My First Real No Kidding Comic Script

So hey, guess what -- I completed something this weekend I've not been able to do my entire life. Literally.

I actually finished a script for a 10 page comic. A fully formatted, properly-written script. For a (soon to be) penciled, inked and lettered comic. By me.

Why is this a big deal, right? What the hell, Joe? Why couldn't you just, you know... Write a script at some point? Why an entire blog post about the fact you did it? Well, it's kind of a long story. But the bottom line is that there is one thing that I've wanted to do all my life -- write and draw comics. And when I was 12, I started doing just that. They were terrible, for sure -- horribly out-of-proportion versions of Wolverine and Punisher on college-ruled notebook paper doing not much else besides fighting. But eventually they moved to typing paper, then to bristol board. And when I was 19, I wasn't much further along than when I was 12, but was seriously considering using my web career to advance my ability to do comics.

But all along, I got very little support. And before I was 12, I was 10 -- which is when my mother married the man who would eventually adopt me and support me and give me the first real freedom to do stuff I wanted to do (even though he didn't really understand it). And before I was 10, I was a child who had a brother and a birth father who constantly and consistently convinced him that drawing (and all artistic endeavors) were things "fags" did. And that I'd never be much of anything at them, and to give up.

But I didn't really. I got really obstinate. And through Junior High and High School, I just said "fuck you all" and did what I wanted to. And when I quit college and did website crap, some really crazy things happened in my life and someone I cared a lot about basically told me I should give up on anything artistic, that I'd never make it, and my attempts at doing so were a joke.

I stopped drawing pretty much completely. And that sucks. I shouldn't have let that happen to me. But I did. And I found surrogates for doing comics -- layouts for websites, writing books, doing blogs, etcetera. But nothing ever really scratched that itch of doing comics.

Then last December, I just decided to stop letting voices from the past control the present and get back to the drawing board, thanks to the "Pay what you want" sketch project (which is still going, by the way, if you want one -- and I'm really behind on some from months ago, if  I owe you one, please email me!!! I'm powering through the backlog and don't want to miss yours!) and your support, I started drawing again.

And so, now I'm writing comics, thanks to a HUGE amount of encouragement from some really great friends in the industry. My first assignment, from none other than the amazing Jason Pearson, was to write a 10-page script capturing a moment. That's really it -- any moment I wanted, but it had to be a complete moment and fit in 10 pages. And it could only feature one action per panel, meaning one bit of activity. It had to show -- not tell -- action. Dialog is to be kept to a minimum. No narration.

You have no idea how hard it is for a prose / novel / long-form writer (with a paralyzing fear of writing comics because it's the one thing he's always wanted to do his whole life and he's utterly afraid he'll suck at it) to do that. It was hard. And by hard, I mean it took me 8 drafts before I finally had the courage to finally turn it over to Jason.

And last Friday, I did. And I am immensely proud of that fact.

Next step is to do the layouts, then pencil it, then ink and letter it. Then put the sucker out.

If you want to wait until then to read it (and I really do hope you will), then don't click this link. It goes to the script, which you can read and give me feedback on if you like. But if you do read it, be aware -- I do know there's a little bit of sloppiness in the formatting (I'm still learning how the mechanics of a script are done), and it probably needs some help. But hey, it's good enough for me to feel like I've done it.

But being honest, I do hope you'll wait until it's drawn before you read it.