In comics, artists contribute as much to the storytelling as writers do. If you’re going to name a panel Masters of Storytelling, then, you should probably make it an even split between writers and artists. This isn’t a comment on anyone involved in Image Comics’ panel because – without question – this is an amazing group, but if you’re going to only include one artist anyway, why not make it a writers panel instead?
To go back to what an amazing group of people this is, though, we have Chuck Brown (On the Stump), Alex de Campi (Dracula Motherf**ker), Ed Brubaker (Pulp) Emma Kubert (Inkblot) and Matt Fraction (Adventureman). Marla Eizik (who’s an executive assistant at Image Comics) acts as the moderator.
In case you were wondering how to say Dracula Motherf**ker, de Campi sets things off to a funny start by suggesting Dracula Mofo or Dracula Melon Farmer (after the way Bruce Willis’ line in Die Hard is censored on UK airlines).
The conversation then turns to quarantine, which is notably less funny (especially when you realize this panel was recorded two months ago) and the difference between writing a series like Brown’s right now, which is very political, versus a series like Kubert’s, which is a fantasy. de Campi mentions how, “…the distancing lens of speculative fiction or fantasy or history is often the only way that we can really process this stuff and also receive some sort of catharis…”
When it comes to getting ideas for a story, Brubaker says that he runs his by a group of friends, like Faction, early. Brown, on the other hand, says he, “didn’t tell anyone about On the Stump for a very long time. Was afraid to put it out there.”
From there, there’s a lot of great discussion about the benefits that come from working in different formats, like shorter graphic novels and monthly issues. As Kubert puts it, “…graphic novels are like… the binging for comics at this point.” It’s also always comforting to hear from creators who’ve had their work published and found things, looking back, that they would change or proofread.
While de Campi writes “the whole thing ahead of time,” Kubert’s approach is more, “…like the Marvel method, where Rusty [Gladd] and I, we literally say, like a couple sentences — that’s the plot of our issue — and then I’ll layout twenty pages of everything….” Faction, who’s worked both ways— full script and plot style — says he prefers plot style because it, “…makes the book more collaborative to me,” to which he later expands: “…if I kind of prewrote it before I got to see things and kind of live in that world visually, I think I’d miss opportunities.”
If you missed the ‘Masters of Storytelling’ panel, it can be rewatched below: