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Writing A Screenplay For The Comic Book Genre

The current trend in the film industry is to adapt popular comic books into films. Some of these comics contain complete stories instead of serialized stories and are often referred to as graphic novels.

The Spider-Man and
Blade comic book characters have spawned multiple film sequels. The superhero, Iron Man, will grace the silver screen in a film directed by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, John Q). Sin City, a series of graphic novels by comic book writer and illustrator Frank Miller, will be released as a film in 2005. And the Hellblazer graphic novels have been adapted into the upcoming film, Constantine.

To use the main elements of the comic book genre in your screenplay, define the
character traits that make your protagonist (hero) a superhero.


Define these traits by asking yourself several questions:

1. Who does your protagonist become when confronting a villain who
    threatens innocent people? Does the protagonist become a person with
    special powers? Does he wear a costume that helps him use his special

2. What unique abilities does he have? Is he able to run fast, climb buildings,
    use weapons with great skill? How did he develop these abilities? Was he
    born with them? Did he develop them as a result of surviving a traumatic

3. When does he develop the abilities of a superhero? Does he develop them
    during childhood or adulthood?

4. Where does he learn that he can perform unusual physical or mental feats?
    Does he make this discovery at work or while spending time with family or
    friends? Does he tell anyone about his discovery? Or, does he hide his
    unique abilities and make them part of a secret life he leads when no one is
    watching him?

5. Why does your protagonist use his abilities to confront a villain? Did this
    villain hurt one of the protagonist's friends or family members? If so, who?



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