The Reverse Marvel Method

Shower thought: Nick and I are currently doing Parallax in the Reverse Marvel Method.


The Marvel Method works like this: SUE and JANE get together and come up with an idea for a plot. JANE goes off and draws it, doing her best to tell the story entirely in pictures. Then SUE writes captions and dialogue that expand on JANE’s drawings. Optionally, SUE will go on to take all the credit and financial reward for creating this stable of beloved characters.

The Marvel Method is in contrast to the script-first method, wherein SUE writes a script that lays out all of the dialogue and all of the panel transitions, hands it off to JANE, who pretty much follows all of SUE’s directions.

The Reverse Marvel Method, on the other hand? SUE and JANE get together and come up with an idea for a plot; SUE goes off and writes a script that’s got loose descriptions of the scenery and actions but leaves all the page and panel decisions out. JANE takes the script and draws it, making all the decisions about how to best break it up into pages and panels. Whether she will also go on to take all the credit and financial rewards is an open question; I’m hoping to avoid it.

There is a lot of trust involved in the Marvel Method and the Reverse Marvel Method that isn’t in the script-first method. SUE trusts JANE to tell the story in a series of pictures; JANE knows her stuff. But she can’t always be sure JANE’s going to be the one drawing her stuff in script-first; maybe JANE’s getting behind and JESSIE, the editor on the book, brings in STELLA to fill in for an issue, maybe JESSIE is juggling budget for ten books and decides to let FRANCESCA have her first try at graduating from being an intern on this one. SUE arguably has to lay everything out panel by panel to give the book a chance to not become a mess if FRANCESCA still has a lot to learn about telling a story in pictures.

This may have been more interesting in the shower; I dunno.

  1. Then there’s the Michael Bay method, wherein MICHAEL comes up with some no-context fight scenes and explosions that he gives to SUE and tells her to write a script somehow incorporating these.

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