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Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 1

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The biggest names in comics scriptwriting talk candidly and frankly about their profession, their approach to writing and the comics industry as a whole. Through a series of interviews, these luminaries in the comics field reveal the mechanics of writing for comics and, in the process, a great deal about themselves. Packed with personal information, contentious views and h The biggest names in comics scriptwriting talk candidly and frankly about their profession, their approach to writing and the comics industry as a whole. Through a series of interviews, these luminaries in the comics field reveal the mechanics of writing for comics and, in the process, a great deal about themselves. Packed with personal information, contentious views and humorous anecdotes, this is both an exploration of the writer's craft and a who's who of the hottest comics' talent around today, for fans, professionals, would-be writers and for anyone who's ever wondered exactly how the writer's mind works. Gathers together a supergroup of the best comics writers, including Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Garth Ennis (Preacher), Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns, Sin City), Grant Morrison (Invisibles, JLA) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman), plus Kurt Busiek, Peter David, Chuck Dixon, Warren Ellis, Devin Grayson, Dan Jurgens, Joe Kelly, Jeph Loeb and Mark Waid, with extracts from the writers' original scripts.


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The biggest names in comics scriptwriting talk candidly and frankly about their profession, their approach to writing and the comics industry as a whole. Through a series of interviews, these luminaries in the comics field reveal the mechanics of writing for comics and, in the process, a great deal about themselves. Packed with personal information, contentious views and h The biggest names in comics scriptwriting talk candidly and frankly about their profession, their approach to writing and the comics industry as a whole. Through a series of interviews, these luminaries in the comics field reveal the mechanics of writing for comics and, in the process, a great deal about themselves. Packed with personal information, contentious views and humorous anecdotes, this is both an exploration of the writer's craft and a who's who of the hottest comics' talent around today, for fans, professionals, would-be writers and for anyone who's ever wondered exactly how the writer's mind works. Gathers together a supergroup of the best comics writers, including Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Garth Ennis (Preacher), Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns, Sin City), Grant Morrison (Invisibles, JLA) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman), plus Kurt Busiek, Peter David, Chuck Dixon, Warren Ellis, Devin Grayson, Dan Jurgens, Joe Kelly, Jeph Loeb and Mark Waid, with extracts from the writers' original scripts.

30 review for Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Levi

    Dixon. Loeb. Miller. Waid. Morrison. When this book was written in 1999, they and others like them were the mavericks of the comic book industry. Today, they are legends. The idea behind a book such as this is deceptively simple: Sit down with a bunch of the top writers in comics and pick their brains on their early careers, their famous works, their writing habits, and their opinions on the future of the comic book industry. Something similar, I believe, has been done on a larger scale with Patri Dixon. Loeb. Miller. Waid. Morrison. When this book was written in 1999, they and others like them were the mavericks of the comic book industry. Today, they are legends. The idea behind a book such as this is deceptively simple: Sit down with a bunch of the top writers in comics and pick their brains on their early careers, their famous works, their writing habits, and their opinions on the future of the comic book industry. Something similar, I believe, has been done on a larger scale with Patrick McGilligan's "Backstory" series, which focused on screenwriters. But to do something like that for comics writers is a truly unique endeavor, if only because comics are a much smaller industry. Of course, the comic industry has changed significantly in the nearly 20 years since the publication of this 250 page book. Some of the writers interviewed have quite insightful views on how comics are going to change. Others say things that made me laugh from the safety of hindsight. For instance, Mark Waid correctly notes, I believe, that comics has gotten away from its roots as a kid-centric medium, largely because the group of dedicated professionals who wrote comics in the 50's and 60's was placed in the '70s by fans. The result, Waid states, is that only stories that would appeal to fans were written, as opposed to a general audience of kids who could buy a comic anywhere. Now you have to seek out specialty comics shops which often look quite seedy and kid-unfriendly, to say the least. Another problem which Waid identifies in his portion of the book is that most of the comics writers he knew (in 1999, remember) were forty-year-old single men, most of whom didn't have kids at all. That probably explains a lot. Meanwhile, you've got interviews with people like Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis which make you go, "These people are arrogant pot-heads who are absolutely full of themselves." Morrison in particular goes on at length in his interview about how his fiction writing is reflected in what happens to him in reality. His drug-addled ramblings about how his love of "science" and "philosophy" influence his writing is counterbalanced by his admissions to dabbling in occult practices and to the fact that he was a poor student in school, including the sciences. I never liked Morrison's writing in particular, apart from some of his stuff in "JLA," but his laughably shortsighted prediction that the 2000s would spawn and new wave of originality in opposition to a revival of stuff that was going on in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (in the late '90s, I suppose) is just too much. I also enjoyed reading the interviews with Chuck Dixon and Jeph Loeb. It was interesting to get into the heads of some of my favorite writers and see how their thought processes work. Frank Miller's interview was very interesting, a welcome surprise considering that the only thing of his that I've read is "Batman: Year One." I am now intent on reading "The Dark Knight Returns" and possibly "Ronin." The book's single flaw is its author. Mark Salisbury is a competent interviewer, but his fanboyish, lapdog-like introductions and explanatory blurbs throughout the book are quite annoying. His flattering manner betrays a complete lack of taste and a mind devoid of understanding. He apparently thinks that depictions of graphic sex and violence automatically elevate a comic into the realm of literary sophistication, as he more-or-less states in his introduction to the interview with Garth Ennis. But aside from a less-than-ideal choice of guides, "Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 1," is a fine tour of some of the industry's best writers in their prime. They all have something to author in their musings, with the grinding of time (this book is nearly 20 years old) ironing out the wisdom of some of them into fine diamonds. I eagerly look forward to the next volume, which currently sits on my desk, awaiting my perusal.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    An excellent time capsule of late nineties comics knowledge and practice, especially DC and Marvel. Not as helpful as I wanted it to be for an aspiring indie comics writer but interesting nonetheless.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alec Watkins

