Comics borrowing TV production styles
The New York Times has an article about the new trend in comics of TV writers coming in and acting as producers, with the series development being more like what comes out of a writer’s room. Focus is given to Paul Dini, TV and animation vet and currently big kahuna behind Countdown:
Mr. Dini was a writer and story editor on Season 1 of “Lost” and a consultant on Season 2, and says that the same skills will come into play in the comics. “As a story editor in television, whether it’s live action or animation, I’m really the one responsible for the overall direction of the story,” Mr. Dini said in a telephone interview. In “Countdown,” he said, “each week I go over the beats of the upcoming issue with the editor and the writers.”
If new ideas arise, he amends the series’s outline before writing the script. He then reviews the final script before it is sent to the artist. Once drawn and given dialogue, it is reviewed yet again. “We have to make sure the tone is right and that we’re keeping the ultimate vision of the story line,” he said.
And of course we have an even more extreme example in Joss Whedon doing what he calls Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight in comics:
The origin of the series is simple enough: “I had an idea for an eighth season and I knew they wanted to start the comic,” said Mr. Whedon, who created Buffy in a 1992 film that preceded the television series.
“I knew there wasn’t going to be another venue for it, so I started to work,” he said.
The series was originally planned for about 24 issues, but will now be closer to 40 or 50. Mr. Whedon is writing the opening story line, while other writers will step in for smaller story arcs, but everyone will be working toward an already planned ending.
“They all have my sort of manifesto, which I update constantly,” Mr. Whedon said. “And I’ll sit down with the writers so that I can fold their stories into the bigger picture.”
This control over the series’s overall vision is why he is billed as executive producer. “It’s a nonexistent title in comics, but it best fits what I’m doing,” he said. “Everyone goes through me. It doesn’t take as many people, but it sometimes comes as down to the wire to produce a comic as it does a TV show every week.”
Not mentioned is how the show Heroes is borrowing concepts back from comics production, with their Origins series coming out shortly.