Scripts

Spy6Teen by Tim Simmons

A little shameless plugging this week– Here is the script for my Zuda entry: Spy6teen.

I thought it might be cool to take you guys through it and show you what I’ve learned about the process of comic script writing from running this site!

A little backstory first: I met the artist, DJ Keawekane over on the Digital Webbing forums. I was looking for an artist, he was looking for a writer– sadly, the project we decided to work on together was ill-fated and died on the vine.
Still, over the course of a number of emails we got to be friends– I had grown up in Hawaii and DJ currently lives there. We both would frequent the same comic shops growing up– It was kind of like meeting up with a buddy you hadn’t seen since grade school…to say the least, DJ’s a good guy.

We decided that we also dug each others work enough to give a go at a new project– so, DJ asked: What else have you got?

I’d been playing around with this idea that became Spy6teen for a bit. I knew I wanted to do something with broad appeal– and since DJ and I had been talking about a lot of nostalgic influences, I knew I wanted to pay homage to them. Old school Gi Joe, the classic “uncanny” X-men– our “roots” influences…

The “one line” pitch of “Espionage in High School” occurred to me…the more I thought about it, the more it made sense: Secrets in hallways, double lives, no one is who they seem– and that’s just normal high school.

I pitched it to DJ and off we went…

Looking at the Zuda format (in a 4×3) box, I knew we should try to use the layout to its advantage. Compose to it…not just try to shoehorn  standard comic dimensions into it.

I wrote the script– taking bits and pieces of what I liked from others (much of it cribbed from the “Modified Brubaker” of Matt Fraction) and I learned fairly quickly why Fraction is constantly championing Macros. Might have saved me from destroying a “tab” key.

Granted, around the time I was writing the script, I was re-reading Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns– which is filled with 16 panel pages. Influenced by that, I think I gave DJ a number of “impossible” pages. He wisely said: “No, dude.”

So, we took it back to basics: I recomposed the script and drew him horrible stick figure layouts of what I saw in my head:

And, armed with the script and my caveman drawings, DJ would turn them into a cool thumbnail/layout:

We’d make minor adjustments from there to the final page, which you can see on Page 3 of the final Zuda.
(Zuda rules prevent me from posting up finished artwork)

The whole thing was a pretty awesome experience. From dreaming this stuff up, to “drawing” a thumbnail– the thrill of seeing “real” artwork come back– seeing the whole thing come to color via Lisa, and finally Brant’s Letters finally add some “sound” to the whole thing.

Really, I’m pretty proud of it.

Here’s the script:

Spy6teen by Tim Simmons

Since we’re on Zuda, we also need Votes– if you could kindly swing over and register to vote and favorite us– it’d mean a lot to me and the archive…which is actually just me. So, it’d mean a lot to me.

A VOTE for Spy6teen is a VOTE for the Comic Book Script Archive!


Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 Scripts No Comments

Warren Ellis: Global Freq #10

The Global Frequency is an independent, covert intelligence organization headed by a former intelligence agent who uses the alias of Miranda Zero. There are reportedly 1,001 people on the Global Frequency, forming an active smart mob communicating by specially modified video mobile phones through a central dispatch system coordinated by a young woman code-named Aleph.

I still haven’t had a chance to sit down and read Global Frequency, although a trade is still sitting in my read pile– but alas, I don’t really have a handle on this script.
From a format perspective, it’s pretty standard Ellis– readable and direct– not over describing his panels, trusting his artists.

Also, the dialogue is clear and easy to read/scan as it is all in CAPS and bold.
As a quick FYI, I’m not sure if something went a little funky in a .RTF translation– as the page breaks seems to occur at odd places.

After I finally get a chance to breathe, I’ll sit down with a nice cup of coffee and read through Global Frequency, then return and do a proper writeup on the script– in the meantime, if you’ve read the series, please check it out and leave a comment behind!

For now, I leave it in your hands:

Global Frequency #10

PS- Stay tuned for April: Some very cool news coming!!


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Friday, March 27th, 2009 Scripts 1 Comment

BKV- Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty #7

A first draft “early work” by Brian K. Vaughan!

Our BKV script appears to be a backup story (10 pages) which I presume ran in this issue. Perhaps one of you out there has a copy of this comic in a longbox and would be willing to confirm that indeed it is in this issue…as, truthfully, I have no recollection of this title.

