Tag Archives: DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics

Superwoman

Walking through an Antique Mall on the Oregon coast, I stumbled upon this little beauty: “DC Comics Presents SUPERMAN introduces SUPERWOMAN Annual #2 (DC, 1983)”

cover
DC Comics Presents SUPERMAN introduces SUPERWOMAN Annual #2 (DC, 1983). Written by ELLIOT S. MAGGIN. Illustrated by KEITH POLLARD.

I am not a collector but I do enjoy picking up old Comics if I find some cool-looking cover. I simply could not resist the alluring Superwoman with her super cool costume. I don’t know about you but I did not even know there ever was a Superwoman until now.

There is a lot of cool and crazy going on in this book. I am about to spoil it all so stop reading now if you don’t want to know.

Superwoman has got quite the Super Body.
Superwoman has got quite the SuperBod with the SuperLegs.

Kristen Wells is a History Professor living and teaching in the 29th century. She is telling her students about the Last Secret Identity: Superwoman. Apparently, by the 29th century, everyone knows the DC heroes real identities except for Superwoman. Prompted by her students, Kristen goes back in time in order to find out who Superwoman really is. She gets hired at the Daily Planet as a typist for Lois lane and hangs out with Clark Kent/ Superman who already knows her. Apparently, Kristen time-travels a lot. She finds the Superwoman costume in Lois Lane’s closet (!!!) but Lois is keeping it for Clark’s cousin, Linda Danvers (aka Supergirl!), so that she can wear it at an upcoming costume party (!!!).

The villainous King Kosmos, who is bent on world domination, shows up. According to Kristen’s history records, that’s when Superwoman is supposed to first appear to save the day and help Superman but there is no Superwoman in sight. So she put on the Superwoman costume and uses her futuristic tech to phase through objects, fly, and just be all kind of badass. So yeah, she is Superwoman. She is also (revealed at the very end) Jimmy Olsen’s grand-grand-grand daughter (add as many “grand-” as necessary here). That explains why she keeps refusing to date him during the whole thing because, well, that’d be kinda creepy.

Yeah Jimmy, They're grown ups. Mind your own business.
Office “play” in the eighties.

I did enjoy the fact that Superwoman is more than just a female version of Superman. She has no superpowers but uses futuristic technology and science in order to defeat her opponent. Yes, at some point, Superman saves her from falling to her death after she gets hit by King Kosmos. But you’ve got to give the poor lad something to do since he seems completely clueless as to what’s happening for most of the issue. Superwoman actually tells him a couple times that she will “explain later” because clearly poor “Smallville” does not get it. She is also very patriotic. Her catch phrase is “Let History bear witness that no American ever had to bow to a tyrant”. She is also very adept at flying thanks to her “Freestyle Space Dancing Lessons” (!!!).

supermandisintegrated
At some point, King Kosmos disintegrates Superman through space and time. Supes finds himself in the past where he meets the Knights of King Arthur. All is well though since he comes back to the present by flying real fast through space and time. Really, REALLY fast.

This is a really fun story where Superwoman actually gets to take the lead and is not a simple sidekick to the Man of Steel. I hope DC will bring her back, perhaps in the hands of Gail Simone? That would be awesome.

The last thing she does before leaving the present, is to steal a kiss from Clark. Because, like I said, she’s pretty smart.

-N

Into submission

As I mentioned last week, now that Nick and I are done with Loony the Moonian for 8th Wonder Press; I am keeping an eye opened for more submissions we can pitch to.

One way of doing that is a simple google search:

subgoogle

 

One of the result is a great resource called Cloudscape. They post all kind of submissions and stuff. You should really check them out. Thanks to that site, I found the next submission we are working on:

bloodroot

 

 

Blood Root is looking for supernatural inspired stories…and they pay money if they publish you!

So go ahead and submit! I know I will.

N-

 

 

The Method.

Well, A method. This is, in essence, the DC method that you can find in The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. Check out last week’s post to learn more.

