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  1. #1
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    Default Max Allan Collins on lean scripts and other matters while working for DC

    http://forums.comicbookresources.com...d.php?t=391136

    Ever found talking during fight scenes silly? So did Max Allan Collins.

    Pointedly averted by Max Allan Collins in Wild Dog and elsewhere, since Collins never had people talk during fight scenes. In an interview in Amazing Heroes #119, Collins noted that he found this an annoying cliche, and DC editors would describe his scripts as lean since he never had people talk during fight scenes.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enda8011 View Post
    http://forums.comicbookresources.com...d.php?t=391136

    Ever found talking during fight scenes silly? So did Max Allan Collins.

    Pointedly averted by Max Allan Collins in Wild Dog and elsewhere, since Collins never had people talk during fight scenes. In an interview in Amazing Heroes #119, Collins noted that he found this an annoying cliche, and DC editors would describe his scripts as lean since he never had people talk during fight scenes.
    Talking during fight scenes is one of those things that I think comics should do because they can. They keep everything very kinetic, very forward-moving. They keep the pace from being broken up by long, static passages of people talking and not doing anything else. Not using this convention is yet another paean to fake Hollywood "realism," and something comic book writers need to stop doing.

  3. #3
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    I love talking during fight scenes.

    It's all about the Hammers of Justice, baby!
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

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    Senior Member Raye's Avatar
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    Nah, I agree with Max. SHORT quips are fine, or pre-battle threats and posturing, but there are times when it seems a character manages to get out an entire paragraph, all while leaping at their opponent. It's impossible and breaks my suspension of disbelief.

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    Junior Member speedline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raye View Post
    Nah, I agree with Max. SHORT quips are fine, or pre-battle threats and posturing, but there are times when it seems a character manages to get out an entire paragraph, all while leaping at their opponent. It's impossible and breaks my suspension of disbelief.
    Really? Of all the things that happen in comics, this is the thing that breaks your suspension of disbelief?

  6. #6
    trevordraws.com Tar22's Avatar
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    It's about pacing to me, rather than suspension of disbelief.

    I don't mind seeing Spidey deliver a big line that clearly would take longer to spit out than the single moment we see in the corresponding panel (Although, when you think about it, that's true of all comic dialogue, not just during fight scenes).

    But sometimes writers just over do it. There are times when my eyes want to fly through an action sequence, panel to panel to panel, but I have to slow down just to get through all of the speech bubbles. Same goes for internal monologue boxes.

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    It depends on how seriously the writer is taking the scene, and what they're actually saying. Describing the action at hand is an automatic groan from me, but the talking itself is funny when a writer makes it fun.

    And a small example of why comics make for such a unique medium. The action can be a very vague suggestion that doesn't impede the dialogue or story progression itself. Comic characters need to zip it while fighting like guitarists need to breathe while ripping it.

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    Junior Member Tekamthi's Avatar
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    As a matter of his personal style, obviously not battle-chattering was the way for Max to go. I have a lot of respect for a decision like that.
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    THE EIDOLON NEVER HAD A GHOST OF A CHANCE - Read The Cloak of Shrouded Men.

  9. #9
    T.S.O.T.I. Hulk_Is's Avatar
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    I don't see any mention anywhere of this topic in the interview, but I have alot to say on on this subject nonetheless.

    While I think wordless fights could be weird, but maybe it could work. I can't remember many offhand. (Anyone wanna provide an instance?)

    My main gripe with alot of fights that are scripted by today's hot writers are that they try to move the same story along while action-oriented and fight scenes play out.

    For example (this is an ad-lib and not from an actual story):

    Diana Prince: Well, Clark Kent, I guess you've found out my hidden secret?

    Clark Kent: Yes, I have. All of my years in news has helped me to uncover that you are indeed, Wonder Woman.

    Diana Prince: Well, we can discuss this over coffee.

    (They chat a little more. Clark reveals his secret identity to Diana.)

    Diana Prince: Do you hear that? Those are screams. I guess I'll see what's going on as Wonder Woman.

    Clark Kent: And, I'll not be far behind as Superman!

    (The duo then get into it with a Big DC baddie.)

    Superman: Even with my keen superpowers I could never tell that you were my fellow Leaguer.

    WW: Nor, could I you.

    Superman: I understand the need to keep our identities a secret, but I felt that revealing myself to you can help you to cope better now that your secrets out.

    WW: Your secrets safe with me.


    Notice how the story of personal revelations between these two characters essentially did not end even in the heat of battle. Also, notice that the villain was a legitimate threat, but the characters continued yammering about their personal lives. Taking no note of their surroundings. Sure, sometimes the characters will lightly acknowledge the threat and say cliched things, but for the most part, the writer doesn't choreograph it well.

    I know these comics are geared towards teens (which thankfully I am not ), but it'd be nice to see these characters actually be forced to acknowledge the nuances of every scene they inhabit.

