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Thread: TPG: Week 48 - Chris Lewis

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 48 - Chris Lewis

    I hope no one minds that I'm posting this a little early, but tomorrow is looking like it's going to be a little hectic. And rather than have it post really late in the day... here it is on Wednesday.

    Chris Lewis is up this week. Let's see how he does.



    PAGE FOUR (six panels)

    Starting off on page four, without knowing what came before, is a little different, but I’ll roll with it. Just keep in mind that some comments about things like describing characters and providing names may be rendered meaningless if you’ve already provided them earlier. So, with that in mind, onward we go.

    Panel 1. CU on Jacy. She’s somewhat of a sorority girl in her early 20’s, wearing the latest fashions. She also has a map. The maps are going to need some design work, but I picture them as some kind of electrical tattooing around the eyes. Hers is flaring, signifying that she is projecting something. The maps function as a means of accessing the world of the Trade. This is a shared, Internet-like system with which the majority of people view reality. The maps also allow users to project images into the physical world. Jacy is gushing over whatever it is she’s projecting. The room they are in is completely unadorned.

    This is the future, apparently, so what is the “latest fashion” going to look like? That is something you can sort out with the artist outside the script, of course (along with more detailed character descriptions), but make sure you do discuss it with him (or her).

    Same thing with the room - It’s unadorned. That’s fine. But what does an unadorned room look like in this setting? (This is, of course, assuming we can see the room at all in a close-up. But the room will surely show up soon as you pull the camera back, so you might as well address it up front since you’ll have to do it by panel 2 anyway)


    CAP:
    Quiz: Which Trade-ware are you?


    Panel 2. Pull back and we see that the 3D projection coming from Jacy’s map is a slightly built woman cartoon image facing us. Her name is Baby Dumpling. She’s got a 30’s sense of style that is constantly changing, but I also picture her inhabiting many different art nouveau graphic styles. Her hand is outstretched and her finger is pointing right at us.

    How will the reader know that the projection is connected to the “electrical tattoo?” I think you’re going to need some sort of visual clue – maybe some electrical “flaring” similar to what is happening at the girl’s eyes, or something connecting the tattoo and the projection. The 3D projection, itself, is something else you’ll have to work out with your artist, to make sure the projections look different than the “real” people. The virtual reality thing is fun, but it may be tricky to pull of well (which, in no way, means you shouldn’t try).

    What do you mean by, “a 30’s sense of style that is constantly changing?” It can’t be changing in this panel. Do you want her clothing to change from panel to panel? Do you want the way she’s drawn to change from panel to panel?

    What is Jacy doing at this point in time? Where is she? Is she standing? Sitting on a sofa? Acting out Baby Dumpling’s moves, as a remote control sort of thing? And where is the projection in relation to Jacy?


    CAP:
    Result: Baby Dumpling

    What are these captions supposed to be telling me?

    JACY:
    I knew it! Look, she’s showing off the new Underground Collection. Doesn’t Baby look great, (comma) Hal?


    Panel 3. Now we see all we’ve got as a hero. Hal’s in his mid 20’s, tall, skinny. He’s somewhat of a punk and a rebel. He doesn’t look like he belongs with this girl. His dress, knowing smirk, somewhat punkish attitude make him seem out of place and he’s aware of this. Hal doesn’t have a map and therefore belongs to the class of people known as the Grays. These people cannot access the Trade, and can only see map projections as 2D, cartoonish icons. Knowing that he belongs to the gray class gives Hal a self-conscious snarky attitude. Hal has a little black diary with him.

    All this... “Hal doesn’t have a map and therefore belongs to the class of people known as the Grays. These people cannot access the Trade, and can only see map projections as 2D, cartoonish icons.” ...is nice background. But, if you want the reader to know it, they won’t. And it doesn’t mean much to the artist, when it comes to drawing this panel. So there’s really no reason for it to be here.

    What should be here is some description of what Hal is doing, and where he’s doing it. Is he sitting beside Jacy? Is he standing across the room? What do you want to see?


    HAL:
    She’s lovely, (comma) Dear (capitalize). So what did you trade?

