Thursday, April 23, 2009
Why 'Someone Wrote That?' ?
Someone asked me about my blog title the other day. It's because I've heard many comments about comics along the lines of, "Someone wrote that piece of crap?". There seems to be many people who assume comic book scripts just congeal from the ether. Or possibly are what's left after someone has regurgitated onto a piece of paper.
"Just let the bigger chucks drip off there, mate, and it'll be a winner."
Comic book writer does seem to rank somewhere below jingle writing and political speech writer as a profession. Maybe above reality TV show writer or magazine horoscope compiler, but only just.
It doesn't help that comics are a very visual medium. They have pretty pictures. Pretty pictures are nice. We all like pretty pictures. I know I do.
Sometimes in a comic the art and the words look at war with one another. I have, buried in a box somewhere, a Barry Windsor-Smith comic* that starts with a high-speed flying car chase. The stunning artwork suggests the whole sequence takes a few seconds. The word balloons, however, are huge and take minutes to read. The writing isn't bad, it just seems to be having a temporal war with the art.
Yet, all-in-all, I find writing comics is much more satisfying than writing prose. I mentioned my years as a non-fiction writer in previous post -- it was a bit soul-destroying. My attempts at fictional prose all seemed to lack something. Pictures, maybe?
I got some short stories published, but most never made it out of my desk drawer. Somehow handing over a comic script is easier for me than sending out a short story. The story is finished ... stands on its own merit. The comic script is merely a stepping stone to something greater ... a drawn comic.
So the title of this blog is a joking response to anyone who buys comics for the artwork alone, who gets the artist to sign the cover but not the writer, and who just don't really care what happens as long as it looks cool. Someone wrote that? Yes, they did. Sometimes you may wonder why they bothered. But other times you may remember the words as well as the art.
*see, I'm a writer and yet I remember that comic only for the artist. I sincerely apologize to whoever wrote it for not even noticing who you were, but at least I'm trying to join you in the same relative obscurity of the comic writing profession.