Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/11/22: The Curious Case of the Comics Script

Comic News

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§ Nice Art: Cover for the second, expanded edition of Dave McKean’s Black Dog, The Dreams of Paul Nash, which McKean also turned into an opera because he not only makes amazing art he plays music and sings really well too.

§ It’s a hit! The Standard Comics Script formatting tool was announced yesterday right here at the Beat, and was greeted by a reaction that ranged from mostly positive feedback to rejoicing. The developers, Steenz Stewart and Camilla Zhang were also interviewed at WWAC with more of the background:

So what are the more specific aims behind launching the Standard Comic Script? “One of the things that I really wanted to get across to people writing these scripts is that these panels should work as moments and that the descriptions need to be something that an artist is going to understand,” Stewart says. “I was on a panel with Dave Scheidt, and he said that the writer writes for the artist and the artist draws for the reader. So that’s a really great way to keep in mind that what you put in the script is not what the reader is going to see.”

“So that’s the first thing that I thought was absolutely necessary,” Stewart continued, “Making sure that the description line was clear enough for people to understand that this is what you want your artists to know. The location, time of day, what the character’s mood looks like, any of that information needs to be in the description line, so that the artist knows immediately ‘okay, that needs to go into the panel.’”

A rather funny thing happened yesterday though. I was very busy working on a project and didn’t have time to spend all day on Twitter. So just like Rick Grimes peacefully sleeping through the zombie apocalypse, I had no idea that a discourse was taking place.

But as the day wore on people pinged me to alert me to all the negative feedback about this script format. But when I tried to find the naysayers, it was a “you had to be there” thing, because all I could find were a FEW Negative Nestors at the end of these threads, which you can read for yourself here and here. There was definitely some commenting, though, like Matthew Dow Smith (I like numbered balloons too but I’m backseat formatting here) and Kiel Phegley, who wrote:

Which amen – you can only do ONE THING in a comics panel, young writers!

But back to Twitter. There were some weird iconoclastic takes from people who will not be tied to a standard format because art.

Still, I found it sort of emblematic for our times that something that (based on my rough reading) had a favorability rating of about 94-95%, which on Twitter is just NUTS, soon became framed as “Screw the haters! This is great!” when the “dislikers” had been ratio’d from jump.

Comics Twitter was not mad! Comics Twitter LOVES the SCS!

Of course I do get what was going on: the people who expressed their own Strong Thoughts about comics scripting formats were mostly established pens for hire who work in more of the “industrial comics” side of things, while the SCS was forged out of the newer indie/graphic novel crowd. Plus it was made by two women of color, and I’m sure that didn’t sit right with some regressives.

As for my own thoughts: in case I didn’t make it clear, presenting a useful template for a comics script is a WONDERFUL IDEA and all thanks to Steenz and Camilla, two of the best people in this business, for working on this project for TWO YEARS. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me for something like this. And now we have it!

§ In another example of a world gone haywire, the Great San Diego Comic-Con Hotel Lottery of 2022 seems to be over, but the order of things got messed up a little this year, or else we’re just out of practice. Announcement of the lottery went out with two days notice – meaning some people couldn’t necessarily sit by their computers at the appointed time. And only badge holders got the email with the link, meaning lots of press, pros and industry support folks didn’t know about it in time.

Which means…well, I know more people than usual who need hotel rooms, at a level I haven’t seen in a while. This despite the fact that fewer people in my circles are even going this year, either because they don’t want to go to a bit gathering in COVID times, or other reasons (Spoiler: this is going to be a very, very different SDCC. More to come.) Plus, tickets purchased all the way back in 2019-2020 are being honored for 2022, so some plans may have changed. I dunno, it’s all weird this year, but I DO have a hotel room. I’m not sure everyone is as lucky.

§ Neotext may be going away, but it won’t do down without a fight or Charles EP Murphy’s Bill Savage VS. a Twelve Year Old Girl: Examining Gender Norms in 1970s British Comics. British kids comics are a galaxy all their own, honest.

And so here we are: two strips with the same premise, representing the dominant models of IPC’s renaissance period. I’ll note that while Fran of the Floods is quite good, Disaster 1990! was seen as “not quite working out” even in ’79. This actually helps the comparison as it means Disaster 1990! is very bluntly showing us the boys’ comic formula. Even the strip names point to differences – Jinty says ‘this is about a normal girl who finds strength in a strange and horrifying situation’ and 2000 AD screams ‘BAD SHIT HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE!’.

§ Both Neal Adams and George Pérez received deserved full page obituaries in the NY Times.

Amazon.com: America (2017-2018) #1 eBook : Rivera, Gabby, Quinones, Joe, Quinones, Joe: Books

§ For those who saw Doctor Strange 2 and want more America Chavez, Paste has a Comics Guide to America Chavez

A multiverse-hopping juggernaut, America Chavez has finally taken her place in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. With actress Xochitl Gomez portraying the LGTBQ+ hero on screen, she joins a new wave of next-generation characters alongside Kate Bishop, Kid Loki, and Patriot who have made their debut in Phase 4 of Marvel’s ambitious on-screen universe. So who is Ms. America?

§ Paste also has 10 Must Read Comic Series of 2022

§ Speaking of DS:MoM, The Beat crew including Kyle Pinion, Avery Kaplan. Rebecca Oliver Kaplan, Taimur Dar and I discussed the film and such burning questions as “Was Mordo the Venom of Multiverse of Madness?” in a Twitter Space which you can still listen to. We are doing these kind of every other Monday, so tune in!

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§ The Beat’s critics circle noted that even at critics screenings of DS:MoM, people went nuts when {SPOILER!!!}

John Krasinski as Reed Richards showed up. But was that just stunt casting to appease a few fans or something we will eventually see on Disney+ in its own movie? Scriptwriter Michael Waldron has been doing his victory lap and provided a few hints, although he remains cagey about the meaning of the 838 Illuminati:

io9: So in making those decisions how much discussion was there regarding how those people would (or could) play into the future of the MCU?

Waldron: Yeah. I mean, there are definitely ramifications, questions, it’s all there. They existed as these heroes in at least one universe. Now, what does that mean moving forward? I guess we’ll find out. But it all, in each case, felt like a really exciting opportunity and thing to tease.

Waldron also admits that, yeah, they pretty much did just dump Mordo and his problematic lace front:

Waldron: We talked about him. He’s out there. There were discussions about what to do with his story. But ultimately, it felt like, in a movie that frankly had a lot going on already, maybe that was a story best left for another day with he and Doctor Strange.

Also, as noted by Todd Alcott on Facebook, wigs and hair suffer in so many muiltiverses. Maybe Sam Raimi just doesn’t care about hair.

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