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Tom King Accused Of "Lazy" Scripting For Mitch Gerads

Tom King Accused Of "Lazy" Scripting For Mitch Gerads On Twitter... And Everyone Dives In On This One

Article Summary

  • Tom King faces backlash for his "lazy" scripting style in his Adam Strange series.
  • Industry professionals defend King, highlighting the nuances of comic script writing.
  • Mitch Gerads, the artist for the series, dismisses criticism about their collaboration.
  • Discussion flares on importance of writer-artist dynamics and Marvel Method scripting.

You never know what the comic book internet will pick on from one day to the next. King Von Force Ghost of the Marvelous! Or, the Death of Cinema Podcast podcast, posted the following to social media two days ago, regarding a script page from the recent Strange Adventures series by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, with Strange doing the bookstore signing circuit. He posted to social media, saying, "The sheer abuse of the marvel method being done in modern comics so that writers can do multiple books a month is astounding. Stan Lee would blush."

Tom King

Tom King

"Not to say that the division of labor between artists and writers is bad, All Star Superman, Immortal Hulk and Watchmen were all made that way. But when your idea for a page boils down to 1 sentence screen descriptions for each panel, can you really say that's your idea? this script won a hugo award". Well, plenty of comic book writers and artists wanted to respond. It may be worth noting that the "Marvel Method" championed by Stan Lee sees the writer convey the plot to the artist, who breaks it down as they see fit, acting as a director rather than a cameraman, if you need a film simile, returning to the writer to script the story.

Fabian Nicieza: I honestly am not sure you could have worded your tweet any better if your intent was to publicly display that you don't know what you're talking about.

Patch Zircher: I won't insult you. Artists create half of a comic, always have–whether the writer writes a few words for a panel or a paragraph. Artists want some creative liberty. Dialogue is more important to a finished comic than descriptions readers don't see. And nothing made Stan blush.

Daniele Di Nicuolo: I guess there's a new fantastic controversy about how writers write the scripts. Let me say this: when there's a double spread page of just pure action, having @TomTaylorMade saying just "do your magic" is one of the best achievements an artist can get.

Tom Taylor: Readers will never know how hard a comic writer has worked on other pages to deliver a splash page for a great artist. To think 'less writing = less work' is so naive. Writing more is EASY. Not providing too much information, and being concise and focused, is the craft.

Ram V: Lots of scripting conversations I write full-script. One thing I don't see mentioned. When you've been working with an artist for years, long descriptions aren't needed. They get it. It's how collaborations work. Eventually, you're just jamming. <3 Laila #1 v Rare Flavours #4

Chris Shehan: This… is just a standard comic book script. I think writers who want to write comics should remember that scripts aren't prose. They're instructions for the artist. It's not lazy to write a brief shot description and trust the artist to do the job they were hired to do. :)

Naomi Franq: lol ngl if I got a script that detailed every single visual element and direction on the page for me, I would buck. That tells me the writer doesn't trust the artist, or doesn't think the artist can do their job better than the writer can.

Cheryl Lynn Eaton: This isn't the Marvel Method, but a good script is one that provides all necessary information to the artist and is one the artist enjoys drawing.

Tara O'Connor: T-this is what comic scripts look like! Typically, the only people that even see the script are editors and the artists involved. As an artist, this is an ideal script, it gives just enough detail and allows us the freedom to make each panel our own!

Dave Scheidt: This is very weird take as this is not Marvel method and every artist/writer collaboration is different. The writer is telling the story to the artist and the artist is telling it to the audience. Some artists want more direction and some thrive on very little.

Andriy Lukin: this is the equivalent of looking at the floor plan and calling an architect a hack cause they didn't color it with crayons

Mitch Gerads: As the actual artist who drew THIS page from THIS script I can tell you with 100% certainty that this person has absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

Cully Hamner: Mitch, you are absolutely wrong about how you prefer to work. Just admit it.

Mikel Janin: Also, this person has ZERO clue of how the Marvel method works.

