Thanks for evangelizing for comics (and my books!), Simon. It’s much appreciated.
Yeah, I’ve been moving away from doing work-for-hire and more toward my own creations – the only WFH project I still have on my desk is BATMAN: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT, and once I’m done with that I’m hoping to do fully creator-owned stuff for at least a while. If I get the itch to do big-company superheroes again I can always change my mind, but for now I’m happy making up my own worlds.
As for genres…well, I don’t need Marvel and DC to do superheroes, so I’ll continue to do some hero material – not only ASTRO CITY, but other things I’ve got in the pipeline. But I like all kinds of different approaches to storytelling, so I’m not wedded to any one genre. I’m doing epic fantasy in THE AUTUMNLANDS, did SF in SHOCKROCKETS, historical fantasy (or maybe alt-historical) in ARROWSMITH, and so on. A lot of the ideas I have jotted down for future projects are what used to be called urban fantasy and these days is called mythic fiction, so that’s a genre I’d like to do more with. But romance, history, crime, straight drama…I’d like to explore a lot of things.
No, I never came up with anything that stumped George. I think he’s un-stumpable. But then, I never asked him to draw specific panels – we worked together plot style, so he was always free to tell the story as he saw best, and he sure did. And yes, he added lots of panels, lots of detail, lots of lots. It was a blast.
I work in whatever way will suit the project and the artist, really. Alex and I did MARVELS full-script, and most of ASTRO CITY has been done full-script (though there’s been a Marvel-style issue or two in there), but AVENGERS and ARROWSMITH and UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN were plot-style. It all depends on what’ll get the best results. Sometimes I’ve done rough page layouts, too, or even just drawn out panel shapes. I believe in doing whatever’s necessary to make a good comic book, and that varies from project to project.
And yes, there’ll be more ARROWSMITH. I don’t want to talk about behind-the-scenes stuff until it’s all resolved, but there’ll be more.