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Flip the Script: Pep Talk

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

The usual process in comics collaboration is writer first, artist second. A script is written, complete with dialog and a panel-by-panel description of action, which is then drawn. The so-called "Marvel Method" was a bit different, with the artist working from a plot, sometimes very loose, and the writer then scripting from the artist's pencil art. I penciled the following strip without a script. I asked my friend Chris Duffy, who was my editor on SpongeBob Comics, if he'd want to write a script. Chris accepted the challenge.

In fact, Chris wrote two very different scripts, and I liked both of them. While trying to decide on which one to choose, I had an idea: Would other writers also be interested in writing their own take on the strip, and without knowing what Chris and other writers had written?

I knew Greg Wright when he was an editor and colorist at Marvel. Greg wrote and colored a Stan Lee meets the Impossible Man story that I drew there. It was a fun job. More recently Greg and I had connected on social media, and he'd just done the wonderful color on a piece I drew to remember cartoonist Richard Sala. Greg agreed to color Pep Talk.

I took Greg's colors and prepared the strip below, which I sent out to a number of writer friends. I gave them the option of using the title Pep Talk or coming up with their own title, as long as it fit in the first panel.

Most writers wrote one script, but a few wrote more. Most kept the title, but some did not. There are some similar themes in the scripts, but the specifics are quite varied. I enjoyed the collaborative process of creating Pep Talk, and am working on new comics where I will "Flip the Script". As I create new strips, I will post the finished strips here, and post the step-by-step art process over on my Patreon page. It's a creative collaborative experiment, and I hope you'll find it interesting. And over the next few months I will post one new scripted Pep Talk strip every week right here, on this blog. I hope you'll give them a look, and share the link with your friends. These days, most of us could use a pep talk.

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