Step #5: Write a Script for Your Comic Book – 8-Page Challenge #2

Replacement Header Scripting

Hello, creators. The scripting process is a big step in your journey to create your comic book story. Your script is the blueprint that guides everything that happens next in the creative process. It will be a foundation for the editor, penciler, inker, colorist, and letterer.

In the Step 1, we reviewed how to plan your story concept for an 8-Page Story. In Step 2, we learned how to break down your story into a plot. In Step 3, we revised the plot. In Step 4, our artists started creating character sheets.

In this Step #5, you will build your script in “full script” format. We’ve included time for you to edit this script, of course. This is a good time to find a few people who you trust to provide you with constructive feedback. You will find them in Step #5 of our forums.

Personally, I like to work with at least three people. The first person I show it to is someone who will help nurture my ideas. As a writer, I am interested in getting contructive, encouraging feedback to help me make the story better. I find this to be important because ideas are fragile.

Later, I will go to people who I trust to be brutally honest. This will come later, after I have one round of revisions on my script.

This is the message board thread for this post.

 

Script for Avengers Assemble | 11-Page Script

This is the script for my 11-page story in Avengers Assemble: Time Will Tell. The published story is edited by Darren Sanchez and illustrated by Ron Lim. If you joined us for the live chat on YouTube, you have already seen the thumbnails and final pencils. I’ll publish that in later steps.

For now, I will provide the script here in this post. The formatting will change a little on a webpage, so I am also including a PDF version.

Important note: This is how I script comic books. There is no official “right way.” There are, however, plenty of wrong ways. You should strive for clarity. Your formatting should be clear and easy to read. That’s the right way.

Over the years, I have developed my scripting style, and it continues to evolve. For example, I try to start each page of the comic on a separate page from the script. I’ve been told by several comic book artists that this formatting can make their job easier. They can separate that page, print it, and keep it close to their art table.

As a writer, it also makes it easy for me to quickly scroll through my script. This scrolling and jumping around is a bit easier in MS Word than in Google Docs, but the idea is the same.

 

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE

“To Infinity and…Asgard”

11-Page Story

Script by Buddy Scalera

Version v1a

 

PAGE 1

Panel 1

Opening shot as the Avengers Quinjet streaks across the morning sky. The light reflects majestically across Asgard receding in the background as they fly over rocky hills and streams.

 

THOR:
Asgard is quite a site, is it not, Bruce?

 

BANNER:
I guess. You’ve seen one enchanted city, you’ve seen ‘em all, right?

 

Panel 2

Bruce is sitting morosely in a seat looking out the window. Wasp is flying and Thor is co-pilot.

 

WASP:
Bruce!

 

THOR:
Do not worry, Wasp.

When our friend Bruce meets the scientists of Asgard, he shall cheer up.

 

Panel 3

Bruce in his seat. The ghosted image of the Hulk lets the reader know that he is also the Hulk.

 

BRUCE:
We’ve tried so many times, Thor.

Do you really think any scientists can help me get rid of the Hulk?

 

Panel 4

Reaction shot as they hear a noise against the hull of the Quinjet.

 

THOR:
These are no ordinary scientists, Bruce. Everything on Asgard has a bit of magic…whoa.

 

SPX:
Clanggkk!

 

BRUCE:
What was that? Did we just hit an air pocket?

 

Panel 5

Wasp looking out the window, as she tries to control the Quinjet, which is clearly giving her trouble.

 

WASP:
No. Definitely not an air pocket.

More like…flying rocks?

 

PAGE 2

Panel 1

External wide shot of the Quinjet as it is heading toward a rocky mountainside just outside Asgard. The nose and wing of the Quinjet are weighed down by three stone creatures. We saw Thor defeat one of these guys in Thor: The Dark World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMU8EPM0xMQ). These are the smaller, human-size versions and they’re trying to bring down the Quinjet.

 

THOR:
Stone trolls! Why would they be in this part of Asgard?!?

 

WASP:
I don’t know, but they sure are heavy…I can’t keep the Quinjet up.

 

Panel 2

Back inside the Quinjet, Wasp is trying valiantly to regain control, but it’s no use. Every light on the instrument panel is lit up, the windshield is cracked, and smoke is pouring from the instrument panel.

 

WASP:
Hold tight, fellas. We’re going to have a rocky landing.

