Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis

Vonze: 5 out of 5

Book Description: "One of the most popular writers in modern comics, Brian Michael Bendis reveals the tools and techniques he and other top creators use to create some of the most popular comic book and graphic novel stories of all time. Words for Pictures shows readers the creative methods of a writer at the very top of his field. Bendis guides aspiring creators through each step of the comics-making process—from idea to script to finished sequential art—for fan favorite comics like The Avengers,Ultimate Spider-ManUncanny X-Men, and more. Along the way, tips and insights from other working writers, artists, and editors provide a rare, extensive look behind the creative curtain of the comics industry. With script samples, a glossary of must-know business terms for writers, and interactive comics-writing exercises, Words for Pictures provides the complete toolbox needed to jump start the next comics-writing success story."

My thoughts: As a manga and graphic novel fan that occasionally entertains the idea of starting a webcomic (I’ve started and stopped several times), I found Words for Pictures to be a wealth of information.

For aspiring comic artists and writers, the book covers the modern comic book script, writing for the artists, the editors’ roundtable, the writer’s FAQS, the business of comics writing, and writing exercises. This being my first “how to write comics” book, my eyes were instantly opened to differences in story outline styles, the aspects and challenges of collaborations, and elements to observe next time I read a really good or really bad comic or graphic novel. I found it helpful that Brian Michael Bendis offers not only his perspective, but also the views and opinions of other writers and artists. I never realized how little I know about the “behind-the-scenes” end of the comic world.

For those interested in writing in general, Bendis offers clear advice in the writer’s FAQs, the business of comics writing (which can be applied to any creative manuscript), writing exercises, and his conclusion. His personal story, of going from fan to his dream job, is very inspiring.

Furthermore, for the typical comics fan, the book is also a fun read to discover how the creative individuals behind the superheroes work.

Overall, the book is a good guide to inform and inspire an individual about the comics writing process. It doesn’t tell you how or what to write (for that I’m guessing you’d need Bendis’ comic and graphic novel writing class), but it gives a strong overview of the aspects of the business.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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