Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Game, TV, and Screenwriting Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


As you know from reading John Rogers' blog, Kung Fu Monkey -- you do read Kung Fu Monkey, right? -- JR not only writes big Hollywood movies where things go boom, he is also a comics fan. He was all set to showrun Global Frequency, based on one of Warren Ellis's relatively cheery and utopian comics (and if you know Ellis's work, you know the term "relative" is doing a lot of heavy lifting there).
Now, he's writing comics. He started with a few of his own Zombie Tales, and now he's writing Blue Beetle with Keith Giffen.

Now, a comic that sells 5000 copies is not doing badly. The biggest comics series sell 100,000 an issue. A movie that sells 100,000 tickets is an unreleasable catastrophe that was only put in theaters to satisfy a clause in a contract. (Or, a mainstream Canadian release. But that's another post. Probably one on Denis's blog.)

So what is John doing writing comics when he could be writing more TV and movies? Is it wealth beyond the dreams of avarice? A need to procrastinate? The angst of the inner fanboy? He was kind enough to agree to another interview.

(NB: I'm going to get all the lingo wrong, so just point out my bads in the comments below and bear with me.)

CTVW: So, what are you writing comics for?
JR: Well, you can make ... fives of thousands of dollars. No, it's that you can get a story into production. In comics the line to production is straight. You write the story, the artist draws it. It's as close to TV as you can get, with the same attractions. You get to arc characters out, build great episodic moments with longer stories. And you're not restrained by budget. It's like the old radio plays.
CTVW: But you could be writing TV instead of the movies. Movies are sort of a one-night stand for the writer, aren't they? All that work to get them into bed and then "bye, gotta go."
JR: Movies have their own allure. It's the difference between writing novels and short stories. Each one has its own charm. There's something attractive about the very form -- the challenge of sketching out a character in that lenght of time. You have basically 15 pages [in a movie] to get everyone up and running, set up the world, create the pace of the world.

On the other hand, yeah, there is the frustration of "Am I still writing this movie??? How many drafts has it been?" Even when you write a sequel, and you love the characters and the world, you still have to let them go. Very few movies go on to be franchises.

They are two distinct styles. On the other hand on TV you start making compromises from the very beginning. There are fewer production compromises in movies. [I.e. in the movies John's writing!] At least, not before shooting. Until then, the movie is the movie, while in TV you always have the budget in the back of your mind. Can this be shot in 8 days? In a movie, you can blow up the world.
CTVW: To what degree do you direct camera in your comics scripts?
JR: Well bear in mind that I have very limited experience. I've worked with like three or four guys. Some of them can nail stuff without my having to mention it.
CTVW: But you call the shots.
JR: Yeah, you have to call the panels. That's one of the challenges of comics. You're basically doing a final edit in the script. Of course, many times the artist will have ideas about that. I get a call from Cully Hamner, the artist on Blue Beetle: "Can I pull this panel from this page onto that page?" or, " I really want to make this a bigger moment -- I want to do this page in 3 panels instead of 5." And sometimes it's, "Can I condense this page?", and I'll say, "No, I need the smaller panels." But usually they're dead on.
[To be continued...]
add to



Actually, 5000 copies is only OK if you own the book outright. Usually anything under 20,000 at the major publishers meets with quick cancellation, unless you're talking about Vertigo and they have a different system in place.

By Blogger Justin Gray, at 9:12 AM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.