Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man, Issue 700 - Another Comic Book Stunt

“The Amazing Spider-Man – Issue 700” came out this week. Anyone else not care about the death of Peter Parker?

I thought so.

This is all part of yet another comic book event (or stunt) and showcases the absolute failure of most comic book writers. Not only that, it’s been done before, with Peter Parker no less, and it’s old news.

I think that writers and comic book companies should have a set of rules to follow when they decide to kill off a character. And since I’ve suggested it, I might as well provide the rules.

So here they are:

The Writer’s Rules for Killing Off A Fictional Character 

1. Don’t kill off a character unless you intend to keep that character dead. If you still think it’s a good idea, think about why you created that character in the first place, what role they fill, and what will be lost when they are gone forever. You cannot bring them back! Doing that cheapens the death and dilutes your brand.

2. If you want to kill off a character, and then revive them for the purposes of a story, pre-plan the conclusion in advance. The “death” must be used as a plot device to supplement your own original ideas, not as the only plot point, or overarching theme of the story. It’s been done too many times to ever be original. More importantly, you must not advertise your story as “The Death of a Character” if you know they are coming back. Readers don’t like being lied to.

3. If you still want to kill off a character off, advertise it as “The Death of a Character” and then bring them back as part of a marketing stunt, think up a better story and win over readers with quality writing. If you can’t think up a story that doesn’t involve a marketing event, you are not yet ready to write original fiction.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pictures From The Super MegaFest Comic Convention

The Boston Super MegaFest comic convention is New England’s largest multimedia fan-fest, and Perro Worldwide Comics was there.

Appearing at the Convention from Perro Worldwide:

1. Chip Perro
2. Rick Perro
3. The Top Ten PWC Hero Cast Finalists

The event was a great chance to mingle with PWC fans and talk about everything happening at Perro Worldwide Comics.

And now, without further ado, the pictures from the event!


At the Perro Worldwide Comics Booth.  From left to right:  Thais Vieira, Chip Perro, Sarah Michelle, Rick Perro  


Left to right:  Chip Perro, Adam Mallett & Ryan Paulk.  If you look close, you you can see both Sarah Michelle and Thais Vieira smiling in the back.


Left to right:  Thais Vieira and Sarah Michelle.


Left to right:  Adam Mallett and Thais Vieira.


Left to right:  Ryan Paulk and Sarah Michelle.


Left to right:  Chip Perro, Thais Vieira, Ryan Paulk, Sarah Michelle, and Adam Mallett.


Left to right:  Chip Perro, Thais Vieira, Ryan Paulk, Sarah Michelle, and Adam Mallett.


Left to right:  Chip Perro, Thais Vieira, Ryan Paulk, Sarah Michelle, and Adam Mallett.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

PWC Hero Cast Finale

In an earlier post I wrote about the PWC Hero Cast Auditions, how it’s not easy to find the right actors for a superhero movie franchise. That being said, it’s been almost a year since the first Hero Cast Audition. The last audition will take place on September 25, 2012.

The PWC Hero Cast Audition Schedule:

Episode 8: Now online, until 10:00 PM tonight!
Episode 9: Online this Friday, September 14!
Episode 10: Online September 28, 2012!

*** 

So far (out of all the auditions) 45 actors will move on to the second audition. Round Two is much harder! Actors will be assigned specific characters, tailored to fit their style, and lines will be memorized. I’m looking forward to a lot of successful auditions because these actors have proven that they have enthusiasm for the superhero genre. This is the time to wow me! I’ll be narrowing down all the returning actors to ten top finalists. (Five men and five women.)

Those actors will join me at the Boston Super MegaFest Comic Convention on November 17 & 18. There, the finalists will woo comic & sci-fi fans in person. No small task!

If you can’t make the convention, that’s okay because we’ll be uploading one final episode of PWC Hero Cast on Friday, November 16. It will feature the intense second auditions of all top ten contestants. Voting happens one more time, and the winners of PWC Hero Cast will be announced!

