How To Write Comics The MARK WAID Way

"Daredevil #26" cover by Chris Samnee
"Daredevil #26" cover by Chris Samnee
Credit: Chris Samnee (Marvel Comics)

Mark Waid has been writing comic books professionally for 32 years, and now he's sharing that knowledge to the next generation of writers. On March 18, the comics creator education company Comics Experience is hosting a master seminar with Mark Waid about the art of writing comic books.

Launched in 2007 by former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt, Comics Experience is an online school dedicated to teaching the various job skills associated with making comic books.

Newsarama spoke with Waid about his upcoming seminar, the recommended reading list, and where he learned how to write.

Credit: Comics Experience

Newsarama: Mark, howwould you describe this Comics Script Writing master seminar?

Mark Waid: It's designed to be a full course all the way from "where do you get your ideas and how do you turn them into stories?" Right down to the fine points of writing a professional script.

Nrama: You've participated in numerous "breaking into comics" and "writing comics" panels, but this seems very different. How would you frame it?

Credit: Alex Ross (Marvel Comics)

Waid: Again, this is super-inclusive. The goal is to give a seminar that doesn't focus too hard on any one specific technique or life-lesson, but more on how to construct a script from start to finish.

Nrama: Have you done any teaching of this nature before?

Waid: Not with this intensity. I'm looking forward to it!

Nrama: Not to spoil the entire course, but where do your ideas come from? Do you have any specific examples from recently-published stories?

Credit: Warner Books

Waid: They come from the world around you - and the emotions those events stir in you. Our work on Marvel's Champions is the best example right now, as it's a team of young activists dealing with real-world issues like racism and hate crimes.

Nrama: Who would you say were your teachers when you were first beginning to do writing?

Waid: No one hands-on; I learned from books about writing, the best of which was William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade - required reading for any comics writer because of how it discusses structure and character.

Credit: Allyn & Bacon

Nrama: As a journalist-turned-editor-turned-writer/publisher/retailer, do you think more training is needed for writers first entering the comic book industry?

Waid: More than ever. Not only is our audience older and more selective, but as a new writer, your book is no longer competing with just everything else in the store - it's competing with most everything ever published, since comiXology and other online services make buying an Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman comic as easy as buying a paper comic.

Nrama: For those interested in taking the course, what would be good preperation for them before the March event?

Waid: Read Adventures in the Screen Trade. Read The Elements of Style. And think hard about why you want to be a writer and what you have to say.

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