I didn’t know it then, but I grew up in the golden age of comic books. My high-school friend Chris introduced me to Chris Claremont’s writing in Marvel’s Uncanny X-men and John Byrne’s art and writing in Alpha Flight – a Canadian superhero team. From the DC Universe he showed me Crisis on Infinite Earths, my first major summer cross-over event, and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. I was hooked, and collected comics for about a decade. Being a dreamer, I contemplated how cool it would be to write comics but dismissed the idea because I didn’t have the skills.
When I went to college, I couldn’t afford to buy comics. Then I moved to Iqaluit, Nunavut where I couldn’t acquire comics. Collecting comics went to the wayside and I eventually forgot that I’d even thought about writing comic books. That desire was re-awakened last year while listening to a podcast interview of author Neil Gaiman. He recounted a list of things he knew, as a child, that he wanted to write. Neil mentioned comics and it all came back to me.
Inspired, I began research. My primary source became The Nerdist Comics Panel podcast, which I listen to religiously. Eventually, I wrote to their Facebook page, asking about sources for self-directed learning. In Episode #47, Ben Blacker, Adam Beechen, Heath Corson and Len Wein devote a large portion of the podcast to that discussion. I was so excited that my question was taken seriously, that I began to feel my dream was crystalizing.
I also wrote to author Jonathan Maberry – whose comic-book writing credits include Marvel Universe vs Punisher, Captain America: Hail Hydra (Marvel), Bad Blood (Dark Horse), V Wars (IDW) and Rot & Ruin (IDW) – to find out what source he would recommend. Jonathan keeps a copy of Peter David’s Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels in his library. By the time I finished reading that, I learned Brian Michael Bendis’ Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels was being published in July. Both books have turned out to be excellent resources.
Interested in scripting comic books? What are your preferred sources for information?
In my next few posts, I’ll share my process of scripting and preparing artwork for the first page of my first comic book. I hope you’ll join me for the adventure!
An enthusiastic writer with a passion for comics and supernatural horror, Stephen grew up in Almonte, Ontario, lived in Nunavut, and now divides his time between Maitland, Nova Scotia and Ottawa. A dedicated environmental activist, his meticulous attention to detail is surpassed only by his robust laughter and generous spirit.