Letters of Mass Construction

Geek Mythology = Comics


About 23 years ago I wrote a comic script in which I killed Batman. It was the first in a storyline in which Dick Grayson (Robin) would eventually assume the mantle of Batman. I, of course, did not plan to keep Bruce Wayne dead very long. Just long enough to make it interesting. I was very proud of that story. I sent it off to DC comics and waited eagerly for the acceptance letter. It was of course, rejected.

Two decades later DC did in fact do this storyline. It gave me a small thrill to know I had thought of a similar story 20 years ago. Comics are vey important to me. They always have been. They are my geek mythology. While I liked Greek and Roman mythology growing up, I admit I preferred my gods in costumes. I never grew out of comics but I admit that my tastes did change over time. Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman were the two main architects of my change but there were many others.

Now I tend to pop in and out of traditional hero comics depending on who is writing them. In the right hands the mythology of comics explodes off the page. A great example of this is The Legion of Superheroes. I have tried many times in my life to get hooked on the various story lines writers have brought to the table but usually I give up and leave. I give it so many chances because of Paul Levitz who simply owns those characters. His run on Legion was phenomenal. No one else has quite caught my interest. Now after a long time he has returned to the Legion playground and unsurprisingly I am hooked again.

This happens all the time. In the wrong hands Daredevil gets a little ridiculous. In the right hands he is a walking human tragedy. Mythology at its best. Right now no one is doing a better job of world building than Bill Willingham and Mike Carey. Willingham’s Fable is pure comic bliss. How he has maintained the quality over a 100 issues of Fable is a testament to his skill. Carey’s new series Unwritten is my favorite new comic. I have always been a fan of Carey but Unwritten may be the best thing he has ever done.

I pulled out some of my old comic scripts and read them recently. They weren’t bad. I can see why I got some very favorable letters from editors all those years ago. They also were nowhere as good as I think I can write now. This has left me in a little bit of a quandary. There is simply not enough time in the day to do all the different writing I want to do.

When I started writing again I told myself I would be more focused. I wouldn’t bounce around between projects. Instead I would start and finish whatever I was working on. As the incredible bouncing man I never got anything done. As a “focused finish it” man I have written three novels and am well on my way to finishing another. Yet, there is this little whispering voice reminding me of the young boy whose only dream was to be a comic book writer.

The voice won’t go away and is getting harder to ignore. It doesn’t help that I actually have an idea right now which I know is a great one. I might not have the skill to make it work but the idea is quality. I have been thinking about it for months. Somewhere in here I am going to have to get really good at managing my time. Juggling my wife, writing projects, work, and actual time to relax. I know I am not going to resist the siren song of comics much longer but I also know I am not going to stop writing novels. Now I just need to find a way to make it work.

Comics are my mythology. They are a consistent roadmap of joy all the way through my life. I understand what makes a good comic. I know why I love certain writers and what they do with my heroes. I am fairly certain I can write a good comic. Now, if I could just figure out how to stop time a few hours a day I could get everything done.


Art by James Jean

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2 Responses to “Geek Mythology = Comics”

  1. Jennifer says:

    >Fables? I'd forgotten about that one! I picked up the first volume of that eons ago and loved it. I kept meaning to go back and get more, but it slipped through my mind. I'll have to check out Unwritten, too.Good luck with juggling the different projects. That's one of my main problems. Perhaps if you incremented your writing it would help? Like, instead of "I have to finish this novel before I can switch to working on a comic design", it could be "I need to finish two chapters (or this story arc) and then I'll outline/write the first story arc of the comic" or something like that?-Jen/prismkitty

  2. N says:

    >Why don't you start a web comic with an artist dude? The Sin Titulo guy went on to draw an issue of Batman. Kukuburi guy also got great response. N

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