March 30th, 2007


Why Comic Book Writers Oughta Mind Their Own Business.

I've noticed that comic book writers have an alarming tendency to include visual direction in their scripts. You, the artist, are reading through the script, making notes about how to stage the scenes visually, and along comes a comment like this:

Panel 4: We see Jan in close-up, over Gary's left shoulder.

Presumably, that image happened to pop into the writer's head at that stage in his writing -- and, against all common sense, against all the rules of decency, against every civilized fiber of his being, he wrote it into the script.

The problem, of course, is that visual narrative must be built chronologically, step-by-step, each panel relating sensibly to the one preceding it. So the odds against our writer's piece of ad-libbed direction actually fitting into our shot list are staggering. We'd be as likely to improvise a suitable line of dialogue to inject into the middle of his scene as he is to invent a suitable visual to inject into ours. With one stroke, his piece of direction has inadvertently destroyed whatever sequence of visual narrative we have constructed until that point.

Two obvious solutions to this problem occur to the inexperienced artist:
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