Anyhow, what I love most about this script is that it has a short introduction from BKV to his artist (Possibly Steve Carr)  that I contains a valuble lesson for aspiring writers:

My plot is pretty effin’ detailed, so brace yourself. I’ll throw in some dialogue every so often, but it’s nothing I’m married to, just stuff to give you an indication of facial expression, panel size and emotion. Remember, my panel descriptions are just suggestions! I really do like collaborating, so if you ever see a way to do ANYTHING even a little better, go to town.”

Anyhow, enjoy a short little 10 pager from the guy who would soon bring you Y: The Last Man!

Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty #7


Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 Scripts No Comments

Marvel Adventures #44: By Marc Sumerak!

All Peter Parker wanted to do was catch a movie with some friends… but NO! Instead, he’s got to save the city from a legion of lizards set loose by the sinister Serpent Society! And if that wasn’t enough, one of his oldest foes is ready to rampage through the streets of NYC all Godzilla-style! Sometimes being a super hero really bites — with big pointy fangs!

It’s popular opinion that Marvel Adventures are “kids books”. These are the comics that you find in the racks of your local convenience store or newsstand…but here’s a little secret: These books sell WELL.

I also feel that the MA books are important to the future of comics. After all: back when you were a wee-tyke, your first comic probably wasn’t purchased at LCS or at a con…it was probably off a spinner rack at a 7-11.
And that’s why, more than “Hot-Selling-Title-Of-the-Month“, these books are the most important comics released each week…Because they bring in new readers.

Over the holiday break I was back in my old hometown and stopped off at the old comic shop– the one that’s been around forever. It was nice walking in there– not much had changed, still cramped, still had that “comic book smell”– Lots of small town comic shops are that way, existing in a preserved bubble where time only passes outside its doors…One other thing stayed the same: The faces of the costumers. A little older, a little fatter– but all the same people.

Where are all the kids? The new versions of ‘15 year old me’– waiting with baited breath for the new issue of X-men to hit the shelf?

That’s why Marvel Adventures and books like it are important: To bring in the next generation of comic readers.

(Note 1: They’re also really fun reads. Just because it’s labeled as “All Ages” does not mean it is only for kids!)

(Note 2: all this is not to say that LCS owners aren’t doing anything to bring in new readers. In fact, a great number of them come up with extremely cool events and unique angles to get new readers in the door– everything from Free Comic Day to Comic-Book Film Opening-day events..hats off to you guys!)

So that brings us to Marvel Adventures: Spider Man #44 by Marc Sumerak. Personally, I’ve only recently discovered Marc through his writing on Weapon X: First Class– A highly entertaining book as well…
Take a gander through this week’s script and Marc’s experience as a comic book editor becomes apparent very quickly. The format is flawless and there isn’t a typo to be found. If you’re looking for a template to crib for your own comic, I highly recommend swiping this one. It’s clean and clear– I particularly like his use of BOLDS for SFX.

As usual, you can pick up a copy of this issue by clicking the cover above– or here.

While you’re at it, pick up a few more Marvel Adventures and give them to a younger brother/sister, nephew or niece…read it and then drop it over their way– The future of comics is in your hands as well!

MARVEL ADVENTURES: Spider Man #44

Check out Marc’s official page @: http://www.sumerak.com


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Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 Scripts No Comments

Brian Holguin- Magdalena #1

Here’s a very interesting script by the current writer of Spawn (alongside Todd McFarlane), Brian Holguin. No, it isn’t a Spawn script, but instead from a Top Cow series called Magdalena, which was an offshoot from the Witchblade/Darkness universe. The storyline is very Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider, and is pretty entertaining.

The script itself is also quite an interesting read in the respect that it actually reads. Mostly in the respect that Holguin doesn’t break down his panels numerically, but rather in paragraph breaks. He still adds in shot descriptions, such as Close-up, Angles, Wide, etc, but somehow (to me, at least) not having his panels numbered actually frees up the clutter on the page and allows the artist to visualize the page much easier.

It’s a very fun read, and a #1, so I recommend checking it out!

On a side note, I met Brian last year at SDCC along with Whilce Portacio, both are really great guys– Brian in particular thought the script archive was a great idea and really wished it was available when he first got started– so, there you go: You’ve already got a leg up in the guy who is writing friggin’ Spawn!
I expect you all to be professional writers very soon!

Brian Holguin- Magdalena #1

If you like it, of course, please support the comic and this site by picking up a copy of the trade!


Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 Scripts No Comments

Paul Jenkins - The Darkness #6

Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers! Turkey day brings us a script by, er, British writer, Paul Jenkins! Yeah, it makes no sense- but whatever, Paul is a great writer and I’d happily fix up a plate of turkey for him!

This is a pretty interesting script to read- in the respect that the panel descriptions are very conversational to the issue’s artist (Dale Keown). You process junkie’s out there should take a gander at Paul’s formatting too: very legible and easy to follow.

I don’t have a ton to recap on this series, since I’m not up to 100% speed on the Darkness (although I’ve been meaning to), considering the list of creators on the book: Ennis, Silvestri, Wohl, Jenkins, Hester– it seems a no brainer to pick it up.

Here’s the script:

Darkness #6 (PDF)

Sadly, I can’t seem to find a link to purchase this issue, so instead I’ll leave you with a sketch of Dale’s Darkness and a little doodle I got from Paul himself:

Have a great Thanksgiving! If you aren’t in the US, just go ahead and use the day as an excuse to stuff your face. No reason you shouldn’t feel fat and bloated on Friday morning!


Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 Scripts No Comments

J. Michael Straczynski - Midnight Nation

NOTE: THE MIDNIGHT NATION SCRIPT HAS BEEN REMOVED DUE TO REQUEST

There’s some Oscar buzz running right now with J. Michael Straczynski’s screenplay for Changeling. Which, if it goes, will make JMS the first Oscar nominated writer here on the archive– pretty exciting!

(and not just for the archive, obviously)–

I do find it amusing that, with all the comic book Hollywood deals breaking these days, one of “us” breaks through with a decidedly NON-comic book screenplay. By the way, if you haven’t seen Changeling yet, I do recommend it. It’s a highly dramatic and emotional film that is crafted exceptionally well.

Ok, moving on: I don’t think Stracznski requires much of an introduction to you guys– Babylon 5, Supreme Power, The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (heh), as well as a ton of other comics, TV shows, and cartoons…the guy’s been around.

But one title you might have missed was Midnight Nation, a 12 issue maxi-series with Gary Frank providing the art, published by Top Cow back in 2000. I read it not too long ago and thought it was pretty decent. Given JMS’ background in television, I don’t think it is too much a stretch to believe that it may have originally been conceived as a one-season TV show. The story, pacing and plot have the feel of being a Cable TV series– one that you might have seen on USA, Sci-Fi, or even Showtime back in the early 2000s (which still feels weird to say).

So, this week we’ve got the script to issue #4. Perusing through it, there are a few interesting things to note: For example, no panel descriptions until about page 5. Why? No idea. Perhaps the art or thumbnails were already completed for these panels? Doubt we’ll ever know.
Also, up until page 5 JMS uses a numbering system in front of the character names for his dialogue. Not sure what that is either…though I’m sure it serves some purpose.

Still, give it a gander and see what you can learn by studying a master of the craft. Just do me a favor, when you’re up on the podium in front of the Academy and being handing your Oscar…give the Comic Book Script Archive a shout out!

Enjoy!

REMOVED DUE TO REQUEST

Pick up the trade by clicking below!


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Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 Scripts No Comments

Hawksmoor by Mike Costa

I know a lot of you didn’t read “Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor” and that’s a shame. One, because it’s a really cool book with awesome artwork by Fiona Staples, but also because it’s written by my friend (and soon to be yours), Mike Costa.

Who is Mike Costa and why should I care?
That’s a question I ask myself over and over again. Luckily, Mike texts and IMs me with the answers all the time.
Here’s the spoilers: Mike is a comic fan with an encyclopedic knowledge of every comic universe, everything from the 616 and the DCU, to the Wildstorm U and (I suspect) the ArchieVerse. He wears awesome sport jackets. He might be seen with a writerly beard, but isn’t afraid of rocking the ’stash.
He also happens to be a rising comic star who proved his mettle by putting on the shoes of Warren Ellis and writing a Hawksmoor 6 issue mini…y’know, for his first comic.

Mike’s been awesome enough to provide us with his script for Hawksmoor #5– which is very gentlemanly of him, but Mike, being the gracious chap (and remember: friend of yours) that he is, he’s also providing you with his original proposal for the Hawksmoor series.

