Yesterday I picked up the last of the Burke novel series by Andrew Vachss. I’ve been a big fan of his writing for years, especially the Burke books so it kind of surprises me that this book completely slid under my radar. Then as I neared the writing of this column is that what also surprises me is that someone hasn’t tapped this guy to write more comics. He’s done a few comics but I’ve always felt there should big a bigger door opened for him; a company giving him free reign on a crime comic or even a super hero book.
And then I got to thinking about how many good writers (from fields other then comics) also do comics kind of under the radar and felt that maybe it was time to point a bit of a light on them.
Joe R. Lansdale
Joe writes every kind of story you can think of; mysteries, horror, comedy, you name it. But the truly weird thing is in a lot of ways he seems to exist in this weird area of fandom where the fans of his books don’t know about his comic work and the fans of his comics don’t realize he writes books. His comic work is sharp and as well written as any of his prose. But if you’d have to narrow it down, some of my favorite prose works are Bubba Ho-Tep, Sunset and Sawdust and any of the Hap and Leonard series. Comic work, I always loved his super natural Jonah Hex books with Tim Truman. Mind you, I’d love to have him take another crack at Hex as just a straight ahead western.
Yes, he is the son of Stephen King but don’t even take that into consideration. Joe is his own man when it comes to writing with two solid novels to his credit (Heart Shaped Box and Horns) along with a short story collection and his comic work is equally as solid. Locke and Key is consistently touted as one of the stronger regular series out there and is definitely worth having a peek at.
A writer on tv’s Buffy, Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, her comic work on Buffy Season 8 is few but it leaves me wanting to see more. I’d really like to see her take on the X-Men because much like her former co-worker Joss Whedon, I feel she could do a lot of good there.
As I mentioned at the top, Vachss is a great writer, mainly of the hard boiled variety. His Burke novels are a great place to start but his comic work is pretty solid as well but a little more scarce. Coming soon is the graphic novel, Heart Transplant (well not quite, it’s hard to describe what the book is) which tackles the subject of bullying. For some older comic work, check out Hard Looks. While not written strictly as a comic, this collection of adapted stories is very different then most of what’s on the stands not to mention the sheer collection of talent that brought them to life.
Now if I had the money and power, the next guy I would bring to comics would be William Gibson. The man is a terrific writer and paints pictures with his words. Someone should give him a creator owned comic and let him run free. Marvel’s ICON imprint, DC Vertigo, IDW one of you guys step up and make this deal. Of course there’s another solid writer named Brent Chittenden who would be great on pretty much anything.
Publishers, give me a call, I can hook you up with him.