Writing for Comic Books
Writing for comic books is slightly different than writing other types of fiction but not by much. You need to be able to tell a story through a series of panels that an artist will be drawing. Think of it as a script, like a movie script where you need to give directions to a cameraman. Some writers are very graphic and get very specific with some scenes. Some are just interested in writing the description and dialog.
As long as you remember that comic books are a visual medium, you should be okay. I have had published some stories, one of them in Wiindows comics and the artist did a fantastic job of translating my story, Gift of the Maccabees, into a comic book. It was good enough to be optioned into a movie.
When submitting a script to an editor, make sure that you have a story. By that it has to have a beginning, middle and end. Also, for established characters (Batman, Iron Man, Hulk, Superman, etc) make sure that you tell your story keeping in mind the world that they inhabit. You don’t have Batman flying like Superman using X-ray vision and you certainly don’t have Iron Man turning green from gamma radiation and going nuts. Hmm, maybe that is a great story idea. Iron Hulk. Hello, Marvel?
Think of the comic script as a blueprint for the artist. If you can draw the comic book yourself, fantastic. My suggestion is still to script it out so you at least have a road map for the story. Once you know where you are going you can always change the direction and story later on.
If you are creating your own heroes and universe, make sure you have a bible. That is basically the descriptions of your heroes, your villains and the universe they live and play in. Any supporting characters, their abilities, their origins – you name it, you should have it written down. If what you are writing takes off, other writer may want a shot at your characters and universe and you will be able to reign them in so they can tell their interpretation of your comic book within your rules.
Be patient because you probably won’t sell your first comic book script. You might even want to consider self-publishing it but I would also suggest you take feedback from professionals and friends who actually read comic books to see if you are on track as a writer. I will even go so far as to suggest you find comic book readers for the genre you are writing for. A super hero comic book reader may not get a graphic horror comic and tell you that he or she hates it.
Keep at it if you like it and you will get better with every script. There are different samples all over the web.
Be sure to send me a copy of the comic book autographed when you get it published, you famous person, you! And as always, good luck!
Part of all my book proceeds go to research finding a cure for Rett Syndrome and reversal of symptoms.
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