28 September 2009

Tough Talk: An Interview With Erik Larsen

I met Writer/Artist Erik Larsen as one of the first people I contacted when I began writing about comics in 2002. I didn't know he'd be publisher of Image Comics shortly thereafter. But as such I've enjoyed knowing him and hearing his honest, sometimes brutally so, responses about the industry. As I've begun considering how the market is in comics, I immediately thought to interview Erik, his views are from the front-line, they are straightforwardly given, and, I think offer insight to the world from a number of valuable perspectives, that of Publisher, Creative talent, Reader, and, I believe, advocate of the medium.

Alex Ness: Is the Direct market for distribution of comics dead, and, was the former model better in any respects, that of the news stand distribution? What distribution model will likely be the one of the future, if there is a future?

Erik Larsen: It's not dead -- it's just very limited and very small. It does work but it works on a small scale and we'd all like it to work better than it does.

That newsstand model clearly worked for a lot of people for a lot of years. The problem with returns is, however, that there's an enormous amount of waste and an enormous amount of risk. Many companies have gone belly up by jumping into the newsstand game. Unfortunately, there's no flip, pat answer that works here. Clearly we, as an industry, are not creating the kinds of books that consumers want. At least -- not all of the time. Our books are difficult to find, impenetrable to all but the hardcore fans and expensive. Which is not to say that bringing down the cover price is a cure all -- it's not. You can price dog crap at 5¢ a ton but that still won't compel people to buy dog crap. The books need to be books that people want to read and other than the few gimmicks that reach the mainstream media -- Obama in this book or the death of famous guy in that book -- we're NOT getting the stuff out there. And even those novelty comics aren't getting read. How many people bought and read that Spider-Man book with Obama in it? How many read it and decided that they'd like to become Spider-Man readers? Based on their sales -- I'd say not a whole hell of a lot.

The problem with those big books that cracked into the news cycle is that, largely, they have been lousy comics. The Death of Superman was a lousy comic book -- especially as one to transform a non-reader into a reader. Comics are all splashes now? Comics are in black plastic bags? Comics are jacked up to $20 on the day they're released by greedy retailers? Comics are issue-long slugfests with no discernible plots? Not the kind of thing which would be likely to have readers coming back for more.

I completely agree with the fact that the event comics that got noticed were unsuitable to build new readers, that they were meant to be must haves for the already buying comic collectors, and that they were, in large part, nowhere near the best that comics have to offer. So how do you get the mainstream press to notice good comics, how do you get people to realize that popular or event oriented works aren't necessarily what is best in the market, and how do you convince kids to go out and find a comic store?

That's the big question that we've all been struggling with, isn't it? Believe me -- If I had the answer I'd be doing it. The two big project that were of relative high quality did get out there -- Watchmen sold, and continues to sell, a shit-load of copies. Dark Knight Returns has sold a lot of copies as well. The thing is -- there really isn't a book out there which is grabbing readers by the balls the way those two books did. Frank Miller took Daredevil from a bimonthly title, verging on cancellation to Marvel's best-selling title. We don't have that now. We don't have a buzz book that has everybody talking. And that's the real problem. Until we get comics that people want -- people won't want comics.

What was/is the most destructive trend in comics that contributed to their downturn as a product, if not artistically?

Gimmick covers and inflated prices and endless crossover alienated casual readers. Impenetrable story lines with interlocking continuity hasn't helped. But a lot of it is visual -- comics are dark, realistic and uninviting to the casual reader. Kids don't feel that comics are for them. Everybody is trying to do Watchmen and failing. But it's really hard to break out and try something else. This is working -- to a modest degree -- how do we know that stand alone comics with exciting art will attract new readers? Better do THREE of what we're already doing instead...

As a publisher you were in a place to approve new projects, to allow new kinds of works to enter the market. Do you feel you succeeded or failed in bringing new readers to the market through those comics?

Failed. I know that these books had an audience and that the numbers went way up during my time as publisher but I don't believe for a second that readers came in off the street because of what we were doing. We just did a better job of making books that the existing audience wanted. Unfortunately, that's the nature of Image Comics. We can only publish the books that we're pitched. As the publisher, I can't get everybody to do all-ages comics. And saying to, say, the Luna brothers -- "Hey, guys--what do you say to making GIRLS for all-ages?" would seriously hamper their creative process.

