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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Alan Moore's Writing For Comics - From 2003

If its editor had read Moore closely, he'd have known that Writing For Comics is not a graphic novel as touted on this magazine's back cover. It is not even a comic book. Its random illustrations don't even follow the text. It is an essay, an opinion, about how to write comic books from one of the best and most prolific writers of comic books. Among his works are Watchmen, Another Suburban Nightmare, and Supreme.

Among many subjects, Moore discusses the technical aspects of writing for comics, the differences of writing comics as compared to other media, and plot and characterization.

That other comics writers will have other, conflicting opinions does not negate the value of Moore's beliefs. Conflicting opinions are the stuff of style; without them, everyone would write exactly the same way. If you should choose to write exactly as does Moore after reading his essay, you will have missed his point completely. Moore ends with a new back-word reflecting on how his early ideas have changed in two decades. His conclusion? Ignore everything in the essay. Ummmmmm. Interesting.

So what is the value of Writing for Comics?

"For fans of Moore's work," opines the back-cover blurb, "new writers, or anyone interested in comics, this book is an indispensable and fascinating peak [it should read peek] into the thoughts of one of the masters of comic book writing."

Exactly right, except this isn't a book either. Writing for Comics is highly recommended.

Alan Moore's Writing For Comics/$5.95 & 47 pgs. from Avatar Comics/illustrated by Jacen Burrows/ sold at and comic shops.

Review by Michael Vance

AKA - From 2003

Katie and Alison, two female private eyes, are investigating an infidelity case. When it seems to be cracked, however, the jilted wife asks another service; retrieve a video of a delicate nature from her husband's place of work. What's really on the tape, however, is unexpected. From there, things get interesting, in this hip, fun comic, entitled AKA.

Writer Dara Naraghi creates two very engaging main characters in this series; imagine Laverne and Shirley as gumshoes, and you're getting close. She also keeps a picky reader's attention, using humor, action, and a bit of suspense for good measure. Great dialogue and pacing bring it all together. Wonderful stuff.

While artist Steve Black's interior black and white work takes a little getting used to, due to very thick lines and rigidity of characters, it is not an unattractive style. His painted covers, however, are extremely eye-catching; their marriage with the unique format of the book nearly make it worth the price of admission on their own. Of course, the aforementioned story cements the deal. If only there were more pages...

One of the refreshing things about the book is that Naraghi and Black capture the "seedy" side of private investigation, almost entirely without the gratuitous sexual content, nudity or language; quite the feat, when so many independent publishers out there seem to think that's where real adult entertainment resides.

AKA, published by Ferret Press, 16 pages (no ads), two dollars. AKA is suggested for adult readers who enjoy detective stories and humor. Visit for ordering information.

Review by Mark Allen