Artists are from Mars, Writers are from Venus
The unhappy marriage of brains and brawn in a visual industry
The Martian: Artists are the superior talent in comic books. Comics are nothing without the art. The art is why people pick up the comic book, and the art is what keeps them interested. Without the art, you’d have no comic book. Artists should be paid more, should be given rights to the characters they draw, and get top billing on books. People remember the art from comics – the costumes, the vehicles, the villains, more than anything else.
It takes way less time to write a page of script than it does to draw a page of art. The writer can punch out a 20 pages script in a day, while it takes me that long just to draw one page. Writing takes no effort other than sitting at a keyboard, and it’s cheaper. I have a Mac, a Wacom tablet, and years of training. Writers don’t need any fancy pens or software, just a PC or a pen and paper! They should get paid less, they are the least important piece of the puzzle. When you read a script, you have no idea how the pages will grip you because there is no art – the art can sink a great story, or elevate an average one.
The Venusian: Writers create the stories that make comics happen. People may pick up one issue of a comic for the cover and interior art, but it is the story that makes them want to buy the next issue. Without the idea for the story, the characters, and the dialogue, there would be no comic book. The story drives the characters onward issue to issue, month to month, in the search for the core of what makes the character tick.
Artists take orders. They draw based on the instructions given to them by the writer. The spark of the imagination comes from the writer, not the artist. There are lots of talented artists out there – if writing was so easy, why don’t you make up your own story and script a few dozen issues? Then write a pitch and find a publisher!
Writing takes far more time and effort than drawing a page of art. The actual typing might not take much time, but the brainstorming and agony to come up with the story in the first place, usually based on probing painful personal experiences, can take years. The story is what makes money, gets remembered, and gets franchised and licensed, not the art.