Is the loss of young readers, kids, the harbinger of death I seem to feel it is, and, how do you angle your product to appeal both to ongoing readers, and to create and interest new readers? What isn't being done well enough?

Everything. The problem is that we forgot to make books for all ages. That was the key to success for Marvel and DC for generations and now we've got comics for older readers or kids but few comics for everybody. I find it to be a pretty disturbing trend that there was a second MAD magazine aimed at KIDS--as though MAD was inaccessible to younger readers. The fact that Marvel has a line of Marvel superhero comics for kids is horrible. They're telling their audience that some of their books are for young readers and some are NOT for young readers and both young and old books emphasize the fact that they aren't for everybody.

That, and the physical look of the product is not uniformly good. Most comics look gray and muddy and unattractive. The art is dense and cluttered. If I was a kid and you gave me a stack of new comics--I'm really not sure what I'd find in there that I'd want to read.

What was/is the most destructive trend creatively that contributed to the downturn of the comic market readership?

Continuity. I, as a reader -- can't comprehend most comics from Marvel or DC. If I can't -- and I've been reading this stuff for over 30 years -- how can they expect anybody else to be able to read it? When Jim Shooter was running Marvel there was a lot of bitching -- and he had some stupid rules along with his sensible ones -- but the sensible ones led to comics that were extremely accessible. I hadn't read many issues of Thor prior to Walt Simonson's Thor but I could immediately grasp what was going on. When attempting to read most books these days -- I'm just lost.

I agree, again, the Continuity is one of the many things that contributes poorly to the market. But, then, are you suggesting that the Big Two continuity issues don't send new readers to new products and different ones?

I can't say with any degree of certainty what goes on with every potential reader. I do think that when you have something like a big-budget movie on the screen and ads all over the place that there's an opportunity to grab readers that most of us don't have. When a potential reader comes in looking to try out Iron Man and the Iron Man comic they're presented with isn't something that makes them want to continue reading -- I'm not convinced that they're going to look over and see what else is on the shelf. It may be that it starts and stops with that one dip in the pool. And I should say here that I'm picking Iron Man out of the clear blue sky as an example. I have no idea if the book is worth reading these days or not.

Is what you are saying more to say that the average reader coming in starts with the Big Two, but only after being a fan moves to try new and different publisher products?

I think, for the most part, that's how things work. Readers often start with familiar titles from the Big Two and branch out from there. But I don't think Marvel and DC are attracting a lot of new readers--for the most part they're just servicing an existing, aging market. Not all readers are the same, of course. Some just see a cover in a store window and that compels them to come in off the street and try something out.

How does the internet contribute to the problems, how does it offer a solution to them?

It doesn't help. I think in many ways it makes matters worse. writers pander to the fans instead of trying to make thinks accessible to new readers. Books become in-jokes for old fans. That, and it provides a way to download comics for free, which can't help but impact sales in a negative fashion.

So web comics and online retailers don't expand the market?

Not in significant numbers. I don't think you can look at the numbers across the board and say that with the advent of computers readership has increased. Reality tells a different story. These people are, if anything, reading comics exclusively on their computers and not spending money on physical comic books.

If we are transitioning to a more paperless world, regarding products of entertainment, doesn't online seem to be a must have in order to succeed?

It would certainly seem that way. But at this point I don't see a lot of success stories. We're in the Napster stage when it comes to comic books--we don't have an iTunes yet. People are simply stealing everything.

Shouldn't there be an effort to create a new model that recognizes the patterns of today but with an appreciation for the past? I love the smell of paper when I go into a comic store, or used book store, I hate many webcomics, and don't download, and won't read stuff on the web, so I am not, NOT saying I am one of the new kinds of readers, I am saying that the market shouldn't focus on me, but my ten year old son, (who btw loves many of the Image Comics he has read) who is in many ways more tech literate than me. And for the record, my best friend refers to me constantly as an "effing Luddite," so...

I'm pretty much in your boat. I read a few comics on computer because that's how I see them first -- I get the Luna brothers books sent to me via email and I get Kirkman's comics the same way. I read them in that form and the printed comics are something of a formality. At that point they're books I've already read. I do agree that it's something we need to work on but like I said -- until an iTunes emerges we're stuck with Napster and none of us are seeing a dime from this. But everybody is on this. It's on everybody's mind and I've seen several promising apps for comics.

But I sure as hell hope that printed comics don't go away.