*** 

For more detailed information, head on over to the Official PWC Hero Cast Website: www.pwcherocast.com. You can check out the latest group of actors, and cast your vote for the best audition, and have a say in who becomes the next great superhero sensation!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing With Boarders

There’s an advantage to writing a book over a comic. You don’t have to space out each plot point and line of dialog panel by panel.

Comic book writing requires the author to break up their story so that it flows naturally and creates a sense of movement between frames. Even for something as simple as a dinner conversation, with very little action, spacing out the dialog between panels must be taken into consideration.

If it were a movie script, the scene would be written as one long sequence, filmed from a variety of angles, and edited together to tell the story in the most effective way. In a comic, there’s only so much dialog that fits in each little box. For formatting purposes alone, dialog must be evenly spaced, but creatively, dialog must be spaced out in a way that naturally progresses the comic from panel to panel, and page by page.

Let’s take the following scene, which we can imagine is for a four panel comic strip. Perhaps even a Mission Park Weekly comic strip. Or even… Since we’re doing this… A lost strip that shows Chris and Tessa out to lunch. (Head on over to www.perroworldwide.com to get caught up with Mission Park Weekly comic strip if you’re interested in context.)

*** 

A busy Italian restaurant. Chris Ember sits across from Tessa Faux. They are in the middle of a conversation.

Chris: This chicken parmesan tastes a little funky.
Tessa: Really? That’s disappointing. The waiter seemed to be talking it up.
Chris: Yeah, probably because it’s getting old and needs to sell.
Tessa: Probably…

*** 

For this scene, it’s rather simple. We could easily put each line of dialog in it’s own panel and focus on one person talking, frame by frame. It’s okay, but doesn’t exactly establish that Chris and Tessa are at a restaurant. Remember, the direction won’t be included in the final strip. We need to show that visually.

So what if we open up with a two-shot? Maybe it’s better to have the first panel show Chris and Tessa sitting at their table in the middle of the restaurant, along with the first two lines of dialog. Then a second panel with just Chris and his line, and a third panel with just Tessa and her line. I like that, but now I’m one panel short, and I need to fill a four panel strip.

So, let’s start over. I’ll go with the two shot for the first frame, but only with the first line of dialog. Then, the second line in panel two with a close shot on Tessa, the third line in panel three with a close shot on Chris, and the fourth line in panel four with a close on Tessa.

Okay, good… But let’s take a look at the spacing. With the lines broken up panel by panel, each line will feel like it happens with the same breaks of time between sentences. Person speaks… Break. Person speaks… Break. It’s not natural and doesn’t get the timing across that I’ve imagined.

With the first two lines in the same box, the conversation flows more naturally. Then with the next line in the next panel, we mentally add a pause, which fits with what the characters are saying. And with the final line, we get another pause. That also fits.

See, look:

*** 

Chris: This chicken parmesan tastes a little funky.
Tessa: Really? That’s disappointing. The waiter seemed to be talking it up.

Pause

Chris: Yeah, probably because it’s getting old and needs to sell.

Pause

Tessa: Probably…

*** 

If it were a movie, these characters wouldn’t be running each line on top of each other. They’d be taking breaks, thinking about what they’re saying. In a comic strip we can use the spaces between panels to our advantage.

So…

How about we start with an exterior shot of the restaurant in panel one. And we’ll add one new line of dialog: “Hmm…” Then in panel two, we have the long two shot, fully establishing the scene with both lines of dialog, followed by the two single shots in the remaining panels. It works!

But there’s more. What’s happening in the scene? The first panel is simple enough. We have an exterior. No characters… For the second panel, Chris should be looking at the chicken, mulling over the taste. In a non-moving comic, that’s not easy to show, so it might be better if Chris has his fork in the meat, and his head is pointed down, directly towards the dish. It’s too big for a movie, but we have to show the big shots when the characters are still. Since Tessa is talking in that frame as well, we’ll need Tessa to look as though Chris has completed his sentence. She should be looking at him, while saying her line.

