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M C R I P T S
The scripts pencilers use to break down a story are either a full script with
dialogue or a simple plot form. Carlin uses both types of scripts. “There are people who are better at doing full scripts than plots. The writer’s script is not literally what the world sees, it’s still the penciler’s, the inker’s, and even the letterer’s work that the world will see… and ultimately judge. I never thought about it, but that might be one of the reasons why stuff like Jack Kirby’s contribution to what Stan Lee was doing really put it over the top.” The type of script used changes from comic to comic. “Ultimately that’s just worked out between the editors and writers and artists. At DC they do full scripts and vice versa depending on the artist and just the needs of the job that they’re working on. So it really does kind of go all over the mat now.” When Carlin worked on Superman, plot form was the method of choice. “We did a plot form because it was easier to make revisions. It was easier for me to write in an instruction to an artist: make sure this guy has a mustache or don’t forget that he has to be wearing big shoes to leave the right kind of footprints for the next Figure 1.4: Captain Contradiction vs. the Evil Gainsayer, from Mike Carlin’s Page O’ Stuff, a regular feature for Crazy magazine.
story,” Carlin explains. “The other reason we used plots was because we had a lot of artists on Superman who would be part of coming up with the ideas and also were fairly strong storytellers themselves (guys like Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens). So, it was natural to
Metal Men and all related characters © DC Comics
leave some of that pacing up to the artists. That to me is the difference between a full script and a plot: it is more about the pacing, not about literally the story itself. I think that clearly the writer is still making up the story, but if the artist is deciding where closeups go and where page breaks come to some degree, I think that they are much more a part of directing the story that way.” “I also personally feel it is a truer collaboration…to have the writer then go back in based on the expressions and scenarios that the penciler put in and play off of what drama has maybe even altered or changed. That’s not everybody’s favorite way to do it, but I personally like that because I do think that whether we like it or not, it is a collaboration and we should actually play to the strengths that come from that. The editor always plays to whatever strengths are available within the collaborative team. If the artist is excellent, for example, it may be easier to change the script to match the artwork. “Without meaning to put particular pressure on any individual creator or not, I do think that there are guys who will just be better at certain things than others. I mean Alan Moore writing a full script is definitely still coming through on the page [once it is penciled]. But he is definitely an unusual creator in that respect. It is not what every other Tom, Dick and Harry is able to achieve.” Figure 1.5: Metal Men #2, written by Mike Carlin. A good editor is well versed in all aspects of sequential art.