Gunslinger Spawn copyedited, part 5

Todd McFarlane is a mega-millionaire with success undreamt of. I’m just some guy. But as I’ve been buying and reading – and enjoying! – Gunslinger Spawn, I’m struck with how the dialogue and captions are something of a mess. Hence, here’s my attempt to copyedit Gunslinger Spawn.

Issue #3 begins back with the villainous angels in their hideout, an old dinosaur museum. The leader Theon speaks, and it’s understood he’s talking to the same group from issue #1.

All I’ve done here is tighten things up a little. I’ve removed the word “obviously,” which is best avoided unless you’re using it in a humorous context. My edit:

“We hoped to get to gunslinger before Cogliostro. That didn’t happen.”

Then another wordy piece of dialogue:

I shortened this and kept it present tense. The phrase “direct presence” is awkward, and the same point can be made without that entire sentence. My edit:

“We’re shifting plans. Instead, you’re assigned to oversee the whereabouts of the other Hellspawn that came through the void the same time as the Gunslinger.”

A lot to go over in the next panel:

The next word balloon could be:

“We must know if they have made contact with each other.”

Shorter and to the point again. Also, “it is imperative” could be considered a cliché, especially with a villain saying it.

Then the final two word balloons. Naming the other Spawn characters and then saying it’s not them but “others” they’re going after? It’s confusing. I know McFarlane is building an interconnected narrative with all the Spawn spinoffs, but it’s best to focus on Gunslinger in his own series. My suggestion:

“We’re focused strictly on those spawns who came through the void with Gunslinger. Your job is to report on their activities. Gunslinger is ours.”

Turn the page and the villain Dakota is sitting at the table with all the angels. Rival angel Cyrus doesn’t like it.

“Out of your mind” could be considered a cliché. My suggestion:

“We didn’t come here to sidelined, Theus! Not by you, and especially not by her!”

He continues:

This is a bunch of sentence fragments connected with commas. It’s another case of “writing for the actor,” by showing the reader where the writer wants pauses. You can instead trust the reader to get it on their own. My edit:

“Cogliostro screwed things up. We get that. We’ll deal with him… and Gunslinger.”

Dakota takes the stage:

It’s not hard to get the same point across with more efficiency:

“That’s not going to change no matter how much you beat your chest and tell us how wonderful you are, Cyrus. Your group had your chance and you blew it.”

The dialogue continues:

In the top word bubble, Dakota’s retort to Cyrus is confusing. Who’s “we” in this sense? Who is the “current boss?” Until we know more about this group dynamic, I’m thinking we can delete Dakota’s line entirely and just have Theon’s response:

“Do yourself a favor, Cyrus. Stay out of our way, just for a while, and you’ll be rewarded.”

“Do yourself a favor” could be a cliché, but I kept it in this case because it shows Theon is playing the good cop.  

On the next page is Theon’s sarcastic remark:

Go ahead and shorten that to:

“That went well.”

One final piece of exposition from Theon:  

It’s simple enough to clean up these sentences. Plus, what’s on the photo is the weakness, not the photo itself.

“I’ll let that comment go. We must exploit any weakness the Gunslinger might have. What’s on that photo could be one. He’s from the Bartlett bloodline.”

The last sentence could be just, “He’s a Bartlett.” But I kept it the way Todd wrote it for some extra drama at the end of the scene. The final panel is wordless, revealing that it’s a photo of Taylor.

It’s fun to see the villains interact and get to know them a little more. Come back next week for more of issue #3!

* * * *

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About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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