First love: prose fiction. Short stories and novels. Definitely.
But if I could work in another storytelling medium, it’d be comics, one of the most versatile playgrounds a writer could ask for. As one of my favorite comic book creators once said (and I just wish I could remember which one) comics are words and pictures, and with words and pictures, you can do almost anything. Long before I saw myself writing novels, and before I even knew what a short story was, I couldn’t imagine a better job than writing and drawing comics. I spent many a summer day designing costumes and secret origins for my own super heroes, entire teams of them. I still remember Mighty Man and Ghost Man, the co-leaders of the super hero team I invented whose name is now lost somewhere in my brain where those things go. Oh, there was also Dragon Fly. She could breathe fire. And fly. She dressed like a dragon.
I still like to draw, but, alas, my skills in that area are such that any comic I drew would have a very limited audience. But writing? I can do that. Last year I found myself with a couple of weeks off between novel projects. Ordinarily I would spend this time writing short stories, but I decided instead to try writing a couple of comic book scripts. Just for practice. Not anything I’d ever submit anywhere. I wrote one Superman script and one Batman script, and I found it challenging.
Everybody always tells prose writers that the big difference between prose and comics is that in comics you have to think visually. Which, you know, well, duh. The bigger challenge, I think, is learning to think in panels and pages, pacing a story out to a limited number of panels and a specific number of pages. It’s not easy. But it’s also hilariously fun.
I’m going to be writing more comic book scripts, and hopefully in the not-too-distant future I’ll feel comfortable trying to get my work seen by people who pay for this sort of thing.
So if anyone out there would like to offer me a job writing comics, I will entertain all reasonable offers.
(And, yeah, I know comics are even harder to break into than prose fiction. I’m hopeful, not clueless. Not totally clueless, at least.)