The Rise of Itza comic book panel from page 6 of issue 1

Comic Book Script Writing – See How To Go From Script To Final Page

Comic book script writing is far more than just the dialogue. Script pages have to factor in all sorts of different elements to bring the story to life in the unique format of a comic book.

From the story arc, to setting the scene, through to page structure and panel descriptions, right down to the smallest of details like what kind of smile the artist should draw on a character for a given scene – writing comics is definitely a fine art!

There are so many things that needs to be thought about and articulated.

In a previous post we interviewed Sunday Times bestselling novelist and script writer George Mann. In that interview we showed an example page of how a comic script is written to tell the story while at the same time guiding the artist and the rest of the creative team in producing the final pages of a comic book or graphic novel.

This post was very popular, and so we wanted to dig a little deeper and show you some more cool examples of how the script format gets transformed into the beautiful pages of a finished comic.

We’ll be showing script pages from issue one of Dragonbond’s first comic, The Rise of Itza, along with the actual final pages from the comic. By studying the two closely, you will see how the details of the script writing actually get translated into visual form.

The softback and hardback editions of the Rise of Itza graphic novel, along with an open book showing an internal double page spread
The softback, and hardback special edition of The Rise of Itza by George Mann.

From Comic Script to Final Page

Below are the comic book scripts for 5 pages from The Rise of Itza issue 1. In them you can see how much goes into the writing process as well as what a comic script format actually looks like.

The writing follows a screenplay format, starting with panel descriptions for each panel which give a flavour of the scene. Within each panel description any character that features is mentioned in all caps.

Within the script, character’s dialogue is clearly labelled to show who it belongs to, and what kind of words they are, i.e narration or SFX.

PAGE 1: (5 Panels)

Panel One: 

We’re looking directly down on a low pallet bed, where the corpse of a human male is completely covered by a thin cotton shroud. If we can glimpse anything of his shape through the thin fabric, his hands have been crossed over his chest, so that his fingertips touch the opposite shoulders. We can see very little else of the room at this time.

ITZA (NARRATION) It never fails to amaze me. 

ITZA (FROM OFF PAGE) Come. You are one with the Vaala. 

(linked balloon) Speak to us, Cualli. Your memory-form would be heard.

Panel Two:

We’re now looking at the pallet bed side on. Nothing has changed, except for the corpse is taking a sudden, dramatic inhalation of breath, sucking the fabric of the shroud so it dips over the corpse’s open mouth.

SFX Huuuuuhh

ITZA (NARRATION) This gift of the Vaala. These shadows of memory and being that exist beyond the physical realm.

Panel Three:

The corpse of the man, CUALLI, has now sat up on the pallet bed, the white shroud falling away to reveal his clearly dead form. He was old when he died, recently, his skin tanned, lined, and leathery. He is naked. His eyes are rolled back and unseeing, white. His mouth hangs slack and open, and I think we should treat his speech bubble differently to the others, maybe show it as white on black with an irregular edge. 

ITZA (NARRATION) These strands of a life once lived, these experiences that may be called forth from the ether…


(linked balloon) Tozi, my daughter? Is that you?

Panel Four:

Close in now on ITZA. We’re showing her for the first time here (see reference/concept pics). She’s wearing a bright half-smile, and her hands weave the air as she plucks at multi-colored threads in the air that aren’t really there–she’s manipulating the Vaala to temporarily return a shadow of Cualli to his old body. 

ITZA (NARRATION) …like the weaving together of so many loose threads.

Panel Five:

A wider shot now. We’re in the inside of a home. A middle-aged woman, TOZI, is rushing over to embrace DEAD CUALLI, who still sits up on the bed, his eyes unseeing. ITZA watches. There are others gathered here, too–a couple of men, a couple of children. This is a service Itza is providing to a family.

TOZI I’m here, Papa. 

(linked balloon) I’m here. 

ITZA (NARRATION) This chance it offers people to say goodbye.

Page 1 of The Rise of Itza issue 1 comic

PAGE 2: (5 panels)

Panel One:

On TOZI and DEAD CUALLI. TOZI is holding him. Tears are streaming down her face. They are not tears of sadness, but peace and joy.

TOZI I am so happy for you, Papa. The Vaala has embraced you.  

DEAD CUALLI It has embraced us all, my child. 

(linked balloon) Everything I was is now a part of everything you are

Panel Two:

TOZI is beckoning the other members of her family forward.

TOZI And I shall carry you with me, always. 

(linked balloon) Come, children. It is time for Papa Cualli to leave this realm behind and join the ancestors. 

CHILD 1 I don’t want him to go!

Panel Three:

TOZI has turned to CHILD 1, a girl. She’s patting the CHILD’S head, while one of the MEN takes hold of DEAD CUALLI’S hand. 

TOZI Shh, now, Xoco. We must be happy for Papa Cualli. Where he goes, we all must follow, in time. 

DEAD CUALLI Fear not, young Xoco. Even when I seem far from you, I shall be near. The Vaala’s song is endless.

MAN Goodbye, Cualli.

Panel Four:

ITZA has stepped forward into the scene. TOZI is nodding.

ITZA It’s time.

TOZI I love you, Papa.

DEAD CUALLI Your love is a blessing, my child.

