Showing posts with label Comic book writing tutorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comic book writing tutorial. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2013


I receive on average one to three scripts per month from aspiring comic book writers. The majority of the stories are superhero stories and those scripts really lack a good motivation for the hero. I have read one too many stories where a mother, father, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband are killed for no reason and that's the motivator for the hero to go out and get revenge.

The problem I see with some writers is that they think killing a person for no reason is good enough to motivate a person to be a hero. I have read some silly death scenes in scripts where a demon, assassin, or beast appears out of nowhere and kills a loved one that was introduced one or two pages earlier. It's usually a girlfriend that was killed moments before the boyfriend proposes marriage. That is stupid as hell and readers will stop reading your story in a heartbeat.

I'm not saying you can't use death as a motivator, but if you are going to do it then at least make the death part of the story and not just some unnecessary random event. If you kill of the hero's girlfriend then create a believable mystery where the hero has to link clues together to find the killer. Readers will want to see that mystery solved. They do not want the girlfriend killed for no reason and then the hero decides to put on a silly costume and fight crime.

I'll digress a bit and add that I'm amazed that writers are willing to develop these incredibly violent deaths that are witnessed by the hero. Also, these violent deaths apparently create no psychological damage to the hero. They see a violent death, scream and/or cry, and go on with their lives. Amazing.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and head writer for Champion City Comics. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Aaron Schutz is a professor and a writer that created the Doctor Death charcater. He has provided me with plenty of great writing tips, and one of my favorites is his pet peeve regarding "The Suddnely Appearing Giants". This is Schutz's explanation:

In a well known fantasy series, giants appear half-way through the third book. And it turns out that all the characters in the books knew about giants, while the reader had never heard of them (obviously because the author invented them only half-way through book three). Don’t do this. This kind of clumsy world-building can shatter the illusion that the world the characters are in has any solidity of its own. If you want to add something later, figure out a way to weave it in earlier, or don’t add it.

This is something that I remind myself of when I'm developing a synopsis for a story. If there is going to be an encounter down the road with a radiocative gorilla then make sure you at least hint to the fact that there might be a radioactive gorilla. Yes, I'm still writing about radioactive gorillas.

TonyDoug Wright is the author of two webcomics titled The Red Devil and Day 165. Do him a kindness and check them out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


When you are working on your comic book or webcomic script, make sure that all of the characters you develop serve a purpose for the story. Your characters must move the plot forward and keep the story on track. I've read one too many comic books and webcomics that feature characters that serve no purpose whatsoever in the story. If you want a radioactive gorilla in your story then find a very good reason to have it in your story. It sounds cool, but I want to believe that it is necessary to have a radioactive gorilla.

Let's take a look at pages one and two from Dr. Death vs The Zombie below:

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Our main character, Dr. Death, is in a convenience store trying to buy some beer, but they are out of his brand. This was not the first time they were out of his beer, so he decides to go to the counter and complain. This will not be an easy task because there is an unhappy customer at the counter yelling at the clerk because her credit card was declined. While Dr. Death is in line, his powers pick up the adrenaline rush of a bad guy that has just entered the store.

If the beer was in stock and the counter was not occupied by a bitchy customer then Dr. Death may have missed his chance at encountering the bad guy. Dr. Death is my main character, but the others moved the plot forward for the reader. As a writer, it doesn't hurt to think about having these characters appear again in the story as long as it moves the plot forward. Maybe I want the bitchy lady to show up once more and have Dr. Death think, "Oh no! Not this lady again." I know some of you are thinking I should have her eaten by the radioactive gorilla. It wouldn't work, but now you've inspired me to write Dr. Death vs The Radioactive Gorilla. 

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. Read his webcomics The Red Devil and Day 165 because they're awesome. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Are you looking for tips for writing a comic book? Do you need some input regarding comic book art? Anand 'Kav' Kaviraj has some helpful tips below for writers and artists.


What Makes a Good Comic by tonydoug25

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Bring back the old Amanda Waller
I've been going over tips for writing villains this week, and today's post is just a friendly reminder that villains can be female. However, the real challenge for a writer will be to create a female comic book villain that looks like the pre New 52 Amanda Waller and not some finalist for Miss Beach Bikini Bimbo 2013.

The topic of tomorrow's post will be villains and humor.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, The Red Devil, and Day 165.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I'm posting some useful advice to up and coming comic book writers about developing villains in their stories. I've got a small bit of advice for today's post and it involves fighting. If you are going to develop a fight scene then PLEASE do not subject us to the fight scene where the villain and the hero trade punches while delivering witty banter..

Watch a MAA fight or a boxing match and count the number of times they stop and trade wisecracks. Did Mike Tyson say anything witty before chewing off a portion of Evander Holyfield's ear? No. It was *CHOMP* and *SPIT*.

