Comics Creators

Write Off 6: Origin of Spider-Man - Pick a winner


I accidentally voted for myself. Can you take that off, please?:smile:


Ha. You wouldn’t be the first or only one to do it. Thanks for the kind words, by the way.


I started writing screenplays too, probably why I use “(v.o)” when I should use “CAPTION”.

You gave me some things to think about for my own writing. Thank you.


Hey, I try to be honest.


Didn’t think I’d get this good a review.


@JRCarter - Why?


Cause this was kind of a rush job, tbh. Also, I thought it was a little sparse, especially compared with the rest of the entries.


If that was a “rush job”, let’s see what ya do when ya got time. :wink:


Thanks, Bruce. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am currently working on some critiques. Hopefully, I’ll be done by monday.


The length of a story doesn’t necessarily diminish (or increase) its impact.


Bruce Norris,
I found myself saying “Holy shit!” at least four or five times while reading this story. Yours is a delightfully mad, horror movie/ B movie aesthetic that is very engaging. I really do regard it as a mini-masterpiece, but I ultimately could not vote for it. I’ll get to why at the end…
The first page of this is awesome. It really sucks the reader in. I’m very envious of this page. I wish I had written an opening half as good as this.
I love your prose. I really do. BUT, your comic book work crosses over into film script work. EXAMPLE: Page 4, panel 5.
“Exasperated but intrigued, Peter takes a deep breath, exhales sharply, then takes a “leap of faith” and removes the wrapper.”
See how it’s inner emotional life + action + second action + humorous summation of the situation + third action? A good copy editor will cross this out with a red pen, and it’ll be “peter unwraps the candy. Looking down at it, he looks hesitant.” You are jamming a lot into one panel description. I hate to tell you to change it, because I’m enjoying it, but an artist is going to have a hard time drawing it. He or she will have to do a lot of….interpretation to get what you’re driving at.
One more example. Page 7, panel 2
“CJ gives Peter a playful nudge as he turns to skate away flamboyantly, having forgotten Peter’s fragility and lack of balance. Losing his grip on the phone, Peter stumbles towards the curb as he fumbles with it.”
There is so much in here… too much. Mark Waid likens the comic panel to a photograph…and I’m paraphrasing… A moment frozen in time. You have to select the best moment. OK. So. CJ pushes parker, and he’s dropped his phone. Again, you squeeze in intent+ action+ reaction. It’s just going to look like CJ is maliciously pushing peter over. I don’t know how to make it look a) playful b) look like an accident and c) how it doesn’t look 100x worse when Peter is almost hit by a car. We’ve moved from playful shoving to manslaughter in the space of two panels! I don’t have any answers. Your prose writing is so good, but I think brushing up on Will Eisner’s books could improve your comic book writing by leaps and bounds.

Page 6/panel 5. This is our only introduction to BEN PARKER. Peter returns home from the hospital, and we see Ben sitting on the couch, watching TV and scowling. CUT TO: Page 15/panel 1. Ben flips out and tries to physically attack his wife. This is shocking. Utterly shocking. I suspect it’s your intent to shock us, but it’s not a good shock. It’s whiplash- while riding a roller coaster style shock. If you were trying to indicate who this Ben Parker was as early as page six, it went by unnoticed. He’s sitting and scowling? I thought it was just old man gas… There’s Peter’s fear of getting caught as early as page one…but that’s not very reliable either. He’s snuck out of the house to attend this science demonstration. He’s got a normal, healthy fear of punishment. There’s no warning here. What’s more, I think this could have been sussed out in a brief physical description. He wouldn’t necessarily have to dress like a biker or carry a switchblade or something, but throw us a bone so the denouement isn’t quite so…sucker punchy…
Ultimately, I really feel like you’ve strayed too far from the source material for me to vote for this. Spider-Man’s actions… from taking drugs, to brutally attacking his enemies, to making Uncle Ben this Lynchian sadist and wife beater…make it feel like an entirely different character. It’s good. It would make an awesome movie or book, but it just doesn’t jive well with (what seems like) 100+ years of mythology. It’s not Spider-Man. It’s some crazy crime noir with a little bit of THE MATRIX mixed in at the end, but it’s not SPIDER-MAN.
Oh, and the notion that Richard, Ben, and Peter might all have crazy super-powers, or mutant genes, or an unfulfilled heroic destiny? I love it, I really do. You have written, by far, the longest script in the write-off, and I am eager to see more of it. That is a testimony to how good the writing is.
Thanks, Jason AKA Hazardpay.


“Time of your life”
Great opening. I think you once mentioned your adoration for AMS#400, (At least, I think that was you…) and I love this subtle connection to that. Its pitch perfect, a wonderful bookend to that. Or maybe it’s a perfect bookend to your piece… however you want to phrase it…
The descriptions are good, the characters and their actions seem right-on. A moody adolescent PP seems even more “true to life” than the actual published version… Initially, I thought lines like:" I was becoming someone else, someone who was beyond saving" were too-heavy handed, and you’d gone too far with it…But upon subsequent readings, it is spot on. It’s crumpled up Goth poetry made inner monologue. It works really well here.

Page 6 really floored me. There is something really touching, sweet about the renewed Peter/Ben relationship. Them keeping it a secret from Aunt May adds to it as well. I’m sure this type of relationship has been done elsewhere…it’s just not coming to mind…but you really nailed it. Nicely done.