    “Dear” is being used in place of a person’s name, so it should be capitalized. But what I want to know is why you used “dear” when you could have given us the character’s name. You get around to calling her “Ms. Green” on page 3, but you never, in all the pages you sent me, gave the reader her first name. I can only hope you did it somewhere on pages 1 to 3.

    JACY:
    Oh c’mon, (comma) Hallie, all I had to give up was a ballet recital. Trust me, it was embarrassing. And the collection comes with a style guide and free accessorizer!

    Based solely on your panel description, I wouldn’t have known Jacy was in this panel (because you only talked about Hal). That means you messed up the panel description by not including her, or it means her line of dialogue should be noted as “off panel.”

    Panel 4. Now we see another projection coming from Jacy’s map, this time however from Hal’s POV. It is a 2D image of Jacy as a little girl, dressed for a ballet recital in a tutu. The 2D version of Baby Dumpling is standing next to her, looking at her outfit.

    See the problem here? I don’t know where Hal is, in relation to Jacy or her projections, so I have no idea what viewpoint this actually is. For all I know it could be the same viewpoint as panel 2.

    And what is ballerina girl doing?


    HAL:
    But it was yours. You were the little hot thing in a tutu. What about that?

    JACY (OP):
    I was 10, (comma) weirdo, and it’s still there. They’re just going to edit it a little and I can access it whenever I want. (I would spell out “ten,” just because I think it looks better in a line of dialogue.)

    They are going to edit it? And she can access it? This seems to have already taken place, since she’s currently got Baby Dumpling and Hal is looking at Ballerina Girl.


    HAL:
    And make it available for the entire network to see!


    Panel 5. Hal bends down to inspect the 2D images of BD and the ballerina dancing with each other.

    JACY (OP):
    Ohh, now Baby can dance with me as a little girl! Don’t you think that’s a nice idea? Letting everybody in on your history? It’s how people get to know each other.

    HAL:
    No! Private stuff like that recital are only really special to you. Those voyeurs who come across it in the Trade just want to get some quick kicks out of it.


    Panel 6. We see that they’re sitting at a desk in what appears to be a doctor’s office. Jacy is very pregnant as she and Hal continue to contemplate the images.

    Now we find out that they’re sitting at a desk in a doctor’s office, and Jacy is pregnant? You don’t think any panel before this one would have hinted at any of that? Tell your artist this stuff right up front. Even if you want it hidden from the reader for some reason (and I don’t think you do, you just didn’t think of till now), you still need to tell the artist, so he can take that into account. Never hide things from your artist.

    JACY:
    But it was entertaining. And now it will be for the whole family!

    HAL:
    Which family?

    PAGE FIVE (five panels)

    You should use page breaks. Don’t just hit return until the cursor kicks to the next page or, when you start doing revisions, the beginnings of your pages will end up all over the place.

    Panel 1. Jacy is confused by the question.

    That’s nice, but what do you want the reader to see? You need to think visually. Maybe this is a close-up on Jacy, looking confused, but you’re not telling the artist that. Maybe it’s the same shot as last panel, but you’re not telling the artist that either. What is the viewpoint? What is the character doing? What are we supposed to be seeing? Who are we supposed to be seeing (just Jacy? Jacy and Hal? Jacy, Hal, Baby Dumpling, and the Ballerina Girl?)

    JACY:
    The Trade. We’re all one big family, (comma) Hal. (You’re doing this a lot, so I assume it’s not a typo - Whenever you’re directly addressing a person, the name or title should be separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma.)

    Panel 2. Hal points to his unmapped face.

    HAL:
    There’s no map here. We are going to be a family. The three of us. You have to keep those memories so you can tell our kid all about the time before Mommy (“Mommy” is being used in place of a person’s name, so it should be capitalized) got all saggy. Or should the kid just have the Trade version of who its parents were?

    That’s too much text for one balloon. You should break it up.


    Panel 3. We are now back to Jacy’s 3D POV of her map projection. We see the little ballerina girl leaping through the air in front of a huge audience. Jacy looks on, amazed at this display.

    If this shot is from Jacy’s point of view, we cannot see Jacy looking on.

    And when were we in Jacy’s 3D POV in the first place? Firstly, this is the first time you’ve called for the viewpoint to be from Jacy’s point of view. Secondly, this is a two dimensional medium, so we’re not seeing anything in 3D anyway (we don’t even have funky red and green cardboard glasses).

