Come In Alone: Issue #33

Fri, July 14th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Warren Ellis, Columnist

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Something a little different, this time around.

I've recently received a flood of emails sourced from the email link on this page, asking me lots of questions about comics scripts again. Specifically, what do they look like and how you can get hold of one.

So here's one.

It's the script for the first segment of DARK BLUE, a six-part story currently being serialised in Avatar Press' THRESHOLD anthology. (You can find more information on it, including art, at at and , but you'll have to dodge the Avengelyne stuff there…!)

DARK BLUE is illustrated by a very gifted and inventive young artist called Jacen Burrows. He's very smart, very intuitive, has a compositional eye that's developing in leaps and bounds, and therefore doesn't need a lot of direction. Some artists need to be led by the nose to get to the image you're trying to achieve. Jacen gets there first time, and does it better than you're seeing it in your own head. So, once I've got him used to the way I write and the way I see things, I can do what I like to to with clever artists. No, not kill them. I start to suggest instead of request. I can describe a character in a few broad strokes suggestive of looks and expression and background and let the artist build the visual representation - which they have to be happy and comfortable with because they're the one who's going to be drawing them for months - from inference. I can talk about Frank Christchurch's dead eyes and Deb Thorogood's cropped hair and men's suits and what comes out is the face and the body language that I wanted, embodied in a visual code that Jacen is happy and comfortable with.

Comics writing is not about sprinkling the magic fairy dust of Collaboration around, nor is it about making the artist march in lockstep to your Nuremburg prclamations. It's about making the artist look good. And artists will always produce their best work when they're happy about the method. And DARK BLUE is Jacen's best work to date.

DARK BLUE is written for black-and-white publication. It is a Mature Readers project, which means there is violence, strong language and scenes of drug use and vicious cigarette smoking within. If God told you that this sort of thing will make you blind, then turn back now.

Okay; let's see if CBR's webslaves can cope with the formatting, weird tabulation, two different fonts and boldfacing of what follows…

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