Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Newsletter #179: Action-Packed!

Newsletter #179: Action-Packed!

Getting back into comics post-Wytches season one, setting up next week's class on action scenes, and recommending some great new titles!

Hey guys, it's Scott.

It is Friday, March 8th. And what a week! I finished the season finale episode of Wytches season one, episode 108, and handed it in. So season one is a wrap in terms of writing. I wrote the pilot (101) and 108, and the other episodes came out phenomenally well. We have an incredible team. I have a great co-showrunner, Marion Dayre, fantastic writers like Jeff Howard and Harrison Rivers and Bornilla Chatterjee. And Ty, the best assistant, will put all of their socials and things here so you can follow them. But yeah, I can’t believe it! So we're in visual development now. So just this week, we've been meeting with our animation studio, Powerhouse, down in Austin. And they've been sending us designs for the Wytches. They look amazing. They look like they're straight out of the book, but even scarier. For Sailor, this week we chose a haircut for her. We saw all these different heads of Sailor. It was great. It's so incredible that it's actually becoming real that a year from now, this will be on your TV screen, Wytches—an adult, hyper-violent, hyper-scary, hyper-heartfelt animated television show on Amazon from the same people that are bringing you Invincible right now. I really can't believe it.

So we have a couple months off and then we're back in the room to do season two. We're greenlit for two seasons. So I have this period to really work on comics and I have some big stuff coming up. First, I hope you'll really go out and pre-order White Boat, the book I have coming out from DSTLRY with co-creator Francesco Francavilla. There'll be a lot of fun tie-ins with that.

White Boat is such a fun book. It's big seafaring horror. It's kind of my take on The Island of Dr. Moreau, but done in a hyper-modern way. And it ties to all of these seafaring myths about the Kraken and mermaids and all kinds of stuff past. So I hope you'll check it out. And please go support the other DSTLRY books. I love working for this company. It's a publishing house where we creators can essentially own a stake in the company, which means that we're investing in each other. So my co-creators and founding members of DSTLRY are some of my best friends—Jock, Becky Cloonan, James Tynion, Jamie McKelvie, people we go all the way back with like Brian Azzarello, Ram V. These are my friends. These are the people that I hang out at conventions with and have known forever. So I really hope you'll go support them.

Spectregraph, the book by my brother James Tynion IV and Christian Ward is coming out next month. I think FOC is Sunday and Monday respectively for Lunar and Diamond. I hope you'll go order it. It's fantastic. I got an early peek. It's a ghost story as only master horror writer and comic extraordinaire James Tynion IV could do it. And Christian's art is just out of this world. Christian's an old friend as well. And they're both just operating at the top of their game. I know you'll love this book. It has one of the most emotionally stressful sequences I've read in a comic in years. You'll know exactly what I'm talking about when you pick it up.

So exciting news. Like I said earlier in the week, we're going to be doing a live class next week on Wednesday, 9:30pm EST on action scenes. Now, this is a topic that’s very close to my heart. I love, love, love action scenes. My friends like James and Jock are always teasing me that I do almost too many of them. I love them too much. I look forward to them in comics. I adore action scenes. If you have read any of my stuff, you'll see I hardly ever do an issue without one in it. But I really want to do this class as a kind of hyper, hyper-craft level dissection of what makes action scenes really tick. Because I think a lot of the time, people think action is just this bombastic, kinetic thing that you throw into a comic because it’s expected. They have to fight, the superhero and the supervillain, or you need a sequence just to keep people’s blood pumping so you do a car chase. But when action is done right, it’s actually like, an elevation of all the core elements of your story. So we’re going to look at a bunch of different action scenes from classic ones like the finale of Dark Knight Returns, we’ll look at some of my stuff, we’re going to look at stuff by Gail Simone, Tom Taylor…

I want to show you all the different ways that action can be used to really underscore core aspects of the story that you’re telling, because when it's done right, action is just this kind of heightened version of the things that you're getting out with your story in the deepest ways. So we'll look at things like how sometimes action is used to really heighten the aestheticism and tonality of a story. You see this all the time in a movie like John Wick:

You see it a lot, in addition to action being used differently than this too, but in Nightwing by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo. It creates an aesthetic and a tone that's immersive and carries the viewer or the reader into a world that's like ripe with with meaning and symbolism for that story.

Nightwing #79 (2021) | Art by Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas

Other times, it's actually the emotional turning point. The action itself is this heightened version of all of kind of the emotional conflict that's been building throughout the story. You see this in a finale like Die Hard:

Or you see it in a finale like Dark Knight Returns.

Other times, you'll see it as an introduction to the story where action itself sets the whole plot in motion, but also the emotional arc. It's something that will happen at the very beginning of a story that launches everything forward. Other times, it can be this core moment when character is revealed. Look at the fight between Omni-Man and the Guardians of the Globe in Invincible.

