Through the Mail Slot


A few more questions and such, first from a reader named AbdulAziz…
I’m not sure how to read your last name right, is it Bu-Sa-yek, or read like Bos-Eik, or Bus-Ek?
It’s BYOO-sik. Accent on the “byoo.” Rhymes with “You sick.”
If they make one Avengers book and you are to write the Avengers once again, will you bring Triathlon back? He’s quite an interesting character, I enjoy characters who become heroes after a bit of a bad background like abusing steroids.
Well, first off, they’re not going back to just one Avengers book. They’ve announced two so far, Avengers and Secret Avengers. And second, I’m not writing either, and if there’s a third or fourth Avengers book I’m not writing them either.
That said, I wouldn’t mind writing Triathlon again, somewhere. I like his powers, and I like him as a character. I think he’s going by 3-D Man now—I used the name “Triathlon” because I thought “3-D Man sounded too much like a 1950s period character (which the original was, so it fit), but I suppose people just didn’t warm to the name, judging by how no one seemed to be able to spell it right.

Who do you prefer of these two:
Thor or Hercules?
I like ’em both, for different reasons. I like Thor for his majesty and warrior nobility, and I like Herc for being kind of an Olympian good ol’ boy carouser. I think Marvel’s done a lot more with Thor and that’s given him a richer cast and context, but then, I haven’t read the recent Hercules series so that may have addressed some of it. Forced to choose, I’d pick Thor, but I’ve had fun writing both of them.
And in the off chance you were asking about the mythological figures rather than the Marvel Comics versions, then it’s Thor all the way. I was a nut for Norse mythology as a kid, but never found the Twelve Labors of Hercules all that compelling.
And another e-mail, which I’ll leave the name off, in case he doesn’t want his name attached. But it’s a question that’s worth giving a general answer to…

I have read your work with the Avengers and have grown up with the characters and stories that Marvel has developed. I myself am aspiring to become a writer of Marvel books and would love and greatly appreciate some help or tips on how to get my career started or who else to contact to make a name for myself and fulfill my dreams. I still need to develop my writing style and story telling skills, but I see this as the only thing that I could do in life that would make me happy and am willing to work my butt off and do anything to achieve it.I have little experience in writing, but have written several small (unpublished) stories myself. I would truly appreciate any help that you could give me. Please write back and thank you for taking time to read this message.
My best advice on writing comics and breaking in to the industry can be found in the “Read” section of this site, in the article “Breaking In Without Rules,” and in an essay I wrote years ago called “On Writing for Comics,” which is hosted off-site, but eventually I’ll have to get it archived here, too.
Beyond that, a few books I’d recommend:
Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud
Making Comics, by Scott McCloud
The Writer’s Guide to the Business of Comics, by Lurene Haines
Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers, edited by Nat Gertler
The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, by Dennis O’Neil
And, not about comics, but good books about writing:
Adventures in the Screen Trade, by William Goldman
Telling Lies for Fun & Profit, by Lawrence Block
Characters & Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card
The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist, by Thomas McCormack
I didn’t have any of the comics-focused books when I was starting out, but would have been delighted with them. The non-comics books were all very helpful to me, particularly the McCormack, which was a revelation that let me go from being a promising beginner to an actual writer, after almost a decade in the business. But all of them have good and useful stuff in them.
I should note in the spirit of disclosure that all those links take you to’s listings for those books, and if you follow those links and buy the books (or anything else) from Amazon, I make a tiny commission on the sale. But (a) no one has ever bought anything at Amazon through this site to date, so it’s not like this is a big profit center for me, and (b) I’m providing the links just for convenience; if you want some of the books but would prefer to get them from another bookstore, have your local comics shop get them for you, seek them out at the library, whatever, then feel free. It’s what’s in the books that matters, not where you get them.
And beyond that, practice, practice, practice. There’s nothing that’ll teach you about writing that works as well as actually doing it.
Good luck!