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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old October 26 2008, 02:53 AM   #31
Ferd Burfel
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

KRAD wrote: View Post
Ferd Burfel wrote: View Post
But to try and say it is completely different from writing a novel is kinda weird to me. Obviously both are unique with unique challenges, but writing a story or a story outline doesn't change radically from a novel to a comic.
Out of curiosity, how many novels have you written? I ask that not to be a smartass, but legitimately, because I can't imagine that you'd believe that if you've ever written both.

Speaking as someone writing both at the same time right now (Farscape, StarCraft, and Star Trek comics in addition to my prose work, which averages four novels per year), they're completely different in terms of story and story outline. For starters, the storytelling space in a comic book is much much much smaller than it is for a novel. Even the 160-page StarCraft manga I'm working on for TokyoPop has much less room to tell the story than a novel does. By the same token, the method of storytelling is also completely different because you don't have narration (or if you do, it's considerably less than it is in prose -- unless you're Don McGregor in the 1970s, anyhow... ), and you do have visuals. Plus having artwork completely changes the way you construct and pace your story.

There's a bit in Farscape #1 that's an amusing joke, an exchange between Crichton and Jothee, but the sequential artwork method of telling the joke makes it considerably funnier than it would've been had I done it in prose. For that matter, there's an exchange between two characters in #3 that would be boring talking heads in prose, but by doing it as a traditional nine-panel page (three rows of three identically sized panels) it becomes a more effective back and forth (especially since one character is constantly changing facial expression and the other stays the same the entire time). It's the words and the pictures that are telling the story together.

In prose, you're completely on your own, and you've generally got more room in terms of word count.

Yes, you're still telling a story, but the two methods are much much different.
The most honest answer is nothing published. A very wise teacher once told me if we were all professional authors nothing would ever get done. Unfortunately for me all my work is my own. And I take no offense to that at all and can understand why you asked it. But I don't believe that makes me unqualified to comment on my experiences with the two. They may be different than yours or Mr. Harris' or Mr. Bennett's, but that doesn't mean that because they differ I'm wrong.

I think (to no one's fault but my own) that I was pretty misunderstood with my original post. I will admit openly and loudly that the mediums are very, very different. Again, I am no professional so this is all from an amateur's perspective. But the work (however limited it's been) I've done has included both mediums. And it can very much be apples and oranges. Outlining/storyboarding (however one plans) a comic and a novel are incredibly different. When Mr. Harris pointed out the difference between visual storytelling and telling a story visually the semantics were not lost on me at all. I was merely saying that my experience (again limited) has shown me that framing a story is very similar with both. Laying it out so that it fits all the criteria can be a big challenge as well, but so can things like description and dialogue in a novel. I understand the difference but don't see it as extreme as Mr. Harris appears to. I will point out I am not saying Mr. Harris is wrong, but I don't believe I am either. All in all I never meant to step on anyone's toes or offend anyone, I was merely offering up my opinion. I enjoy all three of the men's work I am currently discussing this with, so you can imagine how surreal this is for me (getting conversationally backhanded by KRAD, Chris Bennett and Mr. Harris is crazy!). But I think after this I should just sit back and let you guys discuss it, professionally. Amateur hour is over.
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Old October 26 2008, 03:53 AM   #32
Christopher
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

KRAD wrote: View Post
By the same token, the method of storytelling is also completely different because you don't have narration (or if you do, it's considerably less than it is in prose -- unless you're Don McGregor in the 1970s, anyhow... ), and you do have visuals.
The use of narration, whether by an omniscient narrator or by a character in internal monologue, seems to be less common in comics that it used to be. Heck, back in the '30s and early '40s, pretty much every panel was described with a narrative caption even when it didn't need to be. And Stan Lee's comics were loaded with his distinctive, lively, fourth-wall-breaking narration, a style that Marvel (and to some extent DC) followed for decades.

And is it my imagination, or are thought balloons becoming less common too?
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Old October 26 2008, 04:26 AM   #33
Stevil2001
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

I can't think of a current comic that I read that uses thought balloons. I'd assumed they'd died off decades ago.
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Old October 26 2008, 04:31 AM   #34
Chris McCarver
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Christopher wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
By the same token, the method of storytelling is also completely different because you don't have narration (or if you do, it's considerably less than it is in prose -- unless you're Don McGregor in the 1970s, anyhow... ), and you do have visuals.
The use of narration, whether by an omniscient narrator or by a character in internal monologue, seems to be less common in comics that it used to be. Heck, back in the '30s and early '40s, pretty much every panel was described with a narrative caption even when it didn't need to be. And Stan Lee's comics were loaded with his distinctive, lively, fourth-wall-breaking narration, a style that Marvel (and to some extent DC) followed for decades.

