Tag Archives: Marvel

Comic Book Editing

It isn’t unusual that I get asked to read and offer critique or feedback on someone’s work. When I have the time, I very much enjoy it. I’m much more inclined to fill my time with friends’ work than with that of folks I don’t really know. And while I don’t really “advertise,” I also do editing work—y’know, that people pay me for—though I’m very particular on what I take on. Usually if someone just wants a quick “wha’cha’think,” the chances are more likely the lower the page count it. It isn’t that I don’t want to read their 600 page novel, but I just don’t have time.

Of course, that lack of time scares me sometimes. But that’s not what this post is about.

I enjoy comics/graphic novels most of all, and it’s in that format that I get called on most (prose being 2nd…well, only other).

But it’s also that format that tends to aggravate me the most because of the huge misunderstanding of the role of an editor in comics—even by people who have produced them. Please know that I’m mostly talking about those who really don’t what they’re doing even though they’re doing it.

It often happens like this: I get an email asking if I’d be interested in “editing my graphic novel.” I respond with 50 questions (content, audience, etc., etc.) It’s usually at this stage I find out the graphic novel—all 200 pages of it—is already finished. I generally respond, that “oh, you don’t need an ‘editor,’ you want a ‘proofreader.'” We then swap emails with them trying to convince me that no, what they really want is an editor, even though the entire book is already produced.

People, at that stage, the person who reads the book is no longer an “editor.” A “copy-editor,” maybe, a “proofreader,” for certain. And please don’t think I’m badmouthing copy-editors. They are a vital part of the production/assembly line, but that is not the role of the traditional comic editor.

A traditional comic/graphic novel editor is involved practically from the ground floor. Most often, the writer has submitted or finished a plot outline. At this stage, the editor can make broad story suggestions and it is fairly easy for the writer to make changes. From there, the writer breaks it down scene by scene, even page by page (meaning the printed comic page). This is done so the editor can get a sense of pacing; they can see what the writer intends to happen on each page and point out lulls in the story, or places that need more time/explanation. It’s then that the writer goes to script. At this point, the editor has read and commented at a minimum twice. Writing the script almost becomes an act of typing (yeah—not really, but you get the point).

Granted, once the art is done, the editor reads it again…but at that point, it’s almost an act of proofreading.

I enjoy editing…quite a bit. I enjoy helping a writer find that special thing that makes the story jump out.

Proofreading I do…but it isn’t at the top of my list of things I enjoy. It’s more mechanical that creative. There are many better proofreaders out there than me.

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Filed under Columns, writing

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop hello

Hi there and welcome to my blog! For my regular readers, I beg your patience as I participate—for the first time ever—in a blog hop.

For those of you new here, you’re likely here thanks to a link provided to you by my friend and colleague, author Tom Lucas. I want to thank Tom for inviting me to participate and for encouraging all of you to check out my page.

I know that you’re getting a wide variety of authors as you make the hops. Honestly, I’m not how sure far up (or down) the string of hops I am…but I’m pretty sure you haven’t run across many like me. Good or bad? That decision is up to you. (The images on this page is a sampling of covers to things I’ve written).

I spent a little more than ten years in the comic book industry (graphic novels to you more literary types) mostly as a writer, but some of that time as an editor…and some of that time as a Marvel editor. I quit writing for a few years to take up my second career: teaching! That career led me to a side-career of speaking (at writer conferences and the like), which I never thought I’d like…and yes, the introvert in me still gets nervous. Once I got going with the teaching, I dove back into writing, this time my focus was prose. I still write comics and have several graphic novel projects in the works that I’ll be talking about on this page soon. I’ve got an agent trying to sell my YA novel, The Intern, but next week I’ll be answering my ten questions about my first novel, Buying Time, which is a contemporary fiction work…with a smattering of romance (completely unintentional on my part!), a tiny sprinkle of sci-fi (completely intentional on my part!), and a coating of faith (a natural extension on my part!).

I blog about once a week where I break all the “rules” of blogging in that I pretty much write about what I want to write about (y’know—if you’re going to “do” a blog, you need a FOCUS!). I write about writing, review the occasional book, write a little about my family, rarely politics (though those seem generate the most comments!) and whatever else strikes my fancy.

So, I hope to see you next week where I’ll also point you to five more unique writers!

Thanks for stopping by.

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Filed under General

Buying Time is here!

Yep, it’s finally here and I’m holding it in my hot little hands as I type—well, not literally. It’d be hard to type then. Some of you watched it over to the right of here…watched the progress and then saw it move into the “projects” section of my blog. Now, my first novel, Buying Time, is out!

I must say that I’m incredibly excited about it. That goes without saying, though, huh? The cover was done by my good friend and very talented colorist/photographer/designer Emily Y. Kanalz. If the quality of my writing inside can keep pace with the cover, then I’m in good shape! Thanks, Em!

Buying Time isn’t actually my “first” novel to have written. Not long after Malibu/Marvel shut down, I embarked on trying to write one. I wrote nearly 40,000 words on it before I realized that I pretty much hated everything about it. While I liked some of the “ideas” behind it, it didn’t contain a single character that I liked or felt I could identify with. I pretty much tossed writing on the back burner after that, and that’s when I entered graduate school with the plan to teach…which I did.

But after teaching for a few years, I got the itch to write again. I’d done some writing for newspapers (both school and local), but that didn’t count—not for what I was wanting to do, anyway. Not only that, my life had changed in a big way since I’d last written…so I dove in again. It took me about two years to finish, but finish I did. I was still searching, too, for the kind of writing I wanted to do post-comic-writer-life. While I enjoyed Buying Time, it wasn’t the kind of story that I could see myself continue to write. Ultimately—if you’re keeping score—I’m ending up writing pretty much everything now with some sort of superhero connection.

So what is Buying Time about? It stems from short story I wrote back in the early 90s about a time-traveling time salesman (I love time travel stories—and in fact, my Master’s Thesis was on “alternate histories,” fiction that explores those “what if” questions of history)…Basically, my pitch for the book is this:

If you could redo part of your life, would you? Even if it meant you died a little earlier? That’s the decision Tom Morgan and Larry Pace must make when they are approached by a time traveling time salesman. Complete opposites, both men are drawn to the idea for the same reason: to save someone’s life. But is that even possible? Can the past be changed? Add to that the problem that it’s very addictive, like a dangerous drug. Each trip back in time shortens life.

If you find yourself interested in the book—and I hope you do—you can buy it directly from me by going to this page: https://rolandmann.wordpress.com/projects/buyingtime/ and clicking on the “buy now” button, or you can hop on over to this link and purchase it through ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/Buying-Time-Roland-Mann-/270571172656?cmd=ViewItem&pt=US_Fiction_Books&hash=item3eff4c7330#ht_500wt_1182 If you want it signed, just let me know. Autographs are free! J

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Filed under writing