Words For Pictures

Per Matt
How does one break into the comic book industry? It’s a tried-but-true question that established writers, artists and editors get asked on a daily basis. Attempting to help answer this question, Brian Michael Bendis has written Words For Pictures.

In this book, the author provides helpful advice on drafting the techniques necessary for making a good impression to those in the industry, which in itself is a huge step in the right direction.

Author Brian Michael Bendis got his start as an independent writer-artist in college who learned by trial and error while working for indie publishers for 10 years before getting noticed by Marvel Comics. Once he got there, he made his mark by becoming the main architect of major crossover-event storylines, working on many different titles.

This book is the equivalent of getting a week-long in-depth interview with all the big-named industry figures at San Diego Comic-Con, condensed into an easily readable format. Bendis enlists his friends and co-workers to help him with his cause and each one gives personal tips and insights, as well as their best and worst comic-book moments, which are a joy to read.

From artists to writers and editors, each one gives positive feedback that is equally important for industry beginners, as well as savvy veterans. The roles of writing, editing, drawing, inking, coloring and more editing are on display by a who’s who of the Marvel and Indie Publisher Universe, which surprisingly includes a significant number of female voices. That really impressed me.

Collaboration seems to be one of the main themes and pairing the right style of writer and artist together can make or break a book. This is when he really goes into in-depth detail, comparing and contrasting Full Script vs. Marvel Style techniques of script writing.

Bendis divides the book into three main sections: How to break into the industry, How to present yourself to an editor and the Business side of comics writing.

The editor’s roundtable was one of the most helpful sections of the book, including some really helpful submission tips.

Overall, this is not a “how to write like Brian Michael Bendis” book, but one showcasing the different ways to get one done. And that, for a writer, is immeasurable.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Strength: Bendis can only steer writer-artists into the right direction with good advice…
Weakness: …but he can’t do the work for them.
WTF Moment: As a comic writer, your script may only be seen by two people, so writing clearly is imperative.

Notable Quotes:
– “Especially with a thriller or mystery — less is more.”
– “There is no right or wrong way to create a comic book.”
– “If you’re not failing, you’re not really trying hard enough.”
– “I’m dying for a good comic. Go make one so I can buy it.”
– “It’s a lot easier to know your audience when your audience is six people.”
– “As a writer of scripts, your words are only meant to inform, inspire and entertain your collaborators.”

Review: 4/5