Saturday, April 12, 2008

A beautiful Saturday!

Today was the best day of the year here in Seattle, sunny all day with temperatures that must have hit seventy. The lakes were filled with boaters, parks were crowded with ballplayers and runners, the Dalai Lama was making an appearance this afternoon at a program at the football stadium, and there was a green technology fair at the convention center.

So, of course, I spent the shank of the afternoon in a dark room at class on writing comics.

Class Act

Shary Flenniken, whom you may remember from her strip "Trots and Bonnie" in the old National Lampoon, was teaching a class called Scripting the Graphic Novel for Writers and Artists at the Richard Hugo House, a local center for the literary arts. The class was scheduled to coincide with Marjane Satrapi's appearance in town on Monday.

I had been expecting a class focusing on the details of full-script versus "Marvel" methods and similar technical issues. I guess this betrays my formalist bent; Shary's presentation, well-received by the eleven attendees, ranged from creativity exercises and brainstorming methods to scriptwriting practices and publishing concerns.

Most of the students were writers first and foremost; some of them had had little or no exposure to comics. More than one was looking for the appropriate vehicle for her story, or another way of telling it, after having tried prose and screenplay. There was a strong creative energy in the class and a great deal of respect for the promise of the "graphic novel" form.

Shary provided guidance in visual- and action-based writing that was on-target for the audience and the context. And she told funny stories, too!

check out Shary's website

A is A
There's a huge announcement bouncing around the internets right now:

It looks like at long last Steve Ditko is going to have a new book coming out. I'm sure I'm going to get it, and I'm sure I will be thrilled to see new art from one of the greats, but I'm not as sure that I'm going to enjoy reading it. We'll see. Check out the details on Ditko Looked Up.


RAB said...

I am sincerely envious of you. That totally rocks.

And for some reason, I'm not as bothered as I'd have expected by some of the attendees having no prior exposure to comics yet wanting to investigate the possibility of working in the medium. I'm all too familiar with the recent phenomenon of dilettantes who think of a graphic novel as merely a way of pitching their stories to Hollywood...but this doesn't sound like that.

Walaka said...

No, I don't think it was the "GN-as-movie-treatment" thing that was going on; I think that most of the folks were genuinely interested in fining effective ways to tell stories, regardless of the medium.