I personally don't believe comics will die, and believe that the market is just going through a transformation, do you agree with that? Or is the outlook much more bleak?

I don't think we've done any damage that isn't reversible. But it's going to take some serious effort to make things work. It can be done--but I think it may have to come from somewhere outside of the "big two" who seem to be determined to go head-to-head in their monthly market share pissing contest. What they're doing is extremely unhealthy for the market. I think more books like Bone and Scott Pilgrim will make a difference. Another Spider-Man title isn't likely to do much of anything in regard to the mainstream.

How do you change mentalities? If comics are to break out of the doldrums that seem to exist, you have to change things, don't you?

I really think it comes down to the product itself. Times have shown that when there's a book that people want--that book will sell. There's a lot of product out there but it really doesn't seem as though the authors have a lot to say and to a large degree, I blame the powers that be. I don't think that the suits understand how some creators can get emotionally invested in the books they're working on and why that is a GOOD thing.

Joe Quesada, for example, never stayed on any book for any great length of time--including ones he created--and has spent most of his career jumping from book to book, jockeying for position and trying to get his name in the news. Joe spent his time promoting Joe. He didn't seem to care what book he was on as long as people paid attention to it. The idea that anybody would deliberately choose to stay on one title for an extended period of time was foreign to him. These days creators don't get the chance to do what Miller did on Daredevil or Byrne did on the Fantastic Four or Simonson did on Thor, taking an existing book and make it their own. Sure, a few writers do but largely artists are shuffled from one book to another and it's really difficult to build any kind of momentum when things keep getting shuffled around. If Miller's run on Daredevil had been a six to twelve issue arc and he was bounced over to Spider-Man or the Hulk we might have been spared the introduction of Elektra and the compelling saga that followed.

John Byrne had the rug pulled out from under him on X-Men: The Hidden Years and Quesada didn't seem to understand why Byrne would object to that. He was offering John more work, after all -- a chance to do a new book and get a new #1 and get his name back out there -- why would John possibly object to that? But with a number of creators -- they want to be able to call a book their own and build something. That's lost these days.

One can look at present day Marvel and see Joe's vision in action as creators shuffle from title to title and few stick with anything for long. It's all a big chess board. Keep things moving -- make sure you can grab a headline and and a story. John Byrne doing a book for ten years isn't a story. John Byrne doing a new book? That's a story! And DC is the same, to a lesser extent. The end result is, as you might expect, that creators can't afford to get emotionally attached to the work they do and what that does is nip long term plans in the bud and make for books that are emotionally detached and somewhat heartless. The editorially driven events are there, sure -- things are happening -- but those events are not the same as the kind of thing that leads to a genuine phenomena like Miller's Daredevil, Claremont's X-Men or Simonson's Thor. Without that emotional investment -- it's just work -- it's just more product and that's what we have a lot of these days from the Big Two: product.

I agree that the best books are not the most popular, but, as a creative talent don't you agree that,the market is in many ways models what has been sold before, following the path that revenue streams create?

Retailers can't help but order books based on past performances. That is one of the pitfalls of the direct market. If Image was really excited about an upcoming Savage Dragon story, say, we really have few options available in order to get more books in the hands of more readers. We have to depend on retailers ordering the comics.

How does Savage Dragon fit into the success stories of the market, how does it fail? What is upcoming for you in the creative arena?

It's a success to the extent that it's still being published and still providing me with an income. But I'm not kidding myself -- in the grand scheme of things it's a footnote at best. I'm still working on the book and on Image United as well as a handful of other projects. I'm still here. And actually -- Image United is one of those projects with the potential to reach out to readers. For older Image fans it's a must buy and it's getting all kinds of media attention, starting with a full page news item in the New York Times. I imagine there'll be some kind of a trickle down effect in regard to Savage Dragon.

I'm okay with that.

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21 Comments:

Blogger nilskidoo said...

Alex, great damn interview.

September 28, 2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger alex-ness said...

thank you sir.

September 28, 2009 8:53 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

nice interview! It's always great to hear what Erik has to say about the industry. I'm not sure I know of anyone who loves the comics medium more.

September 29, 2009 5:13 PM  
Blogger alex-ness said...

Thank you very much Craig!

September 29, 2009 6:47 PM  
Blogger Abbot said...

Erik's comments are spot on. Amazing Spider-man is particularly indicative of the problem he mentions. With ASM being published weekly, there's no way to keep a single creative team on the book.

