Ande Parks, today’s guest writer, introduced yet another form of writing during the afternoon session: comics.
Ande has quite the resume as both a writer and artist. He has been in the comic book industry for nearly 20 years and has worked for every major American comic book publisher. He inked many popular titles including Daredevil, Ant-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Nightwing. Ande is best known for his four-year stint on Green Arrow, which was named as one of 2003’s Best Books for Young Adults. As a writer, he worked for the Green Hornet and Lone Ranger franchises. He has also written three original graphic novels. Capote in Kansas was the first graphic novel to be named a Notable Book by the state of Kansas. His third, Cuidad, will be published next year.
During his presentation, Ande talked about his process as a comic writer, which he breaks down into five main steps, the first and most important of which is to come up with a big idea or theme. Next, he breaks the story into pages, writes dialogue, writes the art direction, and then revises.
Like the literal limitations of Twitter, Ande said that it is very important in comics—and any type of writing—to tell the story as efficiently as possible. Although his first drafts are often too long, he said he usually ends up cutting everything except “what really needs to be there.”
After giving his presentation, Ande instructed the young writers to try their own hand at a comic book script, using the same method he uses. Many of the writers chose to write about Batman, but there were also tales of historical figures, mythological characters, and princesses. Both Ande and the writers seemed to enjoy the exercise, as Ande walked around and talked to each writer while they were working.
As much as everyone enjoyed his writing exercise, however, the young writers became really exhilarated when Ande brought out portfolios of his artwork. He had drawings of Batman, Superman, the Hulk, and many other superheroes, as well as hand-drawn comic book pages that he had either drawn or inked.
Ande even volunteered to do signed Batman sketches in some of the avid Batman fans’ notebooks—drawings that I imagine will be treasured for a long time.
–Lacey Brummer, Program Intern