I guess the best place to start is with introductions. Like
byline says, I’m Paul D. Storrie. For those of you
recognize my name (and I’m willing to bet that there are a
number), I’m a writer, primarily of comic books.
And, yes, I come
by my last name honestly. It’s not an
Scottish. So, was I fated to become a writer? Not
likely. My brother and sisters have shown no such inclination.
Those of you who do recognize my name are probably thinking,
aren’t you the guy who writes those DC
“Animated” books?” Never
mind that I’ve written fewer of those than I have other
Say, my first series -- ROBYN OF SHERWOOD. One of the
and curses of working in comics is that fans tend to remember you for
your most recent work or their favorite work that you’ve
That tendency is what I’m here to talk about. I
guess it’s a lot
like typecasting in Hollywood. Pigeonholing. A
found in editors as well as fans. The tendency to associate a
writer or artist with a certain kind of material.
It’s partly why
readers are jazzed about Steve Gerber doing HOWARD THE DUCK again, even
if they didn’t look twice at his Vertigo series
NEVADA. It’s part
of the reason why readers flocked to THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN but
didn’t necessarily pay any attention at all to Frank
300. It’s one of the reasons I thought long and
Moonstone Books suggested I write a Robin Hood series for them, because
I had already written one for Caliber Comics. I was worried
readers and editors might dismiss me as only writing Historical
Adventure or only wanting to write Robin Hood.
Sure, it can work in your favor. My work on BATMAN BEYOND
certainly helped when I pitched a JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURE
Both helped me land my next DC series, GOTHAM GIRLS. After
if somebody displays a facility with a certain kind of work, you can
expect that person to show it again when doing that kind of work the
next time. At least most of the time.
It can also be a millstone around your neck when you want to try
For example, I’m an avid mystery reader. I love
detective fiction. I’d love to try my hand at doing
comic. Thing is, readers and editors alike aren’t
that kind of range. Part of that can be chalked up to tastes,
particularly on the part of readers. The folks who enjoy an
Ages romp in BATMAN BEYOND aren’t necessarily going to be
enjoy a noirish, semi-pulp adventure full of moral ambiguity, broken
bones, body counts and ‘bad’ language.
Even if they do enjoy both those extremes, they aren’t
going to assume that I can make the jump. They may look at
I’ve done and assume that’s all I can do.
For editors, that
includes looking at what I propose and assuming that it’s
going to be
similar, in execution, to what I’ve done in the past.
Rather than thinking, “This guy is a good writer.”
people tend to think
more along the lines of “This guy writes All Ages books
The flip side of that tendency is the expectation that whatever a
writer or artist does next will be exactly the same (or pretty darn
close) as what he or she has done in the past. That can lead
some serious backlash if the frustrated reader feels like he or she has
been had. Those expectations can make a simple shift in style
subject seem like a bait and switch to some readers, even though it
So, what does this all boil down to?
Expectations can be dangerous. . Kind of like the old,
I’m not saying that everyone should try everything, or even
everyone should buy or like everything
“good”. Individual taste
will always play a part in what a reader likes (or what an editor
What I am saying is this: Keep an open mind. If you like
someone’s work in a certain genre or sub-genre, and you see
that he or
she is trying something different (and that something different sounds
like something you might enjoy), take a risk and give it a
The underlying talent and craftsmanship that you admired might very
well translate better than you could ever expect.