Now in the third frame, Chris will be looking up. His focus should be on Tessa, but it’s a close shot, so we’ll be seeing Chris more head on, with possibly Tessa’s shoulder towards the reader.

Then, in the final panel, since it’s only one line, maybe Tessa should be holding a cup of water, as though she is going to take a sip, progressing the movement.

So, that’s how we’ve framed out a very simple four line scene. It gets far more difficult with movement! But we’ll talk about that some other time!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The power is the least of your problems…

If you’re creating a new superhero, one of the first things you might be thinking about is the type of power that they’re is going to have. It’s a fair question. Even fun to talk about. But if you’re trying to come up with something unique in the super-powers department, forget it.

Many creators feel under pressure to try to come up with something completely unique to differentiate their superhero from all the others. So what usually happens is they dismiss all the amazing super-powers writers have already come up with, and the only things that are left over are powers like the ability to turn into a cactus and shoot prickly prickles at the enemy.

Please… Don’t invent Cactus-Man!

Superheroes have powers for one reason… To make them stronger than everyone else around them. It doesn’t matter what the power is, the basic concept behind the superhero is that they have a physical advantage. Beyond that, no matter what the character’s power may be, their special ability will play a role in everything they do. Did you ever notice that superhero stories compliment a character’s power? For example, Flash is fast… And for some reason everything that happens in Flash’s world involves (forgive me for saying this) the need for speed.

So, don’t stress about what your character’s power is going to be. And certainly don’t stress if your character’s power isn’t original. All the good super-powers have already been done. Coming up with a unique power isn’t going to differentiate your character from all the others. It’s how you write your character and how you craft your character’s personality that is going to make him or her different.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good Sci-Fi Writing

Some of the worst sounding ideas I’ve come up with are pure gold. I mean, right now… off the top of my head, I’m thinking-up a story about Tessa Faux going under cover, deep inside an adult entertainment company. Her mission is to unmask a super-villain movie director who plans to put subluminal messages into his sex-flicks and turn average (albeit voyeuristic) citizens into killing machines.

Yes, I’ll be the first to say it. It’s a wildly stupid idea. Completely unbelievable… but if the characters are written well, it can be an absolutely amazing story. Are you seriously going to say that you wouldn’t want to read about re-programmed citizenry, subluminal adult movies, and a hot mixture of action and sex?

Poor character development is why other comic and film companies who make superhero themed entertainment are sucking so bad right now. They come up with a boring villain for the hero to fight, there are pages of action where characters punch each other, then when it’s all over, the good guy wins. No surprises or excitement. What are these bland, prosaic writers thinking?

Now is the time for the next generation of writers to start working! The comic and sci-fi genre needs innovative writers to come up with something better than slug-fests between heroes and villains. The same old thing is not going to excite new readers, nor is it about changing the essential elements of a character instead of creating an interesting tale. Sci-fi writing is about big, larger-than-life stories, written in such a way that the characters themselves behave in a realistic manner.

Most writers who want to write comic and sci-fi entertainment intend for their writing to be fantastical, but emotionally real. And with big storytelling possibilities, it’s easy to turn good ideas into campy stories. So, how do you keep the writing realistic in such an unrealistic genre? The simple answer is that it all comes down to the characterization.

Lets go back to my Tessa Faux story, where she infiltrates an adult film company run by an evil movie director, who wants to purify the world by re-programming smut-watchers into killing machines. If Tessa is written as a real person, rather than as a cartoon, her actions will be consistent with her established character traits, and plausible within the reality that I’ve created. You’ll be engaged in the personal drama she is working through as the Tessa Faux character.

In the two versions of my Tessa Faux script that follow, Tessa’s defined personality as a sex-crazed vigilante, only rings true in the second script.

***

The Adventures of Tessa Faux 

In 
The Big Ride 
(the version with unrealistic character development) 

The Reveal

Tessa and the Evil Director, in his office.

Tessa: I’ve won, lover! Your master plan is doomed!

Evil Director: You can’t stop me, Tessa! Not now! It’s far too late.