I love a good fight scene in comics and I don't mind it when the hero is thinking to himself or herself how he or she needs to suck it up and win the fight against their arch-nemesis. A part of me gets Mike-Tyson-about-to-bite-off-some-fool's-ear angry when a good fight between a hero and villain is filled with too much banter. STOP IT! Talking and fighting do not mix unless you are Muhammad Ali.

Tomorrow's post will be about how the ladies can be villains too!

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, The Red Devil, and Day 165.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


 Welcome to part two of our series that deals with developing villains in your comic book script. If you missed part one then click here to read a few basic tips on developing your villain. Today's post is about goals. 

A villain should have goals because they can not be evil simply because you need a villain in your story. What will set the villain apart from your hero in the goals department is that the villain will act in an unethical manner to obtain their goals. For example, they'll con someone or hurt someone or blow up a building. It is important to point out that the goals of the hero and villain should be believable. World domination is a goal that has been done again and again in comics, so it is important to have the reader believe this villain wants to dominate the world because that's their goal and not because they are assigned the role of the villain. 

Tomorrow's post will be talking during a fight.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, The Red Devil, and Day 165.

Friday, February 1, 2013


The Champion City Comics Writers Academy is for up and coming comic book writers. I'm here to give you some helpful advice for developing your scripts. I've mainly dealt with creating scripts for more action oriented comic book stories, but today's topic is for the slice of life script.

It hasn't happened yet, but one day I will have someone send me their slice of life script. These are stories about the lives of people and they will either go the true life route (i.e. Jerusalem by Guy Delisle) or tales inspired by real life events route (i.e. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes). The inspired by true events route is the easier path, so let me direct the rest of this article towards the real life script writers. 

Slice of life stories have to be incredibly engaging works, and if you need examples then read Maus I: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman, Blankets by Craig Thompson, Stitches by David Small, and My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf. All four were major page turners for me, and all four were true life stories.

If you want to tell the true life story then it better be a page turner. Don't pull a James Frey and make your life more fiction than fact. That is wrong, and you can simply write an inspired by true events version instead. They'll find the lies and you'll look foolish. Have fun sitting on Oprah's couch.

Most importantly, a life lesson is necessary in these true life stories. Show us that you learned something along the way which made you a better person. Don't pull a Laurie Sandell and write something like The Impostor's Daughter where it's all about you while dropping famous names. That's not cool, plus you're going to irritate a bunch of readers.

True life is not always that interesting, but there are people out there with amazing stories to tell. Tell us the real story, and don't be afraid  to show us mistakes you made. Show us what you learned and how you became a better person. Don't give us a Hollywood treatment or make it a self-congratulatory piece of work.

Next week, I want to start off the week talking about villains.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, The Red Devil, and Day 165.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Welcome to the third installment of The Champion City Comics Writers Academy. This weekly column is for those aspiring comic book artists that are low on funds to hire an artist and lack any artistic abilities. The first article dealt with not getting married to your script while yesterday's article dealt with the fact that your story just might be boring as hell.Today the purpose of this article is to tell you that it is OK to develop superhero, vampire, or zombie stories.

There have been a few moments where writers submit scripts to me and they are somewhat apologetic about the fact that they wrote a superhero, vampire, or zombie story. There is no shame in developing a superhero, zombie, or vampire story. Having said that, you must set yourself apart from the pack.

Do your best to come up with a superhero, vampire, or zombie story that is slightly or vastly different from the rest. We have stories that deal with all three at Champion City Comics: 

Rapid City is a superhero tale that explores the complexities that comes with the job of being a superhero. Kinetic is the main character and we see how he struggles to maintain a normal life while learning the ropes to be a superhero. We have more of a normal guy developing into a superhero story than a cliched tale featuring mindless fights and women with large breasts serving as eye candy.  

Doctor Death vs The Vampire takes the vampire concept but changes them from the Bram Stoker blood lusting variety into creatures that feed off of pain and suffering. Gone is the black cape and fangs, and they have been replaced by normal looking people. However, these new vampires are incredibly intelligent and they hunt their prey by the amount of pain they have from an illness or an addiction.

Doctor Death vs The Zombie is influenced by the West African and Haitian mythos and  is combined with the George A. Romero world of zombies. You have the zombie that loves to eat brains, but must be controlled by the voodoo priest or bokur.

Slight changes will make your story stand out and that will appeal to readers.

Setting yourself apart from the others is not as difficult as you think. Take time and work on your sscript so that you have a superhero, vampire, or zombie story that brings something relatively new and fresh to the table. Have an artist or a fellow writer review your concept to see if it works. Be willing to revise and revise and revise some more until you have a solid story.

