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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Discovering the Voice by Jayme Roxann Wright

When I first decided that I wanted to write a comic book, I was in my early 20’s. I had been collecting several titles at that point- ARIA by Holguin, More than Mortals, XFACTOR, and ANIMAL MYSTIC, anything by Joseph Linsner, LADY DEATH, and SANDMAN. I was tossing around an idea that I am still playing cat and mouse with to this day. This particular story is my baby, so giving it to just any artist scares the bejeesus out of me because I am very particular about how I want my visions to look. When I finally started finding artists, I had to make sure that their artistic style that fit the stories, and that was hard because art created the tone of each book. I feel that the biggest impact of the comic format is that the art drives the emotion and description that would have been written had the story been prose. Most of my stories are darker in origin, so Manga or cartoonish artists won’t fit the visuals. I developed a list of who I wanted to give life to my stories and looked for similar styles.

I was really lucky when Jason Craig approached me to help with his story which was at that time being pitched as a series to STARZ. I had about three weeks to write a TV pilot and Character Bible/Series Outline. It was quite an experience. When it was passed over at STARZ! , we decided that it would work as a new comic series and began to rework it. Writing someone else’s baby is a great experience because you have to literally write what they envision. It is a great lesson in interpreting what people want. It has been a great process, the late night arguing and the endless battles over tiny details, all the while creating a great story that started as a simple one to creating a universe. The creative process is exciting and bleeding some of my blood into it to make it my own is a great reward.

Men develop a comradery quickly with other men; however, a relationship in a professional realm between men and women can be tenuous. I find that there has to be a great degree of respect for each other, which isn’t necessarily needed in male working partnerships. Jason has always treated me with respect and understanding. We are both single parents and both raised in the south despite my Los Angeles location. There comes a deep understanding of how we were raised, and it helps us navigate the waters similarly. Good people attract good people.

The more I develop the voice that I want to have in comics the more I find that wading through the muck and the wide eyed excitement of the comic book business is necessary. It is also why I understand – writers keep to themselves.

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