Aug 25 2011

More Google Queries

Published by at 5:46 pm under Reader Questions

How are superheroes created? Write a comic book, short story, novel or graphic novel and submit it to publishers.


Writing Secret Service characters – You’re probably already familiar with the physical stereotypes (beefy, imposing).  But I’d like to recommend checking out this article for some mental characteristics in SS agents, like incredibly strong situational awareness, restraint (as the situation dictates), quick reflexes, pattern recognition, a basic grasp of first aid and an ability to override basic human instincts. (If somebody drops dead of a heart attack, the Service’s only concern is ruling out biological and chemical weapons).  Also, I haven’t read many novels where SS agents have searched dumpsters for explosives or taken Class 3 offenders to the movies while the President’s in town.  😉


Target audience for superheroes and villains—I think it depends on the medium.  Most superhero comic books are aimed at guys 18-30.  (“The number of girls who read superheroes is extremely minimal,” according to comic book writer Trina Robbins).  Most superhero cartoon shows are aimed at boys younger than 13 (although some develop a peripheral following among older viewers).  Comic book movies are usually aimed more at guys than ladies, but I think it’s much closer.  According to one report, 48% of the opening night audience for Dark Knight was women.   Age-wise, I think most superhero movies try to appeal to viewers from 13+.  I think the level of gore is usually lower than in most other kinds of action movies (e.g. war movies and shoot-em-ups).


 Say it loud!  I’m Mac and I’m proud?


Best superhero comic books for girls.  Obviously, it depends on the girl’s tastes.  I think I’d start by considering Invincible, Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.


What’s a TPB?  A trade paperback, a reprinted collection of comic books bound together as one volume.  Traditional bookstores and libraries are usually more amenable to trade paperbacks than comic books.  For more, please see Dark Horse’s FAQ.


Best theme song ever.  “Lemmetellyasomethin’. Bustin’ makes me feel good.”  Honorable mentions: Jurassic Park and Star Wars.


pokemon parody murder lizard.  I’ll keep my eyes open.


kid bruce wayne as a student in hogwarts fanfic.  “MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!!!”  “MINE TOO!!”


Writing contests for geeks.  Incidentally, Jeremy Melloul sent me a note that Blizzard (the gaming company that does Starcraft, Warcraft/WOW and Diablo) has a Global Writing Contest right now.  Deadline: September 28, 2011.  Length restriction: 2500-7500 words.  Even though I suspect the contest will favor serious stories (i.e. a tone similar to Blizzard novels), I’m submitting a comedy about two profoundly incompetent Dark Templar trying to sabotage a project to design a MULE that can last longer than 90 seconds.

PS: Terran researchers, we’re still waiting for an anti-air weapon more effective than a Marine platoon armed with rifles and drugs.  Also, two nuclear missiles do less damage to a building than 10 overdosed Marines–your scientists might want to work on that.  Finally, the Terrans  do not have any missiles that can outspeed a drugged-up Marine, which is sort of a liability because OH MY GOD THE MUTALISKS ARE ON US.


Can you get rich writing comics?  If you’re even thinking about this, I think you’re becoming a writer for the wrong reason.  Theoretically, you could get almost rich if you sell hundreds of thousands of copies (which is exceedingly rare).  I think you’d have a much better chance with a medical or engineering degree.


Eragon graphic novel—I don’t think there’s one in the works, and it doesn’t strike me as a promising venture because of the target audience.  I think the safest market for comic books and graphic novels is men aged ~18-30 and Eragon doesn’t play all that well with them. (The main character is 15 and YA readers are usually around 0-3 years younger than the main character).  Selling GNs and comics to younger readers is difficult because most non-adults don’t actually buy their own reading material.  Generally, an adult buys their books and/or assigns the books for class.  Because comic books and graphic novels don’t have the intellectual cachet of novels, most parents aren’t excited to buy them and most teachers don’t assign them.


Should Eragon be assigned for high school students?  Only if you hate them.


How to maintain hero bicycle genius.  What the hell?


Political rants with some words in all cap.  “YOU are TWO KKK members short of a GOP CONVENTION.”  “Well, YOU are ONE communist short of the New York Times EDITORIAL BOARD.”

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “More Google Queries”

  1. NicKennyon 26 Aug 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I fear I be responsable for some of those. And hero bicycle genius is a seriously hard game.

  2. B. Macon 26 Aug 2011 at 1:26 pm

    In today’s Google queries, I think somebody’s looking for advice on useful characters vs. useless ones and I’d like to help, but I’m not quite understanding the situation. If you’re that person (or think you know what’s going on), could you clarify?

    If by a useless character, you mean a character that doesn’t have enough of an impact on the plot (like a main character that just watches as things happen around him), that could be a problem*. Some possible solutions would be to give the character more urgent goals, so that the character needs to act to accomplish something in particular. Alternately, if you notice that the main character is disappearing in conversations, the issue might be that the main character doesn’t have much of a personality. It might be worthwhile to add a personality trait or lean more heavily on one he/she already has.

    *If a character’s perspective is interesting enough, it might be okay if he/she mostly watches. For example, the protagonist/POV of The Great Gatsby (Nick) isn’t actually the main character (Gatsby)–Gatsby’s goals and obstacles form the core of the plot and Nick doesn’t have much of an impact on the plot. (If you cut Nick out of the story, none of the major plot events would change–the Daisy-Tom-Gatsby triangle is still resolved by a murder-suicide precipitated by an accidental death). For more examples of main characters that don’t drive the plot all that much, please see The Heart of Darkness and probably All the King’s Men.

  3. NicKennyon 26 Aug 2011 at 2:33 pm

    ……………..No. At least, I’m pretty sure that isn’t me. However, I now want to read the Great Gatsby. It sounds awesome.

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