    Not to sound old, but in the past, superheroes acknowledged their opponents in battle and acknowledged their own abilities or lack thereof outwardly or in thought text.

    I miss that - not the awkward and dated storytelling dialogue of old - but, of characters dealing with their issues and letting their enviroment influence them. I don't like when instances such as when - per my example - the characters talk in a linear fashion and the artists rendition of an action/fight scene is pretty much just wallpaper (especially when sound effects are even eschewed or not provided).
    Marvel : Moon Knight, Savage Hulk (6/25), Original Sin (5/7)

    DC : Aquaman, Aquaman & the Others

  10. #10
    T.S.O.T.I. Hulk_Is's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tar22 View Post
    It's about pacing to me, rather than suspension of disbelief.

    I don't mind seeing Spidey deliver a big line that clearly would take longer to spit out than the single moment we see in the corresponding panel (Although, when you think about it, that's true of all comic dialogue, not just during fight scenes).

    But sometimes writers just over do it. There are times when my eyes want to fly through an action sequence, panel to panel to panel, but I have to slow down just to get through all of the speech bubbles. Same goes for internal monologue boxes.
    I have that problem, too. It's been like that for me reading Justice League International. That's obviously a book suited for big action, but sometimes inappropriate dialogue ruins what could be a kick@$$ scene.

    It's works against the book in my experience and it is being judged accordingly.
    Marvel : Moon Knight, Savage Hulk (6/25), Original Sin (5/7)

    DC : Aquaman, Aquaman & the Others

  11. #11
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    Collins had a bit of an outsider's perspective while at DC.

    In Amazing Heroes#119 in 1987 (two years before the Michael Keaton film), MAC had an interview. He said the following:

    “I’m afraid what I’m running smack up into is the old Batman TV show controversy: the old business about, Gee that was a TV show that made fun of Batman and made fun of comic books, so we have to show people that Batman and comic books are serious and they’re adult and accordingly all the fun goes out of it. There was a reason why that TV show was played for laughs and that is when you put actual human beings in those costumes and act out those stories, it looks stupid. [Remember Robin's old costume-Enda8011] They betray their juvenile roots. It can’t be done straight. I defy them to do the movie straight”.

    Collins then said “I predict it [the then upcoming Batman film] will be an embarrassment if they try to do it without a sense of humor”.

    Collins made the same prediction in the book The Best of Crime and Detective TV, which he co-wrote with John Javna.

    Collins later says “I think that Miller’s Batman is the ultimate extension of the backlash against Adam West. The ultimate expression of We write comics, but we’re Serious, Thoughtful people “.

    More from Amazing Heroes#119:
    "But this astounds me. I do not understand why comics fans are ashamed of the fact that this branch of the art form, super-heroes, does have its basis in juvenile and adolescent fiction. There's nothing wrong with it unless you're trying to pretend it's adult.....in which case you have a serious problem".

    Interesting to contrast 2011 to 1987. J.K. Rowlings had yet to publish her first Harry Potter novel back then, large selling children's literature.

    Of course, many of the more prominent media franchises of the last forty years derive from children's literature.

    I saw an article in USA Today which seemed to indicate that Harry Potter might overtake Star Wars (inspired by the Flash Gordon serials) in terms of domestic box office, per Box Office Mojo.

    While it does not appear that they adjusted matters for inflation or took foreign box office into consideration, they did come up with an interesting list of other successful franchises to compare Star Wars and Harry Potter (Warner Bros. owns DC and made all the Harry Potter films, by the way) with. The list included:

    Batman
    Shrek
    Spider-Man
    Pirates of the Caribbean (started as a theme park ride-yes, it started as a theme park ride)
    The Lord of the Rings (started with the Hobbit, and the Hobbitt received initial reviews as a children's book)

    Incidentally, none of these franchises have ever had R-rated entries. In fact, R-rated adventure films largely no longer have the prominence they had in the 1970's and 1980's (look at the reception of the Mamoa Conan film).

    I have to wonder what Denny O'Neil thinks of this; in the novelization of Batman: Knightfall, O'Neil noted his disapproval of Schwarzenegger, Eastwood, Gibson, Seagal and Willis. Elsewhere, he has criticized Don Pendleton, Mickey Spillane, and Robert E. Howard, as well as the Exterminator. O'Neil noted he could only write the Shadow (he does not support the death penalty, he is the death penalty, as Steranko once said about the Shadow) by not thinking of him as a person. I wonder what O'Neil thinks now that Eastwood has retired and Seagal no longer has his films in US theaters, by and large.

    (Of course, Warner Bros. owns DC and Warner Bros. released the Lethal Weapon films, most early Segal films, and all of the Dirty Harry Callahan films, while Warner Brooks released a series of Dirty Harry Callahan novels. O'Neil makes no comment about this conflict of interest.)
    Last edited by Enda8011; 11-08-2011 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Further info

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