shopping? because I’m running out of wall space… haha, hilarious. Alright, I’ll stop.

+++

What I learned from Comic Book Artist and Writer Michael Golden during his panel at Wizard Con:

1- People are stupid.

So do not confuse them with your ‘mysterious’ writing, break it down for them, keep it simple.

2- Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why.

Make sure you tell your audience all that because they are a bunch of morons.

+Plus a few precious pearls of wisdom for your writing:

  • Write the ending first.
  • Establish the premise right at the beginning.
  • Plot and character development are one and the same. Plot IS character so make sure you know what your character want and runs with it.
  • Moms make great villains because they love you.
  • Everything is a machine. Figure out how the machine work.

+++

And finally:

2016-ww-portland-1-02857-org

Happy Wednesday!

-N

High Concept and Pinterest

I am still submitting “Arthur King” to whoever still accept submissions and I actually got an answer from one of the publishers. No, they are not going to publish it BUT their answer was very positive and encouraging. So much so that I actually printed it, highlighted the kind words, and pinned it on the board by my desk along with other positive encouragements I keep right in front of me for motivational purpose. The fact that I actually got an answer at all is pretty amazing in and of itself. That was a Goooood day.

++

I am currently working on a submission for Titan Comics. They mention on their site that you get a better shot if you submit a 4 to 5 issues limited series.  Arthur King was designed as a minimum of 6 issues but I think that last night I had a tiny breakthrough and found a way to cut the fat in some exciting way. Truly, this is what I should be working on right now so I better wrap this up.

++

I have been concerned with “High Concept”. When I took Brian Bendis’ class at PSU, we had to introduce our final project as  a high concept. I had not idea what that meant so I just sat in front of the class and told the whole story. Brian was kind enough to let me I realize now. Yesterday, I read this article about it and realized that a high concept is basically what I have been calling my logline. It is the hook of the story told in no more than a couple sentences. For example, Arthur King‘s high concept is:

The legendary KING ARTHUR is reincarnated as an amnesiac, obnoxious hobo. With the help of a magical hitman with an anger problem named MERLIN, ARTHUR must find the Knights of the Round Table Magical Weapons and stop his mortal enemy MORDRED from finding the Holy Grail.

At least, that is where it stands now. The hook comes from the fact that King Arthur is now a Hobo.

Looking at some of the projects I am working on now, I realize that they are not very good since they do not land themselves to a High Concept pitch quite yet. One of them is just a straightforward revenge story. I have yet to put together a strong High Concept and I am working on that before I even bring them to DKaotic’s consideration. My High Concept MUST wow the reader or audience and that is freakin’ hard.

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I (finally?) started a Pinterest. The board you can see is just a general cool stuff one. I actually created a ‘secret’ board for each project I am writing so that I can fool myself into thinking that procrastinating on Pinterest is actually productive (it is not) but I’ll have plenty of pretty pictures to show an artist down the line.

ProjectBoardPinterest
A board for one of the projects I am currently developing.

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Wishing you all a happy February,

-N

Comic Book Scripts Reading

Of late, I have been reading Comic Book Scripts.

It is quite useful to see how professional writers put their Comic Book Scripts together.  Even though there is no official Comic Book Script format, you get to see how each writer format their script for one of the Big twos or for their own independent projects. More importantly, you can see how they effectively communicate with their respective artists.

Civil War Script Book
Civil War Script Book

The first script I ever read was Mark Millar’s Civil War. That’s a real treat and you can find the entire script on Amazon for super cheap.

Cover of Bitch Planet #3

The latest script I read was Bitch Planet issue 3 by Kelly Sue DeConnick. You can find it on that awesome website that is The Comic Book Script Archive along with the script for the latest issue (numero 6). Scripts are organized by authors here. It is often updated with new scripts and tips and tricks such as Jim Zub ‘s critic of a student script which is ripe with advice for comic book writers. Definitely worth adding to your bookmarks.

