May 31 2011

Google Searches: May 17-May 31

Published by at 5:10 pm under Uncategorized

  • How many words should a superhero novel have? For an adult superhero novel, I’d generally recommend 80,000-100,000 words.  If you’re writing for kids or young adults, please see these length guidelines instead

  • Hilarious Secret Service stories. I swear I’m not making this up.

  • the most commonly used comic book font–I’m not sure, but I doubt it’d be commercially available.  Marvel and DC have their own fonts in-house (e.g. the fonts of Chris Eliopoulos and Ken Lopez). If you’re submitting sample pages to a publisher, I’d recommend using a font publicly available on Blambots as a placeholder.  If the publisher wants to work with you, it will provide a letterer.

  • What makes a good superhero novel? Two things stand out to me.  The first is characters that are interesting outside of action scenes. (Seriously, most superhero novels spend more than 75% of their length on nonaction scenes!  If the only aspect you have developed about your main character is what he can do in a fight, I can pretty much guarantee that the manuscript is dead on arrival).  The second is a premise more appealing than “A banal character gets superpowers through an unlikely accident and decides to become a superhero.”  Please stand out from the pack.  For example, how is your main character(s) different from the last 20 main characters the editor passed over?


  • Why black superheroes aren’t popular.  Well, I think there are a few popular black superheroes (i.e. John Stewart, Storm, etc), but I’ll agree that no A-list superheroes are black.  I have a few theories.  1) I think it’s harder for a character to catch on if he deals with things that most people don’t find entertaining (rape, racism, politics, etc).  I think black characters are much more likely to have racism worked into their stories than white characters.  When black characters face no racism, I think it’s a lot easier for them to appeal to nonblack audiences.  For example,  the closest thing to racism in five seasons of Justice League for John Stewart/Green Lantern (probably the most major black superhero) is a politically incorrect compliment when the team time-travels to the 1950s.  2) I think the target audience for comic books is disproportionately white.  I don’t think as many black readers have the requisite disposable income to spend $4 on 22-page comics that can be read in under half an hour.  (I don’t, either).  3) All other things being equal, I would expect that a black character would be slightly less relatable to white readers than a comparable white character.  Relatability helps, but fortunately it isn’t required–for example, I don’t think anyone can relate to Batman and he still sells like crazy.

  • How to write a genius character. Have him punch the first person that says, “Let’s split up to cover more ground.”

  • Is my boyfriend cheating on me? If you have to ask, you know the answer.
  • Is B. Mac a buffoon? If you have to ask, you know… wait a minute!

  • What tense should I write a superhero novel in? Unless you’re interested in highly experimental writing, I’d highly recommend past tense for any sort of novel.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a novel published in present tense.


  • A comparison chart of a police officer and comic book designer. Both positions pretty much require attention to detail, the ability to work with all sorts of people and a college degree.  One major difference that might not be obvious at first glance is that U.S. comic book jobs are overwhelmingly limited to New York City and the West Coast, whereas every town has a police force. 

  • How to search for a word if you’re writing a novel? In Microsoft Word, hold Control and hit F. If you’re using Word on an Apple computer, I think it’s Apple-F.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Google Searches: May 17-May 31”

  1. MikeA.on 31 May 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Well Luke Cage has become a major figure thanks to Brian Michael Bendis. I don’t blame the audience as much as the writers and publishers. If there were great comic book stories with black character it would sell. If Grant Morrison decided to write a Black Lightning on-going it would sell.

    I feel like modern mainstream audiences rarely get the chance to prove how much they may or may not care about race because it was decided decades ago by publishers and studios that the audience has issues with race. The Life Death storyline featuring Storm is a major and beloved storyline. She’s only really become B-list as no one since Chris Claremont is interested in centering stories around her.

    If white writers would just write strong, complex stories with minority characters without over-moralizing the race issue, I think readers would respond. Make a three-dimensional character that doesn’t feel like a token and give them a complex world and complex emotions to navigate.

  2. B. Macon 04 Jun 2011 at 3:00 am

    I don’t think there has been an A-list black superhero yet. Right now, I’d put Batman, Spiderman and Wolverine in the A-list. Ironman looks increasingly plausible after his first two movies grossed $1.2 billion worldwide. I like Storm and she has a lot more dramatic potential than the X-Men screenwriters have been able to tap, but I don’t think any version of her has ever sold at a really elite level.

  3. FotVon 05 Jun 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I would disagree that there’s anything wrong with characters gaining their powers from an accident. Removing that element really limits your origins.

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