Tomorrow we will discuss goals for your main character.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, The Red Devil, and Day 165.

Monday, January 28, 2013


It has been a long time since I've posted anything regarding writing tips, but I'm back with some more tips for rookie comic book writers. This column is merely advice, so I'm just sharing what I've learned as a writer at Champion City Comics. These posts are going to be aimed at the writers out there who have no artistic skill plus lack any funds to pay for an artist.I'm hoping to make this a Monday to Friday series. Cross your fingers, boys and girls.

My first post deals with the dreaded move of getting married to your script. It sounds silly, but it's true because writers I encounter have a script that is THE script that will change the world of comics. It is the script that will sell 300,000 copies in the first week and will win an Eisner Award plus the Pulitzer Prize.

Some of you writers out there think you are this dude.
 As the owner and head writer of Champion City Comics, I receive on average one to three scripts per month from aspiring comic book writers. The majority of the scripts show a great deal of potential, but a variety of factors weakens the story. I'll go into more detail on the variety of factors with upcoming posts. If an aspiring writer has a bad script, I usually ask for another to see if they have developed a more interesting story. There have been times when I do get another script, but there have been too many instances of writers telling me that I have just read their one and only script.

Look, I had a one and only script from 2004 to 2009, which became The Champion City Fire. I was convinced I was going to be the next big thing in comic book writing due to that script. Silly me. I had six issues carefully planned out and was waiting for that call from Marvel or DC or Image or Dark Horse or anyone interested. Silly me.

The smartest thing I did was putting that script down. I then began working on two more scripts. Two scripts became three and since 2009, I have worked on nine titles at Champion City Comics. Each script has improved due to what I have learned as a writer, but I would not be at the place where I am if I had stayed married to one script.

My fellow aspiring comic book writers, please do not get married to your script. Here are some good reasons:

1. You may think you've just written the best story ever, but you need to realize that you need to pitch this story to an artist who thinks your story is worth their time. I know a large majority of rookie writers do not have the funds to get a good artist, so you must find that needle in the haystack that is the free artist. I've found ten or twelve free fantastic artists over the past three years, so there is hope. That's also another future post. Remember, the artist has to be sold on your script. If they're not then they'll ask to review another script. If you just have the one script and no funds to pay an artist then you will be waiting and waiting to find the right person.

2. An artist who works for free with you will want some creative input with the script. You'll also want to be prepared to negotiate ownership rights as well. Now if you do not allow the artist to have some kind of freedom then you have a 99.999999% chance of pissing off the artist that's willing to work for free. That's not a smart move. Artists want input and they'd like some creative freedom to work their magic. Over the years, I have worked with artists that have provided me with valuable input when it comes to my scripts.

3. Do not get discouraged if nobody likes your script. Put it aside for now and try working on another idea. It worked for me and perhaps it could work for you. If you still love your script, then take into consideration the fact that it may need some revisions.

4. You may not want to hear this, but perhaps the reason that nobody wants to jump on your script is because it sucks. The best thing to happen to me as a writer happened seven or eight years ago. I submitted a rough draft of The Champion City Fire to someone I respected in the comic book business and they HATED the story. They didn't sugarcoat anything, and I was devastated. However, I went back and made some major changes, which made the script better. I re-submitted the script to the person that hated the first script, and they ended up loving the second script.Nobody picked up the story, but at least I know I improved as a writer.

That was my return to comic book writing tips, and I hope you learned something. Come back tomorrow for more tips.

Tomorrow's Topic: Your Story Is Boring As Hell

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, The Red Devil, and Day 165.

Monday, December 12, 2011


This is the first installment of a series of tutorials on writing your comic or webcomic.This series will provide helpful tips for writers of all levels and is merely advice from someone who has experience.   

I will start off this post with a brief bio because you might be wondering, "What does this guy know about writing?" I have seven years experience of writing scripts for comics and webcomics and those stories fall under the following genres: crime noir, war stories, superhero tales, humor, and sci-fi. Overall, I have developed twelve titles for Champion City Comics and you can review my work by clicking here. Also, I HIGHLY recommend that you find a copy of Alan Moore's Writing for Comics Volume One. It helped me and it might be of use to you.

Are you interested in developing a webcomic or comic? Great! Every story begins as an idea and this first post will give some helpful writing tips on developing your story. When it comes to developing a story, I would like for you to click on the YouTube clip below to hear some priceless advice from This is Spinal Tap.

There definitely is a fine line between stupid and clever. As owner and editor at Champion City Comics, I receive scripts from writers on a monthly basis. Some scripts are good, but a majority of scripts are not that great because of numerous issues. The first issue I come across is a poorly devised story.

If you want to write a comic or a webcomic then you should have an idea of what type of story you want to develop. Let's go through the process step by step so that you can avoid some common writing problems.