Proposals are one of those weird things that everyone seems to have questions about. Down the road I’ll address it in a column, but for now, kick back and enjoy Mike’s Hawksmoor proposal and read his original vision for the story.
After that, pick up the issues– hotlinked with each cover below. Normally, I’d link to a trade, but y’know, there isn’t one. So seriously, pick them up and support Mike and Wildstorm if you can.  It’s a great book and you won’t be disappointed. You don’t need any previous Wildstorm reading experience to “get” the book. It’s just a solid read. Enjoy!

Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor - Proposal

Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor Issue #5

Pick ‘em up:
Issue 1

Issue 2

Issue 3

issue 4

Issue 5

Issue 6


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Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 Scripts 2 Comments

Steve Niles: 2 pack!

Well, we missed Halloween by a few days, but better late than never!

We’ve got scripts this week from Mr. 30 Days of Night himself, Steve Niles!
I’d imagine by this point you’re all quite familiar with the 30 Days of Night plot, but if for some reason you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, the high concept is: Vampires descend upon an Alaska town during the 30 days in which the northern region receives no sunlight. It really is a masterwork of horror and if you haven’t read the comic, I highly recommend it. Ben Templesmith’s art is perfectly moody and beautifully expressive.

You might be a little less familiar with Criminal Macabre, which is the two-fisted, pulp/horror adventures of anti-hero, Cal McDonald. A bit of a noir take on Vampires/Goblins/Zombies etc. Cal has been published both in comic and novel format– one of which, Guns, Drugs, and Monsters is a personal favorite of mine.

Both are issue #1’s, so if you haven’t happened to read either, it might make for a unique experience to read the script first, then search out the Trades/Single issues to give those a read.

Interesting note about the scripts: They appear to be written in Final Draft– which I know a number of comic writers use. Final Draft, for the uninitiated, is a screenplay-friendly word processor. I’ll have an article down the line on the “tools of the trade”, but I just thought it was quickly worth mentioning.

Here’s Steve on the difference between writing a comic and writing a screenplay:

When I write comics I wear a cape. But seriously, there are many, many differences. Like writing a novel compared to a screenplay, comics give me a whole new set of tools to play with. With comics I can have any budget I like. If I want 10 million zombies to march then all I have to do is talk the artist off a ledge instead of beg for billions from a studio.

30 Days of Night
Criminal Macabre

Pick up the trades by clicking on the images!


Back later this week with a little update– and next week, oh man, next week. It’ll be a good one!


Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 Scripts 1 Comment

2 from Bendis: Daredevil and Elektra

I’m a pretty big Brian Michael Bendis fan– in fact, it was Powers that got me back into comics after I’d dropped everything in the late 90s. I picked up the first trade of “Who killed Retro Girl?” and was immediately hooked by the natural/conversational flow of the dialogue.

Shortly after that, I picked up a few Daredevil issues from a friend’s longbox- I’d heard that Kevin Smith did a run that I’d missed and figured I’d give it a shot– I picked up a few issues after that run as well. I enjoyed the Smith issues and led into the David Mack issues– and then this guy’s name pops back up: Bendis.

From there, I’m hooked.

It’s rare that you realize mid-way through a run that you’re reading a classic. But that’s really the only way to describe the Bendis/Maleev tour-de-force of Daredevil. Is it better than Miller/Janson? That’s a debate you can save to argue at your local comics store today– but if there is a definitive creator run on Daredevil, it’s one of the two– and not many would argue that statement.

So, today I present Daredevil #28 and Elektra #6!  What’s interesting about both these issues is that they’re dialogue free. Both silent issues ala Larry Hama’s legendary GI Joe #21
Bendis’ dialogue is one of the defining characteristics of his writing– which is why I find these scripts to be so fascinating. Granted, anyone who has read Torso, Jinx, Goldfish or any of the other Bendis books where he acted as an artist can attest, the dude knows how to tell a story visually– Check out the double page spread on page 6 and 7 of the DD issue to see Bendis tell a compelling emotional scene, through images only.

I’ve blathered long enough, here’s the scripts– Quick note, if you want to read the scripts chronologically (they tie into one another): the read order is Elektra first, then DD.

Daredevil #28
Elektra #6

Pick up the Bendis Daredevil Omnibus here (It’s worth it!)

After reading the script, get the comic! Elektra #6:

Elektra #6

Elektra #6

I’ll have a mid-week post sometime this week! Keep an eye out for it!


Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 Scripts No Comments