Saturday, 1 October 2011
The Writing On The Wall
I'm increasingly convinced that comics are primarily an artists' medium.
Almost anyone can write, schools are pretty hot on that. Yet virtually no one can draw. This creates a disparity, at least on the indy/small press side of things, where writers are not much valued but artists are highly prized. In many ways this is only natural. Illustrating a comic strip takes a damn sight more time and effort than writing one, so even if there were just as many artists as writers - which there aren't - the artists would still be making by far the greater commitment in taking a job on.
My principal outlet for writing over the last few years has been Massacre For Boys, and when I've strayed outside of it I haven't had very much success. I've had ideas rejected, accepted but not published and various other mishaps. Even when something has appeared and been relatively well received, it hasn't led to anything else. I could of course put this down to being shit, but I more think it's because no one really needs comic writers. Indeed, if you look at the Futurequake and Something Wicked anthology titles, two of the jewels in the British comics crown, they've been closed to new scripts since the start of the year.
In my role as an editor I am equally guilty of this. I've pursued artists with some vigour, but never sought any help with the writing. Mea Culpa.
Progress on Massacre For Boys is pretty slow at the moment, mainly due to Steve's many other commitments (pro colouring work, lots of other indy strips to illustrate, full-time job and, selfishly I feel, a personal life). It's not that I write fast, or write much, but it's so much quicker to write than draw. I'm quite far ahead of the curve at the moment, so don't need to do any more on this front. Which is probably just as well.
This year, as may be apparent from the above, I've become pretty disillusioned with comic writing, and indeed would consider retiring completely except that would imply I'd ever done it professionally - which I haven't - and also would be nothing but a futile gesture. The reality is I haven't written anything for ages, and I suspect I won't write anything for a while , but I'm pretty sure I'll find some enthusiasm from somewhere and pick up the pen again at some point.