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MW Annual 2017 - peer feedback


#22

I had a couple minutes to look at your page samples. (Art tends to be much faster to review than scripts so you jumped the line a bit for me)

I think right now you’re trapped between a couple of influences. Your work tends to be a bit cartoony, but the figures and actions don’t read or flow like a cartoony style. Now I’m not sure if that’s a desire to be more “realistic” in your style than you are or if it’s a case of not pushing the cartoony style far enough.

If you’re looking to go more realistic:, I’d urge you to do some serious study work with anatomy, not just bones and muscles but how they all work together to inform the surface details you draw.

When I was in art school we’d do these great three step exercises.

  1. Draw a figure (in school this was always a live model, but there are tons of sites with reference models now)
  2. Tape a piece of tracing paper over the original drawing and draw the skeleton of the figure we’d just drawn.
  3. Pick a muscle group and use a smaller piece of tracing paper to lay that muscle on the bones of the skeleton.

I’m by far not perfect in anatomy, and still make tons of mistakes. BUT I’m light years ahead of where I’d likely be had I never learned to see what’s going on under the skin.

If you’re looking to go more cartoony: Everything from above still applies, but you’d also do yourself a HUGE favor by looking at animation books and animators. Richard Williams Animator’s Survival Kit and the Disney Illusion of Life books are particularly good.

You’re showing a willingness to put yourself out there, and a desire to push forward and acquire skills. And those are pretty much the two most important things when it comes to learning to draw. Everything else comes from the practice.


#23

Cheers Warren, appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Definitely up for some Supercrooks scripts after reacquainting myself with the TPB. I take your point on the expansion of the new character / his motivation - in the original run Blake Morrow is introduced as a supercop, and thus a target worthy of Nemesis’s attention - whereas I sort of had Nemesis discuss the reasons the reporter is successful (and in his eyes to be taken down a peg) as the scene unfolded. [quote=“WarrenB, post:20, topic:9375”]
by the end I’m not sure if I should be cheering on the charismatic mass murderer for exposing the reporter as a self absorbed unfaithful failure, or if I should feel sorry for the kidnapped reporter who happens to be self absorbed and unfaithful?
[/quote]
Funny, I wrestled with this exact thing from the start - think I probably had a similar reaction at the end of the original run. I almost wrote an Empress script, as I just couldn’t nail Nemesis until I reread the line: ‘He equates decency with pomposity. He strikes at people he regards as vain.’ Hence the idea for a network TV news reporter… also, interesting you thought she was kidnapped, as my intention was that she’d willingly gone to bag the exclusive interview (this probably wasn’t clear). Thanks again!


#24

Wow there is a lot going on in this story. I’ll be honest, I think you over wrote your entry. 5 pages with 2 splash pages and 3 10 panel pages seems hard to pull of artistically. The finished size of an american comic book is roughly 6 5/8"x10 1/8" ( 16.8 cm x 25.7 cm if you use the measurements that are more logical). That means if all panel sizes are equal each panel is going to end up being smaller than a trading card. Once you add the space taken up by word balloons and caption boxes, some of the actual art areas are going to be roughly postage stamps. I’m not saying it would be impossible to draw as scripted, I just don’t think it would be the strongest option for the narrative in my opinion.

I like the story you’re telling, and think it shows promise. I just think it’s likely closer to a 10+ page story than a 5 page story as presented. It’s really hard, but short comics by necessity have to be super lean and to the point. There’s just no room to expand too much.


#25

I very likely read the kidnapping bit into it. I think I gleaned that from the fact Nemesis’s henchmen were crewing the studio. Well that and part of the narrative is he has the president held hostage. I figured a guy that can do that wouldn’t bother with an invite.


#26

Interesting concept, and some great lines (I particularly like, “Terrorist? I’d prefer if you refer to me as Super Criminal” – that gets at the heart of the character, that he’s just doing this to play a particular role in a game; plus, it’s funny, kind of Seinfeldy neuroses about things that don’t matter).

I do think that this story might skirt the rules of non-interference with the original material. If this genuinely happened, I’d expect that some character somewhere else in the book might have mentioned in. It’s too big: a major news anchor, images of the President, etc. It also seems unlikely that he would spend five years tracking this person who is not a ‘worthy adversary,’ and then dismiss her so quickly. It again seems against type: Nemesis wants to play a certain game, of ‘goodies v baddies,’ and she doesn’t seem to be a part of this game; and he spends a long time terrorising his victims, not five minutes.

The other thing is that I think you needed to do more research. This is a point I often raise, but it’s one I notice in myself so perhaps that’s why I’m prone to bring it up. I’ve just written four-five sentences of a newscast for a script that I’m doing, and I spent days listening to old footage to try and get a sense of how telecasters speak. I’ve also studied this a bit in my youth, and looked up a few instructional websites as a refresher as well. I think something like this would have been beneficial for you. What interviewer, for instance, would open an interview with such a broad question as, “Why are you doing this?”

