A Challenge To Auteur Comics And A New Show

I’m only just back from being a guest at the Kemi Comic Book Festival, where I had the privilege of releasing our new book, giving a few talks and meeting fans – many of whom were, I should add, quite angry at us. A number of young ladies in maid uniform and bearded comic book men in hats wanted to know why the **** had we made them wait a year for the sequel. Which is probably the most pleasant criticism I have ever received! A 90-second video interview in Finnish is here, and a cute piece in the local paper here. (The album visible in the picture isn’t ours, check my previous blog post for the real cover).

A talk on marketing comics when you have no budget will probably be published in some form, so I’ll have a reason to return to that later. My other lecture was on the topic of comic book scriptwriting and it was very well received – surprisingly well, given that Finland has almost no tradition of comic book artists working with writers. In a series of honest conversations over the course of the convention, many movers and shakers (especially people with the kind of seniority that makes them serve as competition judges) admitted that this is a problem: a lot of the people who can draw can’t think stories, while the artists who have a great command of language and narrative are often technically weak on the visual side.

The general feeling was that the second group will still want to draw their own stuff, and that the first group would feel attacked if they were told they could benefit from collaborating with a scriptwriter. But I was obviously not suggesting that such projects be selected by some hallowed committee from on high – rather, that more people like me with a love for the art form and a lot of writing experience but poor draughtsmanship could make their existence known and slowly start changing the culture through doing projects with artists they already know. The conversation continues!

Then the other news – I’ll be in Stockholm all summer hosting a culture programme on the radio for P3. We premiere on June 9th and I’ll be back with more detailed information next week!

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