Defending The Artists

The above tweet from Cow Boy writer Nathan Cosby pretty well says it all. This was the first thing I saw when I got onto Twitter at home today, and it couldn’t have been better timed, as this is a topic that’s been pretty well stuck in my craw.

See, I can’t draw. I used to think I could, a long time ago, but I was *ahem* “otherwise convinced” by people I shouldn’t have let convince me, and any nascent talent I ever had has shriveled up and died with age.

It FUCKING PISSES ME OFF I can’t draw. If I could, I’d be as prolific with the comic making as you can imagine. But instead, I’m left to envy artists, and beg and plead for their services so I can do this comic making shtick. Ask my girlfriend, every time I see a new piece by James Stokoe I’m reduced to a sobbing wreck in the corner.

Without Jeff Simpson, I have no KEEPER. Without Alwyn Talbot, I have no Discharged. Without Sean Duffield, Michael Vincent Bramley, Sean Penfold… I might as well write prose, but I don’t want to write prose necessarily (I mean, I’m not AGAINST it or anything), I want to write comics.

So when I see articles like this one on how artists are overlooked when discussing comics and graphic novels, it FUCKING PISSES ME OFF.

And when Mark Millar has to straight come out and say publicly something that should be instant common knowledge, “But artists, if your writer is owning even one percent more than you, he’s ripping you off. If he’s getting a producer credit and you aren’t, he’s ripping you off.”, it FUCKING PISSES ME OFF.

(Incidentally, the book Millar refers to was drawn by a good guy named Curtis Tiegs, who was actually the artist on the pitch I wrote about trying to shop at C2E2 2010 for Bleeding Cool. He’s great. I hope Millar means what he says because Curtis deserves the best. [I'll post about that project sometime. There may be some life in it yet, who knows.])

And I know, I KNOW, it’s no creator who’s actually worth a damn who thinks lesser of their artists. But look at how mainstream comics are done, and the musical chairs artist rotations on titles these days. On the surface, companies are trying to get books out on time and fill-ins are needed. Go deeper, and there’s an attitude that artists are a dime a dozen, and hey, if one can’t finish a book on time, there’s a thousand others that can. The media and blogs are bad about it too. The CBR piece above even admits how many times he neglected to mention an artist in a piece.

It’s sickening, and yet cyclical. For I remember the early 90s, when the Cult of the Artist ruled comics. Books were selling millions (MILLIONS) on the backs of Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane, and an entire company was formed based around the Cult of the Artist. And back then, I was wondering, as a devout worshipper of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, when the scriptwriters were gonna get their due.

Be careful what you wish for.

And everyone else, KNOCK IT OFF. With the exceptions of those gifted enough to do both, writers need artists, and artists need writers, to make comics. Period. Forget one part of that, then why are you even here?

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