FOR TOMMY: JOE CASEY
So. Tricks of the trade. Compressed storytelling without doing
20 panels a page. For all the ways the stories are criticized
today, Silver and Golden Age comics could pack an origin into
half a page, an adventure into eight. How can that be achieved
today while still serving the needs of a modern audiences?
Lay out your tool box for us.
"Lay out my tool box".? Is that some kind of weird, British
You can tell a complete story in ONE panel, if you've got
the skills to pull it off. And I'm not sure what "serving
the needs of a modern audience" even means anymore. I just
think that what started out as a somewhat-innovative approach
to writing superheroes has now become an excuse for laziness.
We've all seen the complaints about "story padding" from certain
corners of fandom and I think that, in most cases, they're
the key for creators nowadays is to determine what is essential
to show on panel in any given story. Do we want to spend endless
pages on a fight scene? Sure, if it's essential to the story.
Do we need countless pages of talking heads? If the story
demands it, then yes. But these things shouldn't become formula.
Let the story and the subject matter determine how you tell
the story. If superhero comics have a future -- if they're
going to continue to engage and stimulate the readers -- that
future will involve new ways of telling a familiar story while
simultaneously embracing the things that are great about superheroes
and comicbooks in general. New methods, new approaches, new
structural forms. That's what I'm interested in. Unfortunately,
my opinion might be in the minority right now, but things
are definitely turning in this direction. Frankly, I don't
think there's any other way to go.
Automatic Kafka seemed to get the opposite reaction. Too much
too soon. Cut off in its prime, would you have written the
book any differently, knowing now the reaction it would receive?
I wouldn't change a thing about KAFKA or the experience of
writing it. It did more for me as a writer than I could've
ever imagined. I've said this before, but I've been able to
take the lessons I learned working on that series and apply
them to subsequent work, sometimes with better results. And
I still like the fact that it flew in the face of practically
everything that was in fashion at the time. I'm sure it's
still out of fashion but history has proven time and time
again that today's underground is tomorrow's mainstream, so
who knows what the long term reaction to that series will
end up being.?
Can you give us some specifics? Bits learnt from Kafka you
used in other titles?
It's been a little while since I finished KAFKA, so a lot
of this stuff has been pretty well internalized at this point.
My work on ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN certainly went in a more
surreal direction, much to the readers' chagrin (and DC's,
probably). It allowed me to test my own writing skills (such
as they are) with the kinds of new narrative approaches I
was describing before. To push something to the extreme while
still maintaining the tenets of a "superhero comicbook" was
a personal creative accomplishment that I'm still proud of.
Right now I'm writing the "Coda War One" storyline in WILDCATS,
and my goal there is to do a big, sprawling action-adventure
epic without resorting to all those current clichés that seem
to accompany anything considered "widescreen". I have no idea
if I'll succeed at that, but we're gonna' swing for the fences.
1 | 2
| 3 | 4