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Old 01-03-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
Dirk Manning
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Arrow Dirk Manning's "WRITE OR WRONG" (A complete set of links -- Updated semi-weekly!)

Hey all!

As some -- and hopefully most -- of you know, I write a semi-weekly column on writing and creating comics for www.Newsarama.com every Tuesday titled "Write or Wrong".

I write the column because I still remember how hard it was to "break in" and start actucally *creating* comics when I was still a wannabe writer/creator from the Midwest and because, quite frankly, I would have killed for a column like the one I'm now in a position to write.

Below is a link to every "Write or Wrong" column to date. New installments appear about once every three weeks (it used to be weekly -- but I've gotten pretty busy as of late), but I'll stay on top of updating the list below every time a new column goes online so you can all check out the latest articles should you happen to miss them the first time around... because I'm a swell guy like that.

Cool?

My only hope is that some of you out there who are serious about creating comics will find some value in my lil' diatribes, antecdotes and tales.

That being said... happy reading!

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning

***

Want to read Write or Wrong from the beginning? Here ya’ go!

WoW #1: Introduce Yourself
WoW #2: Thematically Speaking
WoW #3: How Badly Do You Want It?
WoW #4: Meeting Bendis and Finding Artists
WoW #5: Making First Contact
WoW #6: Things Fall Apart
WoW #7: Creation vs Dictation
WoW #8: Kill the Buddha
WoW #9: They’re Not Robots
WoW #10: Dollars and Sense
WoW #11: World Wide You
WoW #12: Always Use Protection
WoW #13: Contract Killers
WoW #14: Take a Look in the Mirror
WoW #15: Words Worth 1,000 Pictures
WoW #16: Mid-Ohio Musings
WoW #17: Seeking What the Masters Sought
WoW #18: Means and Ends
WoW #19: Likeable Characters
WoW #20: "What's My (Evil) Motivation?"
WoW #21: "It's Not a Race"
WoW #22: How to Successfully Play God
WoW #23: Are You Really THAT Good?
WoW #24: Things Fall Apart, v2.0
WoW #25: Climbing Out of the Hole
WoW #26: "See all those people out there?"
WoW #27: Lose Yourself
WoW #28: The Tallest Midget in Shortsville
WoW #29: Punisher Skrull Sex
WoW #30: The Wrath of Con
WoW #31: All We Have is Time
WoW #32: Dishin' with Dwight MacPherson
WoW #33: The horror, the horror...
WoW #34: The End is the Beginning
WoW #35: The Weakest Link
WoW #36: Wrestling with Spidey
WoW #37: It Has to Be You
WoW #38: Step Up
WoW #39: Rage Against the (Pitch) Machine
WoW #40: Interesting Times
WoW #41: "Why So Serious?"
WoW #42: Defining Success
WoW #43: Defining Yourself
WoW #44: The Power of "No"
WoW #45: Interview with the Editor
WoW #46: The Other Places
WoW #47: Quality Control is Not the Enemy
WoW #48: The X-Men Analogy

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Old 01-05-2007, 11:37 AM   #2
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Those are three hours of my life that I will never get back !

Seriously, I read every installment this morning and I have to say that it really helped open my eyes. I'm really thankful that I found this because now I know things that I didn't know before.

When you had the post about the technical scripts (the ones that have every panel, shot, perspective pre-planned), I had no idea that people did it any other way. I had always thought that the mechanical type of script was what everyone did. I'm glad that I read your blog because I probably have been boring artists to death with some of my scripts. Now, I can tweak them so that the artist can have more flexibility.

Also, when I was writing scripts, I was worried that what I was writing wouldn't be funny to anyone else or that it wouldn't catch on because it wasn't what was "hot" right now. Now I feel a little more confident because the stories I write are the ones I want to write.

I hope that you continue to do this blog (which I'm adding to my favorites so I can always go back and learn more) and I wish you the best of luck with your website. I really like reading Nightmare World and I'm glad that you've achieved success with it.

I hope one day to achieve success myself, but I have to strap on my boots and get to it. I'll never know if I don't try.

