Hi, Bob,
Long time reader, First time questioner.
With all the recent publications out there that have featured the “raw” comic book script (AVENGERS ROUGH CUT, POWERS trade paperback), I was wondering what tools of the trade the comic book writer uses. Do they use traditional film script tools such as “Final Draft” or “Screenwriter 2000” or do they just use Microsoft Word with a stylized template?
— George Rears (grears@home.com)

I had a math teacher in junior high who used to say, “There are many ways to get to Manhattan” whenever he’d explain how to solve a problem and one of us came up with a different method. We used to make jokes about this, but some thirty-seven years later, it still makes sense. (And, obviously, I still remember it!)

When I started writing comic book scripts back in the 1970s, everybody used a typewriter. Some of us had second-hand old standard ones and some of us graduated to electric ones as we started to earn enough money to afford one. The key then was not what you used, but what the finished product looked like… and especially that it was in a format the editor would accept.

So a sample page would look like this:

PAGE THREE

Panel 1: [ART: Bob sits at his typewriter, trying to come up with something to write. Laurie is coming through the door with a glass of milk and a plate of fresh-baked cookies.]

BOB(thought): Julie’s going to be annoyed if I use the “Robin swings from the dorm window” bit again.

LAURIE: Time for a cookie break!

BOB #2: Hey, maybe if I stick a couple of cookies in the script, Julie won’t notice the dorm window business!

*****

Over the years and in the hands of the many people who have written comic books, this has evolved somewhat, but it’s still the same basic idea: The writer tells the artist what to draw and what the characters in the scene are saying. Whether this is done using some specialized program or a template created in MS Word or in plain old keyboarding (or “typing” as it used to be known) doesn’t matter as long as the artist can understand it.

Though I now do all my work on a computer, I’m still using that same basic format I learned back in 1973. What about the comics scripters who are out there reading this? Any of you using a specialized program?


BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
This week it’s Trivia Poker. Figure out the tie-ins for each clue, then put them together for a poker hand.

1. Mano’s gang, Querl Dox, Dumb Bunny’s pals
2. Emerald Archer, Sheena, Zazzala, Duela
3. Bathound, two Super-Villain Legionnaires, WHAM-TV newsman, “fingered” Batman-foe
4. Simon’s partner, TV’s Olsen, Richie’s pal Jokers, Easy Company’s boxer
5. Early ACTION fliers, Hans von Hammer
6. Thing’s team-up title, Harvey Dent, Snow White’s pals, Law’s Legionnaires
7. EC battle book, number of Geeks, Reed’s team, Zrfff, Mockingbird’s group
8. Selina’s whip, Carter’s flying aid, rings of Wu-Tang
9. Hank Pym identity, Starman artist, former Bat-editor, Mr. Q Frost
10. David McKay newspaper reprint title, a Challenger, another EC battle book, Dark Knight in the Ray Zone, Mouseketeers
11. I—Spy, former vampire Hannibal, Miss Arrowette
12. Amos Fortune and his four pals

BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Daniel Boone detested coonskin caps.
2. Money isn’t made out of paper, it’s made out of cotton. Before the 1950’s it was made from hemp — the stem and leaves of a marijuana plant.
3. Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark’s stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.


FEEDBACK FROM THE EMAILBOX:

Not really a question, but a comment. We don’t have two dollar bills in Canada anymore. We have a two dollar coin. On which version of the $2 bill does the American flag appear? [Okay, so maybe it was a comment and question.]
— Sandy (szita@home.com)

Regarding the recent Fun Fact: Bad news, it isn’t the U.S. flag on the Canadian $2 dollar bill; it is the maple leaf flag. You might want to check the article at: http://www.snopes.com/business/money/canada2.htm
 Gary Peterson (Chemocean@hotmail.com)

Well, all I have to say for myself is… don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

By the way, there are no $1 bills in Canada any more either. Their $1 “loony” is far more successful than any dollar coin that’s been tried here in the United States. The Susan B. Anthony and the Sakajawea dollars are about as popular as our $2 bill (which has Thomas Jefferson on it).

