The Write Stuff

I feel a little like the Batman villain, Two-Face. Half of his face is that of a handsome former district attorney, Harvey Dent, and the other side is scarred with burned tissue. Two-Face uses the flip of a coin to determine the fate of his victims. I contemplate flipping a coin to choose a course of action.

Writing a comic book script is like looking at a film strip and describing the one frame that most succinctly tells the story.
— Len Wein via Ben Blacker, Nerdist Writer’s Panel #47 - Comic Book Edition

A comic book script is a letter, written primarily to your artist (penciler), to inform him or her about the story, and your vision for panel layouts, while giving the artist sufficient creative space to do what they do best. It is also read by the editor, the colourist, and the letterer. Of course, in the production of my comic book, there's only me. So, I ask myself, do I really need to write a script?

I decide I do, if only to keep me on track and lay out a roadmap of what I want to do. Full script, one of the two primary scriptwriting styles, is the more fulsome method of the two. The other one – Marvel style – uses a more narrative approach, as you essentially turn in a short story with markings to show what parts constitute a panel, and where a page

This is my first draft version, in full script style, of the script for the first page of  Canadian Shield .

This is my first draft version, in full script style, of the script for the first page of Canadian Shield.

begins and ends. “There is no wrong way to do it,” says legendary comic book writer/editor, Len Wein. In Episode 47 of the Nerdist Writer’s Panel – Comic Book Edition, Wein mentions that some writers submit scripts in the form of stick-figure drawings with word balloons. Most comic-book scripts are written using Microsoft Word.

So, full script it is; no coin-flip required. Two-Face would be disappointed. This format will help me envision what each panel should contain, and the words that should appear in them. I did some research, to make sure I wasn’t stealing a character concept someone else has created, and it looks like I’m in the clear. My comic is going to be about a Canadian superhero – Canadian Shield – a character made of rock, and named after the oldest rock formation in Canada.

What kind of comic would you write, given the time and skill?


An enthusiastic writer with a passion for comics and supernatural horror, Stephen grew up in Almonte, ON, lived in Nunavut, and now divides his time between Maitland, NS and Ottawa, ON. A dedicated environmental activist, his meticulous attention to detail is surpassed only by his robust laughter and generous spirit.

Follow me out at: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn
Podcasts and Blogs I Follow: Nerdist Comics Panel | The Women of Marvel | Comic Book Resources