Stan Lee's How to Write Comics: From the Legendary Co-Creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man
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Comics icon Stan Lee, creator of the Mighty Marvel Universe, has set about to teach everything he knows about writing and creating comic book characters. In these pages, aspiring comics writers will learn everything they need to know about how to write their own comic book stories, complete with easy to understand instruction, tips of the trade, and invaluable advice even for more advanced writers. From the secrets to creating concepts, plots, to writing the script, the man with no peer — Stan Lee—is your guide to the world of writing and creating comics.
text, or it can be completely disjointed from the text—which forces the reader into looking at the scene in a new way. You can do this to some extent in film, in terms of striking interesting juxtapositions between the imagery and what the intent of the characters may be, but you cannot do it anywhere near as precisely as you can in comics. Here the reader has the ability to stop and linger over one particular ‘frame’ and work out all of the meaning in that frame or panel, as opposed to having it
of scope, such as one man left standing on a battlefield of bodies. As writer, in a full script, you call for these shots and you need to mix and match, serving the needs of the story. You can’t do all close-ups or all long shots. Similarly, the number of panels per page should be varied to give the artist and reader variety, and the exact number of panels per page can be used as a storytelling device. Originally, comics were four tiers—eight panels or so per page. As the size of comics got
payday and the men in the foxholes wouldn’t get paid. There weren’t enough payroll officers around to pay them. It was wreaking hell with the morale in the army. So I took the manual that told them how to fill out the forms, and I rewrote it in comic book style: We were able to cut the training time in half, because they could learn quicker from this comic book.” I’d watch training films and write instructional manuals in comics form, an entirely different kind of adaptation. I created Fiscal
roughly lettered the sound effects myself to give the letterer an idea of how I wanted them done. Much as the artist visually constructs the story to most clearly convey the events to the reader, the word balloons, captions, and sound effects work as part of the page’s overall design. A “dead” space in a panel could be enlivened with a well-placed balloon or sound. First of all, we read comics from left to right, top left and across, then down. So, when you have a caption or word balloon, you
remember descriptions on later pages at the time I’m absorbed in page 1. I have had a few mishaps on jobs, where I had to go back and add things, and it’s especially hard if you already sent the earlier pages in to an inker. I have also run into problems on occasion where a script page continues to another sheet of paper, with no “continued on next page” at the bottom, and have drawn a whole page only to discover additional panels on the next sheet of paper. Not a fun thing.” THE ARTIST AS