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Budding creators, who are your INFLUENCES?


#1

My two biggies are Miller and Moore. Almost everything I’ve ever written can be traced back to a story by these guys, especially between 83 and 87. As I was leaving school guys like Grant Morrison, Pete Milligan and Jamie Delano picked up where those guys left off and wowed me and the next gen for me were Ellis, Waid and Ennis, just taking it all to a new level for me.

But in terms of a body of work I think it’s Miller and Moore as writers plus maybe Cary Bates up there with Stan Lee as my favourite childhood writer. Elliot Maggin is very close here, but Bates pips him as the first DC writer I ever truly noticed and loved. I started following him when I was around 10 and noticing he was writing all my favourite comics, the common link in them all. The guy was so brilliantly inventive. An absolute genius.

So budding writers and artists, who got you picking up a pen or a pencil?

MM


#2

I always loved comics but fell off reading them (I live in Tasmania and they have traditionally been hard to track down).
However in Uni 3 books really got me back into reading and I have sort of followed those guys since then. The first and biggest was Brian K Vaughan. I got the Runaways Oversized hardcover of the first 18 issues on a whim and read it cover to cover overnight. As someone who wasn’t long past a teenager at the time his characters just felt so genuine. This has held true for everything I’ve read of his since then.
The other book I bought at the same time was 1602 by Gaiman. It was the perfect time to read this book having not read anything since I was about 13. It was a great reintroduction to the Marvel characters but also an amazing reinvention. I love seeing weird reimaginings of classic characters and I think this one is still maybe the best (the original Marvel Zombies and Red Sun come close)
The last one will sound like a brown nose but I guarantee it is not. I picked up the big Ultimates Hardcover with I think issues 1-12 in it from a second hand book store (which I continue to by most of my books from) I loved how modern it was, and how human all the characters were. Even guys like Thor I had never been drawn to before. Obviously this was a Mark Millar written book, and as I have read other books of yours I realised this human quality, and cool-realistic dialogue was definitely your calling card. Ultimates led me to other books like Supreme Power which helped me realise how far comics had come in only a few short years. When I dropped off it was Maximum Carnage which I loved but it’s borderline unreadable today and now we were in a truly modern age (as modern as the early millennium was anyway).
My love of comics has remained and it has definitely informed my writing style. I have written one published short for an Australian horror comic called DECAY and I hope it shows some little elements of Vaughan, Gaiman and Millar.


#3

It’s funny answering this question. Name someone who’s “popular” and you sound like a poseur to die hard fans. Name someone more “obscure” and you sound like a snob.
That being said, I don’t care what people have to say about the things that I like. :wink:

Kirkman - His comics were some of the first I read that were so bold. When someone dies, they’re NOT coming back. It was a big change from what I had been reading up until that point.

Geoff Johns - Love him or hate him, that guy can spin an epic tale. Infinite Crisis? Blackest Night? Flashpoint? Jesus, Flashpoint is still one of my favorites.

BKV - Truly another example of a writer that opened my eyes to what comics can do. No holds barred that guy.

I could go on, but those are top 3 I guess?


#4

Representing the art side my major influences over the years ( in no particular order ) have been:

From early on it was 2000AD artist’s such as:

  • Brian Bolland
  • Ron Smith
  • Steve Dillion
  • Henry Flint
  • Simon Bisley

As I broadened my horizons to american books some other influences inspired me:

  • Mike Mignola
  • Leinil Yu
  • Jim Lee
  • John Romita Sr
  • John Romita Jr
  • Tommy Lee Edwards

There are many more artist’s whose work I hold in high regard but the list would be too long.


#5

The best I can think off.

Writers:
Steve Gerber
Jack Kirby
Frank Miller
Mark Millar
Dwayne McDuffie

Artists:
The creators of Image comics
Michel Fiffe
Jack Kirby
Ron Frenz
Dan jurgens


#6

I’m quite a mixed bag.

The young me was giddy for detailed linework, preferably inked by Terry Austin. Then I discovered messy-on-purpose.

In this order through life, the big ones have been:

Art Adams (the X-Men annuals era)


John Byrne’s second run on FF


Bill Sienkiewicz (New Mutants era)


Dave McKean (Violent Cases era)

Mike Mignola

…and most recently,

Bernie Fuchs

Andy Virgil


#7

J.M. DeMatteis (one of my first comics was Brooklyn Dreams)
In a sense, even short stories I’ve done - have been an unconscious aping of the style exemplified in that series.

Then you have the standard Aragones, Kirby, and Miller.


#8

I wish I could say Alan Moore, as I think he’s the most interesting writer in comics. But it wouldn’t be true, as “influence” would imply I have an aspiration to write like him, and I don’t. I wouldn’t even dare try.

In terms of “who was I copying when I started writing my own comics (as a kid)?”, probably Roy Thomas. I loved his characters (or, as I know now, his take on other people’s characters), I shared his love of history, and I shared his idea of what made good soap opera.

