Sunday, November 19, 2006

Finally seeing the light of day

Here's a short piece of text I was asked to write a couple of years back for a book on how to write comics. Although the book saw print my contribution wasn't included. This despite the book using pages from strips I'd written. As far as I can make out this was because that way the publishers only had to pay the artist (Bob Covington) instead of the both of us. Sigh.

Sometimes I think that a writer’s motto should be “Hurry up and wait.” You rush to meet a deadline then wait, biting your fingernails, to see if the finished product ever sees the light of day. Comics are even worse than prose in that respect because you never know how long it will take for the art and lettering to get done.

Michael Moorcock told me that he often recycles his prose stories as comics and vice versa, doubling the potential exposure the story will eventually receive. I’ve followed his example with a few of my own stories.

Comics are a more collaborative medium than prose. When working with Bob Covington he suggested ways to visually enhance my scripts and I sketched breakdowns for a page he had trouble designing. And when I wrote the samurai fantasy Seppuku for Engine Comics Barry Renshaw made suggestions for improvements then happily accepted the reasons I gave for why some of them wouldn’t work. Of course some of his suggestions were right on the money so I cheerfully incorporated them into the script. (After all, I need someone else to blame if nobody likes the comic …)