Jakarta. While Indonesian superheroes would be more than welcome in Marvel Comics, writers are still needed to create their stories.
A few months ago, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C. B. Cebulski told the Jakarta Globe that if any artist, author or publisher pitches a good idea, the company will be happy to make it come true.
There are already several Indonesian illustrators, but no writers yet, working for the giant publisher.
"Artists are half of the creative process. We also need a writer, so we're still looking for a local writer who can bring an original story, make an original character, and make a character in the Marvel universe. So, that's the next step, the final piece of the puzzle that we need. The writer is gonna complete the picture, creating a wholly Indonesian hero," Cebulski said during Jakarta's Marvel Creative Day Out on Friday (12/01).
The Indonesians who work at Marvel Comics include pencillers Ario Anindito and Miralti Firmansyah, colorist Sunny Gho and cover artist Yasmine Putri.
Although they can participate in creating the narrative of a story, they usually focus on the parts they are assigned to. Small improvisations can be made, as long as they do not go against the script created by the writer.
For example, in "Secret Empire: United #1," Ario inserted a picture of the comical Cisewu tiger on Deadpool's sword holster. He did it to commemorate the statue after it was demolished by the Indonesian Military (TNI).
But anything more than that requires a specific process.
"The thought of pitching a story crossed our minds but we just normally don't do that, only on special occasions like portfolio reviews," Sunny said.
Cebulski told the audience at Marvel Day Creative Day Out that becoming a Marvel writer is more difficult than becoming an illustrator.
"You have to work your way up through smaller publishers first," he said.
Stories need to be submitted to the company through an agent.
He explained that Marvel takes scripts in two forms: the Marvel style and the screenplay style. The former is just a paragraph that summarizes the story, while in the screenplay style the story is told in details, panel by panel, with dialogues and captions.
Although a language barrier makes Marvel hire mostly native English speakers as writers, Cebulski said they also have authors from South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, and China.
But language is not all. New characters are usually introduced in ongoing series, so it is important for aspiring writers to be able to add their stories to the Marvel universe.
"If we have a new character, we have to know how to place them in the Marvel universe. If there is a superhero from Indonesia, which story can they fit? Who will they interact with? How big is their portion in the story?" Ario said.
According to Sunny, who is working for Marvel since 2009, the problem is that in Indonesia making comic-books is a one-person job.
"In the United States [where Marvel is based] people know that being a comic writer is a profession. But in Indonesia, the one who writes the story is the same person as the one who draws," he said.
Fiction writers, on the other hand, rarely use comics to channel their ideas.
"We have a lot of fiction writers but they are not familiar with comics as a medium for fiction-writing. They don't know that there are comic scripts," Sunny said.
Ario encouraged writers to get on board.
"This is a golden opportunity [for writers] to become the first Marvel Comics writer from Indonesia," he said.