Archive for the 'Comic Book Art' Category

Jan 25 2009


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 wish I were making this up.

4 responses so far

Jan 16 2009

Writing a comic book script? Check this out…

This comic book artist gives writers a few suggestions about how to lay out the story.  I found it very useful.

3 responses so far

Jan 15 2009

Please give me some stylistic feedback

Let’s see.  Right now I’m working on the cover of our first issue and a series logo.

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25 responses so far

Jan 06 2009

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

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

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

Jan 05 2009

What are some common mistakes of comic book and graphic novel teams?

We’re compiling a list of common mistakes of first-time comic book teams. I’ve got 40 so far, but I’d love to know what you would come up with.

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32 responses so far

Jan 03 2009

Changes to Dark Horse’s Submissions Policy?

Only a few weeks ago, Dark Horse required writers to have artists on-board before their stories could be considered.  However, according to Dark Horse’s Submissions page, it seems like Dark Horse has nixed that requirement.  In the miscellaneous notes, it says that “If a submitted project has an artist collaborator, samples of the artist’s continuity work must be included.”  That suggests that DH will consider submitted projects that don’t yet have an artist.  That should make it much cheaper for writers to prepare a script for DH.

However, if you’re applying to DH, I would really recommend getting an artist anyway even though it’s not required. Preparing a sample of 5 pages and a cover will probably set you back $400-500 (colored) or maybe $250-350 (inked). That’s a major investment.  However, if you’re serious about your application, having art accompany your writing could really help you.  Providing pages that have been inked (preferably colored) will make it very easy for the editors to decide if you’re worth hiring.  If all you have is your script, it won’t be nearly as clear whether your team has the style and skill to convey the story on the page. Remember, businesses hate risks. When they put money down, they want to know they’re getting quality.

7 responses so far

Oct 11 2008

Comic Book Covers: Samples from War Heroes

War Heroes held a contest where fans could pick the cover they’d end up using.  Many of the submissions were quite good.

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4 responses so far

Jan 15 2008

David’s Script Excerpt: Pages 1-6

Published by under Art,Comic Book Art

PAGE ONE (five panels)
Panel 1. Establishing shot. This is a large panel that shows a spooky castle and a bit of the surrounding world. There are sinister mountains and dark clouds and lightning behind the castle. The castle should have a large base and two towers. Colorwise, the castle is half-shrouded in darkness and the rest of the shot should be dominated by grey and black.

CAP: On a far-away planet…

Panel 2. This is a small panel showing SILENCE, the main protagonist, cleaning as a prisoner.

CAP: This mute girl is a prisoner.

Panel 3. This is a small panel with two ogres, HACK and STAB, talking in the background. Hack is sneering. Both ogres have grey skin and empty, evil-looking eye. There’s a metal on his back without spikes.

HACK: Terrible job as always, Silence.

Panel 4. This is a small panel zooming in on Silence’s big, pleading eyes as she telepathically begs Hack not to hurt her.

SILENCE (telepathically): Please, I will do better.

Panel 5. A small panel of her and Stab. Stab looks like Hack, except he has a scar on the side of his face.

STAB: A worthless thing like you can never do better!

PAGE TWO (six panels).

Panel 1. This is a large panel showing Stab punting Silence into a cage a few feet away. He’s wearing a brown boot. Silence is surprised.

STAB: Back in your cage, Silence.

Panel 2. A small panel showing Hack and Stab bowing in fear in the background. Their attention has shifted away from Silence, but we can’t see what they are bowing to. We can, however, see the sinister shadow it is casting over them. (We’re getting this shot from Silence’s limited perspective, so we can’t see that the shadow is being cast by Silence’s father, VOLKRIG, who is off-camera).

VOLKRIG, in a sinister font: You idiots. Apparently you don’t understand the concept of a sacrifice ritual. I can’t sacrifice her if she’s already dead! Nor can I sacrifice you oafs. [Small text:] Not that I haven’t looked into it.

HACK (in a wavering balloon): Yes, master.

Panel 3: This is a small panel that’s a closeup on Silence’s face. Her expression is very frightened. To help make this picture look more askew, three strands of hair come over her eyes and rest on the tip of her nose.

SILENCE (thought bubble): Sacrifice?

Panel 4: Hack and Stab are standing up and looking warily away down the corridor. The reader should get the impression that the frightening speaker (Volkrig) has left.

HACK: How’d he know we were playing around with her?

STAB: You dummy! Don’t ask those kind of things. You know what happened to Clobber.

HACK, in small text: I miss Clobber.

Panel 5: Hack and Stab are still talking. Hack convinces Stab to come out with him to Earth.

HACK, who has now cheered up a bit: I bet he’s asleep already.
STAB: Doubt it.
HACK: Too bad. I doubt you could be having fun on Earth, kicking puppies around. I’ll let you know how it went.

PANEL 6: Hack has turned away from Stab and is starting to march away. Stab looks very surprised, like he’s about to miss out on a fun trip to Earth. Stab follows after him.

STAB: Hey, wait up!

PAGE THREE (six panels).
Panel 1. Silence hears “Earth” and begins to imagine herself there. She’s never been to Earth, so make this daydream seem very fantastical and not particularly well-informed. Since the only thing she knows on Earth is what the ogre just mentioned (that there are puppies to kick) this daydream should have a lot of puppies in it.   Go crazy with this. In contrast to the first two pages, this fantasy should be bright and cheerful.

SILENCE, in a thought-bubble: Earth? There’s another world?

Panel 2. An alien bird drops onto the sill of a window that is high above her cage. She stares at it. (This should remind us how far away she is from freedom). Silence decides to break out here, so what we can see of the side of her face should be a bit harder and more resolute than what we had seen in the previous shots.

SILENCE, in a thought-bubble: I’ve got to escape!

Panel 3: She glances over at the hallway. Hack and Stab are gone. She smiles.

SILENCE, in a thought-bubble: Perfect.

Panel 4. This is a small panel that shows Silence exiting her cell.

Panel 5. This is a closeup of Silence’s bare foot pressing down on a stone button. She looks down at the trap trigger, worried.

Panel 6: This is the biggest panel on this page. A huge blade slams down right in front of her.

PAGE FOUR (five panels).

Panel 1. This is a small panel showing the blade rising. Silence breathes a sigh of relief.

Panel 2. Silence stands at an open door showing a mostly empty room with a purple portal in the middle. Two stone statues face the portal.

Panel 3. In the foreground, Silence stands in front of the portal, looking deep in thought and biting her bottom lip. She should look like she’s having some second thoughts. The portal is in the background, bathing her in a purple glow.

Panel 4. Silence is half-way in the portal.

Panel 5. Silence is tumbling through the portal.

PAGE FIVE (two panels).

Panel 1. Silence crashes to the ground as the portal closes behind her.

Panel 2. This panel should take up most of the page. Silence is surrounded by long distances of sand, rocks and desert.

PAGE SIX (five panels)

Panel 1. The camera has zoomed in on Silence’s hand picking up sand.

Panel 2. The sand runs through her fingers.

Panel 3. Silence looks up at the sun, squinting. She fans herself. Little drops of sweat are rolling down her cheek. In the background, we see a cloudless sky with a bird far off.

Panel 4. Silence has her eyes closed. She looks uncomfortable and her hair changes from blue and dirty to a clean and braided blonde. Red markings appear on both eyes.

CAP: Silence’s sudden freedom allowed her powers to manifest.

Panel 5 shows a shocked-looking Silence holding her hair out in front of her. Her skin is also clean.

6 responses so far

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