Archive for January 6th, 2009

Jan 06 2009

Five Common Mistakes of Comic Book Writers (#1-5)

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1.  The story fails to hook readers in the first three pages.
The easiest way to do this is to show a likable character facing a serious problem.  It doesn’t have to be a life-and-death threat, but that helps.  Another method is to establish that the writing style is particularly compelling.

2. The plot lacks urgency.

A character walking from his door to his car is not very interesting. Running to his car to make it to work on time is better. Running to his car to avoid gunshots? Even better. To make the plot more urgent, I recommend making giving the characters goals that are time-sensitive and high-stakes. If John doesn’t make it to work in ten minutes, he will be fired. If Captain Carnage can’t find and defuse the bomb in ten minutes, the building will explode. Etc.  The goal doesn’t have to be life or death, but it helps.

3.  The writers rely too much on exposition (particularly narration and dialogue) to tell the story.

Try not to tell your audience things that they should be able to see in the picture. For example, check out these two versions of one of our panels.

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45 responses so far

Jan 06 2009

What is the appeal of the Hulk?

Just wondering.

15 responses so far

Jan 06 2009

No alcohol was involved in the conception of these covers

Superhero Nation is slightly eccentric and wacky, so I kind of want an eye-catching cover that conveys that.  Here are a few of my latest ideas for our first cover.

1.  This cover shows a desk with a careful array of US presidential bobbleheads.  (It’s Agent Orange’s desk, so this should look a bit wacky).  At the front of the desk would be bobbleheads of Agent Black, Agent Orange and their boss.  In the background, we’d place a motivational poster for humorous flavor.  (Maybe “Human Resources:  Killer Service Every Time.”)

ALTERNATIVE:  The desk still has presidential bobbleheads, but the bobbleheads of the cast are gone.  Agent Orange is behind the desk in a surly boss pose and Agent Black is staring at him dumbfounded.  As before, there’s a motivational poster for humor.  (Hat-tip to Brett).

2.  Agent Black is getting chewed out in an over-the-top manner by Agent Orange.  I’d probably frame it like a scene between Peter Parker and JJ Jameson.  I’m relying on the “what the hell?” factor of having a mutant alligator as the boss to make this eye-catching and appealing.  I’d probably give Agent Orange a business prop like a wacky chart or graph in lieu of the motivational poster.

3.    Agent Black is in a mock Rambo pose, ineptly wielding a machine gun on a firing range.  All of his bullets are wildly off his target.  (The bulletholes may spell out the Superhero Nation logo).  Agent Orange is looking on exasperatedly with a hand on his forehead.  He’s shaking his head.  This is probably better-suited for the second issue than the first.

7 responses so far