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‘Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics’ (review)

Written by Paul Kupperberg
Introduction by Joe Staton
Cover Art by Steven Butler

I first met Paul Kupperberg at cons way back in the 1970s. Once, in the ‘80s, I even won a door prize of an Arion, Lord of Atlantis poster signed by Paul. Little did I realize that someday the woman I would marry, Ms. Molecule co-creator Rene King Thompson, would be cited as a positive example in Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics!

If you’re a comics fan, Paul Kupperberg should be familiar to you and his extensive list of writing credits for a dozen different comic book companies eminently qualify him for this type of book.

Outside of a couple of abandoned attempts, I, myself, have never written a comic book story.

I have, however, written many other things and over the years I have mentored a number of other writers.

I’m happy to see Paul birng up a number of things I teach my mentees, particularly my pet peeve about not using people’s names in conversation. I mean, listen to yourself. Unless you call to someone to get their attention, odds are you almost NEVER use a person’s name when you speak to them. Paul agrees.

Many other tips and tricks are taught throughout, almost textbook-style, along with all sorts of industry slang like “logline” and “decompressed storytelling” with which I was previously unfamiliar. There are exercises offered from the author and additional tips each chapter from other name writers and editors including Danny Fingeroth and Tom DeFalco.

The best part of the book is that while it is most definitely educational, it isn’t stuffy and matter-of-fact in any kind of traditional scholarly way.

No, the text is completely anecdotal, with Paul using his own considerable storytelling skills to describe specific incidents in his own career or even inspirations outside the comics field to emphasize and demonstrate his points.

The book is illustrated with lots of black and white examples of the right way to do things but the text also cites a number of cases where the wrong way was used as things to avoid. Toward the end, it’s all pulled together when we get a full, finished  Kupperberg comics story, contrasted with its original script pages.

As a lifelong comics reader, I’ve always found it to be fun and informative to learn about someone’s creative process. Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics presents just that in a slow-building personal narrative format that tells its own story along the way, in the end leaving you not just a little better educated but also itching to jump in and try it yourself!

Booksteve recommends!


Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics
is available now by supporting it’s Kickstarter campaign!



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