Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels

(text & illus.). Watson-Guptill. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780770434359. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780770434366. GRAPHIC NOVELS/BUS
With a string of best-selling series and five Eisner Awards under his belt, Bendis (Powers; Ultimate Spider-Man) knows a thing or two about writing for the comic page. Interviews and panel discussions with industry superstars like Mike Allred, Jill Thompson, Ed Brubaker, and Diana Schutz give a broad sense of what generally makes up the path to publication as well as a sampling of the dozens of specific paths one may encounter. Abundant illustrations helpfully reinforce points raised in each chapter. Bendis understands that, for this book's intended audience, the creative process serves as a means to a career in a highly competitive field. He takes for granted that the reader has a solid foundation in storytelling and forgoes advice on dialog, characterization, and the like. Instead, he focuses on aspects of the industry that rookie writers may be unfamiliar with, such as writing with the illustrator in mind, collaborative methods, and dealing with editors. This tight focus may disappoint readers looking for specific tips to improve their writing, but those a bit further down the professional road will appreciate the business-minded perspective.
VERDICT Recommended for aspiring pros and readers wanting an inside look at what goes into creating a successful comic.

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