So we're going to look at different ways that action can be used, not just to create fun and engagement and laughs or suspense, but also as a way of heightening and elevating and really outlining some of the core aspects of the story, given wherever you are in your arc. So action is used differently if it’s at the beginning, middle, or end of a story. And we’ll look at all the different kinds of examples of how you can use it as a craft tool, again, not just to have fun and excitement, but also to really underscore the things you’re going for in your story in deeper ways.

So it'll be a lot of fun. If you're a free subscriber, it's only $7 a month. Here's my pitch. Seven bucks, you can sign up and you get all 20 or so of our past classes from Comic Writing 101 and 102.

We'll use a student piece this week too. We try to use your work in addition to published work. We'll put everything in a Dropbox early next week, probably on Monday so you'll have it. If you're a paid subscriber, you'll get an alert. You'll have access to the Dropbox. And again, you can try for one month and then drop it. Also if you want to get an annual membership, those are cheaper and you get access to everything we’ve done. I’m gonna be going to a lot of conventions starting in the summer because I have a lot that I’m announcing. A lot of books that I’m going out there to support. It’ll be very noisy. I can’t say everything I’m working on yet, but I know there's rumors out there. Some are right, some are wrong. So I'm not going to say what's what. But yes, I'll be very present come summer into fall, into winter, into spring. So you also get to skip the line at conventions. You have a period of time before I do a signing at every convention where it's just for paid subscribers.

And you get all the other perks. Next month, we'll have it so every paid subscriber can send up to two books. Trades, floppies, whatever you want down to a facility in Florida where I go down and sign everything. It's like, thousands of books. So I go there for a weekend and just sign your stuff. So you get all of that for just seven dollars and all you have to do is pay shipping for those books and I'll sign for free. So yes, there's never been a better time to sign up for Our Best Jackett than right now, so go do it we'll have fun next week! I hope you're having a good time out there, everything here is good. The kids are back in school and as much as I hate to say it, I love having them home but it's also so nice to have the house to myself and to be able to work. And yeah I'm just excited about all these comics and to have this period where I can really just dive into comics solely before I go right back into animation in the summer, so I hope you guys are doing well. Talk to you soon!


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P.S. One more thing I wanted to mention a couple comics I read this week that I thought were fantastic. One, it's coming up, it's called Blow Away. It's writer Zac Thompson and artist Nicola Izzo. Great indie book. Just keep an eye out for it. Go follow them. I'll post more about it soon on Twitter and on socials.

And also Loving, Ohio. It's Matt Erman and Sam Beck. I got an early peek at this book. You can order it now. It's fantastic. It's creepy and twisted and heartfelt. I don't want to give anything away, honestly. Go read the solicit and you'll know just what it's about. But it has one of the creepiest scenes I've encountered in a long time right off the bat. So go check those out.

Also, Spectacular Spider-Men #1 by Greg Weisman and Humberto Ramos. I'm a huge Greg Weisman fan all the way back to Gargoyles and all the way through Spectacular Spider-Man, the animated series. And it's one of those comics that's just effortlessly well-written.

The Spectacular Spider-Men #1 (2024) | Cover by Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado

When you're a writer and you see the kind of craftsmanship that's in that, look at the way that comic cuts back and forth and returns to the central theme of becoming a regular, a friendly neighborhood person for Peter. And the way that it goes back and forth between him and Miles in those sequences and then cuts back to the action, that's really hard to do. So anyway, it's a master class in effortlessly good writing.

One of my favorite pages from this whole week | Art by Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba & Edgar Delgado; Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna

And then also, on the other end of the spectrum, something that's well-written but also is super high concept. Spectacular Spider-Men to me whatever he's building towards whatever big villainous plot is there in these cutaway, peripheral scenes with characters where we don't know really what's happening with them yet, but it's also low-key in a good way it's kind of introducing you to this world it doesn't feel like it's breaking the mold but I assume it will as it goes forward. A comic that kind of comes out of the gate swinging like Ultimate Spider-Man, breaking the mold by giving a whole new concept, is Ultimate X-Men #1 by Peach Mamako. It's so daring and different and such an interestingly sort of Junji Ito manga-influenced horror take on the X-Men. I can't wait to see where it goes.

It's definitely very different than what you expect, but I really believe this is the kind of stuff that comics needs, like, both Ultimate Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Men, Ultimate X-Men. We need to be taking all kinds of swings all over the place with creators that are passionate about what they're doing and bringing things to the table that is them operating at the top of their game, whether that's doing a really radically new concept or diving back into a world they know well and slowly building something amazing. It's just that. So I'm really excited. I think that it's a great period for superhero comics. Indie comics have been flowering for a long time and are doing awesome. But just as a side note, I think superhero comics are about to have a great moment or are actively having a great moment, and it's only going to get better. Okay, bye!

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