Looking at DC’s move to expand artists into writer/artists
Although Marvel currently seems to outpace DC in terms of large-scale talent relations (which DC seems to be aiming to fix), DC has a long history as a proving ground for creators starting a new chapter in their career as well as giving the break to some of the industry’s biggest talents like Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns. And recently, the stalwart NYC-based publisher broke with previously established rules to encourage a burgeoning crop of artists turned writer/artists.
Up until recently, individuals doing both writing and art duties simultaneously was relegated to special “outside the DCU” projects like Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier, Ben Caldwell’s “Wonder Woman” strip in Wednesday Comics and a large majority of Frank Miller’s DC work. Whether that’s to avoid potential delays from relying on one person to keep the deadlines of a series, or from some contractual issues from one person being the primary creator of a book — which I remember both Evan Dorkin and Mike Allred referring to once. Regardless, it’s uncommon… or it used to be.
In 2010, DC began actively promoting several of its artist to write their own material with artist Tony Daniel both writing and drawing arcs in Batman and recently hired artist David Finch to write & draw a new series titled Batman: The Dark Knight – reportedly one of the reasons Finch jumped from Marvel. And arguably one of the biggest promotions is J.H. Williams III taking over the writing chores of the Batwoman character for her eponymous new series from former collaborator Greg Rucka. And curiously enough, this is all occurring under the auspices of the Bat titles which are under the purview of editor Mike Marts.
With the competing war to get the talent heating up like no time before, could these moves by DC be away to combat Marvel’s upper hand in the sales charts while also trying to find the next Frank Miller? We hope so! Many of today’s biggest writers started out as artists — Miller, Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Quesada, Ed Brubaker and Rick Remender, to name a few. But what artists would you like to see write their own comics?