Jon Moisan: Marvel method? I require all my writers to make their scripts at least 250 pages in length. Every 20 page comic issue needs to be the next great American novel at the script stage. I'm sorry, but those are the rules of comics.

Kenny Porter: I sent you something to read. The logistics company said the pallet should arrive by truck tomorrow. It might be two pallets; they lost count of how many boxes the script was in.

Jon Moisan: That's how Claremont wrote X-Men and we loved it!!

Zac Thompson:  please… mr. moison my fingers are so tired

Jon Moisan:  Pretty sure that script for issue #4 is only 220 pages at the moment, Mr. Thompson…

Dennis Culver: Moore method

Jon Moisan: Moore only wrote 100 page scripts! Barely longer than this tweet, the coward!

Michael Aronson: I always knew you were good at your job

Jon Moisan: Quantity always equals quality, my friend

Brent Schoonover:  You almost want to appreciate the confidence in speaking on a subject he has absolutely no clue about.

Jody Houser: Also you don't need Marvel method to write multiple books a month. I always write full script, and my record is 1200 comic pages written in a year (but also, no one should do that to themselves). I'm actually slower when I write Marvel method… I think in panels at this point.

Nic Klein: Cmon man, how can this be the marvel method, thats a DC book. *Face palm*

Zac Thompson: I nearly spit out my coffee seeing this. Laughably wrong in too many ways to count.

Ford Gilmore: I mean, that statement can apply to virtually everything someone posts accusingly on Twitter.

Josh Adams: Considering some of Stan Lee's "scripts" could fit in a tweet, I don't think this fella knows what he's talking about.

Alison Sampson: Something everyone should be taking away from this comic script discourse is that artists are as much the author of the comic/ graphic novel as the writer, and they should be credited as such. On Nielsen by publishers. *Not* as the 'illustrator'. It's an important distinction.

Jody Houser: A good comic script is one that meets the needs of the rest of the creative team. And even the best comic script is still just a first draft. The writing elements that are most apparent to readers (dialogue, pacing for full script) can change during the art and lettering stages.

Scott Snyder: The right way to write a script IMO is whatever method you and your partner on the project decide works best for you both as a team. Some artists I work with like full script, others like a looser more Marvel-like format. The goal is to try to lean into whatever format will let my partner do their best work while still giving me what I need to live in the story.

Marco Finnegan: If I get to choose between a panel by panel, punch by punch, stage direction laden script and someone who writes: "Draw a cool car chase" I'm taking the second option EVERYTIME

C. J. Hudson: All comic book writers should be REQUIRED to reveal their scripts for everyone to see! Every goddamn script should be rigorously inspected! These so called "creatives" are hiding something, and it's time we found out what that is and then demand they stop doing it

Rob Williams: Oh joy, comics script discourse… Bottom line – as John Lennon said: 'Whatever gets you through the night, is alright."

King Von Force Ghost posted in response to the thousands of notifications he was getting, saying "A few points of clarification for the newcomers: 1. This isn't marvel method, this is just the standard scripting, I still think this specific example is lazy 2. More words don't always equal better, but this is devoid of detail or authorship 3. Tom king is a war criminal"

Ah, yes, that's what this was really about because Tom King was in the CIA, was active in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and in the Strange Adventures page above has someone calling out allegations of war crimes carried out by Strange, including torture, cages and graves, with a clear Iraq parallel. If only King Von Force Ghost had led with that, we might have been spared the rest…

But it is worth recalling that on The Authority, when it came to the double-page spread of the alien armada in battle with the US Air Force above Los Angeles, Warren Ellis simply wrote "The fleets engage". And recalls a phone call from artist Bryan Hitch, "spitting blood and nails", because it took him a week and a half to draw it.

Tom King

In comparison, this is the first panel of the first nine panels of the first page of Watchmen by Alan Moore to Dave Gibbons, including Gibbons highlighting the important bits he actually needed to draw it.

Tom King



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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from The Union Club on Greek Street, shops at Gosh, Piranha and FP. Father of two daughters. Political cartoonist.
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