Tessa: Oh, but I did! All your videos were re-edited before being shipped out. The final cut of your film is no longer dangerous, just dirty. And that’s bad enough! People shouldn’t be exposed to your kind of filthy thoughts. Even though I live a little bit naughty, I’m still a good person! And I know smut when I see it!

Evil Director: I was so close! World domination was within my reach. And now… You! You’ve taken it all away. For this, I will exact revenge. Count on it!

Tessa: Oh, I don’t think so! I’m not a criminal like you. And good always wins. That’s why you’re going to jail, where you’ll spend a very long time learning right from wrong.

Evil Director: No!

In a fit of rage, the Evil Director reaches for a gun behind his desk. Tessa is too fast. She removes a sidearm from behind her cape and fires one straight into the director’s head.

Tessa: Sorry, lover. I didn’t have a choice.

The Adventures of Tessa Faux 

In 
The Big Ride 
(the version with realistic character development) 

The Reveal

Tessa and the Evil Movie Director, in his office.

Tessa: You did a good job covering your tracks, lover. Unfortunately, I was on to you from the start.

Evil Director: You can’t stop me, Tessa. Not now.

Tessa: I already did. Your video was re-edited before it shipped out. The final cut of “Beaver Beach Rescue” is no longer dangerous… just dirty. I have to say, re-editing the footage got me hot in all the right ways. You’re a talented filmmaker. It’s too bad you won’t get the chance to make anymore movies.

Evil Director: How could you… of all people… not understand what I was trying to do? You think I didn’t know who you were when you started working for me?

Tessa: Targeting the perverted to do your bidding? I’m not going to defend your fan-base. They’re not exactly engaging in high brow entertainment. And personally, I’ve always preferred to play, rather than watch… But that doesn’t give you the right to subliminally reprogram people.

Evil Director: You play judge, jury, and executioner every single day. How am I any different from you for targeting scum who live below my ethical standards?

Tessa removes a sidearm from behind her cape and fires one straight into the director’s head.

Tessa: You’re not…

***

Good writing in Sci-fi is about a larger than life plot, filled with realistic characters. Bad writing is about a larger than life plot, filled with unrealistic characters. It’s really that simple! You’ll never fall into the trap of writing campy fiction if your characters remain real in the fiction you create. After that, the more outlandish the plot you come up with is, the better your story will be.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The James Bond Movies: From Best To Worst

A lot of people compare my vigilante socialite character Tessa Faux to Batman, and there are some similarities. They both come from aristocratic families and they both fight crime, but the real influence for Tessa Faux wasn't the Caped Crusader. It was James Bond.

I think James Bond is really a superhero in a tux. He's a one-man-army with high-tech gadgets instead of superpowers. He's come a long way from the original books that launched the Bond adventures, taking him from spy to super-spy, but he was never realistic. We know this because the day-to-day lives of real spies don't involve much travel to exotic locations, dozens of sleek expendable automobiles, and erotic dalliances with beautiful women.

I recently saw the new trailers for the upcoming Bond movie, Skyfall, so I thought it would be fun to rank the previous Bond movies from best to worst. Now keep in mind, this is my opinion. You may (and probably) have different opinions. You should also know that I'm a fan of all the Bond movies. This is more of a comparison of best to worst in a category where I like them all.

But first things first, I should probably start with my favorite to least favorite Bond actors. Only because it plays a factor in my choices.

From best to worst:

Roger Moore
Sean Connery
Pierce Brosnan
Timothy Dalton
George Lazenby
And... Daniel Craig

Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the movies!

1. The Spy Who Loved Me

The best of the Roger Moore Films, and the best of the Bond films. It has it all. Fantastic locations, a big story, and the best henchman in the history of the franchise... Jaws! Yes, this one is as good as it gets!

2. On Her Majesties Secret Service
Seriously underrated. The only failing is George Lazenby. Otherwise, it's an amazing Bond film, an impressive story that delivers one of Bond's most emotional adventures. It also places the previous films in a loose history, which is nice. The leading man puts this one on the bottom of the list for most people, but if you look past the actor, it's a really great film.

