Writers on Comics Scriptwriting 2

Editors: Tom Root and Andrew Kardon
Titan Books
RRP 14.99, US $16.95
ISBN 1 84023 808 9
Available 26 November 2004

The next generation of comic book writers get their turn in the spotlight. With in-depth contributions from those responsible for some of the biggest selling comics titles on shelves, and including behind the scenes info, anecdotes and untold stories...

Writers on Comics Scriptwriting 2 is a book of long interviews with story scriptwriters who work (or have worked) in the comics industry. It's cited as a sequel to the top-selling original version, but not having seen that one I can't compare the two. What I can do is weigh it up against Comics Creators on Spider-Man, also from Titan Books, which I reviewed in June. In that book Tom DeFalco, a major page in the character's legend himself, put together interviews with most of the comics writers involved with the webslinger. There was continuity, background, and story reactions. Furthermore, there was a guaranteed audience, because Spider-Man has a huge following. Herein lies the main problem. Writers on Comics Scriptwriting 2 has nothing on the cover other than a lot of names, most or all of which nobody will have heard of. I recognised five of the seventeen names, but I think I might be in a minority.

The writers collected here come from different walks of life, work for different companies, and have written for or created many various characters, so you get the impression of disconnection, sporadic mutterings instead of various slants or interpretations of the same subject. That is not to say this won't be a valid reference book for those in the trade or avid fans of the comics in question, but this won't appeal to the casual reader. A much better idea might have been to keep the character continuity and interview many of the writers who have worked on Batman, Superman or the X-Men, but only one of the characters at a time.

Of course, this might prove priceless to anyone wishing to get into the business and learn more about their chosen trade. As someone interested in the mechanics of writing, I found the most intriguing parts to be the discussion of layouts and plotting, but with no definite context for what is briefly being explained it soon lost its appeal. I loved the Spider-Man book, but couldn't get on with this one.

Ty Power

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