Like any method, it should be tailored, re-sized, and dyed to your own needs and tastes. I did not always use this method but ever since I started to, I don’t wanna stop. I find that it brings more discipline to the process and who doesn’t need more discipline?…especially when it comes to writing. Though I use the method for Comic Book Writing, it can be applied to any kind of writing.

Untitled-1

That’s what the method looks like on my PC for the Flo-Rida script. Concise stuff. I like.

Now the method pretty much requires that you possess a personal computer. That doesn’t mean you should stop using a pen and paper. You crazy? I still have a journal of sorts with some version of the story in it. You’ve gotta be ready for the Apocalypse. Just in case.

Once you have a computer, you’re gonna want to create a folder titled..well, whatever your title for your project is. I know. It’s probably not the final title since you’re just starting, but come on, you gotta call it something. Let’s say I call it “something”!

Now, inside my “something” folder, I create a SUB-folder for reference pictures. Phew!… you still with me? I know it’s getting tough for some of us tech-tards but hang on! You don’t have to make a sub-folder for pictures. You don’t have to use pictures at all. I just do. That’s the beauty of it, it’s totally up to you.I just enjoy looking at pictures in the research phase and I collect them for inspiration and to use as reference. Then I can show them to my artist if needed.

Let’s get to the meat of it. You wanna create 4 WORDS Documents entitled:

-“Something” NOTES:

That’s where you frantically gather random notes about your project, copy and paste Wikipedia pages and what not. “Un veritable Fourre-tout”= A put-it-all-in kinda place. (that’s what she said..haha). The research phase is my favorite. I’m a hoarder of research materials and that’s what this document is for. I also use it for dialogue ideas, some plotting, anything. Just vomit it all on the page! You can go fishing pearls later.

-“Something” PLOT:

Usually my shortest document. I try to summarize the entire story in 3 sentences then I toy with it a bit.

-“Something” OUTLINE:

This is the map you create here that will guide you through the long and hazardous scripting process. Mine sometimes look like this:outileex

Now this probably only makes sense to me but that’s all that matters, right? Of course, you change it, you re-write it, you perfect it until you’re ready for…

-“Something” SCRIPT:

The Script! ARRGH! I hate scripting, it is the least fun for me. I start only when I feel I have the story, a solid PLOT and good OUTLINE make scripting a lot easier. I usually start by writing a rough script so I can gauge for space. Once that is well established, I go in for details and clear panel descriptions to the artist. When it comes to formatting, I’m pretty standard. Maybe I’ll show another time.

That’ it folks. That’s the method. My method. The DC method. Whatever.

4 word docs, some pics if you like. Pretty straightforward and, more importantly, it’s ORGANIZED!

Try it, you might like it.

N-

Never Stop Writing

“Never stop writing”

That’s what Brian Michael Bendis told me.

I took the Writing Graphic Novel class he taught at Portland State University back in 2010. This was the beginning of my Comic Book writing days. Professor Bendis is not only extremely knowledgeable about the craft, he is also very supportive. It was just a great, fun, informative class with fantastic reading material.

I personally recommend starting with The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. It’ll teach you plenty about telling a story and the three acts structure. Don’t just read it, STUDY it. Take notes. Commit to memory. You should do that for all these books. It truly helps. THEN read Story by Robert McKee. It seemed to me it was a lot easier to read Story AFTER The Journey. I also recommend the DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. It contains some great organisational methods. Add Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Arts and Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative; and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Making Comics. Those will take you on a trip.

That’s enough,  you got plenty there. In the end though, you write your way. There are not set methods. just pick and choose what works best FOR you.

I got an A in the class, not that I believe in grades or anything but it does help when people enjoy your work and tell you so. The Activist was born in that class and so was Alistair.

The last time I talked to professor Bendis, it was on the floor of the Stumptown Comics Fest where the whole class met for the last time. As he walked away from me, he turned around and said “never stop writing”. To this day, this is the most supportive and positive advice I have gotten. It carries me through and pushes me forward no matter what.

I quickly answered: “I won’t”.

N-