Once again, keep up the good work.
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:20 AM   #3
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Like I said, this is a very well done column...probably the best writing column on the web for comics. It eliminates unrealistic expectations, yet honestly convinces the reader that it can be done. Which is exactly what a column like this should do.

Thanks Dirk. You should publish them when they are done.

JP
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Old 01-07-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
Dirk Manning
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In the beginning...

Quote:
Originally Posted by T Reaper 2.0
Those are three hours of my life that I will never get back !

Seriously, I read every installment this morning and I have to say that it really helped open my eyes. I'm really thankful that I found this because now I know things that I didn't know before.

When you had the post about the technical scripts (the ones that have every panel, shot, perspective pre-planned), I had no idea that people did it any other way. I had always thought that the mechanical type of script was what everyone did. I'm glad that I read your blog because I probably have been boring artists to death with some of my scripts. Now, I can tweak them so that the artist can have more flexibility.

Also, when I was writing scripts, I was worried that what I was writing wouldn't be funny to anyone else or that it wouldn't catch on because it wasn't what was "hot" right now. Now I feel a little more confident because the stories I write are the ones I want to write.

I hope that you continue to do this blog (which I'm adding to my favorites so I can always go back and learn more) and I wish you the best of luck with your website. I really like reading Nightmare World and I'm glad that you've achieved success with it.

I hope one day to achieve success myself, but I have to strap on my boots and get to it. I'll never know if I don't try.

Once again, keep up the good work.
Three hours?!? Dang... you must be a speed reader!

Seriously, though, THANK YOU for the kind words.

My goal in starting this column was to show people how I got to where I am. Am I a writer worth multi-million dollars? No... not yet... and I may never will be.

HOWEVER, I did start as a Midwest bumpkin five years ago without so much as even an Internet connection and now I'm a mult-time published writer with two extremely popular comic titles under my belt and more to come in '07 and beyond...

My point being, if I can do this anyone can... and I wanted to give people some insight into how I got to where I am. Not that my way is the only way, of course, but hopefully it will at least give some people (such as yourself) some food for thought and maybe even a little motivation to boot...

Thanks again for the kind words. I'll be updating the list up top every week as new columns are posted.

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning

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Old 01-07-2007, 12:46 PM   #5
Dirk Manning
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Always look ahead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua P
Like I said, this is a very well done column...probably the best writing column on the web for comics. It eliminates unrealistic expectations, yet honestly convinces the reader that it can be done. Which is exactly what a column like this should do.

Thanks Dirk. You should publish them when they are done.

JP
Thanks, Joshua. Your kind words always mean a lot to me.

As for publishing the columns as a book/collection when all is said and done, heh, there's already been talk/interest... so stay tuned.

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning
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Old 01-18-2007, 10:39 PM   #6
Dirk Manning
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Post Ten times two...

Hey all!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I've updated the post up top with links to last week's column #19 and this week's column #20...

Enjoy!

(For the record, column #19 is -- hands-down -- my favorite column I've written to date.)

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:05 AM   #7
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#19 is probably the best advice I've ever read about creating a hero...i'm not sure I entirely agree with 20, but 19 is dead on.

JP
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:31 AM   #8
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I loved #19. I would definetly hang out with Fone Bone and the gang.

I agree with what you said about likeable characters. I try to keep all of my characters realistic and give them flaws, but make sure the flaws don't overshadow the character. I made a theme for a lot of my stories "Making the best of a bad situation". Where the main characters lives might suck and bad things are happening, but they are doing their best to make it and not give up. Like Spider-Man because we all know his life sucks.

Keep up the good work.

Jon H. Parrish
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:11 PM   #9
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Oh, and what I disagreed with? Not what you were saying, but your list. Where the hell was Dr. Doom? You can't have a villains list without Doctor Doom. He's one of the most complex and best villains ever!
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:21 PM   #10
Dirk Manning
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Post The Doctor should have been in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua P
Oh, and what I disagreed with? Not what you were saying, but your list. Where the hell was Dr. Doom? You can't have a villains list without Doctor Doom. He's one of the most complex and best villains ever!
Yeah... I had Doom on the list and pulled him at the last minute for some dumb reason. Doom should have indeed been on there.

