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Topic: Can comics writers be considered "real writers"? (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mark Matthewman
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 2:59am | IP Logged | 1  

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Edited by Mark Matthewman on 10 February 2007 at 1:12pm
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Dave Powell
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 4:11am | IP Logged | 2  

Is there a writer, comic book or other, who doen't visualize what's going on in his stories?  A good plot is a good plot, good dialogue is good dialogue.  The idea that anyone could seperate what they "see" with their mind's eye from a plotline or script doesn't make sense to me. 

It may be HARDER for a comic book writer, in my opinion, surrendering your idea, your mind's eye vision, to someone else in a collaborative effort must be extremely difficult.

PS: The "Discuss" is not needed, we all know why we're here. ;)


Edited by Dave Powell on 03 February 2007 at 4:13am
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Frank Stone
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 4:36am | IP Logged | 3  

If a writer is capable of creating the series of events which constitute a
story, that seems "real" enough to me!

(Because there are numerous ways in which comicbooks can be written,
though, there can even be hair-splitting as to what "writing" means. I still
recall an instance where the editors of Comics Buyer's Guide made
the rather bizarre assertion that the separate [to them] disciplines of
"plotting" a comicbook and "writing" one were "not equally important"
because "the plot is only what happens in the story", whereas "writing"
involved the important stuff like characterization, subtext, nuance, etc. --
the implication, apparently, being that creating a plot is somehow
something other than writing. This, to me, is a lot like saying that the
foundation of a house and the structure of a house are not equally
important because the foundation is only what allows the house to be
built without falling over.)

- Frank
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Rafael Guerra
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 5:21am | IP Logged | 4  

So I suppose screenwriters aren't 'real' writers, either.

So many people wasting their lives....
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Stephen Sadowski
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 5:33am | IP Logged | 5  


 I gotta add here, that SO OFTEN what  the public DOESNT see, in the form of script is shocking at times.
 Some of James Robinsons ,  David Goyers  and Geoff Johns scripts, were BEAUTIFULLY written descriptive narrative  pieces..much better than <I> could draw, unfortunately..I OFTEN wished that they could be printed.
 Stories of Alan Moore's and Grant  Morrisons scripts are near legendary within the community for their detail and nuances.
 What Ive ALWAYS enjoyed about comics, is that its NEITHER a novel nor a movie, but something inbetween..its OWN creature.

 And DEFINITELY comic writers are  "real writers"..IMO.
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Fred J Chamberlain
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 5:41am | IP Logged | 6  

Certainly, I believe that comic writers are real writers. Nearly anyone can write. Sadly there are too many writers employed in both comics and the novel genre that are not storytellers.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 5:47am | IP Logged | 7  

Some are, some aren't.

Put it like this: In 1988 my novel "Fearbook" was nominated for a Stoker Award for "Best First Novel". I got to thinking about that, wondering if it was really fair to the other nominees, since I had, at that point, spent about eight years writing what were, effectively, serialized "novels".

It's probably best to look at it all on a case by case basis. Nobody is good at their job 100% of the time -- there will be days when writing in comic books will be as good as, or even better than, "real" writing.

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J.C. Alexander
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 6:19am | IP Logged | 8  

Different medium. Period.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 6:26am | IP Logged | 9  

Can comics writers be considered "real writers"?

****

Yes. Comic book writing is clearly its own particular genre; but a comic book being just that doesn't therefore remove it from the typical standards of good writing: interesting ideas, effective and logical organization, an appropriate and individual voice, clear and memorable diction, coherent grammar and syntax, etc.

Of course, listing these standards and then finding copious examples of those comic book writers who have lived up to them are not necessarily equally easy. But a good many "real writers" working in comic books are regularly discussed on the JBF, from Stan Lee to Roger Stern to the host himself, et al.

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Joakim Jahlmar
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 10  

Of course there are comics writers who are good writers. If you write a good comic then you are a good writer... thereby not said that you will be good at other media or other genres, but that is equally true of any other "real" writer. An excellent short story writer may be a very poor novelist, and vice versa. A person may be an excellent dramatist with strengths in dialogue and dramatic structure, while being crap at narrating...

The proof of the matter is as always in the pudding. Case to case basis.
Even though I'd say that there are good and bad "real" writers, so why make the other distinction in the first place seem irrelevant.

And to add: a good comics writer (like any writer within specified medium or genre) knows his own playing field and writes material that makes full use of the visual impact and nature of the medium.

My penny.


Edited because I managed to post midsentence before I was finished.



Edited by Joakim Jahlmar on 03 February 2007 at 7:33am
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 8:36am | IP Logged | 11  

Comic book writers are undoubtedly real writers-- some are good, some are mediocre and some are bad, but they have one thing going for them: they're getting paid for writing.

I heard a long time ago that Frank Capra Jr was on TV, describing his "process" as a director, how he created "the Capra touch" in his movies and so on. After that, one of his writers sent him a ream of paper and said "Put the Capra touch on this."