    If you mean that you’re going to have some scenes done as 2D line drawings, and some scenes rendered using 3D modeling software to simulate the “3D look,” (or you’re going to give us funky red and green cardboard glasses) then maybe that’s valid. But, even assuming that to be the case, remember what you need to portray here – You’ve got the projections as seen from Hal’s 2D viewpoint, you’ve got the projections as seen from Jacy’s 3D viewpoint, and you’ve got the “real” world that the characters are living in. And you’re trying to show all of that in a two dimensional medium. And, if that wasn’t enough to deal with, you later go on from there to claim that you want different drawing styles within the depictions of the projections. How do you propose to accomplish all that?

    And that’s just the problems with depicting it. What about the concept itself? If Hal can see these projections at all, why is he seeing them in 2D? If the projections are images projected into thin air, like it sounds (rather than being projected against a flat surface like a movie, which is not what you’re describing), why can’t he see them in 3D? It would make sense if he couldn’t see them at all, but why does he see them flat?


    JACY:
    I was good…no, I was great! How could I even start to describe this, (comma) Hal? It’ll be so much more real this way.


    Panel 4. Back to Hal’s POV of the 2D ballerina. He’s skeptically pointing at the audience.

    Where did the audience come from? All we had was Ballerina Girl and Baby Dumpling dancing in front of Hal and Jacy. Are Hal and Jacy supposed to be on stage at the dance recital now, like they’re right there inside the projection? How does that work when Hal can’t see in 3D?

    And, if it’s Hal’s point of view, then we can’t see Hal at all.


    HAL:
    You were such a smash? Some Trade algorithm turned you into a highlight reel.


    Panel 5. Jacy needs to access her map when she wants to use these words. We should see this concentration here as she points to Hal’s black book.

    Where are we now? Still inside the projection of the dance hall (if we were before)? Is this 2D? 3D? Is Hal in the shot, or just his book? What is Hal doing? What are the projections doing (if they’re even still there).

    How is your artist going to show something as subtle as concentration? And if he pulls it off, how is the reader going to know what she’s concentrating on? They’ll probably think she’s just frowning at the book. Or possibly constipated.


    JACY:
    And everything in your diary there is the truth? You know what? You’re just…quorked that you can’t see the…luminescence that is Baby Dumpling.

    HAL:
    Please don’t use the Word of the Day with me.

    Panel 6. She hugs herself.

    What’s the viewpoint? Who’s in the shot? If there is anyone else, what are they doing?

    JACY:
    But it’s the Word of the Day. Every time I say it I get this swirly, tingly feedback. Quorked. Mmmm. It could be your word too if you were plugged in. It’s already getting a user rating of 11 and it’s blowing up on Buzzard. 10:30 in the morning and you’re already out of the loop.

    Too long. Break it up into more than one balloon.

    VOICE (OP):
    Appropriate waiting time achieved.

    PAGE SIX (five panels)


    Panel 1. Pull back to show the room. An amoeba-like, three dimensional creature dressed up like a doctor has appeared across the desk from them. This is Protean Ian, InGel’s mascot. His body is round and flowing and he’s able to slightly change his shape to achieve different looks and effects, but he should be recognizable throughout. No matter how annoyed he gets, he retains his smiley face.

    There’s also no way the reader will know that Protean Ian “appeared”. We could just as easily assume that he walked into the room while we were focused on the close-up of Jacy that your artist went with for the last panel (because you didn’t tell him you needed two identical panels, one without PI and the next one with PI, to suggest his sudden appearance).

    What is Protean Ian doing? And, if he changes his look for different effects, what look is he affecting now? Is he supposed to be 2D or 3D? What are Jacy and Hal (and Baby Dumpling and Ballerina Girl) doing? Even if the answer is, “Nothing much,” some clues to their body language might be nice.


    PROTEAN IAN:
    Good morning Ms. Green, unidentified guest. I’m Protean Ian. Welcome to InGel.

    JACY:
    This is my boyfriend Hal Stein. I’m a Gray Adopter type B personality.


    Panel 2. Hal introduces himself but is less than thrilled at having to do so. He has to do this on a regular basis since he doesn’t have a map that would allow others to identify him. PI also seems to be mildly apprehensive about talking to Hal. PI is 2D here since this is Hal’s POV.