Panel Five:

ITZA is passing her hands through the air over DEAD CUALLI, whose corpse has gone limp again in the MAN’S hands. Breath is rattling from its open mouth.


ITZA It is done. 

(linked balloon) I shall leave you to your memories.

Page 2 of The Rise of Itza issue 1 comic

PAGE 3: (5 panels)

Panel One:

ITZA is now leaving TOZI’S house, stepping out into the city street (see reference art for examples of how the city looks). TOZI stands in the doorway behind her. We can see that TOZI’S house and the street outside are set on a high rise/hill, in a district of the city that overlooks the lower regions. 

TOZI Thank you, Itza. I know… 

(linked balloon) …well, I know it is not easy for you. I just want you to kno–

LOCAL MAN (CUTTING HER OFF) Look here! It’s one of them. A corpse walker. 

ITZA (NARRATION) And just like that, Tozi is proved right. 

Panel Two:

Our perspective has swung around now to show three LOCAL MEN (warrior types, in their 20s) standing sneering at ITZA in the street. ITZA’S having none of his crap.

ITZA (NARRATION) It’s not easy. 

LOCAL MAN A %@#$! Xibac.

ITZA I’m not like them. Not anymore. 

Panel Three:

Other LOCALS are gathering now–coming out of their homes, crowding around the edges of the scene. An OLD WOMAN and a YOUNG WOMAN are chiming in from the sidelines. The YOUNG MAN is spitting on the ground in disgust.

ITZA (NARRATION) Not easy trying to prove that I’m different. That I’m not like the other Xibac. 

OLD WOMAN Why can’t you just leave the dead in peace? Let them rest

YOUNG MAN Your sort think they can just go around doing whatever they like. Playing with life and death. Raising the dead like puppets.

YOUNG WOMAN Using the remains of our loved ones to do your sick bidding.

Panel Four:

On ITZA, rebuffing their harsh words. She’s tired of this attitude.

ITZA (NARRATION) That all I want to do is help.

ITZA I told you.

(linked balloon) I. Am. No. Xibac. 

(linked balloon) I agree with you. That’s not what this was about. I was trying to help this family. To give them a chance to say goodbye

(linked balloon) To allow their patriarch to show them he is one with the Vaala. 

Panel Five:

Holding the shot from the previous panel, but now ITZA is turning to look back over her shoulder, frowning, at the roaring sound coming from off panel. The other LOCALS are peering up at the sky in confusion, too. The YOUNG WOMAN is pointing at something up there. 

ITZA (NARRATION) But sometimes I just think there’s no–


YOUNG WOMAN Up there! 

ITZA What? What is it?

Page 3 of The Rise of Itza issue 1 comic

PAGES 4 & 5: DPS (Splash, 5 inset panels)

NB: I’m seeing this as a big, glorious DPS splash, with a handful of inset panels towards the bottom of both pages.


And now we’re seeing what all those people have just seen… 

The main event of this DPS spread is a shot of REGANNA, swooping low and majestic over the city, a terrifying stream of fire erupting from her mouth to wash over the city below. Buildings are already burning. People are running in the streets, some of them already immolated too. 

This is also a great opportunity to show off the vista of the city. We’ll be leaning into the concept art, so definitely some towering step pyramids and the like, along with houses as per the reference sketches, and lots of trees and vines–which will unfortunately all burn very well!


ITZA (NARRATION) My lips are dry. My words crumble like ash. 

ITZA (NARRATION) Every problem, every grievance seems so small, so insignificant in the face of… this.

ITZA (NARRATION) This power.


ITZA (NARRATION) A %@#$ dragon.

ITZA (NARRATION) Here. In Angdáin.

ITZA (NARRATION) And that’s when it hits me. Like a cold blade in the guts.

ITZA (NARRATION) I’m going to die. Right here. Today.

ITZA (NARRATION) And there’s nothing I or anyone else can do about it.

Inset Panel One:

REGANNA is swooping low over a plaza, immolating the terrified inhabitants, who can’t even run for cover before they’re turned to ash.


Inset Panel Two:

REGANNA is smashing down a tower with her claws, sending hunks of masonry crashing to the streets below.


Inset Panel Three:

REGANNA is swooping low into a wide street, flying between two rows of buildings. In her shadow below, people are diving to the ground, terrified.

REGANNA Allarians, hear me!

(linked balloon) Drive these Náhuinn cattle from their stinking hovels! 

Claim this city in my name!

Inset Panel Four:

REGANNA has landed atop a towering pyramid and is screeching at the sky, her wings outspread.


Inset Panel Five:

A small shot of some of the ALLARIAN TROOPS at the city gates, cheering as they react to Reganna’s swathe of destruction.


Page 4 of The Rise of Itza issue 1 comic
Page 5 of The Rise of Itza issue 1 comic

Comic Book Scripts – The End

So, from just looking at the comic book scripts for just those 5 pages, it’s possible to see the amount of thought, direction, and creativity that goes into both the comic book writing and the interpretation from the wider creative team. It’s also clear to see that through the creative process, the final page can sometimes naturally differ slightly from the original script.

And it shows the eye-watering amount of work there is involved in getting a comic published in the first place! If you’re keen to learn about how the art itself is created, check out our interview with The Rise of Itza artist Mariano Laclaustra.