Tag Archives: DC

12Jul/22

How to Write A Script for A Comic (DC Style)

Writing with a pen on a note book

A question that perhaps should be asked more often is “How do I write a script for my comic?” A lot of people get a great idea for a comic and sit down at their keyboard only to realize that they don’t know how to write a comic. So if you Googled this and stumbled across this post, good on you. You’re ahead of the game.

The secret to comic scripting is that you can do it any way you want to. Whatever works best for you and your artist, is the right way. If that’s half coherent notes on a napkin then so be it.

However, if you want more guidance, there are two more structured schools of thought when it comics to writing a comic script.

  • DC Style (Full Script)
  • Marvel Style (Page Summary)

I’ll do a post for both styles.

Today’s post is about the style that I prefer to write in. Full Script, or DC Style.

Is It DC Style or Full Script?

The detectives among you would have already noticed that I used two names interchangeably. DC Style and Full Script. Full Script is the more formal name and it’s more descriptive.

The two different schools of thought became more popular with different editors at the big two. Full Scripting was more popular at DC for a time. Page Summary was more popular at Marvel for a while. Thus, they took on new names for a time.

It’s Full Script Now

The idea of the different styles being defined by DC or Marvel has become outdated. Not only do they share so much of the market with other publishers now, but also editors are less picky. If the script gets turned in on time and meets their standard of quality, that’s what they care about.

So for the most part, we’ll be referring to this style as Full Script.

What Does It Look Like?

Full Script looks how it sounds. Before you turn anything over to your artist or managing editor, you have the entire script written on the page.

That means that each page is labeled and broken up into panels. Each panel has a full description of the background and the action taking place. All the characters have their dialogue written out and attached to the panel it should be in. Every sound effect is listed and defined for the letterer and artist to collaborate on.

I’ll attach a picture of Wolf Hunter’s script since that was how I wrote the book.

Comic Book Full Script

 

How Do I Do It?

So no you know what it looks like. How do you put it into action and write your first script for a comic book?

Step-by-Step

  1. Start with your page header. It should look something like Page 1. Put that as the very first line. Remember, comics are typically 22 pages, but with today’s technology feel free to go hog wild and be as long or short as the story needs to be. You can always break it up into issues later.
  2. The second line will contain the panel header. Panel 1. That’s it. For an action comic, you can expect a page to be 4 to 7 panels. If it’s a more methodical literary piece, anywhere between 5 and 8 panels.
  3. Then underneath that header, begin to write the description of what’s in that panel. Tell us everything that you imagine happening in that panel. “James Willard exits a town car in front of a large hotel.” With practice, you’ll learn what details are important and what is not. Also, ask your artist how much detail they need.
  4. After that write out all your character’s dialogue that should go in that panel. Do each character as a separate line. And try to keep each dialogue bubble contained to a sentence. This will make it easier to read for your creative teammates, and also for the reader. Any sound effects also go in this section.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you finish a page and then do it all over again until you finish your book.

 

 

Pros

 

Clear Communication With Your Artist

Media ComparisonThe idea book is scripted out by the time it gets to your artist. It is much easier for them to visualize what you had imagined for each scene. It also gives them more context to use if they want to offer changes. It makes the experience feel more collaborative since everyone has the same amount of information as to what the end product will be.

 

Dialogue Leads Action

Having the dialogue written first allows the characters to come alive as written and use that to lead the actions in the illustration. It prevents the problem of having to rewrite dialogue and possibly change the flow or outcome of a scene based on illustrations that came as a result of your intention being unclear in a summary.

Great For Slower Character Dramas or Suspense

This style of scripting gives you room to set up large changes or reveals. You can purposefully place small details throughout the script to be paid off later. As stated in the point above, dialogue can shine through in this format. If you write strong characters and want to use their voices to tell personal stories, this format could suit you.

Cons

Time Invested

This format is much more time-intensive than writing in Page Summary. Make sure to cut out and protect your writing time to make sure you can complete your script.

Can Feel Overbearing (Easy to Get Attached To Your Writing)

Your artist may want more freedom with their illustration. Don’t get too attached to every single detail you write out. Remember, comics are collaborative.

While writing Wolf Hunter, AJ made tons of changes to panel layout and certain panel elements. I used this format as a way to give him context so that he knew what was important and where I wanted to go. All of his changes got us there in a way that was more visually appealing. I didn’t quash his feedback by saying, “that’s not in the script.”

Easy to Get Wordy

It can be all too easy to get wordy in with this method. Either your dialogue runs on too long, or you stuff too much detail into one panel description. Keep your internal editor on the lookout. If you feel like you’ve written too much, you have. Don’t be afraid to cut something or get feedback and ask if it’s really necessary.

Final Words

I hope this post gave you the information you need to write your first comic book script. If have any more questions or feel like I missed something, leave a comment. I hope to catch you very soon.

Until then,
Make Mine Silverline

 

31May/22

The Craft of Creating Comics with Dean Zachary

Hey there, Silver Fam! For this week I talked with Dean Zachary and asked him a bunch of questions about his time working in comics and how he creates comics as an artist. I hope you enjoy this conversation and get some insight to help with your comic creation journey.