 

Panel 3

The Quinjet comes to a skidding landing. The stone trolls fall off and break apart in the dust, smoke, and sparks.

 

SPX:
Skiddddd!

 

Panel 4

Now that they’ve stopped Thor looks through the cracked, dusty windshield and sees who is responsible.

 

THOR:
I should have guessed.

 

PAGE 3

Panel 1

Big, powerful panel of Terrax and Thanos.

 

TERRAX:
Thanos, you said that the Thor would be out of Asgard, and yet here he is!

 

THANOS:
Continue digging, Terrax. Let me deal with this minor interruption.

 

CREDITS:
Story: Buddy Scalera
Art: Ron Lim!
Editor: Darren Sanchez
Rock Crusher: Katherine Brown

 

Panel 2

Thor steps out of the crashed Quinjet. As he does so, Wasp and Bruce look a little dazed from the crash. This is not a full-destruction crash, but the Quinjet is definitely damaged. The stone trolls are now just inanimate rubble on the wings and nose.

 

THOR:
You return to Asgard again to look for your lost gem?

Or were you looking for something else?

 

Panel 3

Close up of Thanos.

 

THANOS:
I seek only my Infinity Gem.

Leave now and you shall live.

 

Panel 4

Thanos and Thor smash into each other with appropriately epic force.

 

THOR:
You expect me to yield on Asgardian soil?

I fight…

…for Asgard!

 

SPX:
THOOM!

 

PAGE 4

Panel 1

Thanos and Thor are evenly matched. They both seem to be enjoying this.

 

THANOS:
You have grown stronger, Son of Odin.

But I soon I will have an Infinity Gem to increase my power!

 

Panel 2

Back by the Quinjet, Bruce looks alarmed. Wasp is trying to calm him.

 

BRUCE:
Thor needs our help, but I don’t know how much help…the Hulk…will be….

 

WASP:
Stay calm, Bruce. Resist the change.

I sent a distress signal. Asgardian guards are coming.

 

Panel 3

Terrax commands the stone trolls to attack. They are leaping to attack Thor, who realizes he’s about to get clobbered.

 

TERRAX:
Attack! Destroy Thor!

This is our chance!

 

Panel 4

Stone trolls rain down on Thor and Thanos. The stones striking them are being crushed and turned into powder. Smaller stones are ricocheting off of their super physiques to…

 

THANOS:
No, Terrax, keep digging! Find my Infinity gem!

 

Panel 5

…Wasp and Bruce. They are still by the Quinjet trying to take cover from the spray of rocks and dust. Wasp is getting whacked on the back of the head by a smaller stone. It should look painful. Bruce is reacting with shock and fear.

 

WASP:
Take cover, Bru…unghh!

 

SPX:
Krak.

 

BRUCE:
Janet!

 

PAGE 5

Hulk smashing to get to Terrax.

Panel 1

Terrax and Thanos really piling on Thor now. Thor’s tough, but he’s definitely in trouble.

 

TERRAX:
Finally, Thor, you shall kneel before the power of Terrax!

 

THANOS:
Terrax, I do not need you to defeat Thor!

Find my gem!

 

Panel 2

Bruce is cradling Janet’s head. IF we are allowed to show blood, show it in her hair and on Bruce’s hand. Bruce should also be showing signs of becoming the Hulk. If no blood, then play up Janet’s limpness.

 

BRUCE:
Wasp! Janet! Are you…?

 

WASP:
Head…so…woozy…

 

BRUCE:
Stay awake!

 

Panel 3

Bruce is mid-change to the Hulk. Wasp is trying to calm him and seems to be getting better.

 

WASP:
Bruce, I’m going to be okay…don’t Hulk out….

 

BRUCE:
Terrax hurt you, Janet….

…that makes me…very angry…!

 

Panel 4

Classic Bruce-to-Hulk change here.

 

HULK:
Graarrhhhhhh!

Terrax hurt Wasp!

 

SPX:
Ripppp!

 

PAGE 6

Marvel style: Panel 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Let’s play this for some light humor based on our love of the Hulk:

  1. As Terrax is commanding his stone creatures to pile on Thor, he is unaware that Hulk is approaching.
  2. Terrax realizes that Hulk is upon him. It will be one of the few times that Terrax shows surprise of any kind.
  3. Hulk delivers a massive haymaker punch that sends Terrax flying.
  4. Terrax is thrown backward, crashing directly through his legion of stone trolls.
  5. Thor and Thanos pause their fighting for a moment to mentally process what has happened.
  6. Thor reaction shot.