They may boost their sales (and inflate their issue # count) by publishing the book so often. But they lack a consistent artistic tone and the book is effectively written by committee.

September 30, 2009 10:41 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

I finally got a chance to sit down and read this interview, and I have to say Erik raises a number of points I whole-heartedly agree with.

Particularly the idea that Marvel and DC are run too much like Hollywood these days. Artists and writers are treated and marketed like celebrities, and very few are given the chance to really go deep into a character. Instead they just bounce from one title to the next, constantly launching new books and mini-series. Often they don't even finish the projects they start, or have assistants helping to meet deadlines.

This is a real shame, and leads to terrible stories. Part of what made Peter David's Hulk run so enjoyable was the fact that it lasted 100+ issues and David was able to really explore the character from all angles. It was not just a job for a paycheck and some shameless self-promotion, he really CARED about the characters he was writing. The book was higher quality because it was a personal vision he was allowed to pursue. Sadly, I can't name a single book these days with a creator whose lasted more than two years.

His point about impenetrable continuity is also spot on. I haven't read a book with "Crisis" in its title since "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and whenever I try to pick up a DC book these days (other than Vertigo), I have no idea what's going on (nor do I care much). And I'm a lifelong comic book fan, one who USED to buy anywhere from 3-5 superhero books a week. The fact is I just don't care anymore, and don't want to spend the kind of money (or time) it would take to keep up with the macro universe-wide stories that have taken over the industry.

The price of new comics is also a dealbreaker, especially when stories are so drawn out and decompressed. It also doesn't help Marvel or DC that the back issue market is so depressed. I've managed to read a ton of older stories, stuff published by Eclipse, Pacific, Kitchen Sink and Fantagraphics, for dirt cheap compared to new comics, and these older comics are almost always higher quality storytelling because they have the creator's personal vision.

I ALSO agree with Erik about the general ugliness of most superhero book these days. I think a lot of that has to do with overcoloring and digital separations, but as he points out, it may also be the bleak tone of the stories. Everything is so dark and violent.

Anyway, great interview, Alex. Perfect for a site titled "Trouble With Comics".

September 30, 2009 1:55 PM  
Blogger Richard Melendez said...

Great interview!

I have to wonder if a big part of the problem is the genre we're essentially talking about here, namely super heroes. I agree that the Scott Pilgrims and Bones are good for bringing in new readers, as are Vertigo titles like Transmetropolitan or Preacher (for readers with a more mature sensibility). But trying to turn on someone to super heroes, no matter how great the movie version may have been, is akin to trying to turn someone on to romantic comedies or Kung-Fu flicks... If they're not into that sort of content, then they're not into it.

Reaching out with an Obama appearance isn't going to change their mind, nor will creatively amazing runs by stellar creative teams, if what they're producing are more super hero stories. Watchmen and DKR may be the exceptions, but I can't say that they've turned readers towards other super hero comics, or to any other genre of comics, for that fact. I know many people who won't touch either of those books because of the fact that they're about super heroes, yet they're interested in Maus or Fun Home.
-r-

September 30, 2009 4:49 PM  
Blogger alex-ness said...

Abbot - thank you
Marc - you are very kind
Richard- thank you for reading.

September 30, 2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger Mr. Mike said...

Nice interview. Erik's pure love of comics is so contagious... he's like a little kid on Christmas morning. I love it.

I think another problem to be expanded on is the influx of writers who aren't comic writers, but novelists, screenwriters etc. Back when Marvel & DC groomed writers from the ground up, you got great stories, not event/shock & awe mania. Now we get event after crossover after event. Is DC currently putting out anything in the main core of books that isn't a "Blackest Night" tie in? Anything at all? How is "new comic reader" supposed to get into that?

But, it's easy to see the difference when you have natural comic writers rise up into the spotlight. Look at Robert Kirkman or Gail Simone, for example. Neither has the mainstream "name" of a successful H'wood screenwriter, but both deliver the kind of comics that illustrate what the medium is all about. Bendis is a good example of this as well.

October 1, 2009 10:53 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

He mentioned Amazing Spider-man which I regard as the worst comic book of all time now. Not only does the Marvel EIC hate something in the book, he has the writer do a whole bunch of introductions to new powers and new jobs and an unmasking which is was the biggest lie in comic books. Not only does it make the book the big lie, but if you promise people all these big things that don't matter and turn your character into the biggest back-stabber of all time there's no point. All that because Quesada wanted him to be single, which begs the question 'why didn't he just make him single?' What a horrible book.

