The Writer’s Block

 WRIB   (Beyond, 2002)

™ and © Beyond Comics

Writer’s Block is an experiment: a comic-book magazine examining the Marvel method of writing comics. This sort of meta-comics work is rarely seen, and it’s welcome, especially for aspiring comics writers.

David Miller’s concept is simple: supply six pages of art to three well-known comics writers: Jim Shooter, Mike Baron, and Roy Thomas, and see what kind of story they can make out of it. Neal also includes an interview with each writer that describes his thinking process.

It all sounds so good on paper. Two things derail this concept; first, this isn’t really the Marvel method. Ostensibly, to create a comic book “Marvel-style,” the writer begins with a plot or outline, the story is pencilled and inked by the artists based on the plot, and the writer then fills in the dialogue and captions. Instead, in this case, the art is supplied to the writers, and the writers then supply the plot and script based on the art. Writer’s Block as a serious examination of the Marvel method therefore fails because it violates the premise.

The other thing that makes Writer’s Block not work is that the art, unlike the writing, is not competent enough. Shooter even comments on this during his interview. Perhaps Miller should have secured the work of a professional comics artist (and charged less than $3.50 for the same art repeated three times and several text pages) if he wanted this experiment to truly shine.

— Steve Horton

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B&WJim Shooter, David Miller, Roy ThomasDavid Miller