    Hal doesn’t introduce himself. Jacy just did. So what is he doing? And why is he “less than thrilled”? It’s his choice to be disconnected, isn’t it?

    And, once again, we can’t see Hal if we’re viewing the scene from Hal’s point of view. If you choose to go ahead with this 2D vs 3D business, you desperately need to separate that designation from your viewpoint specifications. They are not the same thing. The point of view, or viewpoint, is the camera location.


    PROTEAN IAN:
    How interesting for you. Well Mr. Stein, it’s been some time since I’ve had the…honor of greeting such a clean face.

    HAL:
    What an observation, (comma) Doc. (capitalize) And here I didn’t even shave.


    Panel 3. PI’s patience just got shorter, but he’s smiling all the same.

    How will the reader know his patience got shorter? How much of a face does PI have for the artist to work with? It’s going to have to be pretty expressive to pull off smiling and irritated at the same time.

    And what is Hal doing? Is he smiling too? The dialogue sounds like he could be irritated, or just a smartass. What’s his body language?


    PROTEAN IAN:
    We do have brochures we could send to you. Explaining the process to those without maps can be somewhat time consuming.

    HAL:
    Well, good thing we paid for the appointment.


    Panel 4. PI accesses a file.

    What does PI accessing a file look like? Did he pull it out of the desk? Out of his butt? Flip open a monitor on the desk top? Pop open a computer window in midair? What do you want to see?

    PROTEAN IAN:
    First trip to the mall? Well, mem-cred is all relative I suppose. Shall we begin?


    Panel 5. Hal leans forward to get some information, which is pretty embarrassing to Jacy.

    Leaning forward toward what? What information is he getting? How is he getting it? Did Protean Ian pull some of those brochures out of his butt too?

    HAL:
    Why don’t you tell us about your Awe rate?

    JACY:
    Oh c’mon, (comma) Hal, I want to get started.

    PAGE SEVEN (four panels)


    Panel 1. Now PI is annoyed, but he continues to smile. He himself is annoyingly cheerful.

    PROTEAN IAN:
    Well this is sure to be slow. Mr. Stein, even you must have surely come across the news that the Awe syndrome has never been conclusively linked to the Trade.

    HAL:
    The official line, (comma) huh? I see the kids every day and each one has a map, (comma) Doctor P.


    Panel 2. PI has a “T” with a circle around it appearing between his pointer finger and his thumb. It is the Trade’s stylized version of the “r” with a circle that is used to signify a registered trademark. Between the same fingers on his other hand we see a little bar graph representing some data. Both of these symbols appear as though being broadcast from PI himself.

    Dang! A halfway decent description! It could probably be slightly better, but I’m not going to beat it up when I finally got one.

    PROTEAN IAN:
    If you’re here to talk about InGel, whose time Ms. Green’s fantastic shopping experience is paying for, I need only to mention that we are a Trademarked Kindergarten. There’s enough print material scattered across the Gray regarding what that means. Since we were founded there has not been one registered case of a child developing Awe after being implementing (implemented) with our mapware. Period.

    Way too much dialogue for one balloon.


    Panel 3. Above PI we now see the logos of other Kindergartens.

    What are the logos? How many are there?

    PROTEAN IAN:
    In fact, no Kindergarten has reported any Awe irregularities.


    Panel 4. His hands are now outstretched and we see a baby suspended in what appears to be an incubation chamber.

    PROTEAN IAN:
    That being said, these are deep neuronal interconnections we’re talking about and the nervous system is not something you can change without risks.


    PAGE EIGHT (six panels)


    Panel 1. Hal is pointing a finger at PI, mocking him.

    HAL:
    Yeah, the risks, talk about those things.

    PROTEAN IAN:
    What exactly are you here for?


    Panel 2. Now Jacy leans over and places a hand “on” PI’s.

    So the projections are solid? Now I really want to know why Hal can’t see them in 3D.

    JACY:
    Can’t we just get to the tour? I really want to see your interface.

    PROTEAN IAN:
    I’m not programmed for innuendo Ms. Green. Your trade credit specifies that I provide information on InGel, not sit here wasting mind-width. I’ll happily transfer the specifics to your map and you can explain it all to your…gray boy.

