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A murderer's row of comics writers regale packed room at Wondercon

"It's our job to find out what's fun and exciting about these characters"

Friday afternoon at WonderCon found a packed room of comics fans ready to listen to a packed panel of some of the most distinguished comics writers of the past few decades - old generations and new. The Write Stuff featured moderator (as well as comics creator) Cecil Castellucci and writers Gail Simone, Marv Wolfman, Terry Kavanaugh, Steve Englehart, David Mack, and Steve Orlando. The discussion ranged from inspiration to research to the nuances of taking over established characters.

Some interesting behind-the-scenes stories were shared alongside nuggets of great advice. Steve Englehart chatted the headache having to type on a typewriter back in the day, just as Gail Simone shared that she thought about and researched Wonder Woman for eight months before she wrote a single word. What was on her mind that whole time? "What tone would fit for now? What would be relevant for now? Because Wonder Woman should always be relevant."

Englehart, Cecil Castellucci, and Marv Wolfman all shared that they read all previous iterations of an established character to research before they begin to write. Steve Orlando added that he drew from Simone's run on Wonder Woman and that "At least half of this panel has been major influences on my own work" - which is probably true for most superhero comics writers working today.

Throughout the panel, the audience listened with bated breath, punctuating particularly good bits of advice with applause and asking questions about what creators felt about the books that followed their influential stuff (Marv Wolfman doesn't read a book after he leaves it, nor does Steve Englehart. Gail Simone says it's "like a divorce" and takes a while for her to get over it before she can be openminded about it again) and whether or not the writers have to research the science in their stories (Kavanaugh says that there's freedom to go even more fantastic in superhero comics, and Orlando says that science in the established story world is different, and that you have to keep those jumps in mind).

All in all, a good time was had by the panelists and the panel attendees. If people think that comics are dying, it certainly didn't feel that way at this WonderCon panel.

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Tiffany Babb

Tiffany Babb: Tiffany Babb is a professional lurker (aka critic) who once served as Popverse’s deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast.


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