Thought Balloons: What it means to me? Or One Sappy Comic Writer’s Journey Into The Past - By Shaun Richens.
The date says 11/10/10 but I must have come to the article nearly a year later, and it’s all thanks to Josh Flanagan over at iFanboy that I found this wonderland of comics writing.
I was at a point where I was looking at comics, not just as something I enjoyed, but perhaps as something I wanted to, dare I say it, make. Now I already knew, despite that B in A-Level art, that I was never guna make it as an artist. However, thanks to the staggeringly brilliant Irene Holley, my college English teacher, I had a newfound passion for writing - something I hadn't had since my days of writing fanfics about The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings, well before I even know what a fanfic was - and I thought “hey, maybe I could give writing a go”. The only issue? Where the hell to even start.
Living in the age we do I of course turned to Google, which lead me very quickly to the article I opened with. A few clicks later and my entire comic based life was pretty much changed forever. All of a sudden I had access to hundreds of page of comic scripts, from writers trying to do what I wanted to do, not waiting for permission, just doing it, writing, and writing damn well. Within a few weeks I’d ravaged the vault, read everything and was greedily waiting for new pages of script to go live. I’d go through old comments sections and learn just as much from the others guys’ advice as I would from the scripts. Thoughtballoons was, and still is, the holy grail for new comics writers. I think even seasoned veterans could learn a trick or two from the TB archives.
July 29th 2011, I stepped into the ring for the first time in the comments section. It was Captain America, Steve Rogers, the Marvel comics iconic war hero and I was taking on the challenge of writing him. Rereading the script now it’s rough and hard to put myself through, but it still holds a little magic for me. Thanks to the support of the always positive and helpful Thought Balloons community I took my first step towards becoming a comic writer. It floors me to this day knowing that my first piece of script feedback was from Mr Ryan “Dark Horse Comics” Lindsay.
Between the comments section and what was to come, the Process Podcast happened - an in depth breakdown cast, where all things writing process were discussed. Hosted by T Balloons very own Ryan K Lindsay as well as Jeremy Holt, Kurtis J Wiebe and for a while Ed Brisson. This is comics podcast gold. This was crack to me at the time - I still get the itch to go back and listen to old episodes. It was the rocket fuel I needed for the next step.
Bounty of The Beast, what a heavy metal title. I still like that a lot. I may have to use that in the future. On Sunday February 19th 2012, that was the title of my first tenured piece. A cross country road trip story, wherein Ghost Rider collects demonic bounties for Hades’ head honcho - Satan. This will always be one of my proudest moments as a writer. Yeah the script is a C- at best, but to be welcomed into the fold here was such a defining moment for me. To have peers in the industry I love, people I respect and look up to inviting me to join them - it’s the thing that keeps me writing until this day.
Curt Pires, Ed Brisson, Kurtis J Wiebe, Ryan Ferrier, Michael Walsh, Jeremy Holt, Brian Level, Fabian Rangel Jr, Paul Allor, all of you writing here with me this week - the list could go on for another hundred names. Thought Balloons opened my mind to more creators once I discovered it than I’d found before it. And not just any creators, the kind of guys and gals who've gone on to become the next big thing, the kind of creators I aspire to be.
Without this site, and all of you beautiful b*stards I wouldn't be half the creator I am today. I’m not sure I’d even be creating at all. So always and forever thank you, thank you all.
Here’s to another five years.
P.S. Go read my Peanuts page from 2013 - perhaps still my favourite thing I've written.
- Shaun Richens (May 2015 - From a small flat in London)