Artists can do amazing things-- but if there's no story, there isn't going to be a comic book.

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Orlando Teuta Jr
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 12  

Gaiman won the World Fantasy Award for a Sandman comic and Art Spiegelman won the LA times book fiction award. 

I do consider Comics Writers real writers. 
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George Peter Gatsis
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 9:21am | IP Logged | 13  

everyone is a writer... period.

BUT, very few are story tellers... and good ones at that.
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David Whiteley
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 9:28am | IP Logged | 14  

Yes.
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Emery Calame
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 9:48am | IP Logged | 15  

Some fairly bad writers are also very good writers. Just look at the Harry Potter books for an example of what I mean.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:09am | IP Logged | 16  

Artists can do amazing things-- but if there's no story, there isn't going to be a comic book.

***

That is something of an oversimplification.

First, we're talking about comic books, and minus the pictures, what you have is not a comic book. It is the pictures that make a comic book a comic book, not the stories.

Second, there are many writers who like to perpetuate the myth that it is they, and only they, who must "face the blank page". This is not true when the books are done "Marvel Style" (plot, pencils, script), and it is not entirely true when they are done full script. In the case of the "Marvel Style" books, the artist is most often an equal partner in the transferring of the story to the page. Sometimes s/he is more than equal, especially if the writer is working with a talented artist who can be trusted to do the most important part of the work (as when I worked with John Romita Jr., for instance). Even when the books are done full script, the artist still has a sizeable task in translating the writer's panel descriptions into pictures. I have made the point many times that very few writers really think in pictures.

Bottom line -- weigh the contributions. Assuming both present a story, which would you rather read? A comic without pictures, or a comic without words?

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Fred J Chamberlain
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:18am | IP Logged | 17  

>everyone is a writer... period.

>BUT, very few are story tellers... and good ones at that.

.... is there an echo in here?

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Martin Redmond
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 18  

Regardless of the artist, the overall plot should be good and the dialogue interesting to read. Unless I am mistaken, Marvel style still requires the writer to dictate what events happen in a comic. So maybe the writer doesn't "illustrate" but the writer can call for how a scene will be played out. Also, the same writer with different artists often produces very similar  stories. The ones that are really good, it doesn't really matter which artist draws their comics.

I don't really care if a writer is a real writer or not as long as it's entertaining to read.



Edited by Martin Redmond on 03 February 2007 at 10:30am
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Stéphane Garrelie
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:30am | IP Logged | 19  

Comic without picture/comic without words.

Comic without pictures is a nonsense, but even if a comic can work without words, it isn't a comicbook without a story.

Even a silent issue needs a story.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:33am | IP Logged | 20  

Unless I am mistaken, Marvel style still requires the writer to dictate what events happen in a comic.

***

You are mistaken -- at least partly.

Sometimes the writer operates in a vacuum, writing his plot without any contact with the artist. Sometimes without even knowing who the artist is going to be!*

In many instances, however, the writer and artist work together in concocting the plot. Chris and I used to do what we called "phone plots" on UNCANNY. We'd talk for hours on the phone, hammering out details, while I made notes. Then I'd call the editor and tell him what we had planned. Then I'd draw it, and Chris would dialog it.

And let us not forget the legendary (and probably apocryphal) 4 word "plot" Stan is supposed to have given Jack for the first Galactus story: "Have them fight God."


* He was working full script, but Denny O'Neil wrote that o-so-significant issue of GREEN LANTERN fully expecting that Gil Kane would pencil it. Neal Adams was as much a surprise to him as to everybody else!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:34am | IP Logged | 21  

Even a silent issue needs a story.

***

Correct!

Which brings us to the times when fans have
informed me that I did not actually "write" the silent
stories I have done!
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Darragh Greene
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 22  

Roland Barthes once said, 'Literature is what gets taught'. Comics are
turning up on English Literature and Cultural Studies courses more and
more in recent years, so by virtue of being taught at university, have they
been elevated by the academy to the status of literature?
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Al Cook
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 23  

Anyone who gets paid to write is a "real" writer. Regardless of medium.

Also, regardless of medium, not every "real" writer is a good writer.
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Kurt Anderson
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 11:42am | IP Logged | 24  


 QUOTE:
* He was working full script, but Denny O'Neil wrote that o-so-significant issue of GREEN LANTERN fully expecting that Gil Kane would pencil it. Neal Adams was as much a surprise to him as to everybody else!

I did not know that.

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Francesco Vanagolli
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Posted: 03 February 2007 at 11:45am | IP Logged | 25  

Comics are a form of literature, so my answer to the thread's title/question is YES.

I often think that there is a wrong idea in many persons about comics: they're stupid and everyone can write them. When these "everyone" are from tv or "real literature", it seems that they will give dignity to the comics, at last. Wrong. These guys never understood that a comic book writer (a good one) must be a good narrator. Like Stan Lee, JB, Roger Stern, Chris Claremont and many others.

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