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Batman Is My Mr. Miyagi

Aug 11, 2010 in Books, Comic Books, Guest Posts

I write mysteries. I love writing mysteries. And I also write comic books. So when I was recently at Comi-Con, someone at one of the panels asked me how comics have influenced and/or seeped into my mystery and novel writing. Indeed, one of the editors at Mulholland Books asked if the action-packed nature of comics helped develop the action and pacing I use in the novels.

So let me tell you the answer.



And the best part? I had no idea I was doing it.

You see, when you do your first novel, it goes out, and you hope people read it. Same with your second. But by the time you hit your third, people start looking at all the books together. It was then that the smart readers stepped forward. One e-mailed me through my website and said, “I’ve now read three of your novels. What are your issues with your father?” And later, someone else wrote about how reading my novels was like seeing the underbelly of the pacing in a comic book: short chapters and a cliff-hanger, short chapters and a cliff-hanger.

To be honest, I was surprised. But the moment I heard it, I knew it was true.

Yes, for as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve read comic books. I love them. And every week, I’d consume these twenty-two-page adventures that always left me with a cliff-hanger. To me, that was the best part.

And that’s really how I learned to write my novels. It’s like Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid. You think you’re sanding the floor and waxing on and off, but all the while you’re learning a different skill. That’s how it was for me. I’d read thousands of these twenty-two-page adventures and their cliff-hangers — over and over and over again — and eventually, Mr. Miyagi style, it began to rub off. Short chapters and a cliff-hanger, short chapters and a cliff-hanger.

Batman is many things. And now, he’s my Mr. Miyagi.

Take that, Joker.

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Fate, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and The Book of Lies. He is also one of the co-creators of the TV show Jack & Bobby and is the Eisner Award–winning author of the critically acclaimed comic book Justice League of America. His first nonfiction book, Heroes for My Son, was published in 2010. This December, he will be launching Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel. And his newest thriller, The Inner Circle, will be released in January 2011. Brad currently lives in Florida with his wife, who is an attorney. Learn more at

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5 Responses »

  1. Great post! I loved learning how much of a role comics (and cliff-hangers) played in his writing style!

  2. Great post. I don’t think many people realize how difficult it is to write good comic book stories (nor how intelligent they are).

    We just came back from our vacation, a 14 hour drive with a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy. If it wasn’t for Batman (Brave and the Bold) the trip would have been more difficult than it already was.


  3. I enjoyed comic books as a kid – maybe that’s why I enjoy Meltzer’s books so much! This was such a fun post!

  4. So interesting. My son was a serious collector as a young guy and consequently I have over 3000 comics in bags with cards in those lovely long boxes still stored in my home. Perhaps it would help my writing if I started to read some…mint condition and all. Thanks for this info. I so enjoy your books and will now have to watch for any comic book influence as I read the next one!


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