Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: October, 2015

Comic Rewriting – SECRET AVENGERS #22

Captain Britain

Art by Garbriel Hardman – Colours by Bettie Breitweiser


The electrical hum made the fight feel like it was taking place in outer space, on a distant planet, somewhere my family would never find my unmarked grave.

But below the crackling energy, there was another noise. And this noise scared me. But it was also why I kept fighting.

The people screamed with every movement of the lumbering creature they were forced to form. These innocent people had no idea what was happening, but they knew I was their only hope.

If only I had any idea what to do.

The bolt slammed me and a moment later I heard the crack of the energy. He was faster than sound, how could I battle that?

The wall turned to dust around me and as it cleared from my facemask I looked up to see an observer. Someone who had always believed in me, the very lady who wielded her sword and granted me this position.

She didn’t move or say a word. She didn’t have to. Her presence was enough to intonate meaning and her face conveys a thousand words. She believed in me.

I was scared, of course I was, I’m no fool. But I had to show those people that even scared people can fight back.

I heard it described once as the ‘fight or flight’ response. I don’t know who said that but I guarantee they didn’t factor me in because I might be scared but that’s what makes me fly into the fight.

And I’ll keep doing it until this guy has no flight or fight left in him.

Comic Rewriting is a task where I take a single page of comics, usually without any words on it, and I rewrite it as prose. I’m mostly using it in my classroom – where I join in – but it’s also a good fun warm up activity to get words flowing and to look at the smaller intent on the page, the character level stuff behind the bombast. I find the best way to do it is in five minutes, it’s flash fiction, and you don’t overthink it. Well, no more than a writer overthinks anything in their whole life 😐

It’s a tonne of fun and I explain its classroom use in more detail here [LINK]


Noirvember is Coming

Oh, yes, Noirvember is coming. Believe.

noirvember title 1

Forget Inktober, or Movember, or Dinovember, or any of that other malarkey. The real month to end it all begins in a few weeks.

Noirvember is a whole month of noir through November.

In the past, I’ve seen the word. I’ve seen maybe a noir flick poster posted up, but that’s been it. So, I’m staking some of the turf as fresh soil and doing something fun with it.

For the whole of Noirvember, you can come here and every day I’ll have a new post about something noir that interests me. I’m trying to steer clear of the obvious classics [because smarter peeps than I have said it all and said it better] and I’m also talking true noir [downfalls, bleak endings] not the aesthetic of film noir.

I want most of the entries to be surprises but I will sneak you some peeks at things I’ll be covering throughout the month:


BAD NIGHT is the most pure noir Phillips/Brubaker deliver in CRIMINAL. It is liquid noir, it is the black hole resultant from a Large Phillips/Brubaker/Hadron Collider, it is so damn good. For me, it’s the noir manifesto taught through narrative.”


This isn’t ray guns and V-necked horseshit. This is noir.”


This sad green book from Riley Rossmo and Kurtis J Wiebe is the comic equivalent of having your head held underwater and all you can see tangled in the reeds below are all the things you love.”


Is there anything more noir than the mad scientist?”

Noirvember, get excited. There’s going to be about ~35k of words in this beast so I hope you dig. See you in 13 days for the beginning of the whole mess.

ComixLaunch Podcast feat. Ryan K Lindsay

I had the esteemed pleasure of guesting on the ComixLaunch podcast – which is run by Tyler James and busies itself with analysing the game of comic kickstarter campaigns.

I was brought on to chat digital-only campaigns as well as what it’s like with an international flavour outside the US of A.

ComixLaunch Podcast ep 013 feat. Ryan K Lindsay [LINK]

I spoke about my experiences launching DEER EDITOR #1 last September [LINK], and why I was passionate about making it a digital-only campaign, and how it all works coming from the land Down Under, as well as how hard I worked to set a goal that didn’t make me make doody in my pantaloons.

Also, I love this podcast, as someone who has run a campaign, and plans to run another one again some time, this show is the bee’s knees, and I jumped at the chance to get down on it. I know I’ve come up with three digital-only ideas for future campaigns since I started listening.

I hope you dig this ep and that it gives you some ideas or makes you keen to run your own campaign some day.

Comic Rewriting – Teaching Words through Pictures

Take a single page of comics you love and rewrite it as a prose narrative.

This is a simple activity but one that you’ll find draws together myriad skills involving literature analysis, image to word synthesis, and great language exploration. It’s also crazy fun to do.

You can do this with a class [I’ve done it successfully with kids aged about 8 and up] and you can also do it yourself for fun or to hone your writing craft.

All you need is a quality page of comics. Be sure to pick something you know will translate well to prose [and easily depending on the class you are instructing]. Also try to pick something moody, something rife to describe. The idea is that in writing the prose you describe the scene in detail [using figurative language and turns of phrase for effect] and you also get into the characters’ heads.

This can be done in books, on printed line sheets, and the example I’ll give below uses Google Drive for the classroom.


I selected a page from SECRET AVENGERS #1 with art by Michael Walsh and colours by Jordie Bellaire.

Secret Avengers - Hawkeye AIM

I picked this page because it’s got pace, it’s relatively simple [yet with room to take it places], and it has a start [in media res] and an end moment [cliffhanger].

I had each student type their prose version of this page in a shared folder so I could easily access them all, and they could access each others’.