It's not even that Lazenby was bad. He had his moments. It was just that he was only in this one, and nobody ever got to know him. If Sean Connery was in this one, the movie wouldn't have been as good. He wouldn't have been able to deliver the emotion, or the sensitivity. But if Roger Moore was in this one, it would have been his best.

3. Goldeneye

Yep, Goldeneye! Both a great movie and a great game. This is the first of Pierce Brosnan's Bond films, and it's also his best. It's a really great start for Bond in the 90's. Little did we know how lackluster Brosnan's movies would be after this one. But don't blame the actor. Blame the scripts.

Despite Goldeneye being one of the best, it's also the beginning of Judi Dench's run as M, which changes the tone of the entire franchise. And, not in a good way. As the series progresses, you'll find more and more Judi Dench taking up time on screen. And now, the franchise seems to be all about M front and center... But, more on that later.

4. Diamonds are Forever

So, You're probably wondering why I’m rating this one near the top, because most people hate it. Really, I don't have a good answer. I just know that I like it.

Okay, on to the next.

5. Moonraker

At this point you must think I've lost it. My top five includes Moonraker? Well, my favorite Bond movies are different from most people's favorites. Even if you think this one is horrible, you have to admit that the opening sequence is arguably the best in the entire franchise. Who doesn't like that parachute stunt?

The space scenes aren't that great, but they’re not the whole movie. And I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Awesome opening, Jaws returns, and great locations throughout.

6. The Man With The Golden Gun

Yep, another not so popular entry with most fans, but one of my favorites. The concept of a marksman seeking out human targets is rather scary, and I like how Bond deals with it when he is sent a bullet with his number. The movie also features one of the best stunts with a car and some wonderful locations.

I admit that bond girl, Ms. Goodnight is rather annoying, but isn't Sheriff J.W. Pepper at least a little amusing the second time around?

7. Goldfinger

Okay, everyone loves this one. I like it too. No need to go on and on about it since it's so highly praised. My favorite part is the golf match. Watching Bond work Goldfinger is hysterical.

8. Octopussy

Roger Moore is showing his age, but I do like the movie. It's a little long at times, and the ending is kind of weak, but you know what, it's still a good time, and beyond that, I don't have anything else to say about it.

9. The Living Daylights

This one has such an 80's vibe. To me, Dalton is the Bond of that decade, despite the fact that Roger Moore's last three films were all set in the 80's. Once again, a new actor changes the tone.

And it's a rather exciting Bond adventure. I have to say that I don't re-watch this one as much as I re-watch others, and that includes others that I've ranked below this one. But it's a solid Bond picture, and by far the better of the two Timothy Dalton movies.

10. Dr. No

This is the one that started it all! Definitely not the best movie, but it does have the best (and first) Bond girl. Although Anya Amasova from The Spy Who Loved Me is a close second. Maybe they're even tied. And who doesn't feel nostalgic for a simpler decade when they hear "Underneath The Mango Tree" being sung?

11. From Russia With Love

The first sequel. Not a bad Bond movie, but they would get much better. I think this one was still working out all the kinks. Goldfinger was next, and by then they had it all figured out.

12. A View to a Kill

Roger Moore looks like a mummy in this one. And even though it's a blatant rip-off of Goldfinger, it's not half bad if you give it a chance. Christopher Walken is certainly entertaining, and Bond driving the "half car" is fantastic.

13. Thunderball

The underwater stunts are good, but I find this one sometimes boring. Not sure why. It just feels slow. But it does have a great ending with a sky hook. That kind of makes up for everything else.

14. Live and Let Die

This one was a little stupid, and featured too many US locations. Definitely not exotic. It also has a supernatural vibe that I just don't think worked. While I like J.W. Pepper in The Man With The Golden Gun, I find him annoying in this one.

Still, it's a Roger Moore Bond film and it had its moments.

