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Writers on Comics Scriptwriting [Paperback]

Mark Salisbury
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 May 1999
The biggest names in comics scriptwriting talk candidly and frankly about their profession, their approach to writing and the comics industry as a whole. Through a series of interviews, these luminaries in the comics field reveal the mechanics of writing for comics and, in the process, a great deal about themselves. Packed with personal information, contentious views and humorous anecdotes, this is both an exploration of the writer's craft and a who's who of the hottest comics' talent around today, for fans, professionals, would-be writers and for anyone who's ever wondered exactly how the writer's mind works. Gathers together the best writers working in comics today, including Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Garth Ennis (Preacher), Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns, Sin City), Grant Morrison (Invisibles, JLA) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman), with extracts from the writers' original scripts.


Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (14 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184023069X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840230697
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 16.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 843,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Bolstered by a stellar line-up of the comics industry 's most feted talents, this set of 14 interviews offers both a candid and entertaining insight into the process and experience of writing a comic book. Interviewer Salisbury has done well to assemble a set of interviewees that represent some of the industry's greatest successes (Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman), convention-challenging leaders (Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis) and pioneers of superhero comics (Dan Jurgens, Peter David, Chuck Dixon). Fans will immediately question the absence of the industry's biggest name: Alan Moore. However, Salisbury is quick to note that his absence was down to "sheer volume of work" (Hooray!). Besides, nearly every interviewee cites Moore's gargantuan influence, so he is hardly missing. Gaiman comes across as incredibly well read, while Morrison's approach is either spectacularly ambitious or just plain bonkers. Thanks to Salisbury's probing interview technique, we get an excellent behind the scenes look at the trials and tribulations of a craft that is both challenging and rewarding, in an industry that is not as open to creativity as you might think. As you would expect, there is no clear path to success, beyond the obvious aptitude. However, the most common thread is a rapacious love of the medium and sheer bloody-minded tenacity (often masquerading as bare-faced arrogance in Frank Miller's case!). Aspiring British writers will quickly notice that legendary Brit comic 2000 AD was the breeding ground for much of the current top talent and is the first stop for US talent scouts. Insightful for professionals, mouth-watering for fans and wonderfully inspirational for wannabe scribes, roll on Volume Two! --Danny Graydon

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Salisbury's approach of slightly meandering interviews works well at showing the work processes of the writers who are covered in the book. Many insights are provided into the characters of the writers from the obsessive fannishness of some to the downright oddity that is Grant Morrison but anyone searching for the ultimate answer to the ultimate question, (for many readers of this book, at least)"how do I write a superhero script?" are going to come away slightly disappointed. There are, it seems, as many working methods as there are writers. The answer to the other big question, "how do I get into this business?" seems to be be in the right place at the right time, move to the states or identify a company and bury them in your stuff.
disappointingly the book, and it's companion artists book, has only dealt with the mainstream superhero creators and has skipped over some of the more outstanding creators who are not tied to this tired genre.
definitely one for the superhero fans
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 23 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a great read. It contains interviews with some of the biggest names in comics, including Miller, Mcfarlane, Ennis & Waid as well as some of the excellent, newer writers such as Joe Kelly and Devin Grayson. The interviews are fascinating and provide a great insight into the creative processes of the writers. They also cover how the scripters got started and various incidents in their careers. Obviously it is only their view of these incidents but it is still really interesting to read about.
Possibly one of the best themes in the book is the different writer's opinions on the two forms of writing: the plot based, Marvel way and the full script method. Their different views, opinions and experiences on this provide some of the most fascinating moments in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 4 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback
Writers on comics scriptwriting is one of those under rated books that sadly has went under the radar for some reason. Although 14/15 years old now at the time of writing this review I'm not surprised that it was quite hard to find a way to write comic scripts and how people do them during that era (for example when interviewed in the book some participants still used the marvel method of rough sketching a plot, getting the artist to draw it then fill in the panels after seeing the artwork which is pretty much NEVER used these days and was dying out even then I believe) So I'm wondering maybe it was big at the time because there were so few of these types of books (and this is the best one in my opinion) either way it's an informative, underrated book.

The book is full of interviews from the best comic writers of their era (and some who have continued to be the best) like Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis and at the time Frank Miller (he's crap nowadays). They each give their different styles and methods of how they script a comic or come up with an idea and examples of scripts are shown. They describe their work process's on how they do things, which widely vary which is a better learning tool for aspiring writers. The interviewer/writer deserves credit to getting insights from the writers in a very straightforward way. This book is very easy to read and I've read it over and over again through the years. If you're an aspiring comics writer or just curious as to how they are scripted (or how your favourite writers started out/had alien abduction experiences) this is the best book to buy on the subject
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great interviews from some of the greats. 16 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
One of the best things about interviews is seeing who has their own side of the story that isn't quite the truth. I would have liked to see Mark mention the Shooter incident in a side note, but McFarlane has been known to twist the truth to suit him before. The interview with Grant Morrison is well worth the price of admission.
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7 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money, buy Comics Journal 4 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
What could be a good book is let down by some major factual inaccuracies.In the interview with Todd McFarlane it is stated that he felt that Jim Shooter`s editorial influnce was restricting his work, and ultimately was a factor in his decision to leave Marvel. It might have done had not Shooter left Marvel before Todd`s stint on Spiderman (Les Daniels states in his Marvel book that Shooter left Marvel before April 15 1987. McFarlane`s first Amazing Spiderman was 298, cover dated March 1988). Even his first work on the Hulk was cover dated for April 1987. A bit of research by Salisbury would have stopped this type of error, rather than taking things stated as the truth. Save your money and buy the Comics Journal. At least Gary Groth knows his stuff.
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