A Month of Writing Stars - Tania del Rio

Every day this month I'm going to feature a current comic book writing "star," someone who I think is a very good writer.

I'm mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?

Here is the archive of previously featured writers.

Today we look at a writer I can't believe I forgot to mention when I was doing the Archie writers a few days ago!!


Tania del Rio burst on to the scene about five-six years ago when she won second place in Tokyopop's second annual Rising Stars of Manga contest.

She soon began the regular writer/artist on Archie Comics' Sabrina the Teenage Witch series, where she has given the series a manga-esque style.

Lost a bit in the style makeover is the fact that del Rio is an excellent comic book writer.

Archie gives her a bit more freedom, in the sense that the comic does have a serialized plot (a fairly unique approach for an Archie comic, especially one that lasted more than a year), but at the same time, she obviously knows that there are limits to HOW much that the book can progress, and she has been marvelous in her ability to keep the ball rolling while often sneaking little "re-sets" into the book to help her keep the book from going TOO far down the road. She basically has mastered the illusion of change that is vital to a comic that cannot move TOO forward.

But that's really just me admiring her practicality, while her technical skills are top rate, that is not exactly the biggest compliment you can give a writer. However, she also has done a great job depicting complex interactions with fairly deep characters without ever getting too "deep." In a lot of ways, she reminds me of Kathleen Webb's Betty stories.

Some of her comics are awkward - quite a few do NOT have happy endings, most importantly, she allows her characters to have FAULTS, while still being endearing figures. It's really a great comic book.

She recently began a storyline leading to issue #100 of the series (#99 just came out this past week)...

She moved to Los Angeles awhile back with her husband, and was doing a auto-bio web comic called My Poorly Drawn Life that hasn't updated in awhile, but checking out these stories are a great insight to how well you can tell a story with, well, just a good story - even with (as the title of the series suggests ) poorly drawn art.

Click on the piece below to see an 8-page story about Tania's experiences adjusting to LA-la land (particularly the homeless).

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