Monday, May 20, 2013

Three Years - Questionnaire - Grant McLaughlin

Because I love hearing myself talk (reading myself type?) I'll cover all the same questions Ben hit on the weekend, but I'll throw in a few of the old ones again for my own edification.

Who are some of your other favorite comic book characters?

I still (and will always) hold a special place in my heart for Atomic Robo, but I must confess to having fallen
in love with Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer. These two characters share one of the best relationships in comics. Everything between them, whether good or bad or happy or sad, just feels so true to life. I don't know that I could ever get enough of them.

Beyond that, I must confess to having developed a much greater interest in creators over specific characters these past few years. I'll read certain writers and artists regardless of what they're working on, and if they leave a title, I'll more often than not leave with them.

Who is your favorite comic artist? (alternately, "Which comic artist would you love to work with?")

Oh, man. Like Ben, I'd say there are far too many to go through an exhaustive list. Instead, I'll name but two. Michael Walsh and Ibrahim Moustafa. These guys are both crazy talented and crazy nice, and I'm always excited to see their latest work.

Which character, if any, do you most wish you could re-write your script for?

I'm generally pretty pleased with at least some part of every script I post here, but I will say that I wish I could go back and retool some of my pieces for the thought balloons Avengers-thon. I felt like I had a good idea there, but it kind of fell apart towards the end.

Oh, well. C'est la vie.

Any lessons you’ve learned while writing at Thought Balloons?

I don't want to parrot everything Ben said, but he's spot on with everything he listed. So instead of rehashing what's already been written, I'll focus on one other lesson that's been important to me.

Writing at thought balloons has reminded me that I what I really love are the small moments in people's lives. The quiet moments where little to nothing of importance is going on is what I love to write about and I don't think that will ever change. At the same time, writing here has helped me push myself to also write other types of scripts and emphasized the importance of changing things up.

What do you think has been your biggest improvement while writing at Thought Balloons?

As above, I think I've improved in every single way that you can during my time writing here. My scripts have come a long way, and I'm eager to keep getting better with each and every one.

Who has been the most fun to write so far (since the last time I did this questionnaire)?

Without question, I had the most fun with J.D.'s Amalgam Comics choice.  Coming up with all those ridiculous combinations of DC and Marvel's lamest villains was a blast and a half, and I'm still pretty proud of what I managed in the end.

Which script do you think has been your best so far?

While it's hard to narrow them all down to one (see how much I love tooting my own horn?), I remain quite proud of my Pokemon script.  Playing through that series on Gameboy (and with Pokemon cards) remain among some of my fondest memories, and I worked hard to find an appropriate topic to write on.  I was thrilled when I hit on a tangential look at the motivation behind the creation of the Pokeball.  I researched the hell out of Japanese funeral customs and traditions and I'm still happy with how it all turned out.

That being said, I still have warm feelings for my original Lois Lane script.

Which script do you think has been the best on the site?

Like last time, I'd like to look at my favourite scripts by each tenured writer.  I even looked through Ben and MK's stuff for my favourite script since the last time I wrote this up.  Like for myself, it's mighty hard to narrow down to only one script for each tenured - they all have so many good ones! - so I'll qualify this as my favourite scripts right now. (Please note: this was a super tough list to make.)

Ben - Starship Troopers - I was actually mighty tempted to pick Ben's Jimmy Olsen page, but it felt like shortchanging to pick the script he wrote the very week I last did this questionnaire (although the continuous reveals are mighty good).  So instead, I'll go with an excellent Starship Troopers script.  The sense of dread and terror that Ben builds is wicked, and it's all the more impressive to me because it's outside his norm.

Dan - Wonder Woman - Dan's ability to write amazing war stories blows me away every time, and while this one isn't as heavily-focused on war, it still qualifies.  I love the banter between Diana and Carter - it feels spot on.  But what really makes this script for me is the brilliant use of setting.  As always, some terrific research going into a quality comic page.

J.D. - Foggy Nelson - I still adore this script.  Over the top in all the best ways possible, your version of Foggy Nelson has everything I could possibly want and much, much more.  Plus: I don't know that I'll ever get tired of the sunglasses over sunglasses gag.  Too good.

MK - A technical cheat on my part, but I love MK's Buddy Baker and Gorilla Grodd team-up scripts (which can be found in his Animal Man and Planet of the Apes pages).  One of the best examples of how enjoyable the odd couple trope can be.  Buddy and Grodd have no real business appearing in a story as allies (of a sort), but MK crushed it both times.  Can't wait to see them again.

Niel - The Rarebit Fiend - A page that channeled the original incredibly well while still managing to feel fresh and new.  Love the conversation between the dreamer and the screen - a nice little potential commentary on the relationship between entertainers and their audience.  Either way, a mighty fun page.

Ray - Spider Jerusalem - Captured the character perfectly.  This page absolutely oozes vitriol and righteous anger.  Bonus points for how it also functions as a relevant criticism of today's problems.  Spider would be proud.

Ryan - Rainbow Dash - Admittedly Ryan went a little over the one page limit here, but it was still pretty good in spite of that.

Shaun - Spider Jerusalem - Spider really brought out some of our best.  The page tells a complete story while also sinking its claws deep into the reader. I still find myself wondering how this one ends...

As before, these are just some of my personal favourites.  There's plenty more greatness from each and every one of these talented writers to be found throughout thought balloons' archives, so feel free to explore!

4 comments:

  1. Mr McLaughlin, just wanted to say thank you for the great lessons in funny. You have a great sense of the gag and the payoff, sometimes cerebral (POTUS), sometimes classic (Mr. Miracle), and even touching (Rudolph). You have a fantastic sense of timing and pace that ties together in your final panels. Cheers!

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  2. I love seeing what scripts people remember. I completely forgot about that Starship Trooper script. Honoured that you remembered it Grant. Thanks!

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  3. Great read Grant. Thanks for the mention, I am still really proud of that Spider script.

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  4. "Writing at thought balloons has reminded me that I what I really love are the small moments in people's lives. The quiet moments where little to nothing of importance is going on is what I love to write about and I don't think that will ever change. At the same time, writing here has helped me push myself to also write other types of scripts and emphasized the importance of changing things up." <---- nailed it.

    You pretty much encapsulated everything I enjoy about writing for this site in a pocket sized paragraph.

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