That's one big thing wrong with the industry. The worst thing is you can't undo it. Spider-man was Marvel's big guy, now he's the worst person in the Marvel Universe.

It also makes the better writers look bad because they have to writer around the Civil War and House of M mess. Ed Brubaker is an great writer but he had to write the X-Men with most of mutants gone and then he has to write the death of Cap after that mess of mini-series where at Captain America just threw up his arms and said 'I quit' which is Marvel's new mantra I think. Let's give it 7 issues, then we'll quit or Let's make Spider-man's Aunt May about to die then 'I quit'. That's really awful.

I never read a whole lot of DC, but I think they put more work into their books. It's amazing to see Green Lantern books in the top ten like this. It's huge.

I'm really looking forward to IMage United by the way.

October 1, 2009 5:43 PM  
Blogger alex-ness said...

Thank you Mr. Mike and Alex for you comments!

October 1, 2009 6:39 PM  
Blogger Mick Martin said...

On the subject of the big events and continuity, I agree and disagree with Larsen.

I think there are ways that events can be done well. Of course, you can't completely saturate your entire line with the things. But I do think some events were handled. I thought, for example, while I didn't particularly like Civil War, that it was accessible, that the Marvel writers went out of their way to keep things coherent, and I recall retailers saying on the Internet that it was something that was bringing people to the comic shop who wouldn't normally be there - though if I remember correctly, unfortunately one of those comments came from a retailer who was complaining about Marvel's delays. Civil War's story was topical, and a good concept. I didn't think the series itself was particularly well-written, but I would say it was accessible.

I think what I'm seeing NOW though proves Larsen correct. I haven't really checked out DC's new events, but I find Marvel's stuff impenetrable, and I've been reading their books for the better part of my life. Their events have sub-events and sub-sub-events. When the title of a comic reads like a goddamned computer filepath, you're doing something wrong.

But at the same time, I have to say that I absolutely loathe the idea of going back to the Jemas days when the concepts of company-wide events and continuity were stripped, beaten, and thrown out in the rain. I recall Peter David writing on his blog about how he had to fight tooth, nail and claw, when writing an issue of Captain Marvel that featured Spider-Man in a guest appearance, just to get Marvel to allow him to put Spider-Man on the cover. It's one thing to not allow yourself to get mired in continuity and company wide events. It's another thing to try to force-feed your readers amnesia. I think there's an argument to be made that with technology making it easier for superhero stories to be depicted on TV, in films, and in video games, the cooperative universes of Marvel and DC are the only things those companies have to offer that TV, film, and video games CAN'T offer. Especially when, as annoying as commercials can be, they don't last a month or a longer.

Back when Jemas was at Marvel, I kind of understood why DC had nonstop events. Between Maximum Security in 2000/2001, and House of M in 2005, there were really no significant big events at Marvel. So when DC rolled out Joker's Last Laugh before Our Worlds at War was even over, that made sense to me. DC was doing what you're supposed to do when you compete - you offer what the other guy isn't offering.

But now, with both of them doing it, I don't know. I think a happy medium can be found somewhere. I think events can be done, and sparingly, but you can't drown people in them.

October 1, 2009 8:23 PM  
Blogger patrickstrange said...

Great interview!

October 8, 2009 2:38 PM  
Blogger alex-ness said...

Thank you Mick, thank you Patrick

October 12, 2009 12:19 AM  
Blogger deworde said...

"These days creators don't get the chance to do what Miller did on Daredevil or Byrne did on the Fantastic Four or Simonson did on Thor, taking an existing book and make it their own."

Hang on. I mean, there's "a touch mistaken" and then there's just LYING. As in writing and saying things that are transparently disprovable with a moment's thought.

Ed Brubaker on Captain America. Geoff Johns on Green Lantern and the Corps. Peter David on X-Factor. Jeff Parker on Agents of Atlas. Brian Michael Bendis on the Avengers. That's 4 without stretching myself.