Another valuable resource is Brian Michael Bendis’s website, JinxWorld where, in the writing section, you can find plenty of his scripts for Marvel, from the Avengers to Ultimate Spiderman and even his creator-owned hit Powers.

Finally I have been reading short scripts on the MillarWorld thread. All the contestants who participated in the MillarWorld Talent Hunt this year are welcome to post their scripts and get peer feedback. It has been a fun one to follow and everybody is real nice and helpful which makes for good internet fun.

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Nothing else much to report on the writing front. I am still developing a couple projects I hope to transform into a fabulous pitch with the magnificent DKaotic.

I am also anxiously waiting for the one paragraph feedback from Top Cow Productions on my 22 pages script submission. That should hit my Inbox on February 15th.

Wising you all a great week. Stay beautiful.

-Nico out.

Spotlight on Dkaotic!

Honestly, I don’t really feel like blogging today.

Yes, it is Sunday and Sunday is blogging day but I would rather be immersed in the world of the stories I am currently working on. What happened is that earlier this week (or was it last week?), I contacted DKaotic, the artist with whom I worked on Arthur King, to let him know I really wanted to work with him again.

ArthurSwordShot
Who doesn’t want to see more of that gorgeous Art?

And he  responded with an enthusiastic YES which really made my day. And no, it’s not just because DKaotic and I are both French, though we all know that French people are awesome.

My goal for this year is to develop a new pitch, taking into account everything I learned from putting the Arthur King pitch and short story together. I aim to develop pitches for 4 issues mini-series since, from what I have heard from professionals (especially on the excellent Word Balloon Podcast), it is much easier (if easy at all) to get picked up by a publisher if you pitch a shorter 4 issues story. You know, because I am still very new to this and no one knows me, except you.

I had such a great time working with DKaotic and I enjoy his Art and work ethic so much that I am currently developing projects for him.

You should really check out what he’s been up to on his website and on his portfolio.

Below is a video of one of my favorite thing of his, truly inspiring stuff:

Now you can see why blogging today is not my favorite thing to do. I would rather be spending time in DKaotic world.

-N

 

Holiday disappearance

Not much happening this week except work, work, work, work, workin’ on my shit.

qMd_tAarKQ76TmkMeaJxWA_m

I am almost finished with my Top Cow Talent Hunt 22 pages script and having a blast. Research involved watching Spartacus and Gladiators on Netflix, playing God of War video games, learning about the different types of gladiators and  the Colosseum. It could be a lot worse.

ARESarenaBox
I have way too much fun finding excuses to mess around in Photoshop in the name of “research”.

I am also waiting to hear the results from the MillarWorld Talent Hunt. The winners should be announced next week, on the 23rd to be precise. Exciting stuff. Hopefully, it turns into a Happy Holiday surprise,

I am also waiting to hear back from 2000 AD about my FutureShock submission. I just want to get a rejection letter so that I can send in the next script, you know? Is that too much to ask?

I am also working on a new project involving Japanese Female Wrestling which I intent to  submit to Iron Circus. Go figure.

homer
Holiday disappearance but back in the New Year.

I will be out for the next couple weeks so no more posts from me until the New Year. I wish you a super 2016, may it be full of dream-fulfilling activities.

Happy Holiday!

-N

Procrastinate in Scrivener

Scrivener is fun.

As you might already know,  I love Scrivener. If you have not tried that awesome word processing program, go do the free trial now.

It truly changed the way I work by just making things easier to organize and more accessible. Scrivener’s best feature by far  is the ability to keep all your documents in one place. In Scrivener, you can organize things in folders and access them all in your project file so that you never have to open another window or program. You can even split the screen and work on two (or more) documents at the same time.

I use the Comic Book  Antony Johnston template and just tweak it a bit . Besides my actual story , I have a folder for Characters, Setting, Scenes (where i write single scenes that may or may not  make it into the main story) Research (that’s where I dump all my notes, ideas, outlines, it’s a freakin’ mess and I love it), and a final folder for old Drafts where I put my old drafts so that I can pull them back up and refer to them if needed.

