The Guardian Guide section recently ran an article about a writer of comic books with illustrations from his latest project BUT DID NOT GIVE THE NAME OF THE ARTIST! They were nice drawings too. I was offended. The Guardian judging from its Guide and Weekend section is not staffed by folk who are good in the what-things-look-like department but, their bias to the words-are-king apart, this lapse demonstrates a lack of understanding of the appeal of comics and how they work.
There are artist/writers who do the whole thing but comics are for the most part a collabrative process. The attraction of a good comic book is at least as much due to the work of the artist as it is to the writer. This is sometimes unfair to comic book writer (who has a favourite that is well written but has fifth-rate art?) and sometimes a blessing (who hasn’t had a favourite that has poor writing but great art? ). You all know this don’t you.
I was lucky enough to work with good writers who were also willing to take suggestions and allow changes - some I admit without their prior knowledge. It was this mutual creative process in comics I was moved to address rather than just having a moan about The Guardian - which to be fair does acknowledge the existence of and regularly do features about comics which I don’t know is true of other newspapers. It’s literary supplement sometimes features graphic novels - though recently a graphic novel was reviewed without once mentioning the artwork.
I could give examples of both good art/bad writing and good writing/bad art taking place but have a rule that would require breaking - never write anything rude about any comics book creator. Bless ’em all. Give them all credit.
If you can’t make it out Eisner’s script from the image it’s like this -
Narrative: ( which another illustration shows used as a caption) Jones is shot from behind.
Jones: “Gad . . . I’ve been shot from behind.”
Scene: Show Jones being shot in the back.
Narrative: Jones falls into the Spirit’s arms just as he arrives.
Jones: “Glak . . The . . .Kabla diamond is . . Gasp”
Sprit: “ . . . Where? . . Jones? . . Jones? “
The artist dumps the caption and speech balloon in frame 1, and adds two frames thus saving the writer, and the editor, from making asses of themselves. (They are probably both moonlighting from the Guardian)