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The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: The Houser How-To

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: The Houser How-To

Hosts Amy Dallen and Matt Key were joined by Faith writer Jody Houser this week on The Wednesday Club to talk about the nuts and bolts of writing comics. Not only did Jody bring along a script and a finished comic for a unique firsthand look at how a comic goes from script to finished book, the hosts also had a couple of recommended titles that go into more detail if you’re serious about making comics.

The Wednesday Club

A comic book begins with a script, similar to a script written for a movie or TV show. It then goes on to the artist, and then the editor before the writer gets a final look at the book.

Jody has simple advice for anyone who wants to start writing and break into comics. “Make a comic,” she said. “Congratulations, you’re in comics!”

Her own career started out with contributions to comic anthologies. She saw the call go out for submissions through social media, and took the plunge. Jody advises just keeping an eye on comic pros’ Twitter and Tumblr accounts if the same route sounds appealing to you.

“If there’s a type of story that you feel should be told in comics and no one’s telling [it],” Jody said, “tell that one.”

Vertigo Quarterly CMYK #2: Magenta

This short story was the first work that Jody did for DC Comics. “Adrift,” in the “Magenta” issue, uses the namesake color to evoke emotion and uniquely highlight parts of the story. As Jody walked though the script, she noted places where the artist made a decision that was independent of it. “If an artist has a better way to do something, I’m all for it,” she said. “That’s part of what a storytelling collaboration is.”

“It’s one of my favorite things you’ve ever written,” Amy said.

“I don’t even know what to say about it, except it made me cry,” said Matt. “That’s the power of storytelling. This is our human experience.”

(Vertigo Comics, Jody Houser and Nathan Fox)

Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers

This book collects scripts from celebrated comics writers like Neil Gaiman, Kevin Smith, and Dwayne McDuffie to show there’s no one set process for creating a script. “There’s no right or wrong way to write a comic, it seems… In terms of formatting,” said Matt.

“Well, there are wrong ways to write a comic,” Jody joked. “Your editor will hopefully let you know if you’re doing it wrong.”

(Edited by Nat Gertler)

Mother Panic

Mother Panic

This trade paperback is a collection of the first six issues of Mother Panic, written by Jody Houser, which is part of DC’s Young Animal imprint. The story follows Violet Paige, who is by day a seemingly spoiled heiress and by night a masked vigilante who goes by the name Mother Panic. And while you’d think her hometown of Gotham City is used to vigilantes roaming the streets by now, they’ve never seen the likes of Mother Panic.

“Young Animal is a new imprint at DC that’s focused on mature reader stuff that loosely ties into the larger DCU,” Jody said. “Mother Panic is probably the closest tie to the major DCU because it’s set in Gotham, and Batman shows up.”

(DC Comics, Jody Houser and Tommy Lee Edwards)

Jody also mentioned that she read the DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics when she was first getting started with writing scripts, and Matt and Amy recommended Words For Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis.

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel every Wednesday afternoon to catch the next amazing episode of The Wednesday Club.

Top Images: Geek & Sundry

Other Images: DC Comics

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