OUTSIDE THE PANELS #10: COMIC SCRIPT FORMAT, part 2: PLOT FIRST (Marvel Style)

Last week, I wrote a bunch about writing comics in the FULL SCRIPT format, which is the way I normally write. This week, as promised, I am going to go a bit into the script style of “PLOT FIRST” better known as “Marvel Style.”

Quick history lesson: The reason this style is called, “Marvel Style”, is because back in the day when Stan Lee was writing sometimes 10-12 Marvel comics a month. Obviously he didn’t have time to write all of those in FULL-SCRIPT so he would just go over the story with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and all of the other amazing artists he had around him and those artists would go off and put together the comic. Once the art was complete Stan would add the words. History lesson complete.

Basically, PLOT FIRST is where the writer comes up with the plot of the story and then breaks down the story beats into pages and writes a paragraph describing the pages of the comic. Sometimes PLOT FIRST could also be where the writer writes a detailed plot of the comic and the artist paces on his or her own. Once the art is fulfilled the writer looks  at the pages and adds the dialogue.

When I do write comic using the PLOT FIRST method –which I rarely do– I typically write a paragraph describing what is happening on each page. I also like to add in all of the dialogue after I write the paragraph. The reason I do it this way is for my artist to understand the character moments of the page. Plus, I feel that they will have an easier time figuring out facial expressions if they know what the characters are actually saying or thinking.

The page from my webcomic, C U NEXT TUESDAY at cunexttues.com, was written using the PLOT FIRST style specifically for this little writing here. Check it out:

TUESDAY #2 – PAGE 14

NOTE: Ibai, if you want to do multiple panels instead of SPLASH please be my guest!

SPLASH PAGE: FRANKIE torturing the SNALLYGASTER. I would like for FRANKIE to see the SNALLYGASTER’s hands be chopped off and on the ground in this panel. IN-SET: TUESDAY watching in horror.

FRANKIE: You stole Brance’s money, now you pay with your hands!

TUESDAY (inner dialogue): For the first time in our relationship I know who Frankie really is.

TUESDAY (inner dialogue): A deranged Monstafiosoi hellbent on enforcing “respect” through violence.

TUESDAY (inner dialogue): What he really is…

TUESDAY (inner dialogue): A MONSTER.

As you can see Ibai made a lot of choices that were bold and interesting as he put a heavy focus on the torture aspect of the seen. Personally, I think this is one of the most interesting pages he has done in the 70+ weeks of C U NEXT TUESDAY’s existence.

I really hope the articles from this week and last week help you out, new comic writer, in choosing the way you will write your comics!

Good Luck!

Sal Brucculeri

@SalveyB, cunexttues.com, soulmen.launchrock.com, salbrucculeri.com, aa88press.com

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