It's the writer

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It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:01 pm

I keep thinking about the Alan Moore issue, Watchmen prequels, and the general state of the industry. This isn't a treatise, and it's more general than anything I've been thinking about, but I think there's something that's being (deliberately) ignored in a lot of the discussions I've seen/had.

It's the writer who matters most. I know others disagree, but I think they're wrong. I've heard this is a "visual medium" and that's true. But, it's also true of television and movies, animation and web comics. That doesn't change the simple fact that it starts with the writer. Pretty pictures don't make a story. Yes, there are writer/artists and there are artists who are better storytellers than some writers, and that muddies the point some but it doesn't change it. If the artist is doing the bulk of the storytelling, then that makes them the writer. Think Lee and Kirby.

It's not the publisher. In what other industry do people care about the publisher/broadcaster? Why do we, except (possibly) that the weave themselves a universe. But, they can't do that without the writer. Without the writer they publish random pictures (which is how I think of some early Image stuff), or blank pages.

It's not even the characters. Without the writers you would never have met the character, you'd not have had a "version" you liked, and you wouldn't have had stories making you care about the character. Some people have said that the writers don't count, that's it's all about the characters. I can't think of a more unethical view, if only because without the writers (and other creators, in this case) nothing else would happen.

It's not the editors, important as they may be. They may make things work better (if they're good) and they may help the storytelling process, especially if they also write, but you can't edit without work having been done.

It's not the artist. As important as they are to the process, they often have to be reigned in by writers to be reminded that they're telling a story first and most importantly. Again, I know that there are writer/artists, and some artists are simply amazing storytellers, but mostly it's still the writers. And, as a side note, designing a costume is simply not as vital in creating a character as the writing. Otherwise costume designers in Hollywood would run the show.

I could go on, and I may at some point, but that's the thing that I keep coming back to. And it's why this all bothers me. Too many fans care more about the characters than the people who make them matter. And the publishers will keep treating writers (and artists, true) like replaceable cogs until WE stop letting them.

I'm not trying to denigrate anyone involved in bringing me the work I love, but simply to point out that the creators have to come first, and that without writers nothing else would matter.

DC is doing work I want to read, publishing things I'd like to own. But, as long as this keeps happening, I won't buy them. And as long as fans think it's acceptable, we'll keep getting it.

Any thoughts?

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:49 am

Excellent points, Mbast the First. I agree with all of them, unless I missed one that was racist or something. I probably don't agree with that one.

But yeah, as much as we love the characters the writers who work on them should REALLY get more credit for that. For instance, I loved Kyle Rayner as a kid. Just loved him. Then Ron Marz was replaced by Judd Winnick and. . .well, what a dork he became. He was still good in JLA, but in his own comic he was just AWFUL. Every other writer assigned to Kyle since then has been. . .OKAY, I guess, but they just can't seem to give Kyle the "feel" that Marz did. I honestly haven't cared about him in years, and while that might not be a shocking statement to the internet it certainly would be to my 10 year old self.

Of course, early 90's Green Lantern is not Watchmen, and Ron Marz is not Alan Moore. That's an entirely different situation. Ron Marz isn't pleading with DC to stop using Kyle. Ron Marz was never burned so badly by them that he'll never work there again. And that, maybe, is part of the problem. As much as I love ol' Ron, he and the rest of the people working for DC right now are basically scabs. Screw the art of it, screw loyalty to the fans, THEY just want a paycheck. They've turned THEMSELVES into cogs.

I mean, look at Dan Jurgens. Every significant thing he's ever done in the old DCU has been wiped out in the New 52, and not only is he still working for them, he's actually gone out of his way to take a shot at the fans who are upset about the reboot (JLI #1, for those who don't know). Well, gee, Dan, I wish I'd known you didn't give a crap about those Superman comics when I was a kid! I could've saved a lot of allowance money on those.

Okay, I'd better stop before this turns into a rant. Let me just say again that I agree, and that DC should realize that there aren't an unlimited number of Waids, Rosses and Moores out there. Keep treating the artists like dirt, and pretty soon all you'll have are the scabs.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Lucy McGough on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:57 pm

Both of you are, of course, absolutely right. What more can I say? One of the perils of a collaborative medium, I guess.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:13 pm

Sorry, I didn't get back to this til now.

Sam_Vimes wrote:THEY just want a paycheck. They've turned THEMSELVES into cogs.

Well, that's normal for people, you do what you can to make money. But, here it is more a choice than in other places, so I agree. But, also, it's up to the fans who keep supporting things either through apathy or because they truly only care about getting what they want.

Sam_Vimes wrote:he's actually gone out of his way to take a shot at the fans who are upset about the reboot (JLI #1, for those who don't know).

Mark Waid (whose work I often like) wrote an entire story on Flash (multiple issues) just to shut up fans who asked for Barry back. And Geoff Johns included a LOT of shots at fans in Infinite Crisis. And we just take it.

Sam_Vimes wrote:Okay, I'd better stop before this turns into a rant.

What's wrong with a rant? Like that's not how I started this?


Last edited by Mbast1 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:56 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:18 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:One of the perils of a collaborative medium, I guess.

I don't think it's about being a collaborative medium so much as sacrificing quality for a quick buck for the publisher. Keep in mind how much

And yeah, I know "it's the writer" and "it's ALL the creators" are two different ideas. I wasn't as clear as I should have been.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:38 am

Oh yeah. . .I forget about Geoff Johns and Infinite Crisis. Superboy Prime was a pretty obvious insult. It's nice that Geoff, as a fan who's gone pro, can reshape the DCU to his liking and STILL find it within himself to mock all the other fans who would like to do the same. He can have his cake and eat it too!