In terms of “who was I copying when I started properly writing my own comics (as an adult)?”, then Waid and Busiek. Both masters of the “standard” super-hero story, and both able to make you love their characters (and therefore to make you cry, which I think a story ought to do to be a Great story). If I could write comics half as well as either of them, I would be a very happy man.

(In deference to present company, I will point out that I was all influenced up before I had ever heard of Mark Millar :wink: .)


#9

Hmm, let’s see. I guess my favourite writers and the biggest lessons learned would be…

Brian Michael Bendis: The uses of decompressed writing/dialogue in comics, and how it can be effectively used. (Fav. work: Ultimate Spider-Man)

Mark Millar: The power of the short storter, contained story in an era of year long epics. (Fav work: Tie between The Ultimates l and ll, and Jupiter’s Legacy)

Jonathan Hickman: You can never, never, NEVER have too much plotting ready before you start writing. (Fav. work: The Ultimates, Avengers/New Avengers/Infinity, probably Secret Wars)

Hiromu Arakawa: First writer to introduce the idea of completely building your world and basic story before writing the first page, and then subtlety having everything there for the reader to see without them knowing the significance until the reread. (Fav work: Fullmetal Alchemist)

Jeff Smith: Same as Hiromu Arakawa. (Fav work: Bone)

Warren Ellis The power of the one-one and done story, and the ability to turn all those small stories into one grander plotline. Having both the big and the small at the same time. (Fav Work: Planetary)

Robert Kirkman: The art of the long, looong game. How to just keep a story going, and going, but interesting throughout the whole thing, or at least most of the time. Also his style of dialogue writing really strikes a chord with me. (Fav work: Invincible, although Walking Dead and Outcast are also pretty high up there)

Also, props to the first two names for getting me into modern comics as a whole. Before them, it was all 80s-90s Spider-Man comics I could find in the dollar bins.

Bonus Name: Jason Aaron. Not as influential as the others, but he’s writing some of my favourite books right now, and I wholly have him to thank for introducing me to my favourite Marvel character (THOR).


#10

The Gang of Influence:

Peter Milligan
Mark Millar
Grant Morrison
Steve Gerber
Jodorowsky
Dave Sim
Brett Anderson (of Suede)
Thin White Duke era Bowie
Dc Comics’ Horror Titles like House of Mystery or Witching Hour
Greek and Roman Myths
Aldous Huxley
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Edmund White
Jung
Hadrian the Emperor


#11

I’m going to have to flag this post up with the mods and demand they delete it and ban you for leaving the mighty Ezquerra off of a best 2000AD artist list. :angry:


#12

I agree Carlos is synonymous with 2000AD and I do appreciate his work but for me he was not as influential on me as the other artist’s on my list. As the thread was about influences it’s down to personal taste I guess.


#13

I have a somewhat spotty history as a writer. Any comic scripts that I have written are maybe 10 years and 2 laptop crashes ago. I have written a number of plays (some of which might be described as approaching adequacy) and am struggling through the process of a crime novel at the moment. Much like Europe struggled through the Dark Ages…another couple of hundred years and I’ll be done. :smiley:

My influences might be a little bit left of field. I apologize for that and for any perceived pretentiousness on my part.

Tom Stoppard - I am completely in awe of him as a writer. The title of my first play was cribbed from Shakespeare in Love. Seeing Arcadia made me want to read it and reading it made me want to write something. Right there and then. Anything at all. That he co-wrote Brazil and wrote the dialogue as well for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade just shows how embarrassingly talented the man is.

Stan Lee (or probably more likely Steve Ditko/Jack Kirby/Don Heck and Stan Lee) etc. - probably responsible for 90% of the comics I read as a child and my interest in science fiction and fantasy.

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a big cult thing when I was younger. I like the way he could make very mundane and ordinary things turn absurd at the drop of a hat.

Hunter S Thompson - I once did a creative writing class where the instructor claimed that the only good prose was quiet prose. I used Hunter as my counter argument. I used to write movie reviews for a company magazine in (the distant recesses of time) and used to ape that gonzo style (mainly to amuse myself). Mad as a badger. Well able to weave a sentence.

Terry Pratchett - Got me interested in reading as a teenager. Not literally. His books I mean.

PG Wodehouse – I tried and sort of failed to write a farce (or a romantic/horror/comedy actually). He makes it look effortless.

Richard Curtis – I have a tendency to include a character closely resembling me or aspects of me in everything I write. You can blame Richard Curtis for that. When it starts to get surreal is when the actor playing that role starts to take on your mannerisms, vocal inflection and body language.

Bob Newhart – The whole one-sided conversation schtick. Genius.

Neil Gaiman – The first time I saw a comic script was the one published in the Sandman collection.

I am probably not giving Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Mark Waid, Peter David and Dan Slott the credit they deserve here but they more than deserve to be in this company. And the Giffen/DeMattheis/Maguire era of Justice League.

Edit: I can’t believe that I forgot Raymond Chandler.


#14

That is a pretty great set of influences to have as a writer.

(Was Alan Moore an intentional omission? He casts a long shadow but I guess he’s not for everyone.)


#15

Honestly no, that wasn’t intentional at all. Alan Moore should be on that list. His command of the form of comics is completely unparalleled. I am a huge fan…I may be the only person in the world who rates Captain Britain as his favourite work by Alan Moore (and then probably Ballad of Halo Jones), but I like the way he sets up his hero as a square-jawed, James Bond-ish superhero and undercuts it by making the character a bit of a bimbo. I also like, and this is something that he has in common with Stoppard, that his stories aren’t always just about one thing. There is a sort of a thicker soup and you can pick up the different flavours.

And having listened to him in a few interviews, he’s actually pretty funny.

That was a grievous omission on my part.

I should also mention Will Eisner in there. I love the old Spirit stuff and I like how that the Spirit as a character is sometimes only loosely connected to the story. That sort of thing happens a lot with Judge Dredd as well.

And I forgot GK Chesterton too, but he’s not nearly as scary as Alan Moore and considerably less likely to invoke Roman snake Gods, so I’m not worried about offending him. :smiley:


#16

I remember in Moore’s Writing Comics, he talks about how he sets up most of his stories to be about something. I think before he puts pen to paper, he decides what he wants to make his story about (say, the environment) then crafts his tale with that in mind (Swamp Thing).

Although I think he’s been largely absorbed with perception of time in 70% of his stories since then. It’s a pretty rich seam.


#17

If I had to pick one influence, it would likely be Robert Heinlein. It just turned out I had read a couple of his juveniles, particularly The Rolling Stones - which was not about the band - from the school library. My dad passed when I was thirteen, and this led to what I’ve later determined was a severe existential crisis. Is this all there is? Is there nothing more? Came Christmas season, and my aunt and I were out shopping. Picked up two Heinlein paperbacks as a sudden urge. Stranger In A Strange Land and Glory Road. End existential crisis. Lots more out there.

This led me to Tolkien and Moorcock and Leiber and Howard and Frazetta and Bakshi and into obscure realms of reality. Also, growing up in Hollywood in the early Sixties had much influence.

There were always comics, a lifelong diet. Giordano and Adams, Dave Cockrum, Barry Windsor-Smith, so many I dare not list for fear of missing someone. And films. And television. And acting. And music. Always music.

I must acknowledge I am influenced, to some extent, by everything I experience. These influences change. Right now, it’s Judge Dredd and Prometheus and DC TV. That will change, in time. Always does. What remains are constants.

Edit In: Crap! I forgot Stephen King!


#18

Maybe I’ve been doing Heinlein a disservice, but Stranger in a Strange Land evoked such a strong reaction in me that half way through I threw it across the room and wouldn’t have it in the house anymore. He just came across a bit too right wing for my tastes.

Have I misjudged him/his work?


#19

Oh, not at all, Simon! Mike Moorcock absolutely detests him, for example. Sure he’s right-wing. He’s a Missouri native born right after the turn of last century, becoming a career Navy man mustered out due to ill health. He’s a creator of the Libertarian Party. He was a nudist with conservative views. He had trouble with an occlusion to his brain, leading to a shunt, and afterwards the tone of his writing changed to one quite sexual with incestuous themes. Even due to these problems, he came up with a lot of “outrageous” ideas - like sexual equality after we figure out there are different types of sexuality - that makes him a Grand Master. I bet he’d like Ayn Rand, and that’s an author I cannot read at all.

PS- My favorite remains The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, a masterpiece of revolution. I still see Ian McKellen as Bernardo De La Paz and Denzel as Mannie. Mycroft the computer would have to be voiced by Patton Oswalt.


#20

It’s hard to pin point what influence is to me. I’ve been awed and inspired by many, many, writers and artists. As well as bands, random news clippings, conversations with friends while intoxicated, a billboard. Without coming off as too pretentious, anything can influence me. Even a shitty time spent waiting for a bus or a bad day when I’m ill and out can be a source of influence

Onto the creative side of things.

Kentaro Miura, the man who created Berserk, a Japanese comic about a mercenary named Guts was my first real comic influence. You can probably trace that back to watching anime as a kid and teen, when I’d grown out of American comics and into manga. I didn’t know about the great creators in American comics before that moment, I’d only really read characters I liked with only attention paid to who was on the cover; not the credits.

My American/British influences began when I was 19 or so, I started reading Claremont’s X-men with John Bryne. It was a snowball effect from there: Moore; Millar; Miller; Gaiman; Morrison; Ellis; Waid; Englehart; Busiek; Bradbury; Henilen; Arthur C. Clarke; George R R Martin; Tarantino; BKV;…

John Ney Reiber is a creator I didn’t know about until a few months ago. His work with and without Peter Gross on The Books of Magic ongoing was amazing. Peter Gross did a great job too.

I could go on all day listing creators and runs/series I love that have inspired me.