*****
Not a question… Just a comment on your missing ‘Mazing Man story.

When I lived in Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan in the early 1980s, I saw a subway magician who fit the description of the character in this story. He struck me as one of the bravest people I’d ever seen, handing sharp scissors to strangers on a subway car while performing rope tricks. In the harsh setting of a subway ride, he won over a lot of people, though many took great pains to avoid eye contact with the magician, ignoring his presence.

He started his act when the train left the last Manhattan station, with several minutes underwater as well as underground before we’d reach the next Brooklyn station. He didn’t even make a pitch for money — some passengers, on leaving the train, stuck money in his pockets while he proceeded with a trick.

I’m glad your story brought back that memory.

I enjoyed the series a lot, by the way.
 James Langdell (langdell@earthlink.net)

*****

In answer to a recent trivia question, don’t the Silent Knight strip from BRAVE & BOLD and the CAMELOT 3000 maxi-series also count (in addition to The Demon and Shining Knight) as series inspired by King Arthur’s court?
 Len Wein

Well, yes, I guess they do. The Silent Knight ran in the first 22 issues of B&B, almost a four-year run. (Sir Brian Kent will reappear in SUPERMAN ADVENTURES if the script I wrote ever sees print, by the way.)

And the 12-issue CAMELOT 3000 was supposed to last only a year, but we know what happened to the deadlines on that one, don’t we, Len?

*****
Hasn’t that “Donald Duck banned in Finland” story been declared an urban legend?
 Mike Kuypers (mkuypers@home.com)

Apparently so. Check out www.snopes.com/disney/films/finland.htm

*****

Hey, Bob! Thanks for answering my question about the whereabouts of Sal Amendola! Thank Sal for me also! That was fun.

I would like to see this as a regular feature in your column – almost like the “Whatever happened to…” series in DC COMICS PRESENTS, but about former artist and writers. Perhaps other readers would like this as well. If so, how about updates on Irv Novick, Murphy Anderson, Jimmy Janes, Jim Sherman, Win Mortimer, Cary Bates, Elliot S! Maggin, Frank Redondo, and Tom Yeates!

And just how do you pronounce “Giacoia” anyway?
— Jeffrey Glover (jglover@dixie-net.com)

Irv Novick was profiled in Mark Evanier’s column in CBG not too long ago and there’s a special tribute to Murphy Anderson scheduled for COMIC SHOP NEWS in the near future. If they or any of the rest of the folks on your list are out there and have info they’d like to share, I’m more than happy to do it.

Oh, and it’s gee-uh-COY-uh. (At least, that’s the way I always pronounced it.)


There are still plenty more questions in the pile waiting to be answered, but that doesn’t mean you should wait before sending yours in. Use that handy box in the column on the left and your Q will be winging its way into my emailbox.

TRIVIA ANSWERS:
1. Fatal FIVE, Brainiac 5, Inferior 5 (three of a kind)
2. Oliver QUEEN, QUEEN of the Jungle, QUEEN Bee, Card QUEEN (4 of a kind)
3. ACE, Cosmic KING, Saturn QUEEN, JACK Ryder, TEN-Eyed Man (straight)
4. JACK Kirby, JACK Larsen, JACKie Jokers, JACKie Johnson (4 of a kind)
5. Three ACES, Enemy ACE (4 of a kind)
6. Marvel TWO-in-One, TWO-Face, SEVEN Dwarves, SEVEN Soldiers of Victory (two pair)
7. TWO-Fisted Tales, 3 Geeks, Fantastic 4, 5th Dimension, Secret SIX (straight)
8. Cat-o’-NINE-tails, 9th metal, NINE Rings of Wu-Tang (three of a kind)
9. Yellow JACKet, JACK Burnley, JACK Schiff, JACK Q Frost (4 of a kind)
10. ACE Comics, ACE Morgan, ACEs High, 3-D Batman, 3 Mouseketeers (full house)
11. KING Faraday, Hannibal KING, Bonnie KING (3 of a kind)
12. The ROYAL FLUSH GANG

If you play your cards right, you can find a new trivia question every day at Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia.

 


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Ask BobRo at It’s BobRo’s Answer Board.

Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.


 

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