 

And now scripted:

Panel 1

Terrax commands his stone creatures to pound on Thor, who is now losing to Thanos. His costume is tattered and he’s on one knee, but Thor fights on.

 

TERRAX:
Harder, you stone idiots!

 

THANOS:
Terrax, leave me immediately!

 

Panel 2:

Terrax is turning his massive head to the unexpected roar of the Hulk, who is not in the panel. You may want to show one massive hand entering the panel, but that’s up to you.

 

TERRAX:
No, I will have my victory and…

 

HULK:
Grraahrrrr…!

 

TERRAX:
…no…

 

Panel 3

Hulk smash Terrax! It should be a classic punch that literally takes Terrax off both feet. Terrax is indestructible, so have fun with this punch, which includes a puff of pulverized stone pieces at the point of impact.

 

HULK:
Terrax hurt Wasp!

 

SPX:
::KA-POW!::

 

HULK:
Now Hulk hurt Terrax!

 

Panel 4

Terrax is propelled backward into the stone creatures that were behind him. It’s important to embed him into the side of the mountain where he will come to rest. When he stands up later, the Red Infinity Gem will be revealed.

 

SPX:
Whoooshh….

KER-ASH!!

 

Panel 5

Thor and Thanos have stopped fighting temporarily. They look surprised at what just happened.

No dialogue.

 

Panel 6

Inset circular panel of Thor smiling slightly. His face is dirty and his hair is messed from the fight, but he also knows things have just turned in his direction.

 

THOR:

We have a Hulk.

 

PAGE 7

Panel 1

Hulk is now standing above Terrax with both fists raised high. Rock trolls hang from his giant green arms in a futile attempt to stop him.

 

HULK:
Terrax hurt Hulk’s friends.

Hulk…

 

Panel 2

Hulk brings a punishing two-fist punch down upon Terrax, who is practically helpless at this point. With the smash, the rock trolls are turned into a mist of rubble and dust upon Terrax.

 

HULK:
SMASH!

 

SPX:
THOOM!

 

Panel 3

Terrax is trying to flee from Hulk or at least get into a proper fighting pose, but Hulk’s rage is unstoppable. This is true anger and even Thor needs to calm Hulk down. Also, Wasp seems to have recovered and is flying alongside Thor.

IMPORTANT VISUAL: When Terrax gets up, there’s a shiny red gem where he opened a crack in the side of a mountain. I suggest that you have this about eye level for Thanos. This isn’t the focal point of the panel, but it will be important later.

 

HULK:
Hulk will crush Terrax for hurting Wasp!

 

THOR:
Hulk, wait, you’ll kill him! And destroy Asgard in the process!

 

WASP:
And…ungh…I’m okay…I’m woozy, but okay…

 

Panel 4

Terrax has tried to assemble a stone platform to escape, but it’s not enough. Hulk is now beating Terrax with one of the stone trolls, which is basically shattering on impact. Thor is grabbing Hulk’s free hand, but that’s still not completely stopping the Hulk. Meanwhile, in the same panel, Wasp is starting to fly a little better and is radioing for help.

 

HULK:
Hulk angry!

 

SPX:
CRUNCHH!

 

THOR:
Unngh, listen to me Hulk!

 

WASP:
I called for backup. Where are those Asgardian guards?

 

PAGE 8

Panel 1

Thanos looking at the smoking, dusty rubble where Terrax was smashed into the wall. He sees the red Infinity Gem. Remember, this is a point approximately at Thanos’ eye level.

 

THANOS:
Finally, my Infinity Gem reveals itself.

 

Panel 2

Close up shot as Thanos’s hand reaches for the gem, but is zapped.

 

THANOS:
The power is mine!

 

SPX:
Bzzzap!

 

THANOS:
What…?

 

WASP:
(off panel)
I don’t think so, Thanos!

 

Panel 3

Wasp flies wildly around Thanos, who seems completely unfazed by her rapid-fire blasts.