That aside, I just wanted to let everybody know (including the scads of new people showing-up) that the list of links at the top of this column has now been updated up to today's brand-new 22nd column! Huzzah!

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:43 AM   #11
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Am I good enough?

You collect Street Fighter too? Sweet. Say what you will, but the art is fantastic in it! (I love Street Fighter, what can I say?)

I have to agree with you about this week's column. It's not impossible (Spawn didn't happen THAT long ago) but superhero books are a really tough sell in a market very comfortable with the big two. Unless you can come up with an innovative twist on a concept that's been done to death, I don't think you should. That said, there are some great superhero books out there in Indy Land if anyone wants to look. I think that's the hardest challenge doing this...attention. It's what you strive for.

Do I really think I can come up with a superhero book with as much quality as an A Lister?

Call me a cocky SOB but I think I could. Right now there are a couple of heroes I'd enjoy writing (Silver Surfer and Green Lantern would be my books of choice) if I had a chance. I think I could do it. But right now I'm worried about my own book first. As you said, getting noticed is key. Still, one can dream. Besides, if I'm wrong, it's not like I can't handle a few rounds of embarrassment. Really, with any proposal to a company if I lose, I lose. It's not like I had a guarantee to begin with. So why not go for it?

One last thing: You, Ray Dillon, Frank Dirscher, Joanne Mutch and quite a few others in my view in digital webbing are good enough to go head to head with quite a few pros in the industry. Call me biased but I really admire the work done here and in other places on the web and think it could match some of the big guns of today. Since I've been covering quite a few books in my Indy Spotlight column, I truly believe that there are great talents in the industry that just haven't been discovered yet that are as good or better than what's in the mainstream. You guys just need to get in the limelight a little more. That's my opinion though.

Good luck with Hellblazer. I'd pay for it.

JP
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:56 PM   #12
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hey Dirk! great columns going on as usual, though i do have to disagree with you pretty much across the board about your "Are you really that good" column.

not that i don't at least partially agree with what you say as to the difficulty of putting out a superhero book in this current climate, but i think you miss a really important point, and that is intent.

you freely admit you have no real interest in writing superhero comics. now would you have still gone at your goal of writing comics with such zeal if you had a desire to write superhero comics as opposed to horror stuff? i think you would have. in fact you climbed the mountain in much the same situation as someone trying to do with superhero comics, because the industry is fairly oversaturated with horror comics as well. what got you there was smart marketing, good storytelling, and drive. these things are universal and can be applied to any genre with an equal amount of success.

but again, i think intent is the key here. sure, writing your own superhero comic isn't going to get you work at DC or Marvel. they don't want to see your heroes because obviously they have their own. but what if that's not your dream? what if you want to tell your own story? does that mean you shouldn't because your story is a superhero tale? no. and i honestly can't see anyone who has been around this industry even on the fringes having the kind of delusions that would bring them to think they are going to score millions on their superhero book and retire. that's not why the people that do heroes do heroes. they do it because they have stories to tell, and that's the way they choose to tell them.

and i hate to bust the bubble that no one has success with superhero comics anymore in the indie market, but that's simply not true. Invincible, for starters, seems pretty successful to me. ongoing, 40 plus issues and still rocking, hardcover edition, absolute treatment, 8 or 9 trades in print, various merchandise available, and more than likely some kind of alternative media deal in production. but just so you don't think i'm hanging my hat on one book, try Cadre by Nifty comics. they sell 8000 plus issues of that book every month. (putting them in the top 200 comics sold BTW) They sold 130,000 copies in 2006 of the books they print, being Cadre and one other title. and they don't use Diamond. Cadre is a black and white book and you don't get anymore superhero that that book. hell, it's a team book too! now sure, both Cadre and Invincible are exceptions to the rule and far more indy hero books end up lining birdcages than in bags and boards, but my point is, it CAN be done. if you have the drive and the fortitude to push it through, and the book is of quality production, it's doable.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua P
You collect Street Fighter too? Sweet. Say what you will, but the art is fantastic in it! (I love Street Fighter, what can I say?)

I have to agree with you about this week's column. It's not impossible (Spawn didn't happen THAT long ago) but superhero books are a really tough sell in a market very comfortable with the big two. Unless you can come up with an innovative twist on a concept that's been done to death, I don't think you should. That said, there are some great superhero books out there in Indy Land if anyone wants to look. I think that's the hardest challenge doing this...attention. It's what you strive for.

