I was reading Bill Willingham’s comments about his departure from Salvation Run after only two issues, and he said something that I think most of us know already – writing comics like Salvation Run is a pain in the ass –
However, with ‘Salvation Run,’ another in the DCU’s seemingly endless stream of big event stories, most of the required story points were decided editorially before being handed down to the writer. Lots of coordination had to occur with multiple other DCU titles. And more to the point, story events, plot points and the list of usable characters would be modified often. Then they would change more often. Then they would change daily, mostly in response to whatever was showing up in the scripts of other titles from other writers. In short, ‘Salvation Run,’ like every other big event comic, in the history of big event comics, turned into a large and highly stressful mess.
So look at that – the guy has to put in all this extra work, for a comic that most likely will stink because of having editorial dictate the story.
This is nothing new, this has been going on for years, and in each case, it results in the writer getting a bad rap based on stuff outside his or her control. Most of the awfulness of Countdown: Arena was not Keith Champagne’s fault (not that it was his best work, it wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination), but if you’re trying to break in as a comic book writer, you really can’t NOT take these assignments, and the “wow, that was awful” that comes along with it.
That’s fair enough. Champagne has to deal with writing a bad comic book, whether he was put into that position by editorial fiat or not. That being said, isn’t it fair to at least identify the comics where this is the case? Just so fans know, “Well, while this comic is terrible, it does not mean that I would likely be turned off of a comic by Keith Champagne/Bill Willingham/Sean McKeever/Adam Beechen/Tony Bedard/Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (the list goes on).”
So I think a “Story by DC Editorial” or heck, a centralized “Story by Dan Didio” or something like that would be a great addition to comic credits, when applicable. Comic credits are there to give credit for the work in the comic, and at the moment, I don’t think we are fully crediting the writing on a lot of comic books.
And again, let me note that this is specifically not an excuse for bad writing, just context to help one’s overall view of the writer’s work in question.
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