15. For Your Eyes Only

Speaking of Roger Moore, this was my least favorite of his movies. People like this one because they find it more realistic, but I find it more boring.

My favorite part is the opening, with Bond at Tracey's grave, and the final appearance of Blofeld. After that, it goes downhill.

16. You Only Live Twice

Yeah, this was my least favorite Connery Bond film. The locations were exotic, but it wasn't one of the best stories. I rarely re-watch this one. It doesn't excite me like the other films.

17. Tomorrow Never Dies

Kind of a dull follow-up to Goldeneye. Not terrible, but really not all that great. Despite the low rank, I do tend to re-watch this one more than some of the others that I ranked higher. Judi Dench was becoming more of a prominent figure by this point. A very bad thing for the franchise.

It's disappointing, because I really do like Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.

18. The World Is Not Enough

No, really, I like Pierce Brosnan. I just don't think the scripts for his movies were all that good. This is another one I'll re-watch more often, even though it isn't one of my favorites. Don't ask me why.

It wasn't exactly a bad Bond movie, either. It just wasn't all that exciting compared to so many of the other ones that came before. I think the worst thing about the Brosnan Bond movies is that there weren't any overly exciting villains. This one especially suffered from the lack of a good bad guy.

And way too much Judi Dench. Way too much! But that's nothing compared to what happens when Craig takes over... On a sad note, this is the last movie to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q. The movies were never the same without him.

19. Die Another Day

Ugh... And yes, I'll say it again. It's not Brosnan's fault! It was a terrible script. Everyone hates the invisible car, and with good reason. It was so incredibly stupid. Even for James Bond it was unbelievable. Too much CGI ruined this movie.

To me, this is really the last of the classic Bond movies. After this, the series was rebooted. So, on that level, it's also sad. My favorite part of this one is Bond examining all the classic gadgets from previous movies with Q, who is played (for the first and only time) by John Cleese. And no, if you're going to say he was in The World Is Not Enough, remember that he was playing R.

20. License To Kill

A tedious movie, and definitely not any fun. I rarely re-watch this entry and I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Post Reboot Bond 

I make a distinction between all Bond movies before Casino Royale. Despite the decades between Dr. No and Die Another Day, they were part of the same continuity. We just ignored the changing times and actors.

When Casino Royale came along, it was very much the re-launch of the franchise. For that reason, they must be ranked separately. Also, for the record, I like pre-reboot James Bond far better than post-reboot James Bond.

1. Casino Royale

Okay, this is hard because as a movie, it was good. But as a Bond movie... It's very different.

The whole vibe is off. There is no Q, no Moneypenny, and very few gadgets. The stunts are less extreme, and Craig plays Bond far more serious than anyone who came before him. He makes Sean Connery look like Roger Moore, and that's saying something.

Judi Dench returns as M despite the fact we've gone ahead with a full reboot, and her presences is overpowering. It's like the Adventures of James Bond and his stern boss M who constantly berates him. And did you notice that there weren't any beautiful shadow girls in the opening credits? What is up with that?

The classic gun barrel opening is also modified, and it's the first in the entire "official" series to break standard opening formula. I didn't like that, but I gave it a pass because it was a reboot. I was optimistic that it would return in the next movie... But we'll get to that next.

2. Quantum of Solace

Bad on so many levels. This could be the only official Bond movie that I don't like. Terrible camera work that looks more like Bourne than Bond. Horrible plot, and no fun. A direct sequel to Casino Royale, and an utter train wreck. Still no Q and still no Moneypenny, but a giant heap of boring old Judi Dench as stern, un-fun M giving it to Bond. I can't say enough bad things about this film.

But the biggest offence and worst thing about this movie? No traditional Bond opening with the gun barrel. I let it slide in Casino Royale, but this is unacceptable! It's like they were doing their best not to make Bond movie. And no, putting the gun graphics at the end doesn't make up for not having it at the beginning.