Do I really think I can come up with a superhero book with as much quality as an A Lister?

Call me a cocky SOB but I think I could. Right now there are a couple of heroes I'd enjoy writing (Silver Surfer and Green Lantern would be my books of choice) if I had a chance. I think I could do it. But right now I'm worried about my own book first. As you said, getting noticed is key. Still, one can dream. Besides, if I'm wrong, it's not like I can't handle a few rounds of embarrassment. Really, with any proposal to a company if I lose, I lose. It's not like I had a guarantee to begin with. So why not go for it?

One last thing: You, Ray Dillon, Frank Dirscher, Joanne Mutch and quite a few others in my view in digital webbing are good enough to go head to head with quite a few pros in the industry. Call me biased but I really admire the work done here and in other places on the web and think it could match some of the big guns of today. Since I've been covering quite a few books in my Indy Spotlight column, I truly believe that there are great talents in the industry that just haven't been discovered yet that are as good or better than what's in the mainstream. You guys just need to get in the limelight a little more. That's my opinion though.

Good luck with Hellblazer. I'd pay for it.

JP
I appreciate the kind words, brother, and I assure you that it's people like you out there spreadin' the love that help get the word out there. THANK YOU.

As for HELLBLAZER... well... you'll always have TALES OF MR. RHEE.

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflash
hey Dirk! great columns going on as usual, though i do have to disagree with you pretty much across the board about your "Are you really that good" column.

not that i don't at least partially agree with what you say as to the difficulty of putting out a superhero book in this current climate, but i think you miss a really important point, and that is intent.

you freely admit you have no real interest in writing superhero comics. now would you have still gone at your goal of writing comics with such zeal if you had a desire to write superhero comics as opposed to horror stuff? i think you would have. in fact you climbed the mountain in much the same situation as someone trying to do with superhero comics, because the industry is fairly oversaturated with horror comics as well. what got you there was smart marketing, good storytelling, and drive. these things are universal and can be applied to any genre with an equal amount of success.

but again, i think intent is the key here. sure, writing your own superhero comic isn't going to get you work at DC or Marvel. they don't want to see your heroes because obviously they have their own. but what if that's not your dream? what if you want to tell your own story? does that mean you shouldn't because your story is a superhero tale? no. and i honestly can't see anyone who has been around this industry even on the fringes having the kind of delusions that would bring them to think they are going to score millions on their superhero book and retire. that's not why the people that do heroes do heroes. they do it because they have stories to tell, and that's the way they choose to tell them.

and i hate to bust the bubble that no one has success with superhero comics anymore in the indie market, but that's simply not true. Invincible, for starters, seems pretty successful to me. ongoing, 40 plus issues and still rocking, hardcover edition, absolute treatment, 8 or 9 trades in print, various merchandise available, and more than likely some kind of alternative media deal in production. but just so you don't think i'm hanging my hat on one book, try Cadre by Nifty comics. they sell 8000 plus issues of that book every month. (putting them in the top 200 comics sold BTW) They sold 130,000 copies in 2006 of the books they print, being Cadre and one other title. and they don't use Diamond. Cadre is a black and white book and you don't get anymore superhero that that book. hell, it's a team book too! now sure, both Cadre and Invincible are exceptions to the rule and far more indy hero books end up lining birdcages than in bags and boards, but my point is, it CAN be done. if you have the drive and the fortitude to push it through, and the book is of quality production, it's doable.
Hey bro!

Don't get me wrong... it *CAN* be done... and I'm not trying to say people shouldn't try.

I'm just saying that trying to get noticed with a superheroic comic is going to be tougher than getting noticed (especially by casual readers) in any other genre.

But, yeah, good storytelling and marketing can definitely help push you a long way... for sure!

Remember: At the end of the day it's all about the love, brother.

SINcerely,
Dirk Manning
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:05 PM   #15
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i hear you man. speaking of the love, are you going to Heroes again this year? i will probably miss it, but i'm hitting Chicago at least. hope to see you out there somewhere this season!
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