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.
In issue #3, after the opening scene with the villains, we catch up with Gunslinger and Taylor. It’s the next morning, and they’re still at Taylor’s house.
Taylor’s dialogue could use a little tightening up. Omit needless words and rearrange the last two sentences for better flow:
“You expect me to pack up and leave because you said so? My dad’s dead and you still haven’t told me why. What was all that crazy s*** last night?”
While Gunslinger has been the most well-written character so far, his next dialogue balloon is a real mouthful:
I’m not sure about the “brain-dead” line, because Gunslinger himself has hung out in Taylor’s house all night, playing with the indoor plumbing. Why does Gunslinger have a sense of urgency now, when he didn’t the night before? Issue #2 stated that Gunslinger and Taylor were up all night talking, so let’s conclude that this is the tail end of a long conversation with Gunslinger trying to convince Taylor to leave. That might also explain why they were friendly at the end of the last issue and antagonistic toward each other now. My edit:
“Your dad and them angels wanted to kill you. The ones that sent them angels will send more to hunt you down!”
I changed “us” to “you” in the final sentence to add a sense of danger for Taylor.
If Todd McFarlane were here (and not punching me in face for writing these blogs), I’d suggest an additional line for Gunslinger. Something like, “We’ve got to move, now!” or “We can’t sit around any longer!” for consistency and to maintain a sense of urgency.
Taylor’s next line features some awkward wording:
The phrase “someone that was scared of things” doesn’t sound natural. I gave it a rewrite:
“That’s strange. I didn’t figure you for someone easily frightened.”
You could also delete “That’s strange” as unnecessary, but I kept it to give Taylor some sarcastic edge.
Next, Gunslinger’s had enough.
Other than deleting the word “just” from the second word balloon, I don’t have many suggestions here. But, I wonder why these guys are being so antagonistic with each other. I thought they were friends. Is Gunslinger Taylor’s protector or not? Does he truly not care about Taylor’s fate?
The banter continues:
Edits here for efficiency:
“I need a few things first… a map and provisions. Here’s a bag. Pack it or not.”
The next captions depict Gunslinger as being single-minded in his drive:
Keep it short and to the point:
“Disinterested in Taylor’s opinions, Gunslinger’s more concerned about hunting every enemy from his past. He’s going to kill them either here and now, or back home in 1864.”
Our heroes return to the gas station from issue #1. They grab some junk food, and then there’s this panel, where Gunslinger finally gets his map:
This could be simplified:
“Gunslinger studies the map, looking for familiar places from his past.”
Is the “Ding” sound effect enough for the reader to know the silence is broken? Make it larger, perhaps?
Taylor’s line in this panel is full of redundancies:
“The microwave… my burrito is done.”
Many will add “um” or “uh” to dialogue in the hopes of creating realism, but in truth these tics are never needed. They end up being distracting. I kept the ellipses to show Taylor is startled by Gunslinger.
Gunslinger removes his mask, and we see his face.
We can delete the first caption, as the art shows us the classic Spawn living mask thing. From there, again we tighten sentences for efficiency:
“For the first time, Taylor sees the man is Hispanic. The only thing on Gunslinger’s mind is, ‘How can something be this hot without fire?’”
There’s a joke about Gunslinger not knowing what sunglasses are. Then Taylor gives him more instructions.
I rearranged parts of this for better clarity:
“I’ll show you how to use binoculars and the cigarette lighter. You can figure out the rope and shovel.”
There’s a two-panel scene where our heroes find the first spot on the map:
Never EVER use the word “literally,” not even in a comedic or satiric context. Other than that, I question why this scene is even here. The next page is Gunslinger digging up another of his buried stashes, so why not cut straight to that instead? If the intent is to show Gunslinger befuddled about present-day life, then this scene is redundant after doing that for the last few pages. Perhaps Gunslinger will return to this locale in a future storyline. If not, these two panels could be cut and the page reworked.
Come back next week for more of issue #3, including a farewell (or is it?) and some action.
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