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Elliott Serrano Presents:


With the things that are going on with me lately, I’ve been thinking about that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Yoda asks Luke Skywalker if he really wants to be a Jedi Knight. You remember the scene, right? It’s the one where Luke gets to Dagobah and he’s just figured out that this wrinkly, old green dude is actually an 800 year old Jedi Master who’s been dicking him around for the last half-hour of screen time, remember? They’re in Yoda’s hut and Luke is humbled once he realizes this muppet he’s been getting all snarky with holds his fate in his hands. And then Yoda drops a bomb and the voice of Obi-Wan chimes in to stick up for the impatient brat.

What was that bomb?

The one where he essentially tells Luke he’s gotta put aside ‘looking to the horizon’ and keep his mind on where he is and what he’s doing. Yoda takes Luke to task for always wanting a life of ‘excitement and adventure,’ things that are incongruous to the lifestyle of a Jedi. He tells Luke that to fulfill his quest of becoming a Jedi Knight like his father he must have a ‘most serious mind’ and make a ‘most serious commitment.’ In other words, Luke’s gotta grow the fuck up.

That’s kinda how I feel right now; now that I’ve stepped through the proverbial looking glass from being a fanboy to being an actual comic-book professional. When the reality of what you’re doing hits you, it’s something I’m not sure you can prepare yourself for.

For years I’ve been one of those fanboys who would chat up pros and squawk about the job I could do ‘if only.’ You hear those guys all the time at conventions, right?

‘Man, if only I could write Punisher, THEN the book would sell!’ (Yeah, as if that title has problems selling.)

‘Man, I KNOW what to do with Doctor Strange. I could fix him if only…’ (Uh-huh, cuz there’s a real shortage of experienced comic writers out there who can work with him.)

‘THAT BOOK SUCKS…but it wouldn’t if only I wrote it!’

Yeah…that was me.

OK, not that last part. I really believe that most books are decent for the most part….

…and I have NO IDEA what I would do with Doctor Strange. My buddy Dan Jolley once did a kick-ass mini-series with the guy and told me of all the pitfalls that came with the character, so color me uninterested.

And no…I have no interest in writing the further exploits of Frank Castle as I’m not terribly simpatico with him.

But I did once carry this idea in my head that whatever book I was reading would be BETTER if I was the one writing it. Because I and I alone knew what made a good comic book.

And really, don’t all fanboys feel that way to some extent? Don’t you see it all over message boards on the internet? Fanboys who rail against what’s happening in their favorite books because the writer isn’t following a certain set continuity and obviously doesn’t understand the character as well as they do. When we fanboys do that, in essence we’re saying that we can write comics better than the current pros.

Then you actually get a shot at showing what you’ve got; a chance to take a swing in that batter’s box; and damn if it isn’t completely different from what you expected.

Because now it’s not just chit-chat in the comic shop; you’re no longer dealing in hypotheticals and flights of fancy. Now it’s a JOB. A job that you’re gonna get paid for, but you’ve gotta make it worth your publisher’s time and money.

Now you’ve gotta put together 22 pages of script that a whole line of professionals, from the publisher, to the editor, to the artist and so on, are going to read and try to get a sense of what your story is. Y’know, that thing that you say you can tell better than everyone else? Every panel, every caption, every bit of dialogue must be carefully crafted so that each individual in the production line that is comics knows what your vision is for the narrative.

And it’s gotta be interesting, funny, plausible, compelling…in short, it’s gotta be GOOD. Something that other fanboys and fangirls will spend their hard-earned cash on each month; something that will withstand the most rigorous scrutiny and criticism.

And to do this, under a deadline, for a job where livelihoods are at stake, takes ‘a most serious mind and most serious commitment.’

Goddamn if the muppet wasn’t right.

We’re through the looking glass Alice.

And damn, if it ain’t the coolest thing ever.

Elliott Serrano is a comic-book writer/columnist/blogger who is currently working on Army of Darkness: Ash Saves Obama. He is also standing on a ledge and being talked down by several professionals who specialize in dealing with ‘be-careful-what-you-ask-for-cuz-you-just-might-get-it’ syndrome. He assures everyone at Dynamite that despite his current situation, he will get his next script in on time. When he’s not on a ledge, you can see him on his YouTube channel.

E.R. Serrano

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