 

WASP:
Can’t…
<bzzap>
…let…
<bzzap>
…you…
<bzzap>
…get…
<bzzap>
…that…
<bzzap>
…stone.
<bzzap>

 

Panel 4

Thanos swats her away with the back of his meaty hand.

 

THANOS:
You are a pest unworthy of my attention.

 

SPX:
SWAT.

 

WASP:
Unghh…!

 

Panel 5

Wasp goes tumbling into the dirt. Show her costume ripping and her skin getting scraped.

 

WASP:
Ooof! Ow!

 

SPX:
Rrrip.

 

PAGE 9

Panel 1

Thanos again reaching down for his red gem.

 

THANOS:
The red gem will bring me great power and…

…what is this?

 

Panel 2

Again, Wasp hovers between Thanos’ hand and the gem. This time, she looks angry and determined. Her costume is ripped, she’s scraped, and her hair is a wreck.

 

WASP:
It’s me stopping you, what’s it look like?

 

Panel 3

Thanos has leaned in to look more closely at Wasp.

THANOS:
You would put your life between me and that gem….
…armed with nothing more than those tiny blasters?

 

WASP:
Yes. I’m an Avenger.

 

THANOS:
You are braver than I believed you to be.

 

Panel 4

In a final stand, Wasp gets into her best fighting stance.

 

WASP:
Before you kill me and take the stone, I want to tell you one more thing.

 

THANOS:
And what is that, tiny warrior?

 

WASP:
I wanted to remind you that…

 

PAGE 10

 

Panel 1

Close up of Wasp smiling.

 

WASP:
…the Avengers are a team.

 

Panel 2

Thanos is turning to look behind and he realizes that Hulk and Thor are behind him. Wasp buzzes around him happily.

 

WASP:
Avengers Assemble.

 

THANOS:
What…?

 

Panel 3

Hulk punches Thanos as Thor clobbers him with a massive uppercut from Mjnolir. Wasp is giving him a little zap at the same time.

Example from Deadpool versus the Punisher: (see below)

 

HULK:
Hulk smash!

 

THOR:
For Asgard!

 

WASP:
For me!

 

SPX:
Ka-THOOM!

 

Panel 4

Thanos staggering to his feet, as Hulk and Thor close in on him. Wasp in the extreme foreground cheers them on.

 

WASP:
Go get ‘im, fellas! Give ‘im extra for me.

 

FANDRAL:
(off panel)
M’lady?

 

PAGE 11

Panel 1

Fandral (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Fandral_(Earth-616)) is now standing close to Wasp, who buzzes close to his face.

 

FANDRAL:
Sorry for the delay. We got here as soon as we could.

 

WASP:
Where’s Terrax?

 

GUARD:
Volstagg and Hogun are arresting him.

 

Panel 2

Volstagg (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Volstagg_(Earth-616)) and Hogun (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Hogun_(Earth-616)) in the background. They are trying with mild success to subdue and handcuff Terrax. Other Asgardian guards are showing up as backup.

 

WASP:
You sure?

 

FANDRAL:
I may need to lend support.

 

Panel 3

Wasp strains to release the Infinity Gem embedded in the rock wall.

 

WASP:
Actually, I could use some support digging this out of the rock.

 

Panel 4

Fandral’s sword releases the gem, which drops into Wasp’s open hands.

 

FANDRAL:
Here, let me.

 

SPX:
Scrrrttch. POP.

 

WASP:
Whoa, heavier than it looks.

 

Panel 5

Wasp admires the stone for a moment.

 

WASP:
This would look great on a necklace.

 

FANDRAL:
Um, m’lady, I don’t think…

 

WASP:
Okay, okay.

 

Panel 6

Final overhead shot as we see the last of the carnage and rubble. Wasp and Fandral are in the center with the gem.

 

WASP:
So…got any good hiding spots?

 

CAP:
The End.

 

Notes on the Script Formatting

Avengers-Assemble-Buddy-Scalera-Script-Thumbnail-for-PDF2
Downloadable PDF of Avengers Assemble script by Buddy Scalera.

As noted above, you should probably look at the PDF version. I’ve done my best to format it on WordPress, but every web browser will render it differently. The PDF version will show you how I like to format my scripts.

There is no one “right” way to format a script. There are many wrong ways. You need to write this document in a way that is clear and concise. You should format it to be easy to understand and visualize.

