Image Comics presents: THE WRITERS
The most informative panel of Friday's Comicon was by far Image Comics presentation of THE WRITERS. Ron Marz, Nick Spencer, Steve Seagle and Robert Kirkman led an in depth discussion of the writing process. Each writer came to it a via a different route. Robert Kirkman wanted to be a writer / artist but found the drawing part not to be fun. He says it's way to much work. Nick Spenser started as a writer, was told his work was shite, and went off to live life thereby giving him something to write about. He actually worked for a senator from Ohio when he was in his twenties. Those life experiences is what he draws from now. Not only does a writer need life experience, but they also must think and write visually. You don't have to be an artist yoruself, that's why they have inkers and colourists. But you must use words to paint a picture. Ron Marz says to start with a visual. He starts with a blank piece of paper and numbers it from one to twenty-two. First he wants to get a sense of what will happen on each page then he breaks it down into panels. Marz states, "Each page needs its own beat. Each page needs its own visual statement." Besides, half of what a comic book writer writes is only read by three or four people: the artist, the colourist, and the editor. It's up to the artist to bring the writers words to life. Steve Seagle says you must write differently for each artist you work with. It's critical to know what your artist is good at and what they want from you. Robert Kirkman has used the same artist for almost ten years. His comics are written like emails. They are very lose and organic. Of course, scripts are harder as you have more eyes on it. The upcoming AMC series THE WALKING DEAD needed script approval from Frank Darabond and AMC. I asked Robert about those differences as essentially, he's re-writing something he's already written, but in a different format. He says it's fun to re-write some of the scenes because he can take the characters in different directions.
Words of advice from some of the best authors in the industry today....
Nick Spenser: "Trust your instincts."
Ron Marz: "Don't be a whore just to get your name in print." He says you have to write for you. Make sure you think what you're doing is good.
Ron Marz: "Know when to get the hell out of the way and let the artist do their job."
Steve Seagle says you should write for fifteen minutes every day of the week for a month. Carve out the same time and just write, non stop. After a month, write for thirty minutes every day for a month. If you can't write for two months - every day; then don't be a writer.
And good news for all you who loved SHINKU when the preview came out last year. Ron Marz will launch a monthly version of SHINKU with Lee Moder on art. For those of you not in the know, SHINKU is a proper vampire tale. No emo vamps here. Vampires as bad guys - loads of nudity and blood!