And is it my imagination, or are thought balloons becoming less common too?
You're not wrong, Christopher... thought balloons are almost completely gone as a storytelling device in modern-day comics. It has a lot to do with the current school of thought of making the art tell as much of the story as the words on the page. If it can't be told through dialogue, the current generation of comics writers will instead have the artist show what he intends to convey rather than spell it out for the reader.

About the only time I've recently seen thought balloons used was in Brian Bendis' run on The Mighty Avengers, something of which much ballyhoo was made since he wasn't known for using them much or at all, even before it became the aesthetic choice du jour.
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Old October 26 2008, 07:44 AM   #35
KRAD
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

For the record, Ferd, I was trying to backhand you at all, and I'm sorry if I came across that way. I was merely saying that my experience differed wildly from yours. *shrug* Sorry if I came across snottier than intended....
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Old October 26 2008, 11:40 AM   #36
Sci
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Looking over this thread, it seems to me that Christopher and Andrew Harris are talking past each other. Christopher was talking rather casually about his desire to get into comics, and Andrew seemed to take that as being a sort of superior attitude that prose writers have towards comics writing. Christopher tried explaining himself to Andrew, and Andrew then took the term "challenge" as referring to an incapability rather than a new goal to achieve. Christopher tried to ask about the kinds of attitudes that a prose author should have because of Andrew's seeming preoccupation with the lack of respect for the discipline of comics writing, and Andrew took it as Christopher asking something that should have been common sense.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.
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Old October 26 2008, 03:59 PM   #37
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Sci wrote: View Post
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
Well writing message board posts is an entirely different skill to writing prose and comics, as you're working in an entirely different medium.
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Old October 26 2008, 04:10 PM   #38
Dayton Ward
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

^
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Old October 26 2008, 06:51 PM   #39
William Leisner
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Deano2099 wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
Well writing message board posts is an entirely different skill to writing prose and comics, as you're working in an entirely different medium.
Yes, I'm just slumming here.
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Old October 26 2008, 07:02 PM   #40
Dayton Ward
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

^ Saaaaaaaay. Nice avatar.
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Old October 26 2008, 10:48 PM   #41
captcalhoun
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Bendis uses narrative caption style text boxes instead of thought balloons for Spidey in Ultimate Spider-Man.
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Old October 26 2008, 10:57 PM   #42
JD
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

I'm pretty sure, I've seen that in the Buffy Season 8, and Star Wars comics too.
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Old October 26 2008, 11:54 PM   #43
Ryan Thomas Riddle
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

captcalhoun wrote: View Post
Bendis uses narrative caption style text boxes instead of thought balloons for Spidey in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Although, Harvey Pekar still uses thought balloons in American Splendor, which is now published through the Vertigo imprint of DC.

The disuse of the thought balloon was mention recently in an NPR discussion on the works of JMS, particularly his comic book work and the Spidey 9/11 issue. See: http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2...fans_on_1.html
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Old October 27 2008, 01:00 AM   #44
William Leisner
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
^ Saaaaaaaay. Nice avatar.
What, this old thing?
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Old October 28 2008, 05:13 PM   #45
Geoff Thorne
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Re: Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Writing comics is a specific skill. Not every prose writer or screenwriter can do it. Writing prose is a specific skill. Not every screenwriter or comics writer can do it. Screenwriting is a specific skill not every prose or comics writer can do it.

Each has different goals and each requires a different understanding of how to execute a story. One primary difference is novels are complete unto themselves. Scripts are only a part of the eventual whole- blueprints for the house.

A lot can be learned by doing, true, but I've known a stack of screenwriters who can't crack prose and a few comics writers who can't seem to cross into screenwriting. Prose writers, too, can have trouble with the rigid Spartan structure of a screenplay or a comic book script.

There's a reason some writers gravitate to different media to express their tales. Some fit better than others.

I say everybody should try all the forms at least once.


Last edited by Geoff Thorne; October 28 2008 at 06:14 PM.
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