The folders I use in Scrivener. They all open up and can be populated with sub folders and all types of docs.
The Folders I use in Scrivener. They all open and can be populated with sub folders and all types of docs.

This week, I learned about  a couple new fun functions I hadn’t used before and procrastinated a bit in Scrivener, just playing around really.

  1. Icons: I got a bit crazy with that one. In fact, I imported so many new icons at once that my selection screen was filled with it, making it impossible to access the icon management options. For a sec there, it  looked like I had broken scrivener. Thanks to automatic backup, I just went back to the previous version and learned that I should import only the icons I need, one at a time. I found some cool icons here.
scrivex2
Break down your story with ICONS into digestible chunks.

2. Name Generator: I am so glad I won’t have to go look for baby names on the internet anymore. The name Generator is awesome. I would have never come up with a great name such as  Laurelynn Toure (don’t steal that, go make your own!).

For more Scrivener awesome tips, go check this out.

Have fun scrivener -ing!

-N

Iron Circus Submission

Alright folks,

My Arthur King submission to Image is in the mail and, earlier this week, I also turned in my submission to the Millarworld Annual Hunt. I am also still working on my 22 pages script for the Top Cow Talent Hunt. Who said there were no opportunities for aspiring professional Comic Book writers out there? Not me. I did not say that.

As if this wasn’t enough, a new opportunity arises:

The Iron Circus Submission.

The publisher of the infamous Smut Peddler just opened its doors to comic book creators. Iron Circus is accepting proposals for 150 to 500 pages graphic novels and Erotic Graphic novels. Just no Zombies, no superheroes, and nothing for kids unless it’s a GN for 12 years old and older.  But not Erotica. To be clear, they DO NOT accept Erotic GN for kids, you perv.

So, let’s see, what are they asking for?

smutpeddler

 

1. A complete creative team.

Oops. Did I say opportunities for Comic Book Writers earlier? Don’t let it discourage you. Come up with a story and then find an artist. I found the fantastic DKaotic on Elance.com (now Upwork.com) and so can you. Just remember, Artists don’t work for free. At least, buy them a beer or a sandwich.

2. Short Creators Bios.

Uh duh.

3. A one page outline or summary of the entire story.

Just like the Image outline. Only ONE PAGE. Raaagh… tough stuff. To be clear though, I am not going to pitch Arthur King to Iron Circus. It’s just not their thing. Just like always, you wanna make sure you’re pitching a story that fits the publisher’s publishing history. Arthur King just ain’t their jam but I’ve got a story up my sleeves that I always thought would be the perfect fit for their Art style and story content.

4. A production timeline.

Wow, I simply have no clue how long it would take me to actually write a 150 pages GN. And how long would it take the artist? That is something to definitely figure out. You know, because I also have a day job. Great, challenging question.

5. Five Complete Comic Book pages.

As of now, I am thinking of actually making an eight pages story so that I can use it for other submission and as part of my portfolio.

So yeah, that’s my plan.

I want a solid outline, an exciting 8 pages script, hire an artist, and make the damn Comic. Pretty much like I did with Arthur King and The Activist shorts so that, regardless of the outcome, I will have a pitch-ready story with Artwork that I can show to potential publishers.

I would just add one more thing. Make sure this is a story you want to tell. It just so happens that the story I have in mind is a good fit for the Iron Circus submission but I would have written it anyway, submission or not, because it’s a story I want to tell that I think also happens to be awesome.

-N

Essential readings for Comic Book Writers

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 are my recommended, Essential readings for Comic Book Writers:

51473OvY5zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_voglers-writers-journey

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!

 

51c1Pf0fe7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

 

61KgveZjO7L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_mc36c

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.

 

59704

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.

 

9780770434359

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 btw.

wwgbg

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:

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!!!

-Nico