Dirk Manning’s Write -or- Wrong is a book that shatters senses and busts the myths that have misled generations of aspiring comic creators further down the slippery slope of what many come to find is truly an uphill-battle. Dirk Manning has an effective, “matter o’ fact” delivery that is equal parts engaging and informative of what not to do when it comes to meeting your comic creation goals. His own mistakes, missteps and myriad experiences serve as a trail of bread crumbs you can follow on a path to discovery.
By chapter four the book really finds its legs. Dirk recounts his first interaction with Marvel (current) Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and other strategies at getting good feedback and information to not only create comics, but also to navigate the industry. You’ll see through Dirks’ eyes as he meets and greets other comic book industry alumni, such as Brian Michael Bendis, and picks their brains for advice. Dirk recounts how he met other creative people that would help form the shape of his (Nightmare) World to come!
Readers beware; Write -or- Wrong isn’t just a book of Dirk’s memoirs and musings down memory lane. Gone is the notion that this book will fast track you to whipping out a comic script just in time to hit it big and make a multi-million dollar movie. It’s not about that. It’s more of a survival guide, a handbook using some of the experiences and eye-openers that Dirk Manning went through. Within the book, you’ll read about fateful decisions, bad choices, good connections, wishful thinking, and awesome outcomes. Embrace the experience with Dirk of choosing the path, daring and staring fate in the eye w/o blinking or worrying about what others say (usually, “What are you thinking!”).
While Write -or- Wrong chronicles the story of Dirk’s journey to writing and publishing comics digitally and in eventual print, readers will notice this volume also rates on par with good books such as the Scott McCloud series of “Understanding, Reinventing, and Making Comics.” It deserves to stand on the same shelf next to those. Scratch that, it deserves to sit next to your own desk filled with post-it marked pages.
Why? There’s real sound advice and a good focus on technique too! Every couple of chapters, Dirk provides a dos and don’ts list that every creator, writer or artist would do well to have on hand to refer to at all times. Towards the latter half of the book, Dirk provides real samples of scripts and variations from his series Nightmare World, and demonstrates what works and what doesn’t. A real nod to the craft is when Dirk dares to take a step back and let the numerous artists and creator friends discuss what they like and don’t like when it comes to the "script to draw" process of comics. You, dear reader, really get a sense of what makes an artist tick… or ticks them off!
I suspect that Write -or- Wrong has something for everyone. Give the book as a gift to a relative or those that ask you, with a confused look of scrutiny, “Why Comics?! Why not Real Estate?!” Give it to that curious creative friend that’s looking for a new challenge or needs to settle down and be realistic about their goals, no matter how awesome or Cthulhu world-conquering their ideas really are! This book’s got legs, people, and I hear he’s thinking about doing a second one too!
You can check out the book or purchase it from Amazon.com, or directly from the writer himself at one of the many convention appearances Dirk Manning usually attends. Do this. Get it and don’t make a liar out of me! You’re welcome.