Tag Archives: Graphic Novel

My Top Cow Talent Hunt 2013 SCRIPT!

HI Guys

I am not a Top Cow Talent Hunt 2013 winner …bouhou…

BUT!

The good news is that I can now share the script I wrote for the Hunt with you. YEAH!

Here were the rules:

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And here is my script:

CURSED

Thanks for reading!

My first Dredd.

I read my first Judge Dredd comic: The Judge Child Quest.

All I knew about the Judge beforehand was the highly despised 1995 Stallone flick. He takes off his helmet in it and lots of people got pissed off about that. I also recently watched the 2012 Dredd movie and that was totally bad-ass so I figured I’d read the comic.

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It was originally published back in 1980 in the comic magazine 2000 AD in several 6 to 8 pages parts or “progs” as they call it. I love short stories. It’s impressive to see how the writers manage to tell compelling self-contained shorts stories that still advance the plot for the whole quest. The premise is simple. Judge Dredd is looking for the Judge Child which leads him into a bunch of pretty delightful intergalactic adventures.

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Now that’s a SPLASH!

Reading the Comic, I somehow could not help thinking of my favorite childhood french Comic Asterix especially when looking at some of the big crowd scenes. Perhaps it is also the fact that Asterix also goes on quests that bring him to foreign places.

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Spoilers: this guy does not make it.

Ironically, what matters most is not Judge Dredd himself. Yes, he is bad-ass and his bike is awesome but the book shines because of the exotic places he visits and the people he meets. It’s a true adventure! He fights Faro the King of trash, escapes the Thing from the Pit, kills the Hungry Planet, faces the Angel Gang…just to name a few.

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This guy does not make it either.

All in all, my first Dredd experience was nothing like I expected. It was not particularly violent but instead it showcased the writers versatility. It’s a great ride and you should hop on.

N-

Binge-Comic-book-reading.

Ever since House of Cards season 2 came out on Netflix last week, I see several articles popping on the internet about binge-watching. The articles argue that binge watching a TV show such as House of Cards or Breaking Bad is a disservice to the show and diminishes its dramatic impact. Wanting to reach the conclusion of the series, the binge watcher speedily digests the episodes in one fell swoop withouth having time to appreciate the artfulness, impact and artistry of each sequence and each individual episode.

I am actually done watching House of Cards season 2 and loved it. I did however consciously take my time and savour each episode on its own term. I was not rushing to the conclusion. I used to follow Breaking Bad on regular TV so I know the difference between binging and regular TV watching.

That whole binging business made me think of comic books. Could there be such a thing as Comic Book binging?

I believe so.

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Binge on that! Thanks Multnomah Library.

I recently read The Punisher Volume 1 by Greg Rucka. It contains The Punisher 1-5. I read it in one seating. Though I do remember the fight with the new vulture as a definite highlight, the whole experience was disappointing. It’s not that it’s bad or anything, not at all, but binge-reading all five issues consecutively ruined the experience. Comic books are created one issue at a time, just like a TV episode. Thought every series is put in trades eventually, it’s not really how they are meant to be read. When put in trades, it’s like comic books are put on Netflix as an entire season.

Comparatively, I am currently reading Greg Rucka’s Lazarus. Not as a trade but as regular comics, one issue at a time. I truly appreciate each issue and I read it like I drink a good glass of wine. Every page becomes special, every moment indelible.

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One of those is enough.

Though I will be the first one to say that Trade paperbacks are a convenient way of collecting stories, they are also diminishing the impact of each single issue by putting them all together and next to each other when, in fact, they should be read separately and digested individually. So next time, do yourself a favor and pace yourself.

It’s like my mom used to say, everything is good but in moderation.

N-

The Gap.

I’m depressed… wait!…No, don’t stop reading!

It’s just that this week I turned in my script for the Top Cow Talent Hunt and like any other creative endeavor that takes up most of your time and energy, once it’s over, you are left with a big hole. A big gap. A giant goddamn canyon.

In that case, the only thing you can do is to find something to fill that gap. I made a to do list.

First on that list was the least fun type of writing around: administrative. Yep, my somewhat appropriate replacement for artistic fulfillment was paperwork. I have been putting off registering myself on the “French people living in a foreign country”-list for like ever. So on thursday afternoon, I delightfully lost myself in writing my name down several times and making copies of important papers. Though we are in 2014, this procedure must be done via snail mail, yet another testament to France’s Administrative achievements. All I need, now that I have gathered and filled out the required paperwork, is a nice picture and I’ll be done with that… so what now, what do I have to fill the gap???

A few months ago, Nick came up with a story idea and asked me to basically run with it. I don’t think I am spoiling it by saying that he had the idea for a horror story in the fashion of the Twilight Zone. This story is now my focus. I am trying to make it as short as possible in terms of Comic Book pages count. I think I can do 4.

Also I have a lot of reading to catch up on. I’ll leave you with a pic of my “library pile”.

Ciao,

N-

libpile

Just finished reading “Channel Zero” and onto “Blacksad”.

Library Giraffe.

I love the public library.

The dejected librarians, the smell of hobos, the $150 fee I had to pay that one time because I forgot and no one told me; I love it all.

Seriously though, I believe the library is the one and only thing taxes are worth paying for. That and the art. Not the weird statues they put downtown though. And maybe education….and roads… we need roads…until we have flying cars.

Recently, I checked out a bunch of Comics from Top Cow for research. As you might already know, I am currently writing a 22 pager for their Talent Hunt so I had to read a bunch of their stuff.

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The giraffe is only here as reference.

Isn’t that neat? I mean look at that “The Darkness Compendium”, I mean BOOM!

