Amazing Kids! Magazine

Who Comes Up with This Stuff?: Screenwriting in Comics

By Sarina Patel, Jr. Assistant Editor and Comic Hub Co-Editor


“So…what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Exactly two years from now, I will start submitting college applications. Though my years as an underclassman have not completely escaped me, I now hear that adult voice in my head.

It used to simply remind me to do my homework and research what was going on in the world of comics and animation, but it has begun to ask me one nerve-wracking question over and over again—sometimes casually and sometimes carefully, but always frightfully direct.

“So…what do you want to be when you grow up?”

What do I want to be when I grow up? For now, I’m still uncertain. There are so many prospective career paths; to limit myself to just one would be unfortunate.

The other day, I overheard my friends at the table next to mine. Their tall, bony bodies were hunched over one phone, unable to peel their eyes away from the trailer of Wonder Woman leaping and twirling in her glistening superhero outfit in a modern parallel to Indiana Jones staring open-mouthed at the treasure he discovered in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

“Who comes up with this stuff?” one friend breathed, completely enamored at the sight of Diana (Wonder Woman’s real name) diving off a cliff to save a pilot who had miraculously crashed into her magical dimension from the sky.

It got me to stop doing my homework and think for a moment. Who actually comes up with this stuff? I asked myself. The actors don’t. The set designers don’t. The cameramen don’t.

Mid-chew, I froze.

Do the screenwriters?

Until then, I had assumed that screenwriters existed to create snappy one-liners for actors to pause and slowly drop in the middle of acidic conversations. There wasn’t much writing involved in comic book adaptations, surely.

Well, it turned out that I was wrong. When I pushed aside my silly preconception that screenwriters simply exist to create snippy dialogue, I realized that screenwriters often work with actors to improve their lines, pull scenes directly from the original source material (comic books, in this case), and talk to the comic book writers. They do this to gain as much experience as possible so that their dialogue is accurate.

The more research I did, the more my excitement grew. Now, I was beginning to become interested in this business of screenwriting. I started to consider screenwriting as an actual career rather than a silly side pursuit.

Still, the excitement and enchantment of becoming a successful screenwriter wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I wanted to gain an inside perspective on what it is like from a current screenwriter in the comic industry.

My career path remains undecided for now. Yours might remain undecided as well. But whether you clicked on this article to discover who comes up with this stuff, read more about comics, or brainstorm prospective careers, I know that every reader could benefit from learning the tips and tricks of writing for a business—whether big or small, comic corporation or otherwise. For it is from information that we gain wisdom, and from gaining wisdom do we learn how the information we received will ultimately help us. That, by the way, applies to all careers.

For that reason, I chose to include an audio clip from a Comic Writers panel that I attended last year. It is below this article.