    Had to return this before I finished it completely, but every interview I got to was well done and interesting.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shane M.

    Filled with wonderful interviews by top creators on how they wrote their most famous works. Highly informative. Good for any comic history fan.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wes Locher

    Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down and in a matter of three days, I was staring at the blank last page just wishing for more. This would prove an enjoyable read for any comics fan or anyone who is interested in taking a peek behind the curtain of the industry. All of the writers interviewed here (most of which are practically house hold names) share a lot of about themselves, how they broke into the industry, their influences, and what they'd still like to accomplish somewhe Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down and in a matter of three days, I was staring at the blank last page just wishing for more. This would prove an enjoyable read for any comics fan or anyone who is interested in taking a peek behind the curtain of the industry. All of the writers interviewed here (most of which are practically house hold names) share a lot of about themselves, how they broke into the industry, their influences, and what they'd still like to accomplish somewhere down the road. If you write in the sci-fi field, there's definitely something to be learned from these masters of the sequential storytelling craft. I tip my hat to the author, Mark Salisbury, for asking some great, thought-provoking questions to the folks he interviewed. Everything was compiled very well and was very engaging. I thank him showing the readers another side of the comics industry. I found the whole thing very fascinating and look forward to getting my hands on volume 2.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This volume is far more informative that its descendant, in terms of how the comic book writers describe their journeys into the business world of scripting comic books. Many great stories abound from some of the best in the industry, such as Kurt Busiek and Grant Morrison. In fact, it's the larger variety of types of writers that makes this volume more well-rounded out than its little brother, overall. I will say that the text is a little dated, as the interviews took place when some authors' st This volume is far more informative that its descendant, in terms of how the comic book writers describe their journeys into the business world of scripting comic books. Many great stories abound from some of the best in the industry, such as Kurt Busiek and Grant Morrison. In fact, it's the larger variety of types of writers that makes this volume more well-rounded out than its little brother, overall. I will say that the text is a little dated, as the interviews took place when some authors' stars were just starting to shine, or when established authors' work hadn't yet hit its defining moment or scripts. But if you take that into account when reading the volume, you can enjoy the stories they tell about breaking into the business.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dorkthropology

    Dated and the selection is all white dudes save one woman, but for all that it was interesting. So many styles and philosophies, so many ways they got involved in comics. Since I'm a recent reader it felt a little like a history book. It references names and stories I'm only vaguely familiar with but it wasn't incomprehensible. Useful but I'd like to get ahold of something more recent. Dated and the selection is all white dudes save one woman, but for all that it was interesting. So many styles and philosophies, so many ways they got involved in comics. Since I'm a recent reader it felt a little like a history book. It references names and stories I'm only vaguely familiar with but it wasn't incomprehensible. Useful but I'd like to get ahold of something more recent.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Randy Lander

    An absolutely essential book of interviews with a variety of comic book writers. While some of the interviewee choices are suspect (Todd McFarlane?), Salisbury does good, in-depth interviews of the kind rarely seen, either in print or online.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jutta

    It was interesting to read essays from all my favorite comic authors

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    Some very smart people saying very smart, very helpful things. And.... some not so much. Still a very worthwhile read, though, if you have an interest in the field.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Annukka

    The interviews were not as "in-depth" as I had wished. I had hoped for more tips and writing secrets. The interviews were not as "in-depth" as I had wished. I had hoped for more tips and writing secrets.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Pierce

    Nothing much in the way of practical use in this anthology of interviews with major comics scripters, but it's a lot of fun to read to see how these folks work. Enjoyable but not all that useful. Nothing much in the way of practical use in this anthology of interviews with major comics scripters, but it's a lot of fun to read to see how these folks work. Enjoyable but not all that useful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Finlayson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sticks Phillips

  20. 5 out of 5

    Juha

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Clifford

  22. 5 out of 5

    John

  23. 5 out of 5

    Thesexyman19

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kasey V

  25. 5 out of 5

    Philip Athans

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eneas Núñez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tom Schmidlin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marc Bernstein

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Robb

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Rae

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