How much reading of back issues do you do for prep work before stating a run with a character? do you read their whole history or just the important stories?
All of it. it’s called research. it is literally the least a writer can do when they are writing about a subject. :-)
most of the time I’m rereading stuff because the 1st time I read it I was reading it as a fan and not as research.
but it doesn’t end there. there is also research into what the book is about.
for instance the X-Men is about mutation and racism… both things are very researchable.
I have done more research on the genetic sciences while working on ultimate spider–man. almost none of it shows up ‘on page’ but I’m very happy with myself for feeling I’m writing with some sort of minute authority
and most of the rereading research I’ve done on the characters doesn’t show up in the scripts either. at least not in the form of recapping to prove to message board trolls that I know everything that I know. or know everything that they think they know :-)
I'm currently working on limited series & have all the issues outlined with all the necessary beats. But in the first issue, it's mostly talking heads & exposition for the first 10 pages. Then it jumps off & the action breaks out. I'm concerned that this might take too long to get popping & am considering opening in the middle of the action & then flashing back nonlinear style. The problem is that this will add at least 4 pages to my story where page space is already precious. Thoughts?
There is nothing wrong with so-called talking heads. the most interesting things that happen in comics can happen in those talking heads. the most honest writing happens in those quiet moments.
but that being said: if is your job to make sure that those heads are interesting. that what they’re saying is being said in the most interesting, clever, funny, dramatic, exciting way.
this is a visual medium and you have to make sure that you are being visually interesting as well
The part between Kitty & Scott in the new Uncanny X-Men issue was very beautiful and very much needed so thank you. :)
And thank you all for your kind notes about uncanny X-Men 18.
I’m sorry I came on here last week worried that you guys would be rattled by Marco Rudy’s very interesting artistic choices. most of you really seemed to get it.
I love that uncanny X-Men is turning into this interesting artistic book.
I also appreciate that some of you defended the books so diligently to those that thought that ‘nothing happened’ and I agree that it is such a silly comment. it is never necessary that you defend me but I will take it :-)
Mister Bendis! I've been reading through your art- and writing-related Q & A's but I've got a situation I would appreciate your opinion on. My friend and I are working on a webcomic (he writes and I draw) and share the plot-developing process roughly 50/50. Problem is, once a script's first draft is done, it's done, and he won't write anything again until I'm done drawing the 20-30 pages of the previous script. How can I convince him to work harder without sounding like an ass?! Thanks.
Collaboration is like any relationship.
honesty is best.
if you’re not happy in the relationship you need to tell the other person why and give them a chance to figure out what they want to do about it.
but to be fair, there is no right or wrong way to make comics. are you getting what you want out of the finished product?
I'm a creative writing major. Sometimes I look at people who write w/out any type of college degree and I wonder why the hell I'm paying to practice my craft. I'm a speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy writer and enthusiast and I'm told what I enjoy doing is crap. I keep writing but I am feeling stranded in an ocean of snobbery as I approach my graduation. What is your best advice for this?
Keep writing. make daily goals for yourself and hold to them.
just because these people you admire don’t have a degree doesn’t mean they’re not on a lifelong journey of self education and determination.
some people say ‘I don’t have to go to college because my hero didn’t go to college… so I will go smoke a bowl.’
it might be that your hero didn’t go to college but, I promise you, they spent every single night of their lives working on some project they never thought in a million years anyone would ever get to see. but it didn’t stop them.
and just because someone is being snobby to you doesn’t mean their advice isn’t valid. a lot of people I don’t like told me things that I needed to hear.
for the entirety of your life is your job to take in all the critique and decide, honestly, no matter where it came from, which advice applies to your work.
but none of it should stop you from sticking to your goals and being honest with yourself. sometimes when someone tells you something you didn’t want to hear deep down you know they were telling you something you already knew
If you were wanting to pick a new artist for a cover of your Ultimate Spider-Man series (for example) and you find two people to consider, would you pick the person that loves the book to death and has only above average art skills, or the art prodigy that couldn't care less for the book?
It certainly is a case-by-case situation but I can’t imagine someone wanting to draw a book they didn’t care about even for the page rate. certainly no one I work with feels that way.
I would wait for the uber talent who cares
you have to love these characters with your whole heart. this is not a part-time job or even a full-time job it is an all-time job. you were thinking about these characters all the time. this is art. it is pop art but it is still art.
of course there are people who take jobs that they don’t care about. they are always shocked when you the reader don’t care about what they’re doing. they never even ironically see the connection between their lack of passion and the response they are getting.
even with all the passion in the world there can still be in emotional disconnect for the reader but I have never seen a situation where the creators were emotionally disconnected to the story yet the reader was all in.
most of the time if the creators are just ‘doing a job’ the reader is not feeling it.
I don’t mean to publicly embarrass him but just the other day colorist extraordinaire justin pozner sent me a very excited e-mail about what we’re working on. and I thought to myself: and that’s why he’s the best.
I was thinking about including some lyrics in my comic book and I wanted to know if I'm being to risky by doing so. You made Iceman sing a song by Run-DMC. Did you have any problem, like, being sued because of that or anything?
never ask a comic book professional a legal question
That was all handled by Disney/Marvel legal. and I’m assuming you don’t have the long arm of Disney/Marvel legal at your disposal :-)
some of my friends have had trouble with song lyrics in the past. you have to get them vetted and approved by the source publisher. and they don’t always approve.
So I read your asks religiously. (Thank you by the way for being awesomesauce and answering and helping us out and stuff. and and) And I now have a question. 8 page comics (or around 8 pages). I don't believe I have actually ever read one. After reading the 1200th answer about them, I thought I should try it. But I feel like I wouldn't get much out on them at all. Is there some sort of trick to these? Or are they meant to be short and full of cliffhangers?
an 8 page comic book story is our version of the literary short story. and just like the literary short story it should have a beginning middle and end.
the reason this exercise is so necessary for up-and-coming talent is that at bare minimum it will teach you how to write and draw a beginning middle and end.
it is a fine tool for teaching yourself great many things most importantly what the story really needs and what the story is really about. it also feels great when you do it right. I have recently had a few short story assignments and it was really exciting to get back into that mindset.