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Dirk Manning is the writer/creator of Nightmare World published by Image Comics, Tales of Mr. Rhee, and Love Stories About Death. He has also written comic work for Zenescope Comics, Tara Normal, Shakespeare Shaken, and more. In 2011 he was approached by Blackbox TV to write a short film for the franchise, resulting in The Hunger, which is currently available for viewing on YouTube. Write or Wrong had six years of publication as an ongoing online column at Newsarama and has been re-launched as a regular feature at Bleeding Cool.
Author Dirk Manning discusses his book:
Tell us about the book, Write or Wrong: A Writer's Guide to Creating Comics?
This book is a collection of the earlier Write or Wrong columns that originally ran on Newsarama. When the server switched over, a lot of the columns, -including many of them which really contained what I felt was a lot of the "nuts and bolts" information and advice about creating comics--got lost in the shuffle and haven't been available online for a few years now.
I've wanted to take this column to print for years - making a true "bible" for writers looking for guidance on how to create comics - but the offer was never quite right and the time wasn't there with all of the online comic work I've been doing with Nightmare World, Tales of Mr. Rhee, Farseeker and Love Stories about Death among a few other assorted projects, including writing a short film for Blackbox TV.
That being said, though, for the past several years I've had a new book out every October, and I made the decision that this year, rather than releasing a graphic novel--specifically Tales of Mr. Rhee Volume 1--, that I would focus my efforts solely on the long-promised Write or Wrong collection.
For the book I've been going through each column and editing and tweaking it for print. Like I said a moment ago, I really want this to be a definitive resource for any writers out there who want to create comics but don't know where to find artists, put art teams together, cultivate positive long-term working relationships among them, etc.
While there are book out there on script writing and the more technical aspects of writing comics, Write or Wrong: A Writer's Guide to Creating Comics is a book that talks about not just how to write them, but create them and then publish them either online, in print, or both from the ground-up.
Like I said, I've wanted to publish these columns in a nice definitive edition like this for years, but it wasn't until I started talking to Gary Reed of Transfuzion Publishing that I came across the right "deal" and became really excited about prepping the work for print... so if you're excited about this book, be sure to thank Gary for helping to make it happen!
How did you "break" into comics?
I snuck in through an open basement window and just made a nice little home for myself in a dark corner. Long story short, I started networking with artists and posting the comics we created online back in 2002 and I've been around ever since. By consistently posting work every week and behaving myself online I've made it so that a lot of people became aware of my work over the years and began making me part of their daily/weekly surfing habits.
My Write or Wrong column then helped bring even more eyeballs to my comic work, and it soon got to the point where I came to the attention of Jim Valentino at Shadowline Comics at Image and the result was three Nightmare World graphic novels and several other online comics for Shadowline to date.
So, do you have any kind of educational background for your comic skills or are you self-taught?
I teach at a college and am also a martial arts instructor, so teaching is kind of "in my blood," and believe it or not, both of these attributes help me write comics and help other people learn about creating comics, too. Quite a bit, really.
As for my own "education" in writing, I moonlighted as a music and comic journalist for about a decade and have always been a natural writer, with my only formal training in this regard was studying the script samples available for Watchmen by Alan Moore and the book itself, of course.
What's the best project that you've worked on in your career so far?
Gosh... that's a loaded question! Nightmare World could be considered the "best" since it's the one I worked on with the most people and the first series I've had go to print through Image Comics/Shadowline...
But then again, I really like Tales of Mr. Rhee quite a bit, as it's probably the most personal work I've done to date - and the longest series to follow the exploits of one primary character.
That being said, though, I am extremely proud of how Write or Wrong: A Writer's Guide to Creating Comics is shaping-up, and I think this has the potential to be the biggest book I've written to date... so let's just say it's Write or Wrong for the moment.
What's the best advice to give any aspiring creators?
How about- believe in yourself, but listen to what the people ahead of you are saying, too. There's a lot to be said for people who already know the road and such people's advice should not be taken lightly...
For over five years Dirk Manning’s “Write or Wrong” column at Newsarama has provided aspiring writers with candid advice, anecdotes and inspiration about how to successfully meet artists, create comics, and get them published. At long last, Dirk collects key columns from his popular long-running series with each installment personally revisited by Manning in preparation for the book’s release. Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics is an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to create comics, improve their knowledge of the industry and the craft, and/or be simultaneously entertained and informed by this remarkable, forthright and ultimately charming writer as he openly discusses how to overcome the odds and create comics – even if you can’t draw them yourself. Edited by Leah Lederman, cover and production by Jim Reddington.
Written by: Dirk Manning
Art by: Dirk Manning
Print: Black and White
WRITE OR WRONG: A Writer's Guide to Creating Comics
The Creative Team
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