Head Cases

Steven Grant (Permanent Damage columnist and comic book writer) has released a new PDF book, Head Cases. His earlier volume, Totally Obvious, was a fascinating, informative read, and this book is no different.

It’s a collection of nine comic scripts. There are few enough scriptbooks (Panel One and its successor Panel Two are the ones I recommend) that simply collecting more examples from a working writer with a long career is valuable in itself. But beyond that, there’s the introduction, which directly tackles the key questions: where do ideas come from? how does one become a writer?

He speaks plainly and directly the information writers need to know, both theoretically and in detail, providing the basics of script formatting for comics. He sums up his purpose thusly:

some of you will find [these scripts] useful, others education. If nothing else, it’s nice to see them out in public. Comics scripts are traditionally shut-ins, never seen by the public, and, like screenplays, they can be quite enjoyable to read on their own merits. A good comics script paints a picture in the artist’s mind’s eye, and they can do that for any reader. As such, they form “alternative” versions of the comics. In some instances, they can be a purer form than the resulting comic book, and at the least they are a purer indicator, for better or worse, of what the author intended.

Each script is introduced with comments about the genesis of the concept. Unfortunately, the stories don’t feature very recognizable characters, due to copyright concerns. I don’t think I’ve read any of the issues whose scripts are reprinted here, but on the bright side, that makes the stories fresh.

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