(I also didn’t see how she knew they weren’t on air just because Nemesis says that tonight they won’t be peddling propaganda.)

So, some nice things in there, but for next time I’d say 1) Consider more how to keep your story from interfering with Mark’s narrative, in terms of both character and plot, and 2) research any elements of your story that you’re not already very conversant with.

Hope that helps!


#28

I want to thank you and everyone on this thread for giving me the opportunity to receive feedback on our work. So many times, I will send off a submission to various comic book companies and hear nothing back. Below is my Supercrooks submission - “Enter the Diesel”. Many thanks to Mark as well for allowing me the chance to write such great characters!


#29

Thank you garjones. I welcome any comments that you or anyone on the forum is willing to offer. I will in turn, reciprocate and provide as much feedback to others who post here as time allows. Here is a link to my 4-page, Supercrooks story titled “Time-Out”. Thanks again folks. Look forward to reading your stuff.


#30

This is my Nemesis script, for anyone who has the time and chance to let me know how it is:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxzeDtaZM4jgRmNXZ081VVBQbTA/view?usp=sharing.

Thanks guys!


#31

I like this story it’s got a “aw shucks, it’s Christmas” kind of thing going for it. In a lot of ways it feels like how tv shows used to do those wink and a nod style episodes as specials for the holidays.

I read Skywards feedback for this one and have to agree that the “Not since his daddy died” line plays a little ham handed. Even in what is a kind of kitschy story. (After all there’s even a full on Disney animated movie moment where animals are watching on in awe. I really like that panel call btw).

On a technical note, as soon as the story got to the point of Huck & Jimmy riding the top of the train, I figured something else was going to need to happen when the tunnel bit showed up. Narratively this is typically a place where the train rider has to lie down to make the clearance between the train and the tunnel. I’m sure it’s easy enough to just draw an abnormally large tunnel. Just not sure of it’s reasoning past getting a Scooby-Doo panel into the story. A Scooby-Doo panel isn’t a knock mind you, I just feel like a gag like that needs a real pay off if you’re going to use it.

On the formatting, I’ll diverge from Skyward’s opinion. I happen to be a big fan of typing up dialogue and captions in cap lock for scripts as well. I do this for a couple reasons specifically. That said in comics there is no single right or wrong way to format the script, so find the form that works for you and use it. These are just things that I use.

  • I’m still of the old guard when it comes to finished comics pages, and don’t like mixed casing on the finished pages if I have any say. If the final dialogue is going to be in all caps, I’d rather have a better idea of what it will look like in the script itself. Sometimes I’ll change wording just to make a speech balloon look better.

  • The other reason is purely about production itself. When it comes time to grab the bits that need to be lettered once the pages are done, I find it harder to accidentally miss the dialogue and captions when the stand out from the stage directions.

Best of luck to you, if you’re having fun keep it up. Start working up your own stuff and see what you’ve got!


#32

It was a great read. Good job I have no doubt you will continue to produce awsome quality work. I don’t have much to add that has not already been said. So once again good job your script had heart and humor something I feel is hard to come by.


#33

So finally had a chance to sit back, relax and finally read your superior story. I got to say you took some chances. And I don’t mean that in a negative light, I just mean that your first page already begins and ends with a splash page. That’s bold. And it would be really great to use if you weren’t doing a short 5 page comic story. I say this because you’re limited with how you can properly present your story from beginning, middle and end, so you want to structure it so you don’t have many things happening at once i.e. the transitions between past and present.

I enjoyed however, the message/theme you were trying to showcase here which had a ton of heart and that’s important to have in comic stories so kudos to you on that front. Otherwise, I’d say try not to over indulge in short stories. Keep it short and sweet. with that said, keep writing,practicing and you’ll only get better.


#34

I really liked your script, but personally I think you may have put too much in for a four page script. I believe your last two pages had 10 and 8 panels respectively, and a large amount of words as well. For that to all fit it would have to be like 3 font. With that said, I believe it would be a fairly easy fix to trim some narration.
Great job overall!


#35

Great job Warren, one of the better scripts I’ve read. One the minor issues I had is it seemed like the ending is a bit flat (unless something went over my head which is entirely possible). It felt like the flashbacks were leading to something that would impact the future, like the beautiful girl actually working with him to rob the casino or something. As I read it there wasn’t much connecting the flashbacks too the casino, but again I really enjoyed your script!


#36

Hey Drew, there are no words to express how beautifully crafted this story is. It’s incredible and I enjoyed every minute of it. Though it’s been said before by others, what with hardly any Huck dialogue, the story still shines through Huck, with his actions as he takes the little boy on an adventure and it’s wonderful to read. I wish I had something to contribute in terms of suggestions or advice to help you further improve, but in all honesty, I got nothing. To me, this is a great story and I look forward to more of your stories/scripts in the future.


#37

Hey man, thanks so much for reading mine, I really appreciate it. I haven’t read the original Huck series so I’m not sure if it’d be helpful for me to read your script, but let me know and I’d love to pay you back if you think it could be of some use.

