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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I found this interesting.

It is stated that the Marvel method is not commonly used today. That's too bad, it sounds as a very dinamic approach and I guess it lets the artist to make an impression.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Full scripts have become the common form. And you are right. Since most writers do not think in pictures, the results are often dull.
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Steve Coates
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 10:20am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I got to "...the geek world is also a small one...".
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

With modern communication technology, it seems like the Marvel Method would work really well, since writer and artist could talk through pages and plot points at their convenience, and it would be easier than ever to go through and script a page once you've seen it on your screen.

Modern editors, though, want to approve a full script before sending it off to an artist. I think Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have a much looser, closer to Marvel Method collaboration, but they've been collaborating on monthly comics together for about four years with the same editor, colorist, and letterer.

Writers now (especially on those bi-weekly DC titles) don't necessarily know who's drawing a book when they're writing a script, and leave a lot less to chance.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Gee, and those celebrity-written comics are so good!

Yeesh!

Kevin Smith says in there that, when working Marvel-method, he couldn't shut up and put too many words on top of the pictures, so then he switched to full script.  Does that make sense to ANYONE?!?  If you can SEE that you're crowding the pictures, you know you need to shut up!

What a surprise--all the talky, drawn-out comics are by writers who don't work the artist-friendly method.  And the readership keeps dwindling.
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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 3:43pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The Marvel Method works well when the artist actually knows how to tell a story. I'm not sure many do these days. Full script works if you don't trust the artist to deliver what you want on the page but if the writer can't think in pictures then it all falls apart. I guess I'm saying both are really good methods but relies upon either the writer knowing what they're doing or the artist. I think full script probably might be better for new artists and writers as the artist can always ignore something that doesn't work on page which the writer has jotted down.
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 4:58pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Full script works if you don't trust the artist to deliver what you want on the page but if the writer can't think in pictures then it all falls apart.

I don't think it's a matter of trust as much as you often don't know who's going to be drawing any given issue. Half of DC's titles are produced biweekly right now, so for the most part, the writer doesn't know if he'll be working with the same artist for three consecutive issues or if he's going to have six artists splitting up pages as they hit the editor's inbox. Marvel's recent Secret Empire had two or three artists working on each issue of the weekly-to-biweekly miniseries.

Ironically, if you want Marvel Method books in the current system, you've got to look at creator-owned comics.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 6:36pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Kevin Smith says in there that, when working Marvel-method, he couldn't shut up and put too many words on top of the pictures, so then he switched to full script. Does that make sense to ANYONE?!? If you can SEE that you're crowding the pictures, you know you need to shut up!

Over the decades, I have many times told wannabe artists that their job is to make the scipter redundant. Working Marvel Method they should put EVERYTHING in the pictures.

Unfortunately, this causes some scripters to overcompensate, and fill the panels with words they don't need.

It should be noted, too, that full script holds no guarantees. Just because a writer describes a scene, doesn't mean the artist will draw it -- especially if the writer can't think in pictures.

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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 7:36pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Greg Capullo, who I think is a really good
storyteller, once told about a writer, who
not only gave him full script, but gave
him "camera" angles as well (bird's eye,
worm's eye, Close up, etc.) Capullo intentionally gave the writer the opposite
shot the writer asked for, just to break
him.

Apparently, Capullo does not appreciate
being told how to set up a page by a
writer. Can't say I blame him.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 7:55pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Professionally speaking, that's awful what Capullo did.

Speaking as an artist, BRAVO!!!
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 September 2017 at 8:02pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

So, it seems very possible today that you could buy a book written full script by a writer who doesn't know how to think in pictures and then drawn by an artist nobody trusts to tell the story.  Sounds great.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 12:17am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Is the mistrust a response to the `Splash page` fad from
the 90`s/00`s?
I think that a lot of the current writers have lofty
ideas,thinking they`re writing a great novel,not a 22
page comic book!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 6:45am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

A writer I used to know got to work with John Buscema. On the first page of his plat (Marvel style) he described a "John Buscema shot" of a closeup of a character sitting on a throne. When the art came in, Big John had shifted the angle, and the main character was sitting in the background.

"Why would he DO that?" asked the writer.

I said "Probably he didn't like being told how to draw like John Buscema."

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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 6:51am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

When I finally struck out on my own, writing as well as drawing, some people asked why I no longer did those multiple-figure action shots I'd started using in IRON FIST. I said "Because I'm not working with Chris Claremont any more."

Whatever his strengths as a writer -- and when he is good he is VERY good -- Chris is a classic case of not thinking in pictures. At least, not the kinds of snapshots we use in comics. In one of our first jobs together (written full script) he gave me a car chase to draw. Exciting in a movie, dead on a comicbook page.

In fact, it is a common flaw in writers -- especially those coming in from TV and movies -- to write MOVEMENT, number one of the list of things comics don't have to offer. One script I was given (at DC) even included "pan" as an art description for a single panel. (Same script included plenty of descriptions of the expressions on the lead characters' faces, despite the fact they wore masks/helmets that did not show expression and obscured most of their faces.)

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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 6:56am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

To be fair, here, I should note that even the giants among us sometimes stumble. Case in point, this page from X-MEN 1. Observe the fourth panel.

