She Was Groot: After A Galactic Hit, Marvel Screenwriter Tackles Comics Nicole Perlman was the first woman to get a writing credit on a Marvel Studios movie, last year's Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, she's taking on a more earthly challenge: Writing her first comic book.
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She Was Groot: After A Galactic Hit, Marvel Screenwriter Tackles Comics

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She Was Groot: After A Galactic Hit, Marvel Screenwriter Tackles Comics

She Was Groot: After A Galactic Hit, Marvel Screenwriter Tackles Comics

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Nicole Perlman was the first woman to get a screenwriting credit on a Marvel Studios movie for last year's big hit "Guardians Of The Galaxy."

(SOUNDBITE OF REDBONE SONG, "COME AND GET YOUR LOVE")

NEARY: Perlman has been tapped to write the upcoming "Captain Marvel" movie, but first, she's navigating a slightly less galactic challenge - writing her first comic book. NPR's Petra Mayer caught up with Perlman at San Diego Comic-Con.

PETRA MAYER, BYLINE: One thing you see a lot of at Comic-Con is, of course, costumes. And Nicole Perlman says she got very excited the first time she saw someone dressed up as her new project, Captain Marvel.

NICOLE PERLMAN: She looked fantastic. So I completely accosted her, and I insisted that she take a photo with me. I kind of whispered it, shyly. I was like, I'm writing the movie, take a picture with me, please.

MAYER: This year, Perlman has time for the occasional selfie and a quiet conversation in her hotel room before we plunge into the convention center. Last year was a non-stop whirl of publicity for "Guardians Of The Galaxy," a project Perlman started when she was part of an experimental Marvel Studios screenwriting program. Beginning writers were given a choice of the company's more obscure properties.

PERLMAN: C-list, D-list, you know, it didn't go as low as Hit Monkey or Squirrel Girl, but, you know, only a little bit above that, you know (laughter). And so things that nobody really thought were going to get made.

MAYER: Perlman felt drawn to "Guardians Of The Galaxy" and you know what happened next.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY")

VIN DIESEL: (As Groot) I am Groot!

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Fire.

MAYER: But here's the question - what do you do next when your first big movie turns out to be this big? Well, you go even bigger with "Captain Marvel" and you also go smaller. Perlman is set to write a comic book series based on Gamora, the green-skinned killer played by Zoe Saldana in "Guardians."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY")

ZOE SALDANA: (As Gamora) I'm going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.

PERLMAN: I'm a newbie to writing comic books.

MAYER: Luckily, there's no better place to learn than San Diego Comic-Con. Perlman's arranged to meet up with some other women in the industry.

PERLMAN: Just get any advice they might have for how to go about tackling a very different medium than screenwriting.

MAYER: Down on the convention floor, we started shopping for good comics, which led to a fortunate meeting with Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, creators of "Lumberjanes," a lighthearted comic about a group of girlfriends at a mysterious summer camp. They had some choice advice on writing comics.

NOELLE STEVENSON: It's very hard and I wouldn't recommend it.

(LAUGHTER)

STEVENSON: No, it's great.

MAYER: Study the way other artists work, Watters says. Don't get too involved in the page layout.

SHANNON WATTERS: Like, a lot of people in their first comics will do, like, and then there's a three-quarter panel that takes up one third of the page, and you're like, don't - trust your artist. Trust your artist.

STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah, the artists are the most...

MAYER: And possibly the most important thing?

WATTERS: Always end on an inhale.

STEVENSON: Yes.

WATTERS: On an inhale.

MAYER: Watters and Stevenson knew what they were talking about. Later that night, "Lumberjanes" won two Eisner awards. That's like the Oscars of the comics world. It's not news that women have a hard time in comics. It's not news that they've been marginalized and harassed. But here and now, it feels like there's a network of women supporting and advising each other - a moment of connection in the chaos of the convention floor. And that connection extends beyond this convention. If you're writing a screenplay, Nicole Perlman has some advice for you.

PERLMAN: I would say, you know, write the best movie you can, you know, and write the movie that you want to see and just keep at it.

MAYER: Perlman's comic book is scheduled for some time this year. "Captain Marvel" will land in theaters in 2018. Petra Mayer, NPR News, San Diego.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOOKED ON A FEELING")

BLUE SWEDE: (Singing) I'm hooked on a feeling. I'm high on believing that you're in love with me.

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