Monday, October 31, 2011

Dundee Comcis Day: Wagner's words of wisdom

Trundled north for Dundee Comics Day yesterday, part of the local Literary Festival. Ran into lots of folk who used to work for me at 2000AD et al - Cam Kennedy, Robbie Morrison, Frank Quitely, Colin MacNeil, Jim O'Ready. Failed to catch up with John Wagner, which was a shame, but his talk was inspirational. Here are a few notes:

"Strong characters make strong stories. Events are fine, but you have to filter them through character. If you combine bad and good in the one character, that's always stronger. The reader can take them how they like. Judge Dredd is a genuine hero and a genuine villain. I had him do something heroic and villainous in every story.

"Short comics stories have three stages - beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces your characters, and establishes their objectives. In the middle stage your characters succeed or fail by their own means at achieving their objectives. For the ending, you need a surprise or twist of some sort to wrap the story up.

"Character is about how they react to things, it comes out in the choices they make. You try and garner reader empathy through their choices. Emotional depth is such a personal thing. It much easier to write emotional stories on your own. Working at DC Thomson, nothing was ever good enough. But it's good to fight complacency."

1 comment:

Matthew Rees said...

Interesting comment about strong characters for strong stories. I was a talk a year or so ago when Woodrow Phoenix said that he deliberately had no characters in Rumble Strip as they get in the way of the story - if you don't associate with the character then you don't get the story.