Jan 14, 2009

Is the Marvel Style better than working from a Script?

Plot first or “Marvel style”: This method is typically used by Marvel Comics (based on Stan Lee’s working relationships with artists such as Jack Kirby), writer/artist teams who have a strong collaborative rapport.
The plot and page breakdown can be generated by the writer alone, or by the writer and artist together. Then the artist pencils the story, after which the writer scripts the in-panel text — everything but the panel descriptions — to fit the art.
(from http://www.bigredhair.com/work/comics.html)

John Buscema and Roy Thomas are famous for working in this style harmoniously and very successfully on Conan the Barbarian and many others.
When John Buscema was asked
"Do you think the Marvel Style of Synopsis, Art, and Dialogue is better than working straight from a Script.?"
He said..
"Definitely. That's the best way to work. That's the ONLY way to work. A lot of young writers at Marvel will give me a detailed, outlined script. I work with them ONCE-I will not work with them again. Because I want something to work with. I don't want to be straight jacketed into a corner, and told how many panels I have to work with, and what they are doing in each panel. I love the freedom that Marvel gives us with the synopsis.
That's the best way."

I think that...
It depends on both the writer and the artist and their mutual trust in the ability and the interest in working in this style..
I think there is more creative opportunity in this style than working from a script..
And I like the idea that writer writes dialogues and captions which is suitable for the actions and expressions I draw.
I usually show the thumbnails to the writer so that he can add his views. I would show pencils with text too, if he had provided me with dialogues and captions. I think if the artist and writer works using the best aspects of this style it can enhance the efect and the quality of the comic book to a much higher level than drawing from a script.

A Facebook note on the same topic with a lot of comments by Writers and Artists.

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