5W Creative: Seventh Son #1

Every good comic script I have ever read, and even many of the bad ones, have been written for a very specific audience, an audience of one: the artist. I find this pretty interesting. Comic scripts are, in many ways, a lot like letters (and I used to love writing letters). When a comics writer is writing to an artist partner, you can tailor that script in very specific ways. You can refer to specific comics, artists, or characters you know the artist knows. You can refer to that FaceTime conversation the two of you had last week. And it’s not just a shared body of knowledge that’s important here; a writer can tailor the story and the script to play to the artist’s strengths, include elements the artist wants to draw. Indeed, I think failing to do this is a fatal mistake. Every script can be made better by writing it to your audience of one, and the difference between those two scripts is going to be extreme.

All of this is a very long way of saying the comics script I’m posting in this column is not written the way it should be written. It’s not being written for an audience of one, unless you count me.

I wrote this script some time ago. You’re going to think you can tell, because it has things like answering machines and landlines in it, but no. Those are supposed to be there. It’s a “period piece.” It’s designed to be the first chapter in a 7-issue origin story for a hero I named “Seventh Son.” I stopped because I didn’t have an artist, and the whole project seemed rather pointless. Now, I work at a school, and well-meaning colleagues have often suggested to me I should just get one of the art students here to draw my comic. These colleagues mean well. But as anyone who has worked in comics can tell you, drawing a comic is a lot of work. Even professional artists sometimes fail to do it, and most aspiring artists simply aren’t ready to draw 20 pages of sequential art. And, besides, my motto is “Nobody works for free.” Because drawing 20 pages is a lot of work, the artist deserves to be paid. And, did I mention I work at a school?

The impetus for “Seventh Son” was pretty simple: this is the first creative writing I have ever done which had autobiographical elements in it. OK, not the flying parts. But there are a lot of little bits of memory in this script, which made it enormous fun to write. The great danger of autobiographical writing is that, because you are writing about yourself, any judgment of the work becomes a judgment of you. It can be very hard to edit, cut, and shape a narrative when it has autobiographical elements. You’re too close to it. The logical answer to this is to show your work to a few of your closest friends.

That would be you.

Seventh Son is a superhero book. The protagonist, Noah Dyson, looks like Bill Waterson’s Calvin, but drawn by Mark Bagley. He’s a kid in this first issue. Let me know if you want to see the second.

Download the script for Seventh Son #1 here.

5W Creative articles give the members of the Fifth World an opportunity to flex their creative muscles and share their own works with the Fifth World’s readers.

Jason Tondro is an Assistant Professor of English at the College of Coastal Georgia, where he teaches comics & graphic novels, writing, and British Literature. He is the author of Superheroes of the Round Table: Comics Connections to Medieval and Renaissance Literature and various RPG resources, including The Deluxe Super Villain Handbook. He’s currently editing Arthur Lives! an urban fantasy RPG using the Fate system.
5W Creative: Seventh Son #1 5W Creative: Seventh Son #1 Reviewed by Jason Tondro on Thursday, October 19, 2017 Rating: 5
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