Monday, April 16, 2007

Musing: No More School

I've come to a crossroads in my life. I suppose.

I'm going to be graduating from College in a few weeks, and I'm supposed to start my life as a real honest to gosh human being living in a consumer society.


I don't have a job yet. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do.

Except write comic books. You see, that's why I started this here blog thing in the first place.

I've learned a lot from this blog, it's been a great ride. Forcing myself to study my favorite art form has really helped me evolve as a writer. I even got to see a script of mine transformed into actual sequential art.

I think I've become a bit of a comics elitist as well, though I'm trying hard not to be. Graphical smiley.

I don't know how successful this blog has been as far as a device to share ideas on comic books. I've no real idea how to market this bad boy on the interweb, but it's a dream I have. Someday, people will come here to discuss craft.

I truly enjoy writing here. I suppose any excuse to look at Newsarama is a fine one for me, but I've never seen interviews in quite the same light. For that matter, I've never read comic books in quite the same way.

It's a lot of fun, trying to figure out why things work the way that they do.

Who knows what career path I'll eventually wind up taking, but I know one thing for sure:

I'll always have these crazy characters floating in my head, and they need to get out somehow: comics just happens to be my preferred medium.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sample Script: Buffy Season 8 #3

Really cool. This issue isn't even out yet. Link.

I've never seen something quite like this before. It's a great look at a script in progress with art in progress and how the two things look together.

It's also a look at the new issue of Buffy, so awesome bonus fanboy points on that!

Just a link: Writing for your artist

An interesting little bit of snarky advice from someone who may or may not know what he's talking about. It's all about communicating with your artist, which I swear to gosh I just wrote about.

And if you scroll down to the comments, you get some post by Mark Waid!

A Pro Speaks: Frazer Irving

From an interview with Frazer Irving at CBR.

So they keep me in check. If I had scripts that were always loose, I'd get lazy, but if I had scripts that were always tight, I'd be in a mental hospital.

Very good reminder, since I'm always over thinking my scripts. The last thing I wrote, my submission for Young American Comics, I had it all plotted out so tightly, down to panel by panel breakdowns, that my artist had to condense a good amount of stuff. I think it's super important to give your artist a good amount of room to be an artist. Just makes sense to me.

As far as Mr. Irving goes, I hadn't heard of him, not really, until his recent work on Silent War. I'm loving it. It's very stylized and unique, which is great, I think, because it sets the book apart from other books on the shelves. There is a lot of comic art out there that doesn't grip me, but his really does. Check out that last panel there. I mean the one showing the Inhumans for who they are. There's just something about panels within panels that really gets me.

Review Battle: Annihilation vs. God War

In our very first bout ever, we have two of Marvel Comic's most recent cosmic events going toe to toe with each other!

Mega Cross-Over Annihilation
Ultimate Fantastic Four's God War

For the sake of my own sanity, I'm not going to discuss the four Annihilation previews, except right here, where I say that I enjoyed them very much.

Thank you for letting me get that out of the way.

Now on to the main bout. Annihilation had 17 issues of build up, took 7 issues itself, with 2 epilogue books and at least 2 spin off titles. Crazy huge story.

God War was a 6 issue story arc that will be having residual effects in the UFF title, though, they haven't been felt as of yet.

One of these stories is clearly larger in scope. For the time being anyway. However, that means nothing when comparing the actual quality of the tales themselves.

I've always been a fan of space stories. Science Fiction is one of my favorite genres, and it's great to see it pulled off well. I liked both of these stories, but I think there is a clear winner in overall quality.

Annihilation was about a giant war in space. It touched on a great many characters, though it was really the story of Richard Rider, the last of the Nova Corps. It was, in many ways, a lot like the original Star Wars trilogy.

God War was about the Fantastic Four journeying to a strange new world and overcoming that world's despotic ruler while searching for a way to get back home.

