Over at Comic Book Resources, Tony Daniel tries to explain the recent re-emergence of the Writer/Artist at DC Comics (Daniel, David Finch, JH Williams III, Scott Kolins and Jeff Lemire being the main suspects):
For the last decade or so, the industry has been writer-driven. But as an artist, and also a writer, I know the art needs to be good inside the book. That’s what’s going to help sell the book, especially to new readers. You want them to open up the book, or see view the digital file on their mobile device or what-have-you, and say wow! This is a visual medium, first and foremost. That seems to have been forgotten.
Yes, we need great stories and great writers. But when people think comic books, they think of the characters jumping off the page. They think of amazing images, larger than life heroes and villains and details. So if you have an artist who writes well, you then have someone who has those types of creative sensibilities that could hopefully translate to a winning combination.
Firstly: Good writers can’t have creative sensibilities that allow them to take advantage of comics’ visual dominance? Secondly: Have comics really forgotten that they’re a visual medium? I’m not sure that’s even vaguely true; even just looking at the mainstream superhero market, I can think of a lot of books that are all about the art, occasionally at the expense of the writing (Hi, Thor). But nonetheless, Daniel is at least making an attempt at addressing the issue, and perhaps a look inside the mass mindset of DC editorial these days, as well.
Personally, I’d assumed that the rise of writer/artists at DC was due to both Bob Harras’ ascendance to Editor In Chief (Letting artists write worked out pretty well for him at Marvel, after all) and it being a potential carrot to use to get hot artists moving over from Marvel, where I can’t think of any writer/artists who perform both duties on the same book (Sure, they have Jeff Parker, Jonathan Hickman and other creators who do both, but almost all of them have been pushed towards one role and not both). But what do you think?