Robot 6

ComiXwriter creators turn to Kickstarter to fund software


When screenwriter Glenn Farrington took a crack at comics, he quickly discovered that while there’s plenty of software designed to make film and television writing easier, there’s nothing like that specifically for comic books. So he turned to his friend Steven Stashen to create ComiXwriter, which they calling “the world’s first software dedicated to writing scripts for comic books and graphic novels.” In essence, it aims to be for comic scribes what Final Draft is for screenwriters.

And now they’ve taken to Kickstarter to raise $35,000 to fund ComiXwriter.

Farrington and Stashen aren’t alone, either, lining up an advisory panel composed of AiT/Planet Lar publisher and writer Larry Young, artists Matthew Dow Smith and Matt and Shawn Fillbach, and writer, designer and editor Richard Starkings. They’ve also solicited anticipatory quotes from the likes of Kevin Smith, Mike Carey, Alan Grant, John Rogers and Mark Sable.

ComiXwriter does sound promising, with its outlining and organizational tools, notation abilities and a collaborating function, which “allows you to bring up the artwork for the page you’ve written in an easy side by side viewer.” The pledge rewards are varied, but of most interest to writers and would-be writers is probably the $45 tier, which gets you a digital download of the software at half the expected retail price.

Watch Farrington and Stashen’s appeal video below, and make sure to stick around until the end for funny cameos from actors Jim Beaver (Supernatural, Justified), Joel McCrary (Kickin’ It, Justified) and Jason Earles (Hannah Montana), and a voiceover by Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Doctor Who).



I use Celtx comicbook feature, it’s free and easy to use.

I like the sound of this. Something my company is looking into as well but still–sounds very cool from a group of guys that are clearly talented and professional. Will be looking to contribute to their program –hopefully it will have an app version as well.

I mostly use MS Word for my scripts and have never longed for anything more complicated than that. Comic scripts don’t adhere to a standard format and having multiple programs open to view artwork alongside scripts usually won’t put a drain on system resources. Comics are their own thing and people writer their scripts for them in a million different ways and formats. I’m not sure where the need comes for something like this, especially at a $35,000 price tag. Count me out.

“Sounds great!” was a pretty amusing pull-quote from Kevin Smith, though. I seriously doubt if he had better writing tools he would get his scripts done any faster.

You’re kidding, right? Did you guys even look at this properly?

Firstly, why are they asking the public to fund software that they will then turnaround and sell for money? Ok, for the perks perhaps? So let’s look at the perks. For between a $1 and $35, you don’t even get the software. For $45 – $60 you get the software, but only for the discounted price of your pledge. So I’ve given these guys my money upfront, and yet they are still expecting me to pay the remaining money for the full price for the software? How is that a perk?

It’s exactly this type of lack of respect for the consumer that is going to kill Kickstarter. These two clowns must think people are idiots. And guess what — as of today they have 84 backers.


Vismyr: I think you misunderstand the goals. If you pay between $45 and $60, you get the software when it’s released. You’re basically pre-ordering it and getting the Early Bird Discount. In exchange, they get the money up front necessary to secure the services of the coders who will write it. You don’t need to give them any more money to get it. That’s most of what Kickstarter is — a way to establish pre-orders to measure the viability of a product. In this case, it’s a piece of software.

Josh – There’s a market out there for people who want specialized tools for their particular market. Final Draft costs hundreds of dollars, and what does IT do past what Word offers you, you know? It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good idea and should have no problem establishing a market for itself.

Saw the article and the comments and thought I’d chime in. I’ve been a creating comics for – yikes, about 8 years now – with books at Marvel, DC, Image etc. I gave one of the quotes for Kickstarter and I’m backing the project.

I came from a screenwriting background, and when I broke into comics I was frustrated that I couldn’t use Final Draft (transitioning from MS Word to FD made writing screenplays infinitely easier). I mean, I did write my first couple creator-owned books in FD – but I had to transfer them to a PDF, and my artist, letterer, colorist, editor etc. couldn’t make any changes. And really, Final Draft doesn’t lend itself well to comics…comics are a different language, and creating them is much more collaborative than just writing a screenplay and handing it off to a producer or a studio.

When I started doing work for hire I switched to Word – DC gave me a Geoff Johns script and I’ve been using that format ever since. While it made things easier for my collaborators, editors and publishers because they all have Word – I think we’ve all found it lacking.

I was still a little skeptical about Comixwriter when I first heard about it, because no one wants to spend any money. But the more I spoke with Glenn about it, the more I realized it could be something genuinely useful. Glenn didn’t just ask for a quote, he actively solicited input on what myself and other creators would want from comics writing software. Almost everything I suggested they had already thought of.

(A word about Glenn – in the interest of full disclosure, I know him from the LA comics scene. While he’s new to writing comics, he’s not new to writing and definitely not new to comics. He’s been a big supporter of myself and other up-and-coming creators for years. Out in Hollywood it’s very rare that someone gets the medium. This seems like a real labor of love for him, and god knows there’s easier ways to make a buck out here.)

Backing anything on Kickstarter is a gamble, but I put my money where my mouth is. I don’t get any benefit out of this – I’m paying for the software like everyone else. But I trust Glenn and I really hope this gets funded.

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