Once typed, I had the students use the Texthelp Study Skills add on and start highlighting the text with the following factors in mind:

Screenshot 2015-10-12 22.21.55

Once done, I then copy-pasted all the prose pieces into one file [though I could have the students do this themselves in the future with nearly as little fuss] and I put together a front page for it:

Screenshot 2015-10-12 22.24.41

From there, a quick check to ensure that every prose piece has the student’s name on it, and that it fits one page each like Goldilocks [not to little, not too big – and just select what you want and resize the fonts to make this happen], you can export it from Drive as a PDF – and PDFs are wonderful because you can print them in booklet form, which automatically prints it to A4 so you can fold it and the final product is A5 in size. [Hint: if the total pages count doesn’t equal a multiple of 4 then you’ll have blank white pages at the end – if you want, fill these pages with Curriculum links, or any other kind of stuff you might like, maybe a class ‘printing house’ logo for the back page]

You can then print your booklet off and fold it. I staple it with a special turning stapler that can do book spines a mate of mine located in Japan for me. And once this is done, you have a resource for your classroom, and your kids will feel ‘published’ [and they’ll be paid like they are too – #womp]. But it’s something they can share, cherish, learn from, and it looks great in the spinner rack up the back of the room.


You can also set this as a writing warm up gig for yourself by getting a warchest of quality comic pages that suit your writing style [or don’t, if you feel like growing] and you set yourself 5 minutes to rewrite one. Maybe do one a week and at the end of a year put them into a booklet like this – comic page on the left, your prose reinterpretation on the right – and see what comes of it. Anything that gets you writing, stretches your brain out, makes you push, has a deadline, and you enjoy is always going to help whether you are a tween student exploring language and its practical and emotional uses or a thirty-something writer climbing the sheer cliff face of writing one precarious handhold at a time.

For clarity, I put my own rewrite in with the students, and it was a blast to do. Here it is:


by Mr Lindsay

This looks bad. I know.

Lasers whistle by like broken radios and Clint Barton sprints like he can beat them.

Hint: he can’t. He never can.

Clint is the world’s unluckiest man. Or the world’s worst superhero. Ask him once a day for a week and get seven different answers, with twenty one varied [though universally lame] excuses.

He sails over the gap between buildings – because he’s always been good at doing recklessly silly things. Usually for fun, sometimes to save the world.

It’s a Sunday morning and the sun is rising. Most people are on the street buying bagels and reading the latest Calvin & Hobbes. They have no idea what’s about to transpire above them.

A slew of underpaid and over-important henchmen from A.I.M. [Advanced Idea Mechanics] float, preen, and posture behind Clint. They might be fools but that uniform still looks good today. Clint thinks about Kate on the West Coast and then stops. He’s got things to do right now.

He momentarily pauses, an itch on his ear, and one of the henchman coughs. Clint is mostly certain the boomerang arrow is the third one in the quiver.

I know this looks bad. But trust me, it’s worse for them. I’ve got them right where I want them, stupid A.I.M. goons…

And that’s the comic rewriting activity. I hope it finds you well. I’ll try to collate and share some sample comic pages on here soon.

ymmv .04 – Opening Panels

What’s the best opening panel you ever created for an issue?

Why? What is that panel doing?

I wrote about opening panels at Loser City for my column, ymmv, and I analysed my own stuff to see what I’m doing, why, and if it’s working.

ymmv .04 – Opening Panels [LINK]


The idea of the opening panel as the opening contract with the reader fascinates me. So, what can you do with an opening panel? I dive into a few different ways to convey a few different things [no, I won’t be more specific, click that red hot link and read for your own self all the things you can do – well, some of the things, and then I’m sure you’ll think of your own things instantly that I seemed to have neglected to mention and then instantly you’ll be a better writer than me – congrats, you’ve made it, pally!].

In short, opening panels are hugely important and you should read all of them, write yours more than once, plan ahead, and enjoy.


STUCK IN THE GUTTERS is a digital magazine about comics featuring essays and comics mashed together just how you like it. I mean, it’s def how I love it, so I assume if you’re here you’d probably dig it. Just a little. Trust me,  yeah?

STUCK IN THE GUTTERS #2 just went live on Gumroad [LINK] – and it’s a ‘pay what you want’ thing, so, y’know, ‘pay what it’s worth’ :]


This issue features a new Jam Session from Dan Hill and myself where we really dig deep into the recently wrapped HAWKEYE run, focusing mostly on Annie Wu’s Kate Bishop storyline, but also just analysing themes from the whole thing. In writing this, I came to better love a run I already loved so much. We really unearthed some stuff that got me thinking, which was nice.

There’s also comics from Dan Hill and Alex Diotto, Kelly Williams [who also rocks the above cover], and majordomo Leo Johnston writes about SOUTHERN BASTARDS, as well as there being multiple instances of malarkey from Ricardo Mo, amongst other radness.

In all, get down on this, it’s a thick digital tome, it’s ace comics and four colour discussion, and I want to write for it forever so fund it a little so we can keep going. You can do this also by buying #1, too, if you haven’t already, thanks [LINK]

Sidebar – I love writing these Jam Sessions for the mag because it gets me thinking about comics in an analytical way and that’s always going to help you level up in making your own comics, also. It’s why I’ll always enjoy writing about comics nearly as much as I love writing them. It’s all good verbiage flow.

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