Archive for March 6th, 2009

Mar 06 2009

Calling All Dramatists and Poets…

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.

I have a very unusual request.  If you’ve followed the webcomic very closely, you might remember that Agent Orange is a really bad author.  However, he’s even worse at poetry and plays.  During a scene I’m working on, Agent Orange uses his poetry (or playwrighting) to torture a confession out of a criminal.  However, I’ve never really gotten into poetry, so it’s hard for me to simulate truly, spectacularly awful poetry (or plays).  Would you like to take a go?  I’ll probably only need 5-7 lines.

9 responses so far

Mar 06 2009

Free Comic Book Scripting Software

Celtx is a free scripting program that is designed for comic books (among other types of scripts).  I find it very useful.


  • It produces scripts that are generally easier to read and navigate than Microsoft Word.
  • Easy to learn.  It took me 10 minutes to figure it out by trial and error.
  • It’s extremely good at converting scripts into typeset.  (You can see an example here).  A typeset separates the in-panel text (like dialogue, captions and sound effects) from the text that won’t actually appear in the panel, like your directions to the artist.  That’s useful because it helps you gauge how large the panels will have to be to accommodate the text.
  • It’s free!


  • Handles comments notably better than Word.
  • It’ll help you keep your comic book documents separate from your other files.
  • If you like to fill out index cards with important details about characters or places, it can help keep those details accessible and organized.
  • Built-in spellchecker.  Not that important for a professional proofreader, but you might find it helpful.


  • It’s not as easy to add dialogue as new pages or panels.
  • They should add buttons for New Panel and New Page.
  • It can’t save scripts as Word files.  Everybody (like friends and editors) is comfortable with Word.  Right now, if I have a Celtx script that I want to show you, I have to also tell you how to download Celtx and pray that you figure out the software quickly.

One last note. I haven’t had a chance to test its printing capabilities yet.  Given that Celtx can’t produce Word files (as far as I know), its ability to print usable scripts is essential.

30 responses so far

Mar 06 2009

The NYT starts compiling graphic novel sales

The New York Times has started compiling weekly best-seller lists for graphic novels (err, “graphic books”) in hardcover, paperback and manga.  (Hat-tip to the Comics Reporter). The NYT argues that “comics have finally entered the mainstream.”  Possibly.

1.  I agree that superhero stories are mainstream.  Many superhero movies and TV shows have been broadly successful.

2.  But comic books and graphic novels are not mainstream.  Primarily, that’s because they’re sold mostly in specialty stores rather than general-interest stores like supermarkets and newsstands.  These specialty stores usually strike me as kind of creepy and may well scare away low-interest fans.  Moving back into supermarkets probably isn’t feasible for the typical comic book series, but it encourages me that comic books are increasingly sold online.

[B. Mac adds: Is the endorsement of the NYT a good thing for comics?  The NYT has a soft spot for businesses that are not actually economically viable, such as solar power, US car companies, and itself.]

2 responses so far

Mar 06 2009

Which superhero-related sites do you like best?

For superhero comedy, I’m a fan of the International Society of Supervillains and Evil, Inc.

I’ve come across a few interesting comic book review sites, but I haven’t had nearly as much success finding sites for people that want to write comic books.  Except for Superhero Nation, the closest thing I’ve found is Twelve Fingers.  For example, I found 10 Writing Tips for Comic Book Writers very informative.  However, TF is hard to navigate.

So, which websites would you recommend?

6 responses so far