    For a computer program, he’s a Snotty S.O.B., isn’t he? And you need to break up that dialogue.


    Panel 3. Hal starts to get up while Jacy stays concentrated on PI.

    Body language?

    HAL:
    You mappist donut hole!

    JACY:
    Hal! This is so not good for my nerves. Yesterday’s quiz showed that I’m physical confrontation reluctant.


    Panel 4. Close up on Jacy.
    Expression?

    JACY:
    PI, I would really appreciate it if you could explain it, in real time, out loud, so that Hal could participate. Hal, as the mother of your child, I would suggest you consider Baby Dumpling’s 5th step on remaining calm in the face of adversity. Sit your ass down.

    You need to break that balloon up too.

    PI (OP):
    I’m still not…


    Panel 5. Same shot of Jacy but her map has lit up, signifying a trade. Something shocks her though, as if she just found something out that she wasn’t ready for.

    JACY:
    Really apprecia…Ooh!


    Panel 6. Similar shot of PI. He’s angry at having to accept the fact that Jacy just traded another memory to pay for his time.

    PROTEAN IAN:
    Well…hrm…since you’ve paid up.


    Okay, I’m going to stop there.

    Your panel descriptions are almost universally lacking in important information. You’re not giving anywhere near enough information. You’re not thinking visually and you’re not thinking about what you need to include in the scene to tell your story. In some places your “descriptions” become so vague and cryptic that they’re literally indecipherable. You need to go back to every single panel description in your script, and ask yourself... “What does this shot look like? Where am I viewing it from? What and who needs to be in this shot? What does the artist need to know to deliver what I’m picturing in my head?” And when you come up with something you want to explain, like how maps work or what grays are... you have to figure out how to explain that to the reader, within the story.

    The pacing was fairly leisurely, but it wasn’t bad. There were enough interesting things for my brain to work on, and they were presented in an interesting enough manner, that I wasn’t bored. Confused in places, yes. But not bored. Protean Ian’s presentation (later in the script) was probably the slowest area, and I think it’s worth looking at tightening that part up a bit.

    You’ve got an interesting concept going here. And the implications of trading memories for shallow entertainment shoved directly into your brain (especially when it begins at birth) is kind of creepy. But... the scene with Kampinsky & company (also later in the script) seemed to go a little goofy and I’m not sure that segment and the darker feel of the other scenes are playing well together.

    The other thing that bothers me is that this seems to be all about “Awe” (that’s even the title), but I still don’t really understand what that’s supposed to be. It’s not till the end (of the first issue, I assume) that we get to see an example of someone who has it. And then the description is vague enough that it doesn’t really show me anything. I think you need to get a little deeper into what Awe is, and what is meaningful about it, well before the end of the issue.

    The logistics of making this whole thing work visually (with the 2D, and the 3D, and what’s “real,” and how that’s all going to work together and still be understood as different things, and understood as what you intend) could be a challenge. No, actually, it will be a challenge. Is it a challenge that you can overcome? Is it even a challenge that can be overcome, and have it come off well? I honestly don’t know. You can only try. I’d be interested to see how you make out.

    Anyone have any other thoughts?



  2. ChrisLewis Guest

    Merry Christmas everyone! And thanks for the review Calvin. I will be sending in a thorough reply to your comments tomorrow, but right now the Turkey's gotta get in the oven. Cheers!

    Oh, before I forget, does anyone know how to do page breaks on a Mac? i'm working on a German laptop and there isn't any clear key to push. thanks!



  3. StevenForbes Guest

    What program are you using?

    If you're using something like Word, then the page break would be underneath the "Insert" or "Edit" functions up top.



  4. ChrisLewis Guest

    Alright, so the panel descriptions need some work. That will be step 1. It's also sobering to find out that there is confusion about the technical aspects of the maps and other technology. I always felt like I was on a slippery slope describing that stuff, and now it has been confirmed that I really need to polish that and make it clearer. About the dialogue: is it always necessary to split up to show the letterer how many balloons you want? I just thought that I would type it all under the character's name and let the letterer split it up into however many balloons they thought necessary, figuring that they would understand the correct beats. But writing that now, I realize it sounds a bit optimistic. Lesson learned. Thanks again for the comments and I'll get to work now...or maybe after the holidays. I'm too stuffed to think.



