There’s a mistaken belief among some people that if there aren’t very many words in a comic then the writer didn’t do much. Some even go so far as to believe that a comics writer literally only writes that which appears in the captions and word balloons. This could not be further from the truth. The visuals tell the story just as much as the words, true, but the writer is as involved in what those pictures depict as the artist is (in most cases–there is such a thing as a Marvel Method where the writer provides a bare bones plot and the artist draws whatever they feel like and then the writer comes in later and fills in the word balloons and such–but that’s not how most comic writers work and it’s not how I work).

A good writer tells the artist what he sees and then trusts the artist to depict it in style. A good artist sticks to the script and adds his own flair to it.

But then you get partnerships. After a while, a writer and artist can develop a trust and the writer can leave more up to the artist and not be as specific as he might be with someone he doesn’t know as well. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had that relationship. To cite a more recent example, so did Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley on their Ultimate Spider-Man run.

That’s kind of where I am with Marc at this point. I’m a pretty specific writer, but when we get to a strip like this, I just throw up my hands and let Marc go to town. He gets all the credit in the world for how awesome today’s strip turned out. Here, take a look at the script for this strip I gave Marc:

346- I’m not even gonna try to script this. This is the strip with the “Air Valhalla” plane, on a runway at the Las Vegas airport, transforming into the giant robot DR constructed for Dr. Klein. I know that I don’t want to show the full robot yet—that’s coming later. So…if there’s a way to show the transformation and then get the idea the Robot is walking away (towards the Strip?) without completely showing him, I’d do that.  My recommendation is to go with the nanobots idea [The "nanobots idea" is the unique way the robot transforms and is something Marc came up with months ago when were discussing the direction of the chapter--so I can't even take credit for that.] and one way I’ve seen that represented is like a techno Sandman—lots of little cubes assembling and reassembling. Tom Strong No. 2, where he fights the Modular Man, comes to mind. Enclosed in this email are the only two images from that issue I could find, but it may give you some ideas. Have at it!

What’s missing from that script is any kind of pacing or panel divisions or notes on the robot’s design or even the idea that it should be double-sized. That was all Marc. It’s fun to do that. Of course, Marc delivered in spades. And I didn’t have to letter anything! Bonus!

Now…who picked up on the big clue Marc tossed in there way back in the SF 2011 Teaser (and repeated again in Chapter 11)that the plane and the robot were one and the same?