Of course, I usually use the library for fun reads. Since it is on the back burner at the moment, I keep renewing books until one is due and I cannot renew it any longer because somebody else has a “hold” on it. Then I have to read it real, real quick. It’s all about the incentive of avoiding late fees.

Here is my current back log:

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Looks like I’m in a Grant Morrison phase

I started some of them but I had to put the Top Cow stuff first with the deadline coming up.

One of my favorite is definitely Morrison’s “Doom Patrol”. I’ll leave you on that until next time.

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Morrison’s hilarious parody of The Punisher in Doom Patrol.

Ripped to shreds.

I am currently reading tons of Top Cow comics in order to compete for their Talent Hunt. As I read more and more of their stuff, a story starts to form in my head. That’s good. Better hurry since the January 31st deadline is looming. Incidentally, it is also my mommy’s birthday and the deadline for our Loony Story with 8th Wonder Press.

I need to be familiar with the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the Top Cow Universe if I want to write a story to their specifications and satisfaction. As I mentioned last week, they provide a list of recommended reading (thank God!). I have been trying to get my hands on all of the books. I got a fair share from the library (I pay taxes Goddammit!), others from the Comic Book Shop (Excalibur!!!) and then, as a last resort, Amazon.com. I ordered the first volume of “Artifacts” from them ( I got all other 4 volumes from the library).

I was really excited to read it. It has an introduction by Marc Silvestri that really explains his vision for Top Cow. How it was “the perfect place to satisfy [his] sci-fi/fantasy/horror fetish.” And it is. Looking back on the Witchblade and the Darkness, I realize it is very much X files if Mulder and Scully had superpowers. It has detective/horror elements much like “Seven” with added fantasy elements (Angels, demons and even Dragons!) and heroes wielding magical weapons on top. What a cocktail! If anything, there is nothing else like it in Comics.

I am truly enjoying the experience, much more than I thought I would. Writer Ron Marz is really bringing the whole universe and all its characters together in a compelling and downright cool way. I am looking forward to reading more of his work.

But even better, I cannot wait to finish the research phase and start the outline phase ( I already have a plot!).

The only blemish on that otherwise good time is that damn Artifacts Vol.1 from Amazon.com. As soon as I started reading, it started falling apart at the seam! Each page I turned would come undone! That was like a total nightmare!!! It fell apart one page at a time.

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Yep, she’s dead; ripped to shreds.

I never had that happen before! Books from the library are as sturdy as a rock but this brand new one falls apart?!? I was totally freaked out. You know, bad omen type of situation. Looking at it now, I believe the glue from the seam must have been defective. Oh well, I should have gotten it from the comic book store. I still might because the artwork is pretty sumptuous too.

I am about to read Artifacts Vol.4 tonight. Stjepan Sejic is the artist ( he was for a few other titles I read as part of the research) and he is a very talented artist/digital painter. I’ll leave you on a positive note with his sick artwork! Go check him out.

Artifacts_14_Image_Expo_variantOne happy family!

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.

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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-

Stay out of our way!

As you might know from last week’s post, I have been working on a story idea Nick had (Nick is my artist). Things were getting a lot creepy in my research stage, like THAT CREEPY:

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Al Basti and Popobawa. That’s what you find when you dig into the world of succubi.

I enjoy collecting images as part of my research so that I can share them with Nick later if necessary AND/OR start barfing and laughing simultaneously.

Then all of sudden, Nick sent me an email that his roommate sent him about a great opportunity. Now, we are working on a brand new 8 pages comic for the 8th Wonder Press Anthology – Science! / Mad Science! and so should you! No, really, check it out.

In the next weeks, we are focusing solely on this project as the deadline for the proposal nears. Please, wish us good luck, pray for us to your gods, your demons and your mutant children! Send us good vibes and lots of positive energy and as Stewie Griffin so perfectly put it:  “Dear God…STAY OUT OF OUR WAY!!!!”

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Nick pretty much forced me to post his picture here because he is (self-admittedly) a narcissist.

Morrison’s Batman: Words vs Images vs Words

 I have been reading Grant Morrison’s Batman (Batman & Son, The Black Glove, Batman R.I.P. , Time and The Batman, The Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Inc.). I still have to read Batman Inc. Vol.1 and 2 and perhaps Final Crisis. Let it be said that I am not reviewing the work here. I do enjoy Grant Morrison’s work but this particular story line was hit and miss for me (mostly miss). So there. (oops, just reviewed it)

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Instead, I wish to bring your attention to the infamous issue 663: The Joker prose issue. That’s right, Grant Morrison wrote an entire issue in prose. I was very excited at the idea but ultimately found myself frustrated by the reading experience. Though it is written in prose, the story is illustrated. It is more similar to a children book in a way. Except that in children books, the illustrations are part of the reading experience, often giving the young readers a clear picture of a key event or location such as the King’s castle or the witch handing the young maid a poisoned apple.

This is not the case in issue 663.

Batman 663 - CoverT

The writing is incredible and truly makes your imagination churn like every great work of literature should.

Descriptions such as:batman663txt2

and663texts are truly delectable and bring to mind fantastic images that, unfortunately, the illustrations provided on each page simply cannot compete with. This resulted in my imagination constantly competing with the illustrations that were forced down my throat. They prevented me from losing myself into the wonderful language. The images created in my mind’s eye through Morrison’s prose were constantly being disturbed by the illustrations in the book. The dichotomy was unbearable. I wish it would have been only prose, only those beautiful words.

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Even worse, the final images conclude the story just like a comic book would. The images do all the talking…except you have been reading prose the whole time up to that point.

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Like we say in Theatre, if you can show it, why say it???

And if you describe it with words, why show it???