And when he says it's only writers get to do it, but not artists, that's a bit disingenuous, as all the examples he gives are of people who wrote and drew their own work, and were astonishingly good at getting the stuff out on time.
As far as I can tell, the problem there has always been a time thing. I mean, Marvel would probably have loved to have Frank Quitely draw all of Morrison's New X-Men, if only because there's a colossal drop in quality when reading the trade (sorry Mr. Kordey, but that is not your A-game), but they also like shipping their books in the same decade they solicit them.

Let's take Simonson. According to Wikipedia, he wrote and drew for 30 issues, followed by another 15 just writing. Compare that to Brubaker and Epting's run on Captain America for a second.

Listen, I'm sure it was an honest mistake, but when it's effectively a direct attack on Joe Quesada's professional integrity or competence, it's probably not a good idea to put things that are not true on the internet.

Oh! I forgot Bendis and Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man. But that was really a very short 100 issues. Probably doesn't count.

October 12, 2009 1:18 PM  
Blogger deworde said...

I now realise that I may have got a bit heated. I apologise, and can only hope that my rant was entertaining.

October 12, 2009 1:21 PM  
Blogger Mick Martin said...

Heated or not, you raise good points. But I have a few responses.

"Marvel would probably have loved to have Frank Quitely draw all of Morrison's New X-Men, if only because there's a colossal drop in quality when reading the trade (sorry Mr. Kordey, but that is not your A-game), but they also like shipping their books in the same decade they solicit them."

Apparently, you never read Ultimates.

"Peter David on X-Factor. Jeff Parker on Agents of Atlas."

Peter David's most recent run on X-Factor was what? Sixteen issues? Parker's combined Agents of Atlas stuff equals about the same. That's around two TPBs a piece. Not exactly epic runs. Compare that to David's run on Hulk. They've got somewhere around 6 or 7 Hulk Visionaries collections out and they're still nowhere near done with his run.

My own perception is that Larsen is half-right. I think CERTAIN creators are pretty much given carte blanche. I think as far as Marvel is concerned, Bendis and Brubaker can do whatever book they want to do for however long they want it.

October 12, 2009 2:19 PM  
Blogger Mick Martin said...

Whoops, I was really wrong about David on X-Factor. Just saw that.

October 12, 2009 2:22 PM  
Blogger deworde said...

My point with Parker is that they've given him complete control over the Agents. They're letting him do what he wants with them to create something that's definably his, and really promoting the series above its class. The reason Agents of Atlas's runs don't last long isn't because of talent shifting, it's because most comics readers are morons who wouldn't notice a good book if it drop-kicked them in the 'nads.
Even now, the series isn't being shunted to another creator, it's being kept with Parker and moved to somewhere it can build up an audience; Incredible Hercules, another example of Marvel giving a creator a hell of a lot of rope to make a character theirs.

The Ultimates also works *towards* my argument. I mean, if you're looking for a series where they allowed the talent free reign to create something definably theirs, regardless of pretty much any other consideration, the Ultimates is pretty clearly the platonic example. It's arguable it wasn't an existing series, except it was basically the Avengers without the need to worry about character damage.

I realise that my examples are a bit cherry-picked. But Larsen's examples are Miller, Simonson and Byrne, for crying out loud.
By contrast, consider the Wolverine issues published around that time. Some of the Wolverine Essential collections have more writer and artist credits than issues.

October 12, 2009 5:18 PM  
Blogger alex-ness said...

((Erik sent this to me))

Here's my response--I can't post anything on your site:

Ultimates was not a preexisting series and your other examples are laughable. A writer with a string of 20 artists is hardly the same thing
as a creator making a book their own. My point is that artists and writers keep getting shuffled around--you don't disprove that by agreeing with me and then calling me a liar.

There have been writers with long runs on books since comics began. Chris Claremont being a prime example. That clearly was not what I was talking about. Reframing the argument in order to paint me as a liar is both disingenuous and unfair. I said, "sure a few writers do," after all.

October 17, 2009 1:07 PM  
Blogger SRK Wrestling said...

Claremont had over 30 different artists on his run, including your buddies Lee/Sivestri/Liefeld, should we not include him in the "making a series his own"?

Bendis's Daredvil/Avengers, Brubaker's Captain America, Geoff Johns' Green Lantern/Flash, Morrison's Batman/New X-men, Peter David's X-factor, JMS's Amazing Spider-man...lets not pretend that they're isn't lots of long runs done by a single writer nowadays, just as much as the one's from back in the 80s, because thats just WRONG.

October 18, 2009 8:53 PM  

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