Page 9/panel 2 I think this comes way too late in this story to make it feel relevant. There is such a fine line between withholding details, in order to make the reader want more…and just having a scene operate inside of a vacuum and not touch anything else. Why did Richard Parker kill Ben Parker? We don’t know. Why did he fake his death in the first place? We don’t know. Why did he rob the box office? We. Don’t. know. It just raises all these questions, and maybe we don’t have answers because of space constraints…but it almost feels like you aren’t withholding answers, so much as, you don’t have any answers to these questions. (I hope I’m wrong about that, btw.)
The real litmus test being, can you make the robber the nameles robber from Amazing Fantasy#15, and have the story still work the same way? I think the answer is yes. You had such a beautiful, intimate story about Ben regaining Peter’s friendship only to have him die unexpectedly… this Richard/Ben development just feels out of place here. I mean, I get it. We all wanted to leave our mark. That’s why you have these different versions of the same death. Sometimes Peter kills Ben. Sometimes Richard Parker kills Ben. And sometimes, Ben just plain ol’ kills himself cough. It’s very necessary to the plot. Is this Peter motivated by Justice? Revenge? Survivor’s guilt? Self-hate? Altruism? But you don’t seem like a shock n’ awe kind of guy to me. I have no business telling you what to write. I don’t. BUT I feel like I should speak up when I feel like something doesn’t work. This last minute revelation didn’t work for me. It is a small misstep in an otherwise unique, touching story.

Page 8/panel 5 I love the how you condensed the great power, great responsibility line in this story. LOVED IT. It is just so refreshing after reading eight other iterations of it. It’s almost meta. Thank you for including it, it made me laugh pretty hard.
Thanks, Jason. AKA Hazardpay.


Peter’s calling Uncle Ben “dad” in that panel, a culmination of the metamorphosis their relationship has taken. The way I viewed it was that this was actually the first time Peter had ever called him that.


Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review. I enjoyed reading it and you gave me a lot to think about, have Will Eisner’s book and will do as you suggest.

See people, this is what “The Write Off” is for. :slight_smile:

Thanks again, Dwayne (BruceNorris)


Oh, man. I am so embarrassed. Missed it completely. I will re-read and re evaulate. That completely changes everything!


I’m very sorry…i’d like my now worthless critique striken from the record…


Don’t sweat it. It could have been clearer in the script.


“Mr. Fish”

Marc Elmo,
In all honesty, I was underwhelmed by the beginning. The Avengers sitting around a table talking trope is just so tired by now. It’s like Ben Grimm’s poker nights, or The X-men in the danger room, we’ve seen it a million times. I get it, though. If I wanted to highlight the dialogue, that’s the route I’d go too. (I have also heard its siren song…) The trade off being, it’s not the most visually arresting thing to look at. I guess with a story that is centered on a Spider-Man’s monologue, on people talking, this beginning was inevitable, but I would love to see it subverted, just once.
You have excellent pacing, and excellent staging. The dialogue is spot on. Everyone “sounds” right. I was still feeling a little underwhelmed by this piece until I hit page 10/panel 3… This is really inspired tweaking, sir. It elevates the work. Genuinely surprising and very relatable…allow me a moment to rant and rave…
Everyone really lets PP off the hook when it comes to letting that thief go. Ah, the folly of youth! Hey, he was a little egotistical at that age, isn’t everybody? HE WAS A SELF-CENTERED A-HOLE AND IT GOT HIS UNCLE VIOLENTLY MURDERED. Yes, people make mistakes. However, as I get older, it becomes less and less relatable. In the span of a heartbeat, you make it a thousand times more relatable. You change it from unfeeling/self-absorbed to distracted/self-absorbed. It’s just so perfect for our times. I would’ve pulled out to show what, exactly, he was looking at, but perhaps that’s overkill. I am in love with this idea. When three out of nine entries go completely crazy changing the origin (mine included!) you come in with a simple, subtle solution that works perfectly. Bravo, sir.
I don’t like this title. I’m not saying mine was better, (“Secret origin”!) but it tells us nothing. Something more Spider-man-esque,perhaps?
Thanks for your story. I really enjoyed it. Jason AKA HAZARDPAY.


Worth noting I gave the script its title. I had to do that for several scripts. Admittedly I didn’t try for for elaborate ones, but at least they can be referred to as something.

So it’s worth noting that should you decide to participate in further Write Offs, you probably ought to remember giving your script a title.



“True story”
First and foremost, I cannot get over the fact that you laid out the plot on the Millarworld board well before submitting your story. It contained no surprises, no deviations. It was exactly how you pitched it, and that robbed me of some of the magic of reading it for the first time. That is a crime, because it is so well-written. The campfire ghost story meets technology concept is a solid idea. I just wish I’d seen it here first vs. the M.W. board. Moving on…
There is like a fairy tale/ parable element going on that I simply cannot shake. While the dialogue is realistic, and the motivations are relatable, (internet fame!!!) we don’t really get any insight into who these kids are. A little breather from all the internet/tech obsession /spooky pasta stuff would really help us out…Even if it’s only a panel long before going back into it…
Maybe because it’s been cataloged in my brain as an allegorical tale, the lack of a moral at the end of the story is very jarring. I know, I know, not every story has to have a moral lesson at the end…but it’s the nature of the beast, man. I’d say 90% of us inserted “with great power, comes great responsibility” into our scripts, and it really feels unavoidable. It’s in the D.N.A. of the first Spider-Man story. Therefore, it feels essential to our stories.(x2 because of the genre I feel your story fits into, perhaps mistakenly…?) Given how dangerous the Marvel universe is, I doubt Spider-man would let these kids off scot-free. Actions have consequences. Some kind of price needs to be paid…even if it’s only a broken cell-phone.
I can only hope I wasn’t too harsh about your pre-screener. You write well, and I think everyone’s done that at least once in their lives, just maybe curb your enthusiasm.Thanks, Jason AKA Hazardpay.