The Unofficial Bonds 

I don't count the original 1967 Casino Royale or Never Say Never Again as real Bond films. Some people do, but I'm not one of them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's All About Perception

If you were to walk up to someone and tell them that you just saw the most amazing movie, complete with powerful characters wearing masks and tights, an evil villain with a face like a corpse, and a beautiful woman waiting to be saved, your enthusiastic description would be discounted as the discourse of just another comic book geek. But the story I just described was Phantom of the Opera, an Oscar winning film that was also awarded a Golden Globe award, and was nominated for a Saturn Award for the best Action/Adventure Thriller film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in 2005.

So why is Phantom of the Opera considered important entertainment achievement while the X-Men are a niche sci-fi production? Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with all the components of the genre. It’s all about perception.

The other day, I was talking to a friend, and he was saying how he was going to be seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” on Friday. Now, this friend isn’t a comic fan, but he is looking forward to the movie. He said that one of the things he liked about Nolan’s Batman films is that they are dark, and that before Nolan’s trilogy, Batman had never been portrayed seriously. I thought his viewpoint was interesting because Batman was originally portrayed as a somber character, and has been portrayed as a serious character for a long time. My friend thought that Nolan was responsible for the interpretation. Adam West’s name came up real fast, and the very idea that Batman might have been dark before Nolan was impossible. But Batman was not the campy character that he was turned into in the 1960’s television series. The producer of that show, William Dozier, was not familiar with the Batman character and decided that the character, and the concept, should be geared towards children. It’s interesting to note how the television show has influenced the perception of Batman to a much greater extent than the original comic stories.

Comic fans know that superheroes have been portrayed more seriously since the 1960s, but even now, general audiences think of their stories as light and campy. When is that misconception going to change? When will some of the more sophisticated stories in the superhero and sci-fi genre get the respect they deserve?

I think we’re still a long way from this deserved respect for the genre. Despite box office successes, superheroes are still considered “kid’s stuff “and mindless action. The idea that superhero stories are anything more than cheap escapism is still met with skepticism by moviegoers who think that a Meryl Streep situational dramady is some sort of earth shaking event (even though no one can shake the world like Hulk!). Perceptions may change in time, but for now, revel in the fact that this escapism includes the biggest box office successes of all time.

Chip Perro
Writer, Director & Producer

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Drawing What You See

If you’re an aspiring artist, you’ve probably bought your fair share of books to learn how to draw.

How many of you have read “How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way” or basically any book by Christopher Hart?

I know, I’ve read them!

One of the things these books recommend is to start with a stick figure and sketch out the muscles and costumes from there.

Good advice, but boy is it painful! It’s really boring, and what’s the right number of stick figures that you have to draw before you’re ready to launch into more creative drawings. You see all the wonderfully drawn pages in comic books, and that’s what you want to be doing, not bumbling around with stick figures all day long! I know for me one stick figure is enough to teach me the general proportions, and then I’m ready to go.

And to make matters worse, when you go to conventions, or watch a professional comic artist draw in public, half the time, they’re sketching with markers, and aren’t starting with anything even resembling a stick figure. They’ll start with an arm, or a leg, or maybe even eyes. Then they just create a masterpiece out of thin air. Well, maybe masterpiece is overstating things… after all there are some very well done paintings at the Louvre. But still!

So, trying to compete with an experienced Marvel artist in the beginning is discouraging, because they make it look so easy, while you’re still sketching stick figures in super-poses.

The books always tell you to keep on practicing with the stick figures until you can master any pose for any eventuality you might have to draw someday, but I’ve noticed that people have different drawing styles. For me, It’s far easier to draw something that I’m looking at. That’s a great skill for life drawing, but not so great when I’m trying to work out a hero fighting a giant monster in mid-air.

So when it comes to creating every pose in stick-figure form, that’s rubbish! At least, for me it is, because I already know my drawing strengths. For me, I need that visual guide in front of me. That’s why I’m a big fan of using wooden artist mannequins to draw my form (those little statues that you can pose to stand in any way you want them to stand). That way, I don’t need to practice every possible pose before I start drawing up my own comics. If I did that, I’d still be practicing.