(Don't really know what happened, there. Normally, confronted with a situation like that, the letterer would cut out the panel and move the top half to the bottom, and then letter on what was the bottom half.)

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John Popa
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 7:23am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Were DC Comics of the 60's/70's/80's done full script? My impression has always been that 'Marvel style' was specific to Stan and his artists. Was everyone else doing full script then? Or was there some other format?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Were DC Comics of the 60's/70's/80's done full script?

For the most part.

Denny O'Neil tells a story of how the often redundant writing style of those comics, especially Silver Age, came to be. The caption would describe the scene, then at least one of the characters would also describe the scene. This was because, as noted above, the writer could never be sure he'd get what he was asking for. In specific, Denny mentioned a Western he wrote, in which he asked for a character leaping from his horse onto a stage coach, while the bad guys fired at him. What the artist drew was a closeup of a hand holding a six-shooter!

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Gundars Berzins
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Ah yeah, I had to laugh at your Denny story JB. I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time. 
Very interesting insights, thanks.


Edited by Gundars Berzins on 13 September 2017 at 7:44am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 4:21pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Am I wrong in assuming that most of our favorite comics or runs were written Marvel-style?  All the--

Stan Lee/Jack Kirby FANTASTIC FOUR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR, etc.
Stan Lee/Steve Ditko SPIDER-MAN, DR. STRANGE
Stan Lee/Romita Sr. SPIDER-MAN
Stan Lee/Gene Colan DAREDEVIL
Claremont/Byrne X-MEN
Byrne FANTASTIC FOUR
MIller DAREDEVIL
Simonson THOR (?)
O'Neil/Adams BATMAN (even if written full script, I'm pretty sure Adams treated it as a plot)
My favorite Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Roger Stern, Len Wein, Roy Thomas stuff at both companies (not sure about their DC stuff)

Am I wrong?  At what point did people look at the favorites of their youth--the things that probably inspired them to enter the industry to begin with--and say "Oh no, that won't do"?  

What ever happened to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?


Edited by Eric Jansen on 13 September 2017 at 4:24pm
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 13 September 2017 at 11:44pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I've never written a comic with anyone else but I always felt the Marvel Style was challenging for the artist and writer in a good way. It let the writer develop a plot without worrying about the details too much. It let the artist translate that plot into pictures and we as fans found who was talented at story telling. And it stretched the writer when he was scripting to make sure step 1(plot) + step 2(art) = step 3(a cohesive story).

I can imagine this putting a lot of pressure on the writer in the scripting phase. And I can also understand writers getting frustrated when it was time to script and the art just didn't expand on the plot effectively. but get two talented people together and the magic happens.

One side note: I've seen a-plenty in Marvel Style stories where script was added to characters in a panel just because they were in the panel by happenstance. You can feel when those are after-thoughts to make it seem in was all part of the plan.

I think it's a tough job to make a great comic.

Too many comics today are filled with poses and not true storytelling images. 


Edited by Robert Shepherd on 13 September 2017 at 11:46pm
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J W Campbell
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Posted: 14 September 2017 at 3:01am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

One of the worst scripts I ever had to letter was by a guy whose primary experience was writing for TV. Quite apart from the undeliverable lettering instructions (I don't have a font for "with growing affection") it was crammed panel descriptions like this:

3. Frank is pacing the hallway outside Jane's apartment. He lights a cigarette and checks his watch. 7:54pm. His phone goes off in his pocket. He answers it.

FRANK: Who is this?

PHONE: Better you don't know.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 September 2017 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Weezi Simonson once told me of an artist she was assigned to work with who said he wanted to do more "down time" scenes, "like Claremont and Byrne taking the X-Men to a soda shop." So she included such a scene in her next plot, and when the art came back, it had been transformed into a fight scene. She asked the artist what happened. He said "Quiet pages don't sell."
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 14 September 2017 at 2:31pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

3. Frank is pacing the hallway outside Jane's apartment. He lights a cigarette and checks his watch. 7:54pm. His phone goes off in his pocket. He answers it.

****

JB, how many panels would it take you to convey that description? 1-2-3? I figure 2 at least? But knowing you, you can probably figure a way to do it in 1....;-)
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 14 September 2017 at 2:45pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Even with full script, there's a lot of leeway for the artist. Unless the writer's been given so much clout that the editor's not going to change a word of his script, artists are generally encouraged to figure out what's going to serve the story best and go with it, and the writer and editor will adjust accordingly.

If the writer--especially a new writer--isn't pacing the story correctly or is putting an impossible amount of action into a single panel, the artist is there to guide the process along, hopefully with the editor coordinating the whole team's efforts.



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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 14 September 2017 at 10:23pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

One side note: I've seen a-plenty in Marvel Style stories where script was added to characters in a panel just because they were in the panel by happenstance. You can feel when those are after-thoughts to make it seem in was all part of the plan.

----

Yeah. "Everyone in this panel must be here for a reason so all of them must have something to say."

Even worse is when characters are saying far, far too many words in a single action panel. I can think of one particular writer, who first became famous at Marvel, who embodied the "No time to move! Only time to talk about it!" style (as someone once put it) in his early work. 
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