 

1. You have a breadth of experience working in comics. If you had to say one invention or development had the biggest impact on how comics are created, what would you say it is and why?

The sophistication of technology has improved to such an extent in the past 30 years that a creator can now, pencil, ink, color, and even letter an independent comic on an iPad Pro. This Incredible advantage allows for an unprecedented amount of creative control. Similarly, the “distribution system” used to be a Political Networking Bottleneck where Editorial Gatekeepers determined who saw your work. Today, you can operate in a worldwide marketplace with limitless possibilities.

2. As an artist, you’ve also worked on comics that are entirely you’re idea, comics that other writers have created, and comics that are licensed properties. Are there any differences in how you approach creating the artwork? Why or Why not?

The advantages of Creator-Owned properties include more control, and if the property is successful, a more substantial reward, especially if the Creator wears multiple hats of Writing/Pencils/Inks and so on. The disadvantage is commercial exposure. “How do you get your Name/Title Out There to the Widest Possible audience?” When starting from scratch, that’s the biggest hurdle. We here at Silverline work on answering that age-old question on a daily basis.

Regarding Licensed Properties, the advantage is that you may already have a built-in fan base, like if you’re drawing/writing an X-Men title for example. The disadvantage is, that the majority of the Creative Control resides with Editors, Writers, and License Owners.

3. How important are references or samples for your art? Are you constantly checking a reference on another screen, are they just nice to have available if needed, or are there some pages or illustrations where you don’t even check a reference?

My attention to reference obviously depends on the subject matter. If, for example, I’m drawing a cover for Wolf Hunter, I would reference any WWII aircraft, military vehicles, weapons, uniforms, and settings comprehensively. This approach adds legitimacy to the comic book in a Real World setting. For a more fantasy-oriented subject, I enjoy exaggerating reality to fit my “vision” which helps to make a more memorable impression on the reader. The “Zachary Realism” then makes my work more unique, making me less of a Human Camera and more of a Visionary, sharing what I see with others in a more unique style or brand.

4. One thing you’ve said a couple of times on the Silverline live shows is, “don’t calculate.” Something that gets brought up is people creating something just because they think it will say, not because they are actually passionate about it. If you could expand on that, what sort of advice would you give new creators as they embark on this journey of creation?

Creativity Beyond Calculation. This concept is one of my favorite subjects in the Comic Creation world. While keeping in mind that at its core, one could argue that Comic Books are a Commercial Art venture, and creators ultimately want to sell their work. We at least want to sell enough copies to do the work full-time. That being said, Calculation to Sell is the Death Knell of creators. In essence, the creator begins second-guessing his own instincts in favor of some incredible sales numbers an Indy Book is doing online, prompting the temptation to “copy that” so I’ll succeed too. This is a huge mistake, in my opinion. Trust your instincts. If you like it, in a Worldwide Marketplace, there are likely enough other people that will like it as well. Your genuine Internal Enthusiasm, Instincts, and Creative Fire will be so evident that the concept will shine much brighter than a calculated copy of someone else’s success. Trust your own creative instincts, regardless of what’s selling. Be True to Yourself when you create. This brings not only freedom but more gratification once you’ve shared the creation with the world.


5. What are some projects that you have coming and where can people see your work? Anything you’d like to shout out?

People can see my work on many Silverline Covers, including Cat & Mouse, Wolf Hunter, BEAH, Beyond the Stars, Obsoletes, the upcoming Capetown, and classics like Krey and Switchblade. I’m also writing and drawing Silverblade, a Victorian Fantasy that explains why Silver affects Monsters featuring Knights fighting supernaturally powered Cultists. For my past work with Malibu, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and others, my work can be found on sites like Comic Art Fans, Comic Vine, and, of course, Silverline Comics. Here’s a link

03May/22

Silverline Content Showcase: Paul Kupperberg on Wednesday Wham!

Hey there Silver family!

Sorry it’s been a while since we posted. I was lost in the desert for a week. I was some about Bend when the Monster and Protein Bars began take hold. I then got cozy with some bacteria while I was out there which knocked out of commission for the next week. We’re back and lightly medicated, so that means it’s time for a post.

We got an extra special one for you this time! Long time comics pro, veteran of the long war, Paul Kupperberg joined the Whammers for an incredible episode of Wednesday Night Wham!

If you’ve been living under several rocks, Paul Kupperberg has had a career in comics for over 45 years, and has written over 1,400 stories. That’s a lot. Like . . . a lllooooooootttt. Some companies he’s worked with include DC Comics, Weekly World News, and WWE Kids Magazine. You might recognize two of those names, if you’ve breathed at any point in the last 40 years.

Paul also famously killed Archie. Yes, that Archie. He’s worked on Peacemaker, Vigilante, Doom Patrol, and Supergirl to name a few. If you’re like me, you’ve been loving the shows based on those titles, I would definitely recommend reading some of his work after you watch the conversation he had with the Whammers.

Enjoy!