How to be a comic book writer, by Marvel's Chip Zdarsky

my name is chip sidarsky and I'm the co-creator and illustrator of a book called sex criminals for Image Comics but I've also written Jughead for Archie comics Howard the Duck star-lord Marvel two-in-one and more recently spectacular spider-man for Marvel one thing a lot of people don't realize is that comics 220 pages and at least Marvel books are so you have to be able to break down everything that happens page by page before you actually start writing like figure out a plot that will work within that structure which is the trickiest part you have to read I mean you have to read comics that's clear but you have to read outside of comics you have to read novels non-fiction books because otherwise you're just kind of building off of comic book ideas and things become too comic book II and comic book II and it's hard to get a new reader in when it's all in jokes that make sense for Marvel comics you always have to be thinking about the artist you have to study the artists work before you write for them preferably sometimes you have to write without knowing who the artist is gonna be but you want to play to their strengths I find it's helpful to sketch it out especially when you start writing comics just to see if what you're trying to get the artists to do is possible just in terms of where panels go and where characters go the easiest way into Marvel is to produce quality work on your own self publish it which is easy online anyways oh and there's a little ton of small publishers out there that could look at your work and maybe give you an opportunity but yeah yeah just going straight into marvel there's I can think of a couple people that have done it but for the most part they actually worked at Marvel doing other things before they started writing for them a lot of people think that just writing spider-man is just fun but it's a job and people don't tend to realize that like you have to actually like segment your day and do aspects as a job that you might not necessarily enjoy and it never stops that's the other thing with comics they come out every month for the most part and so if you're writing three or four books a month like if you don't have an organized schedule you're screwed like procrastination and a lack of a schedule is usually what does in most writers so the biggest rule when you're writing a character like spider-man is stay true to what do you think the character is the tricky thing was a character like spider-man is he's he's appeared in thousands of comics over dozens of years and everyone has their own kind of vision for what spider-man is there's a core to the character but some people will prefer him to be kind of a screw up kid some people prefer him to be kind of unlucky at love adult some people prefer him to be married which he was for a time some people want darker stories so you're never gonna please anyone when you're writing a character with that kind of history so you have to really kind of figure it out for yourself what you want to say with the character like most creative industries comics is riddled with noes and rejections even after you've been doing comics and you think you've made it you're still getting stuff turned down I have pitches turned down all the time and you just kind of have to be able to move on and take the criticisms as they come and decide which ones to incorporate sometimes people are wrong when they critique your work the chances of all of them being wrong or very slim like there's editors I've worked with where it makes me angry how right they are all the time so yeah even if you're starting out perseverance is key

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