Seriously, what a jerk. I'm surprised at Waid, though. What story was that? I probably read it as a kid but didn't get it, being a kid and all.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:58 pm

Sam_Vimes wrote:Oh yeah. . .I forget about Geoff Johns and Infinite Crisis. Superboy Prime was a pretty obvious insult.

And the dialogue for Kal-L was pretty insulting to older fans.

Sam_Vimes wrote: I'm surprised at Waid, though. What story was that?

Around issue 75-80 of the Wally West series.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:46 am

With a very few exceptions, writers have always been considered somehow less important than artists, I think, and it is indeed a rather stupid attitude. It isn't even an exclusively American attitude: British comics never used to carry credits, but while comics historians eventually managed to identify the artists on a lot of older strips, very few have ever bothered to try and work out who actually wrote them. It's a great shame.

Of course, one of the few writers to have bucked this trend is Stan Lee. There's irony there, somewhere...

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:38 pm

tony ingram wrote:It's a great shame.

People seem to think that because it's a visual medium that only the pictures count. Just like when I said to someone that publishers aren't all that important a piece of the process (and said something about them publishing blank comics to see if they'd sell) the artists need something to build their pictures from. This is a storytelling medium, and you need to start from the story.
Again, I am NOT denigrating artists. Or colorists, inkers, letterers, or anyone else. Without them we wouldn't have what we have. But, without writers we'd not have stories.

tony ingram wrote:Of course, one of the few writers to have bucked this trend is Stan Lee. There's irony there, somewhere...

I once heard Lee (affectionately) called a carnival barker, and that seems about right. He's interesting, historically important and a fun guy, but a bad writer.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Alan Moore once wrote a two part piece on Lee titled "Stan Lee: Blinded by the Hype (an affectionate character assassination)". Ever read it?

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:19 am

Stan Lee a bad writer?!?!

I feel I must exit this conversation and never return.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:30 am

Sam_Vimes wrote:I feel I must exit this conversation and never return.

Sorry.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:44 am

Sam_Vimes wrote:Stan Lee a bad writer?!?!

I feel I must exit this conversation and never return.
Stan Lee is a great showman, a great ambassador for comics and a very imaginative guy. But...

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:46 am

Et tu, Tony?

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:51 am

Sam_Vimes wrote:Et tu, Tony?
Well, much as I like Stan, he was atrocious at keeping characters names straight, or remember details about how their powers worked, he inexplicably decided that Loki (a magical being) could be imprisoned in a lead box (iron, I could understand-but lead?), his plotting was frequently all over the place, and he created Ravage 2099. Do I really need to go on?

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:48 am

Well, he's an UNEVEN writer, to be sure. But when he shines, man, he SHINES. Ravage 2099 aside (let us never mention that abomination again), I think his hits very much outweigh his misses. Spider-Man, for example, was uniformly excellent for as long as he wrote it, and I think it goes without saying that the FF was The World's Greatest Comic Magazine. I mean, it says so right on the cover!

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:27 pm

I'll certainly give Stan credit (or 50% of it) for the first 100+ issues of FF, and for Spider-Man, amongt others. But then, the prosecution presents The Savage She-Hulk, not to mention his creation of Diablo, the Infant Terrible and Paste Pot Pete... Twisted Evil

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:05 pm

Sometimes Stan got drunk, okay?!?! I blame his wife for not taking away the typewriter.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:10 pm

Sam_Vimes wrote:Sometimes Stan got drunk, okay?!?! I blame his wife for not taking away the typewriter.
>hic< "Now les'shee...Bob Banner...is it 'Bob'? Yeah, itsh Bob...or Barney...Barney Banner's bein' chashed by the army an' he runs into Peter...uh...Palmer...Super-Man...yeah, thatsh it...aww, Kirby can work out wha' happensh next...Joanie! Wheresh my addresh book? I neeed Kirby's number...yeah, y'know, Jim Kirby..." Twisted Evil

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Sam_Vimes on Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:34 am

Well, no wonder! If he kept calling the wrong Kirby. . . .Poor Jim probably said whatever he had to to get crazy old Stan off the phone. Thank you, Tony, for this wonderful and illuminating dramatization. Now we can finally start assigning the blame where it belongs: On tax accountant Jim Kirby!

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:08 am

I hear he was the guy who gave financial advice to Siegel and Shuster in 1938, too. Twisted Evil

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Re: It's the writer

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:48 pm

tony ingram wrote:I hear he was the guy who gave financial advice to Siegel and Shuster in 1938, too. Twisted Evil

Well, that he probably worked for the mob.

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Re: It's the writer

Post by MajorHoy on Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:24 pm

An interesting article in the New York Times regarding crediting / compensating creators focusing mostly on Marvel and Bill Mantlo in light of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Armed Animals Don’t Invent Themselves

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Re: It's the writer

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:23 pm

Giffen comes across as rather bitter. Maybe it's just me...?

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Re: It's the writer

Post by MajorHoy on Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:16 am

tony ingram wrote:Giffen comes across as rather bitter. Maybe it's just me...?
Nah . . . I thought the same thing: he's either bitter and/or he's a realist.

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Re: It's the writer

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