A few people have asked recently, even though I made a joke that no one asks, this started before that, why I co-write just about everything I do in comics. It’s true. In all of my comics work out so far and upcoming there is one solo-written eight page story out there.
Past that all my comic work is co-written.
Here’s why: I write a lot of prose. When I’m working on prose I have to do it myself. I can’t co-write a novel. It doesn’t work for me. So all of my time in prose is spent working alone, in a room, with music on and not talking to anyone. Not collaborating at all. Just me and a screen and a story to get 80,000 words into.
But when I work in comics…
Oh wow, comics.
Comics are, for me, a source of collaboration. That’s what they’re there for! That’s the biggest joy of doing comics for me – collaborating with other people to tell a story. And yeah, obviously, the artist is a collaborator. Of course! But my first stop is a co-writer because when I switch headspace from prose (incredibly selfish about every story detail because it is Mine!Mine!Mine!) to comics (overwhelmingly open and free and happy with all collaboration) I need to have a spot where I can collaborate with someone in my own language first.
Writers and artists are different and I adore both of them, but in order to rewarm my brain up to collaborating on comics I find it best, for me personally, to have a writer to go “Let’s make pretty ideas bounce around” before I sink back into full collaboration with artists.
It eases me back in, every single time. And since there are days I have to go from prose to comics within a few minutes, it’s nice to know I have these touchstones, these friends I can trust, to remind me “Oh, right, you love doing this, you just forget how if you stare at prose for too long.”
Could I write comics solo? Of course I can! Will I? I’d say it was a safe bet! Will it ever be as much fun? No way. I love collaborating on comics. I want artists to have story say and change layouts and get mad and involved and own things and fucking play like it’s Xmas morning on every page! And inkers and colorists and letters… when you get a team that has fun, and all feel like they contribute – you get magic. And that’s, for me, what comics is.
That’s the magic. That’s my love.
And when you add getting to collaborate with another writer, too? Holy shit that’s just bonus points all the way.
So yeah. I collaborate because when I write novels I will never be able to, and writing is lonely. Comics is never lonely so I wanna throw a huge party. That’s all.
Also – I work with writers who are better and smarter than me and make me work even harder to keep up. Makes me better at my job, it does.