Writers of Tomorrow* is a Slice of Culture series where we will strive to highlight our writers of tomorrow — aspiring novelists, song writers, fanfiction writers, playwrights and more.
Comic writers, like any other fiction writer, strive to entertain their readers with their stories rather than written detail like novelists.
They use illustrations to assist in portraying thoughts and ideas along with short dialogue strips.
I interviewed 22-year-old comic writer Mario Viera, and I was wildly curious about this particular form of writing and how those writers who do comics might be any different from some other types of writers.
When did you get into writing comics?
“I have always been a fan of comic books since childhood. And writing was always something that people praised me for throughout school when I put effort into what I wrote.
Yet I never considered writing fictional stories as a profession because I was convinced that I could never be as successful as certain entertainment industry publishers until I met my best friend, Richard, in an online forum dedicated to a video game during high school.
At first, I only edited comic book ideas Richard pitched to me. But after a year or two of editing Richard’s comic book ideas, I became more confident in my own writing.”
Despite having many differences from novelists and other types of writers, comic writers will always have one thing in common — inspiration.
All writers have things that inspire them to keep going and hone their craft, whether that comes in the form of friends, family, life events or something else entirely, it is one thing every writer needs.
What inspires you to write?
“Comic book series like Marvel’s ‘The Superior Spider-Man’ and Shonen Jump’s ‘One Piece.’
Those two series are my biggest sources of creative inspiration. They taught me how comic books can be a fun, stylish, emotionally moving form of art. Above all else though, my biggest motivation to write is wanting to make the kinds of stories I would want to read. I believe the key to writing well is understanding why you like particular types of stories and how they are made.”
Though other writers, for various reasons, prefer to create stories that target certain demographics, many writers, such as Viera, will choose to create stories that they would pick up and read themselves — no matter the style of writing — this is something that is universally shared by all writers.
Another thing writers share — no matter their style or platform — are challenges. All writers face challenges with their works, whether it be anything from motivation to inspiration.
Writing, no matter what form, is no stroll in the park. For comic writers, the challenges could be with their art or storyline, since they heavily feature pictures and create storylines that wouldn’t require a lot of written detail to follow.
What challenges do you face writing comics?
“The need to balance writing plot, dialogue, and imagery. Comic books are a visual medium so they should take advantage of what makes the medium unique by incorporating visual storytelling. So I have to be careful to make the dialogue as brief yet intuitive to follow as possible.”
During my research, I noticed how some comic writers have heavy support from their family and friends, though, for others, it was a path walked alone because it may not be seen as a true art form or “real” job.On the other hand, it can be a competitive industry.
Through my research, I’ve seen both supportive and unsupportive family and friends in equal measure, and so I asked Viera about his own experience with this.
Do you feel as though your family and friends support your work?
“Thankfully, my family is supportive of my ambition to create comic books. Although most of my relatives aren’t interested in the types of stories I’m into and that I want to create.
It’s mainly my friends who definitely offer me the specific encouragement I need to believe in my capacity to write good comic books, especially since my comic book partner and artist, Richard Weakley, has been and always will be my best friend for life.”
Writers start their craft at all ages; some may be in childhood while others later in life. For comic writers, some may have as young children, drawing in their notebooks and creating their first stories that way or began when they became older, using either sketching paper or online software.
It all depends on the person, though no matter the age people have said that writers’ views on life can be shaped through their craft.
As a comic writer, how does that shape your view on life?
“I spend almost every minute of every day attempting to find creative inspiration from even the most mundane objects and activities. I suppose you could say that writing has helped me detect and appreciate life’s nuances more than usual.”
Then, finally, I had gotten to the question I am always most eager to ask. Though I haven’t read many comics over the years, that hadn’t diminished my interest in the world Viera had surely built within the comic universe.
Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
“Next year, our team Bad Tea Party plans to drop our first published online comic book. It is titled ‘Entwined.’
It takes place in a dystopia where fairy tale-themed characters fight in a tournament where each match parodies reality game/talk shows.
The extended premise is this: Centuries into the future, the vestiges of humanity reside on the city-sized ship metropolis, the Phantasea. The ship is divided between the lower working-class living in the upper deck that’s exposed to the harsh elements, while the wealthy aristocrats live in a luxurious lower deck concealed from sight.
Every few years, the Monstro Tournament is held where working-class duos compete to earn a large sum of money and a pass to the legendary Lower Deck. Each duo must include a Pinocchio (robotic puppet) and a Blight (human-turned-mutant) for a chance at victory.
For this year’s Monstro Tournament, a kindhearted Pinocchio made of clocks named Tempo and a cunning grasshopper Blight called Tab enter the Monstro Tournament for the first time. As lifelong fans, Tempo and Tab (TnT for short) hope to win the cash prize to pay for their adoptive human father’s insurmountable hospital bills after a workplace accident injury.”