What I’m saying is that sometimes what works best for one artist doesn’t work as well for another. It’s important, when you start drawing, to recognize what your strengths and weaknesses are and compensate accordingly. That doesn’t mean that it’s not important to master some drawing techniques and develop your own style… you do! So if I’m saying anything, it’s that you need to find what works for you, and use all those drawing books as a guide. The faster you start drawing your own comics, the farther ahead you’ll be.

- Chip Perro
Writer, Director & Producer

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Audition Process

Finding the right actors for a superhero movie franchise isn’t easy. At Perro Productions we have been auditioning new faces for the Mission Park Quinology since last October. We are not only looking for talented actors, we’re looking for actors with a passion for comics and sci-fi! To add some excitement to the whole process, we hold the auditions in a public setting where fans can watch and vote for their favorite actors. Comic and Sci-Fi enthusiasts are the most passionate fans in the world, so it only makes sense that they get a say in who lands a leading role in this upcoming superhero movie franchise.

As the screenwriter, when I hear an actor completely personify the character I’ve written, it’s magical! Suddenly, I’m watching a scene that only existed on paper come to life. The actors don’t always look like the characters I’ve imagined, but when they’re good, their performances transcend appearance. You know you have a good actor when you hear that same scene read for the millionth time, and suddenly it’s interesting again. You laugh at the right points and you’re engaged, even though you have the entire scene memorized word for word. The hard thing about auditions is that they can be routine. I hear the same scenes read over and over again, and that can get a little boring. It’s especially painful when an actor puts on a less than stellar performance. I just want to scream. They’re butchering my finely crafted dialog and they’re wasting my time! Of course that’s why auditions are important, you need to see a lot of performances to find the right actors.

On Tuesday, June 26th, we held the seventh PWC Hero Cast Party Audition, and so far 97 actors have read lines from the original Mission Park movie script. Currently 28 actors have received enough votes to move on to a second audition. If you think it would be fun to check out the latest group of actors, and cast your vote for the best audition, head on over to PWC Hero Cast (www.pwcherocast.com) and meet the June Hero Cast Group. Vote for your favorite, and have a say in who becomes the next great superhero sensation!

- Chip Perro
Writer, Director & Producer

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The “Pilot” Comic Strip


For a few months, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a daily comic strip to the Perro Worldwide Comics website www.perroworldwide.com

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to commit to a daily strip on top of my regular work schedule (script writing, casting for the Mission Park Quinology, and filming the occasional commercial) so I decided to draw up a “pilot” comic strip as a test.  A week after I started the whole process, it’s finished!   You can check out my inaugural comic here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/perroworldwide/7414736734/in/photostream

As I expected, the process was too involved for a daily strip, so I decided to work on a weekly strip.  So, every Monday, I’ll upload a new one at Perro Worldwide!

Before I started, I knew I wanted my strip to conform to standard newspaper specifications, so I had to do a little research.  If you’ve been wondering about how to get your own comic project started, here’s what I found out:

For a 4 panel strip: 

The size is 13” x 4” with a ¼” gutter in between each panel.  Each individual box is close to 3.25 inches.  In print, the strip is reduced to 6” x 1.84”  Check out:  http://www.netplaces.com/cartooning/the-comic-strip/standard-size-requirements-2.htm for all measurement specifics.

With the measurement parameters in hand, it was time to create my template.  I think the best paper to use is Bristol, and I use standard Comic Book Bristol, that is 11” x 17”.  I drew up the sized boxes in the center of my 11”x17” page and cut them out, so I had a template I could use to trace my boxes on a new sheet of paper.  This way, every time I’m ready to draw a strip, I won’t have to re-measure the panels.

Using my template, I outlined the boxes for my first comic strip, and then I drew up the comic, inked it and scanned it in the computer.  Then I finished off the strip with the lettering and coloring. 

So, that’s how I got started on my “pilot” comic strip!  Let me know if my little experiment inspired you to start working on your own creation!

- Chip Perro
Writer, Director & Producer