Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

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  • Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

    Has anyone here ever written a 'comic book' script before?

    Obviously when I say 'comic book' i'm talking about a type of movie, as opposed to it coming from an existing comic book.

    I have what I believe it a really awesome and unique take on superhero's, and the core of the idea is something that will give me an almost endless pool to draw new characters and new story lines from. It has the potential to be a continually expanding universe.

    However, it's of course doesn't come from anywhere except my own mind. It doesn't already exist as a series of comics with a huge fan base already built in or anything.

    So I don't really know what I should do with it. Of course 'ideas' by themselves don't mean anything. I know this. But to me, it really is a great idea which, like I said, is something that can give me an endless pool of new things.

    Should I write this as a script set in this universe, or should I maybe stop thinking of it as a film (for now) and maybe approach comic book companies? Or what?

    Any advice would be welcome, and your own experiences in superhero and comic book scripts. I'd love to hear about it.

  • #2
    Re: writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

    I wrote a British indie super hero flick which I thought was the pops!
    Once I learned to write screenplays properly, I looked at it and so an ugly mess. I still like the core idea, but sifting through all the crap to get to it has proved too much effort so far.

    I also wrote a few episodes of a super hero TV series - it was kind of Batman but with actual super powers, and he wasn't rich.
    I won't go into it, but needless to say, I again thought it was the nuts - still do - but it generated ZERO interest.

    My advice is to just write whatever stories you like the idea of and can visualise as being AWESOME on screen. This even includes low-key dramas - anything which captures something within, genre shouldn't be a factor.

    P.S. Obviously you two have a history, but to HH's defence, I think he's telling you to work on ONE "awesome" idea at a time. You can always put projects in a drawer between drafts, but incomplete works are no good to anybody.
    Cufk, Tish, Sips.

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    • #3
      Re: writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

      Write the script. Chances are it won't sell (which goes for everything) but if it's a good sample, that's a victory unto itself. Send it to people. Doubtless you will hear "No one is making original superhero stuff; let's try and get this done as a comic/GN first," and then you can use the script you wrote as a foundation for the comic...

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      • #4
        Re: writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

        If you like the idea start writing it while it's hot and worry about the other factors later. While Comic Book type films are everywhere it opens the door for fresh takes on that kind of story so that there might be a variety out there. Best of luck.

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        • #5
          Re: writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

          I just finished a superhero pilot. "Comic book" movie is a little bit of a misnomer - I think you mean comics like X-Men but there are also comics like 100 Bullets which don't involve superheroes. If your idea is for a superhero movie, write it.

          The best superhero movie yet? THE MATRIX. Not a comic book, but about a hero with super powers set in an infinitely expandable universe. So it can be done.

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          • #6
            Re: writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

            Converting a Screenplay to a Comic Book

            Unfortunately, I couldn't find the old "$50K to make a graphic novel" link that I refer to in this thread, but such services are out there. It may be the way to go, be cause I presume if you do it first and sell it to HW, you'll be in line to write the screenplay, and you'll retain the rights like a novelist would. Or should.

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            • #7
              Re: Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

              Aw, c'mon. I wasn't that mean.

              HH

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              • #8
                Re: Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

                You might be better off these days making an iPad ap comic book. It would be cheaper than publishing it and maybe get more attention.

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                • #9
                  Re: Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

                  Examples of successful superhero movies not based on a previous property are rare -- DARKMAN and HANCOCK come to mind. But like Todd Karate said, write it anyways, it'll be a good exercise in expanding the universe for a potential comic book.
                  Twitter: @WriterLe

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                  • #10
                    Re: writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

                    Originally posted by killertv View Post
                    The best superhero movie yet? THE MATRIX. Not a comic book, but about a hero with super powers set in an infinitely expandable universe. So it can be done.
                    Actually, Andy and Larry Wachowski were going to make it into a comic book/GN at first, but producer Joel Silver, after looking at the conceptual art and galleys, decided it should be a movie.

                    For the best superhero film, it's a cross between "Unbreakable" and "Watchmen" for me because they each dissect and mature the superhero archetype.

                    To fanatic_about_film: I wrote an original script that has a superhero, the successor of a previous, dead one, dealing with a mysterious rival who has evil plans for Earth while trying to measure up to his mentor/predecessor. I also wrote an adaptation of Batman: HUSH. The thing about writing a superhero script, pre-existing or original, is that you have to know the rules of a superhero tale. Before 1989's Batman, if you were a screenwriter who read a lot of comics, you weren't treated seriously.

                    Now, if you're like David Hayter (co-writer of the first two X-Men films and Watchmen) who has read comic books (check out the article on him in the July/August 2011 issue of Script) for a while (I've been a fan since I was six), you've ahead of the game. If you're not, it's important (nowadays) to catch up. Just don't try to re-invent the genre and end up falling on your face ("cough" Tim Kring "cough").

                    Also, check out this video of WGA's coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S33bR...el_video_title
                    Last edited by Madbandit; 08-10-2011, 06:07 AM.
                    "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

                    "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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                    • #11
                      Re: Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

                      I think the thing to always be thinking about is what you are bringing to the table that's new. If your story is more or less interchangable with any number of existing properties, why would anyone want to make it, as opposed to using a hero with a built-in audience? I don't think anyone will find any success with a superhero story that follows the same paradigm as a Marvel/DC story but is unknown.

                      If you are bringing something fresh to the table, then it's a nice sample even if it never sells.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

                        I am currently putting the final rewrites of a screenplay that I seriously considered as a graphic novel, too, and I had the same questions. I even had the luck to meet good peeps over at places like Windstorm/Vertigo, Virgin Comics, OniPress, etc., and I really was interested in pursuing something.

                        But the reality of the climate woke me up pretty quick. If you go the comic route, just know you're looking at (seriously) part-time barista type money, for a long time. Several of the non-Marvel companies are really pinching pennies to get by right now. So if you're having trouble getting by as a waiter/assistant/etc, you're not going to see your situation improve. It's worked out for people like Brian K. Vaughan and others, but mostly just because they were undeniably talented and crossed mediums on their own. The great comics are written by guys and gals who just don't care about the money.

                        The other reason to write the screenplay is that all (or most) of the aforementioned comic companies are looking to turn properties into films/shows. Look at Platinum... they really only create the comics in the first place so as to have the IPs ready for the screen. There might be something to the idea of telling a backstory prequel to your film as a comic, but you'd probably want to bring a finished script to the comic studio first.

                        To summarize, if you want to be a screenwriter, write for screen. If you want to write comics and screenplays, write for screen, then maybe do the comics as an outlet. And if you really only want to write comics, then what the **** are you doing on DDP?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Writing a 'comic book' movie - without a comic book

                          Well said.

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