Writing for Comic Books

By Vince Hernandez Co-Owner, Editor-in-Chief, for Aspen Comics MLT.

Development

Writing for comic books is unlike any other medium in that you’re not actually writing for the reader, but rather the artist. You have to create a visual blueprint that the artist can then translate and adapt into their vision. If the artist doesn’t understand the vision, the story will always suffer. I’m not an artist, but the best tool at my disposal is that I’ve been able to connect with the artist on a level where we both understand the end goal—and that’s to create a visual story that resonates with the reader through the artwork. It is the artwork that will push the story forward, not the other way around.

Creating a strong outline with proper pacing is essential to any good comic book. As a writer you need to always be in control of the story in a plot sense, but the real magic is letting the outline and narrative guide you once you dive into actually writing it. Many times, the story will tell itself if you’re doing it right.

Process

The real process of writing a comic book begins when the writer and artist collaborate on the art board. Yes, a script is a necessary component to any story, but I don’t look at the script as anything more than a guide to begin the actual process of developing it into a visual product. Once the art begins to flow, you start to see things in a different light—a better light.

Production

Understanding your character’s motivations will bring your story to life, and this especially matters for the artist. A brilliant artist will deliver emotions, reactions, facial expressions and other elements that a page of words simply can’t. But a great writer understands this and their story—in collaboration with the art—will take shape once the characters come to life. You learn things about your characters that only the artwork can accomplish.

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