I want to write but I can't think of an idea for a story.

Don't worry because this is common. You're inspired but don't know what you want to do at this point. First, you should always develop an idea or write when you feel inspired. Forcing yourself to write is not productive so wait until the time is right.

When that moment hits, think of your favorite comics, novels, movies, and television shows. Does something stand out as a source of inspiration? If you love Star Wars then would you be willing to develop a comic that's a space fantasy tale? Do you enjoy titles from Vertigo? Would you want to develop something gritty like 100 Bullets? Once you find your genre then you're on the right path.

I have a story, but will people like my story?

Are you writing to please the world or are you writing from your heart? In my opinion, someone who develops a story that is 100% fueled by their desire to please the world is foolish. Some people will like your story and some people will hate your story. Deal with it. What's important is that you love your story, plus you'll find others that really like your story.

When I develop a story for a comic book or webcomic, the first thing I think to myself is, "Would I purchase this title?" Take that into consideration when you start your project and everything will fall into place.

My idea involves zombies and/or vampires. Is that bad?

Because something is trendy does not necessarily make it a bad idea for a story. There are great zombie and vampire stories out there like The Walking Dead and what you need to do is bring something fun/creative to the table. Superhero stories have been around for over half a century and people still write excellent superhero stories.

We've developed a couple of vampire and zombie tales at Champion City Comics. Dr Death vs The Vampire is a story by Aaron Schutz and A. Kaviraj where an "almost a superhero" type of character named Doctor Death encounters a vampire on a trip across the Oregon desert. The vampire in this story is a psychic vampire that feeds off the pain and suffering of an individual. The vampire is not the Bram Stoker or Anne Rice variety, but it is still a fascinating villain that's a mathematical type of predator and is completely creepy.

The sequel to Dr Death vs The Vampire is Dr Death vs The Zombie which was written by myself and features the artwork of A. Kaviraj. In this story, we do not use the typical George A. Romero zombie, but the old West African variety that was blended with Tor Johnson's character from Plan 9 from Outer Space. Kaviraj and I were pleased with the take and have enjoyed working on this project because we took a fun twist on a zombie story.

I want to write and I have my story developed.

Great! Now when you say your story is developed, have you written out a summary or a complete version of the plot? Have you written brief or detailed descriptions of your characters? If you've answered no to one of these questions then stick around because we'll need to address a common error I refer to as "script improv".

Has anyone reviewed your idea? It's good to pitch your idea to someone that will give you their honest answer. They'll find plot holes and ask you address them to clarify a plot issue. I do that all the time with my stories. I pitch them to the artist and they'll have questions like, "What's the goal of the villain?" or "Why does he agree to help the main character?" Sometimes I get annoyed with those questions, but in the end I know they want the script to be solid. 

Writing out a plot summary is very helpful as it provides a blueprint for success. It shows the beginning, middle, and end of your story. However, you should give yourself some creative space for allowing certain secondary characters to flourish, etc. I've had some secondary characters steal the show and have gone back to my plot summary and have made changes to give them the opportunity to shine.

Do you have any other tips?

When I come up with a story, I will write down a summary in a notebook  or type it out on a Word document. I walk away from the idea for a day or two, sometimes a week. When I'm ready, I'll go back and read what I wrote down to see if it still sounds like a good idea for a story. If so, then I'll start working on the setting, the characters, plot, and other aspects of the story to make it great. If it doesn't sound so great then I will either improve upon the story or put it on the back burner for the time being. Perhaps I could use an aspect of that story and blend it with another story I have on the back burner to create another story.

As I mentioned earlier, write when you feel inspired. You'll be pleased with our creative output and forcing yourself to write is counterproductive because you'll more than likely go back and edit nearly all of your work. Why waste time? Write when it's right.

It's an old standard but write what you know. Were you born and raised in Montana? You'd be very comfortable setting your story in the Big Sky State than a place you've never visited like Florida. If you studied physics then use physics in your story. We're you a bartender? Add it to your story if possible. If you have no experience with an occupation then do some serious research because writers make too many basic errors when writing about doctors, lawyers, and detectives. That is an article I'm going to develop because writers take too many liberties with those professions.

You must be motivated. This is a very competitive world and there are writers out there improving their skills daily and are making contacts in the industry. Get motivated, get moving, and stop making excuses. 

It might take you a week, month, or even a year to get your story to a point where it is ready for prime time. Be patient and make sure that your story is solid because readers want to be entertained and not bored. Frustration and writers block is common. It'll pass and you'll be back on track soon.

This is a good place to end today's post. Next time, I will write about pages. How many do you need for your comic or webcomic? How long is this story going to be from start to finish? Take care and write!

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, and Day 165.


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