Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Action Schmaction


Ain't It Cool News just called me "easily the best action writer in comics today". Crikey!

The reviewer does say he wishes there was more action in the first issue of Silent Dragon, though.

It's funny - I've always tried to throw as much wall-to-wall action as possible into The Losers - and as a result, a few readers have said they'd like to see a bit more character development in there. With Silent Dragon, I spent most of the first issue setting up the characters and their relationships, and now people want more action. What's a poor writer to do... ?

But don't panic; the action is coming. Boy, is it ever. Silent Dragon has far and away the most dynamic action scenes I've ever written. You just don't see very much of them in the first issue, any more than the first twenty minutes of Die Hard or Aliens could be described as a "white-knuckle thrill-ride".

Silent Dragon is the first story I've consciously written "for the trade". That's not to say I haven't designed the story to work as a monthly; quite the opposite. I've very much tried to use the kind of pacing and cliffhangers that drive a monthly book. But I'm also acutely aware that the first issue is only Act One of a six-act story... and I'm deliberately saving the best - the most spectacular scenes - 'til last. And if you think that means the story's just gonna end with Reizo/Renjiro going head-to-head with that samurai droid, think again. That's just the warm-up act.

Writing for the trade doesn't necessarily mean glacial pacing and lots of padding; at least, not when it's done right. It means you write in acts which build up into a cohesive whole, but still work as stand-alone chapters. Hey, it worked for Dickens, and what's he got that I haven't got, right? (Kidding! Kidding!)

I'm sure there'll be some people out there who'll whine about it. But that's okay. The reality is that each issue is on sale for a month, whereas the trade collection will hopefully be on sale for years. The vast majority of people who read Silent Dragon over the course of its lifetime will read it as a trade paperback, and to pretend otherwise would be folly.

So don't panic. The action is coming. Don't believe me? Then check out Leinil's issue three pencils above...

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