So the other day I was reading the first issue of a new comic book title–I can’t tell you which one since, like too many new comic book titles these days, it was another one of those derivative post-apocalyptic concepts wrapped up in some flimsy new dressing that slips off my brain almost as soon as I’ve read it. Try to read it. Anyway, I got to the end of the issue (perseverance!) and found that the story was followed by several pages of text by the writer explaining the where and how of the creation of this piece of work.
You’ve read a hundred of them if you’ve read one: “It was a dark and stormy night when, like a thunderbolt, an image came to me. I didn’t know what that image meant until, days later I was talking to Sam Artist or Ann Editor and happened to mention it. They gasped. They cried. They genuflected. Didn’t I know what I had here? Well, let me tell you…!”
Okay, I admit, I’ve written my fair share of these “process pieces” over the years, but in my defense, I wrote ‘em for the bucks. At DC Comics, we got paid for writing text pages and, for a new series, it was either write some sort of blather about how it had come to be or forgo a couple hundred bucks for what was, essentially, a couple hours work. After a book was up and running and receiving mail from readers, it got even easier. Retype some letters, write some snappy responses, turn in your voucher. (And once OCR technology became affordable for the home user, it was just free freakin’ money.)