In any case, thanks again, I really really appreciate the feedback!


#38

No worries :grinning:
I would welcome any feedback even though you aren’t familiar with the character!


#39

Hi Everyone,

It’s great that this opportunity for feedback has been made available. Here is my Nemesis story ‘Daughters of Liberty’ which shows what the President was up to before the final confrontation in the Oval office.

I’ve already received some valuable critique via DM from @skyward (I will reply soon). Which could be summarised as I should have done another edit before submitting it. ;-). Which I totally agree with.

I’ve only read Nemesis and Huck so will start providing feedback on scripts for those characters this evening.

Cheers,

Stuart


#40

Cheers for reading Matthew, and thanks for the feedback!

After re-reading the TPB I found this a really tricky brief. I deliberated long and hard over the premise, and eventually made my decision based on the character traits Nemesis displayed in the original run:

  • He loves being at the centre of what’s happening
  • He strikes at people he regards as vain
  • He loves big, public displays (bullet train, air force one, pentagon, prison, white house)

I settled on the ‘exclusive broadcast’ idea to tell a totally separate side story so that: Nemesis could take away the thing that meant the most to his new victim (and cover the first two traits) while also explaining why it didn’t go public and get mentioned in the original story (covering the last).

I don’t think I included an image of the President, just a mention to let people know roughly where we are in the timeline (and to reiterate to newcomers this dude isn’t to be messed with!) so I’d disagree that this story messes with Mark’s narrative - but you raise a fair question as to whether she’s a worthy adversary (maybe the more worthy, the more likely it would have gone public?).

I also take your point about the dialogue - there were a couple of lines in there that I’d address with the power of hindsight, and I’d probably change that line to ‘What is it you want?’. Still super-direct and possibly not that realistic (it’s comics/I only have 4 pages!) but I figure she wouldn’t waste time at a secret location surrounded by goons.

Enjoying all the feedback/debate/insight so far, thanks again!


#41

It’s just my thoughts, but that one line wasn’t the only one that felt a bit forced – generally, I’d think researching the subject is always a way to improve your story. Even your replacement line doesn’t ring true. I know you say “It’s comics,” but comics are just as versatile (if not moreso) a medium as any other.

I also didn’t get from Mark’s material that Nemesis strikes at those who are vain – I could be wrong, but perhaps have another look back and see if you can find where this was indicated, because as I scan it back through my mind at the moment I can’t really remember him thinking he had any moral advantage at all.

As I say, it’s just my thoughts, but if you were looking to maybe see what to do differently to improve for next time (or for other projects) I would really, really suggest the research thing: it’s a pitfall that affects many, and can really permeate a story. Stronger research would have created more realistic dialogue/interactions and would have drawn me into the story more, and helped me ‘suspend my disbelief.’

But again, these are just my impressions, for whatever they’re worth. My story’s up if you want to check it out; it’s a Nemesis one, so may be up your alley :slight_smile:


#42

So before getting into particulars of your narrative you are doing a lot of things correctly. Everything that’s needed to show the happy twist at the end is seeded through out earlier parts of the story. That’s a super important thing to keep in mind for the future as well.

Although I’m curious if you could push the elasticity of the medium a bit. Certain bits don’t need to be quite so symmetrical in the space/number of panels each beat is given.

As far as particulars to that statement go, there’s a few things that I think if tweaked would strengthen the overall story here.

In the beginning inside the general store scene, if all the townsfolk are in at the counter at once asking for Huck, then the shopkeeper could tell them all of at once and kick them out of the store. Think of it like that scene in It’s A Wonderful Life where George Bailey has all of his customers in the savings and loan asking for their money at once and you won’t be far from what I’m suggesting.

The next thing isn’t an issue so much as my own personal preference. In your story, you have something like 3-4 separate scenes spread throughout showing someone doing roofing work. It’s not bad, I’m just not sure there aren’t ways to tell this same story that are a little more varied in approach. Maybe even have Huck come around the store at closing time on day one asking if anybody’d been asking for him or something?

In the next sequence, I know in your script you were filling out Huck’s week by showing 4 separate townsfolk with issues other than the shopkeeper at the end. Especially where a few scenes are very similar visually. As an option you could likely make yourself some room and allow for more space and variation for your artist without even cutting portions anything from your narrative. The earlier page already introduces all the people and they’re needs. Why not pick a couple of the more interesting ones visually while having each caption in a panel show two days worth of good deeds? In my head at least this could add a little snap to that sequence. So the reader is reading at quite such a staccato pace.

Just to be clear I don’t think anything was objectively wrong with your narrative arc. You can tell a coherent story with internal logic. That’s a big part of the puzzle right there, I think what you need to concentrate on are the little things that will help you start pulling away from the pack. After all this is an opinion based industry, and scriptwriting is a game of inches really.

Anyway, hopefully some of this disjointed ramble makes some sense and there is some use in it for you. Good luck moving forward.