  5. StevenForbes Guest

    Oh, wow.

    That's some of the laziest thinking I've ever seen. Let the letterer break it up? Right.

    That's horrible. You should be ashamed. Do you know what you're doing? You're surrendering how you want your comic to be read. Why? Because you're letting the shots be called by someone else.

    How about taking responsibility for what you write?

    How about studying how it's done?

    Have you even read any other scripts? Professional or otherwise? If you have, did you see anyone else just lumping the dialogue together in order to let the letterer take care of it?

    If you haven't seen any other scripts, then you haven't been doing your homework. You haven't been doing any type of studying in order to get better.

    I congratulate you in coming in here to have your script looked at. From what I've seen, you have a LONG way to go.

    Calvin, please, send me this script. I'll see what mojo I can rustle up.

    Thanks.



  6. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisLewis View Post
    About the dialogue: is it always necessary to split up to show the letterer how many balloons you want? I just thought that I would type it all under the character's name and let the letterer split it up into however many balloons they thought necessary, figuring that they would understand the correct beats.
    When doing the dialogue, it's necessary for the writer to do pretty much everything but put it on the drawn page. You want your breaks where they should be, your bold words bolded (NOT capitalized - they usually convert all the text to lower case to work with, and then your bold text will be gone), any special treatments for the dialogue noted... everything you want done with the dialogue, it's up to you to provide.

    Letterers are paid next to nothing for the amount of work they do, and they're often (at the indy level) expected to do pre-press work besides. Because of this, they're working FAST to make a decent rate. Most letterer's are not even reading your dialogue (they're just concerned with making it look good on the page) and they are certainly not spending time looking for the correct beats - not unless you're paying them a lot more than the usual rate.

    There are also a few "industry standard" things to keep in mind when writing for a letterer, so they know what you intend. Blambot has a pretty good guide, here: http://www.blambot.com/grammar.shtml
    I recommend checking it out.



  7. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    (NOT capitalized - they usually convert all the text to lower case to work with, and then your bold text will be gone)
    Incorrect.

    Most of the time, letterers are just going to cut and paste into the art. The font used will generally be all UPPERcase, not lowercase.

    Everything else is correct.



  8. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    Incorrect.

    Most of the time, letterers are just going to cut and paste into the art. The font used will generally be all UPPERcase, not lowercase.

    Everything else is correct.
    Feel free to talk to some letterers, to check me on this, and we can get back to it. I'm just repeating what I've read, from professional letterers.

    Letterers (at least some of them) convert text to all lowercase, to get rid of cross-bar "I"s, and then they use a mix of upper and lower case letters to provide variety in the lettering (where letters repeat - tomorRow, moOn, etc). The text you see comes out in all caps because the font, upper and lower case, is all caps, not because the lettering is all uppercase.

    Edit:
    Of course, if you're doing all the dialogue in caps and showing the bolding some other way (like bolded or underlined) then that's fine, because you won't loose the bolding if they convert it all to lowercase. It's just showing the bolding as all-caps within lowercase dialogue that makes more work for the letterer.

    Edit2:
    Quote Originally Posted by Clem Robins (taken from Digital Webbing & slightly edited)
    if you want a word done in bold type, please don't indicate it by typing it in all caps. make it bold in your script, or underline it.

    most fonts designed for comics have two upper case alphabets. one is located on the upper case keyboard, the other on the lower case. they are slightly different from each other, but are still clearly drawn by the same hand.

    when i get a script, i convert the whole thing to lower case. then in the course of lettering, when a word repeats itself, i convert the second occurrence to upper case.

    for example, here is a speech one might write or letter.

    "you--you mean that if i won't marry you, you'll marry edith?"

    this gets converted to…

    "you--YOU mean that if i won't marRY you, YOU'lL MARry edith?"

    under these conditions, it's clear that if the writer specs his bold words with capitals, things can get confusing.

    if you write your script assuming that the letterer is going to do a global CHANGE CASE routine on it, you'll be much safer.
    If anyone doesn't know who Clem Robins is... well, let's just say he's been lettering forever, for everybody.



  9. ChrisLewis Guest

    yes, sobering all around. thanks guys. i'll get on it.



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