November 26, 2012

5 Things I Learned From Writing WONDERMAN

As many of you are aware, I made my webcomic scripting debut with Wonderman for Excelsior Webcomics....and yes, it is obvious that it's a debut.

In a spirit of armchair quarterbacking (or "a perfect case of 20/20 hindsight), and in the manner of another, better blog - here are the top 5 things that I have learned from writing Wonderman (and other comics work):

  1. Public Domain Characters, Creatively, Are the Best of Both Worlds - One of the nice things about writing a public domain character is that not only are the details already preordained, but there's a greater flexibility in being able to take the character in a unique direction without worrying about creating thoroughly unique characters and/or editorial mandates. Thankfully, since nobody "owns" Wonderman, I was able to mix pulp-era writing, some Eastern thought, a bit of 12 Step recovery philosophy, and political intrigue. 
  2. Show, Don't Tell - One of the more embarrassing things I've learned is that my captions are way too wordy. In doing panel descriptions, I need to (and have started in other works) front-loading full blooded descriptions into the art and let that do the heavy lifting. And on that note:
  3. When describing panels, use detail, but not as much as Alan Moore: In another script, what I realized after seeing the final art is that I omitted a critical detail....which the artist omitted as well, since I didn't say it. Thankfully, since this was a more comedic script, there was a great, final joke that having this omission made funnier. (And I won't spoil, since I'm still waiting on having it colored)
  4. Notebooks Are Your Best Friend - Two months ago, I received an e-mail asking me if Wonderman # 2 was ready. Thankfully, I had stockpiled some ideas in a bound notebook (including a page-by-page plot), which turned an almost impossibly insurmountable task into a day and a half of frantic writing. 
  5. Don't Be Afraid to Take Chances - So far, my comics work has been more about developing skills than, say, a paycheck. But I'm currently working on two prose projects (one personal, one commission), plotting another Wonderman, and wondering whether my Victorian detective project should be prose or a comic. These are second to my current job search, but at the very least, I have a pretty good creative outlet, and at least one thing that builds my confidence.

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