Friday, 11 January 2013

Essential Interview - Mark Waid

There's a great interview on ComicsReporter (see here) with Mark Waid who after thirty years in and out of mainstream comics turns in some thoughtful points about being a writer and insightful comments across a range of topics within the industry (did you know he was in line for the head job at DC?). For me, Waid is similar to Joss Whedon in that he's always been an great, character-focused writer who has suffered a mixture of fortune but, at the moment, is receiving some well-deserved praise and affection - Waid with his Eisner award for Daredevil (shockingly for a man who wrote Kingdom Come & Superman Birthright it's his first major award) and Whedon who has the keys to Marvel movie empire. Interviewer Tom Spurgeon does a nice job of pinpointing the reasons for Waid's importance in comic history.

I suspect your special appeal comes from how what you do stood in contrast to two historical moments. Your emphasis on character was a real tonic for comic books in the 1990s in terms of providing of different set of storytelling priorities, a way of making comics that breaks sharply with the wall-of-narrative plotting that you get from Don McGregor and Chris Claremont and that era of comic book writer. You provided an emphasis on character moments over plot twists or narrative progression, and I think that's how a lot of people who have affection for those characters process comics and how people more generally process pop art. You keyed on these memorable incidents, and after you did it you see people picking up on it. I'm not sure anyone hit that as hard as you did until maybe Grant Morrison in his late-1990s superhero comics.

For a look at his current work try Daredevil and Indestructible Hulk which, I think, are two of the finest superhero comics around because of the wonderful character insights - not an easy thing to do with characters that have been around for decades.

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