Confession: My Envy – Sequential Art & Serial Storytelling (comics)

I’m not much for envy, I think it’s a self-depreciating emotion and state of mind. But I’m also human, so I’ve got my weaknesses like everyone else. As a writer, there are three major reasons why I envy guys like Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Brian Azzarello, and Brian Michael Bendis who write serialized stories that get drawn by talented, visionary artists — some of the best in the entire sequential storytelling industry of comic books:

  • The collaborative aspect 
  • The visual realization of their characters and settings
  • The serialization of their stories

This past week Warren Ellis (yeah, him again) revealed that he was working with Mike Avon Oeming (Mice Templar, Powers) on a new project called Half Moon. On his blog he shared some concept notes and sketches from the collaborative creation process. That’s the part that got to me, seeing the back and forth of two minds joining together to create something new, something special.

From Warren’s notes (via his website/blog):
  • “We’re working in realtime on this one. We agreed on the general concepts just a couple of hours ago, and will spend the next few days in development on it, to see what we’ve actually got.”
  • “This is all still as rough as a bear’s arse, on my end. There are other details to the above in other emails, I haven’t yet combined it all into a clear document or a handy logline. But this is the point where we know where we are, where we’re going, and the parameters for what we’re going to do.”
  • “Sometimes it works like this. You can’t choose what part of a story comes to you first. Sometimes you think of a setting first. Sometimes an interesting plot progression drops into your head and you find yourself looking for somewhere to put it, instead. Sometimes it’s the title first, or a character name, or even a line of dialogue from nowhere that kickstarts the whole thing. There’s no hard and fast method, no laws about how this works. Every job is different. Mike and I are just showing you how this one starts.”

And then, of course, seeing Mike Oeming’s visualizations…ah, synergy!

Hell, I’m even jealous of writers who (being artists first) draw their own stories, like:

Dark Horse Comics  © Frank Miller
Why didn’t I stick with drawing when I was an undisciplined teenager? I just had to discover writing and the guitar.

And girls, of course.


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