Books! – Mental stimulation on paper

I want to take a minute to share with you some of the books I’ve been reading recently (i.e., in the last few months), as I’ve been considering my ambitious project of starting my own webcomic.

Will Eisner’s Shop Talk & Writers on Comics Scriptwriting

First up are these two compilations of interviews with Comic Book Artists and Comic Book Writers respectively. It was interesting to see the wide range of opinions that the interviewees had as to their preferred way to work. I was able to glean a few tips from these interviews, which I hope will make me a better artist and writer. One of the big issues discussed in both books is the relationship between artist and writer and how much control or freedom each should have.  I, however, won’t need to worry about that, since I’m planning on doing all the writing and drawing myself. It’s more work, but it keeps things simpler.

Kurt Busiek’s Astro City: Life in the Big City, Astro City: Confession, and Marvels

After reading Kurt Busiek’s interview in Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, I decided to get some of his books from the library to read. It turned out to be a good choice, because I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these graphic novels. Astro City: Life in the Big City is a collection of short stories set in a superhero world of Busiek’s own invention. The stories stretch the superhero genre in way it often doesn’t go. For example, what happens when two overworked superheroes go out on a date?

The sequel, Astro City: Confession is a longer story set in the same universe, about a boy who becomes the sidekick of a mysterious hero. Marvels, on the other hand, is set in the MARVEL universe, with such familiar character as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. It retells a bunch of classic MARVEL stories from the perspective of an ordinary newspaper photographer.

The Writer’s Journey

Last, but not least, we come to the book that I have just finished reading: The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. Based on the work of Joseph Campbell, this book explains “The Hero’s Journey,” a common story structure that can be found anywhere from fairy tales to Star Wars. The point isn’t to use this structure to make stories formulaic, but to make them better—to keep them from meandering about, losing focus, and becoming dull.  Vogler ties it to reality with examples from literature and movies (but mostly movies; Vogler is a screenplay writer) of how the plot structure and character archetypes have been used throughout various genres. I’ve been taking copious notes while reading this book, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is planning to write a story.

So there you have it. I hope you’ve found this interesting and are inspired to head down to your local library or bookstore.


Micah Linscott