The crux of the issue lies here. Annihilation is space opera. Or, as a friend of mine was calling it, space fantasy. It holds all the trappings of a good sci-fi epic, but doesn't have much in the way of new ideas. It's just a big story with a lot of big oh-gosh moments.

God War invents new ideas and concepts. God War gives the reader something new to understand, and a new way to look at ordinary ideas. The strength of God War is it's freshness. It's never been seen before. The book will also wow with great action scenes and riveting plot twists, but it also will amaze with it's creativity.

Annihilation is a good book. It's strong in it's characterization, and it has a lot of big wow moments, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table. God War resonates because it makes you think. It has more wonder because it truly cared about executing a concept, and not just merely telling an epic story.

Both books are very good. God War just takes things a step above.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Musing with the Pros: Brad Meltzer's JLA

Here's something I read all the time on various comic book forums:

"It'll read better in trade."

Read a little bit of an interview with Brad Meltzer from Newsarama and see if you can see where I'm going with this. It's pretty transparent.
BM: I think it was a crucible, but I think more, it was an examination of identity. If you look at every character, including the villains in “The Tornado’s Path,” everyone is struggling with identity. From Red Tornado who wants to be the real boy, obviously, to Hal trying to get used to being the older hero on the team, from Vixen trying to figure out how her powers work, from the big three trying to figure out that they’re not he center of the universe that they actually think they are; from all of those down to the villains, whether it’s Grundy or Ivo – everyone is trying to figure out who they are. That was always meant to be the allegory for the League that we were building.

The biggest identity that we were building in those first six issues was the identity of the League itself. I know that there were some people who wanted us to hit fast-forward and just pick things up where we left off, but if you look at the last two years of the League, it was destroyed and left in pieces. I think to just jump in and say, “We’re back!” would be something that wouldn’t take any of the former history seriously. We had to earn coming back. You don’t destroy a whole fire department on Friday, and then expect everyone to come in on Monday and assume everything’s good again. You really have to have the characters look at this and say, “Do we really want to be here?” “Do we really need to be here?” “Should we be here?” and “How are we going to be here in any way that makes sense, given our past history?”

The Tornado’s Path isn’t just a Red Tornado story, and those who read it as such may have missed what we were doing. I really do believe that it was a story about the identity of all of our players.

NRAMA: So what we’re gong to see in issue #7 is this somewhat disparate group pulled together and…given a purpose? A place?

BM: What people will see in issue #7 isn’t just the payoff, but the true end to the story. The end of the story is not “Well, Red Tornado is a robot again,” the end of the story is where does what has happened leave the big three? Where does it leave all their choices? Where does it leave everyone else who was standing there with Amazo in a million pieces in front of them? Where does it leave all of these characters emotionally?

To me, issue #7 is the most vital part of the story, not just because they get a new headquarters.
Now, disregarding whether or not I liked Meltzer's JLA (for the record I loved #6, thought 1-5 were passable), I'm curious as to why DC chose to release The Tornado's Path as a monthly comic book.


I know the industry is monthly. It's serialized. But I don't think that format works for every story. I think The Tornado's Path might be one of those stories.

There are times when I can dig the serialized nature of comic books. Once a month I get to look forward to reading a well constructed story line. However, I think I'd be happier if I got a full story as opposed to reading bits and pieces of it once a month. Think about it.

Using The Tornado's Path as an example, over a period of 7 months, the readers got 22 pages a month of a 154 page story. Comics have been moving further and further away from telling one issue stories, and moving towards writing for the trade paperback.

There's nothing inherently wrong with longer stories, I just question the wisdom in releasing them in trickles.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Just a Link: The Postmodern Superhero

Read this.

It's a link to the Comics Should be Good blog, and specifically a really fantastic essay on the evolution of comic books.

I'm still digesting it, and I plan on re-reading it a few times. So read it.

The works of Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Joe Casey are all discussed. I need to find a way to read all of the works cited. They sound phenomenal.