January 20, 2006

in praise of artistic collaborators

The silliest credit in art is "a film by." A director without a script is a jerk who's bothering a photographer. In comics, Joe Siegel needed Jerry Shuster, Stan Lee needed Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and Bob Kane needed Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson. To claim a film as yours, you should write, direct, and edit it; to claim a comic, you should write and draw it.

I don't get enough opportunities to praise Vince Stone, so I thought I would make one. I loved two things about putting out this comic: getting letters from readers and art from Vince. Vince's professionalism is impeccable. No matter how impossible my script suggestions were, he always delivered, and he delivered on time.

I love three things in particular about Vince's work: his design, composition, and storytelling. Emma sketched costumes for Captain Confederacy, Miss Dixie, and Blacksnake; Vince made them grand. Every other visual element is entirely his creation, based on a hint in the script like "middle-aged white guy" or "one-person helicopter." His covers and page panels are clear, and his storytelling flows: He gives you enough detail to know what's going on in a panel, but not so much that you linger. He understands what the best storytellers know: each moment and scene in a story is important, but they exist to move the story forward.

I'm posting this because I was thinking about the quick interview I gave at The Comic Book Bin, where I was asked, "How was it cooperating with your partner on the book?" and I answered, "Vince Stone is a pleasure to work with." At the time, I was writing fast, but afterward, it occured to me that someone might think I was slighting Vince's contribution to the book. So I just want to say I mean every word of that: Vince Stone is a pleasure to work with.

There's an aspect that goes beyond professionalism: He's a darn nice guy. If you want a hint of that, follow the link on this page to his web site and try his Hero Factory.
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