I like to add a page break at the end of every page description. That’s to make it easy for your team to find sections easily. It also makes it easier for you, as a writer.

Microsoft makes it easy to create an outline using the Outline format in MS Word. It may not feel necessary for an 8-page story, but it can be a real benefit for longer stories. Note that Google Docs will perform similar tasks. I have just found that MS Word has more robust formatting features.

Be sure to put the title of the story and your contact information on the first page of your script (sometimes referred to as a manuscript by some editors). If you are using MS Word, it is also helpful to add page numbers. Once you have a basic format set up for yourself, you just keep reusing and improving your personal template.

 

Note on My Process

Every writer has their own process. My process is to use two tools. I generally draft my stories in Google Docs and complete them in MS Word. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

I start in Google Docs because I have multiple computers and like to work in different places. Pre-COVID, I would take my laptop to the public library and draft my outline. It’s a great, distraction-free location. Google Docs is a cloud-based application, so I could pick it up again at home.

I download the script to my desktop computer and open the document in MS Word. From there, I complete the formatting and final corrections. There’s nothing quite like a large monitor and a full-size keyboard to make editing easier. Plus, using my physical mouse is much faster than using my trackpad.

My final script usually looks better with MS Word. I can embed images and links in both Google Docs and MS Word, but everything just feels more formatted in Word. It’s a professional choice for me to purchase MS Office, and it just works for me. You should analyze if the expense of purchasing MS Office is right for you.

 

Notes For Your Artist

You’ll see a few places where I am making notes to the artistic and production team. In one of them, I wanted to capture a specific visual, so I referenced it for the artist.

This is the image I included for the artist. I had seen it in a Marvel comic, so I took a photo and sent it along. I wanted to have a specific action in my story and this helped the artist to know what I was thinking. The artist is not required to draw it exactly this way. This is simply reference for the artist to know what I am thinking.

This is an important concept for writers. In a collaborative medium like comics, you should be clear about what you are asking your artist to draw, but do not dictate how the artist should draw it. In your script, be clear and flexible. Let the artist know what you are trying to accomplish and then step back.

It’s important to note that writers should not try to do the job of the artist. Yes, you should be clear, but you should also respect the artist’s role in the creative process.

One more thing about writing scripts: if something is important, tell the artist. For example, if there is an object that will be significant later, it should be noted in the script. The artist can focus the reader through angles and framing, so that the reader makes a mental note of certain visual story elements.

Your artist is not your audience. You must communicate effectively with your artist, and that means being very clear about certain visual elements. And, yes, that means you need to spoil the story surprises for the artist. If something is going to happen in the last issue, you may need to foreshadow it in the first issue. By communicating clearly with your artist, you can work together to create the visual story to delight and entertain the reader.

You’ll also notice certain references to characters. If I can find it online, I will link to it. If there’s specific photo reference, I will link to it or include it. My job is to be clear about what I have in mind. The artist will decide how to actually draw the panel.

Many writers will find scripts online. If they find a script by Alan Moore, they will think that they should script every nuance and detail. Do not do this. Unless you are Alan Moore, in which case, you can do whatever you want. I am not Alan Moore and neither are you.

 

Step-By-Step Complete Comic Example

Mid-Life Crisis Making Comics Header

You may also want to check out the complete script to “Mid-Life Crisis,” a comic book I am co-creating with Andy Seabert. There is a link for the complete script, as well as a step-by-step guide to the first issue. It shows Andy’s art based on my script.

It’s all free.

You can buy a digital copy of Mid-Life Crisis on Comixology and support independent creators like yourself. That would make me very happy. Thank you.

 

Coming Soon

In the upcoming steps, we will get to see Ron Lim’s thumbnails and finished pages. This will help you to continue the process and participate in the 8-Page Challenge.

Please go to the Comic Book School message boards and post your script in Step #5. You will find a message board dedicated to this particular step. Follow the instructions on the message boards. If you have any trouble, the Comic Book School Council members are available to support you.

 

Previous Steps

Read Step 1: How to Create a Story Idea

Read Step 2: How to Break Down the Plot for Your Story

Read Step 3: How to Revise Your Plot

Read Step 4: Character Design

Read the announcement for the 8-Page Challenge

Register on the Comic Book School forums and post your story idea.

 

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