To continue the discussion of artists, writers and distributing credit, I think one of the things that leads a lot of people to under value the artist is confusing the writer/artist credits from a comic book with the more familiar author/illustrator dynamic from novels. The difference between the two is huge and it’s important to understand.
A novel can be written by one person, and then illustrated and re-illustrated by a dozen people over the years– think of Robert Luise Stevenson’s Treasure Island, or Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. The story never changes no matter how many different people draw it.
That doesn’t work in a comic book. You can’t just take the same exact script and have it drawn a dozen times by a dozen artists and end up with the same story. The atmosphere would be different. The emotional beats would fall in different places. Different characters would be lighthearted or serious, beautiful or hideous and that would effect how you, the reader, would take in the events of the story, and what parts of the story are meaningful to you.
A script can be vague in one part or another, and the artist will have to use his own concepts to fill in the blanks and come up with something the writer never dreamed of (this is the very idea behind a “Marvel Style” working relationship).
Sometimes the writer will be the more dominant creative force, sometimes it’s the artist who will take the lead. There’s no way to know exactly who did what just by looking at the credits. And honestly? It doesn’t matter. The story is the end product, and the writer and artist share authorship.
I’ll probably post about this again in the future, but I think this is an important point and wanted to get it out there. People in the industry understand this, and I’ve seen very few professional writers or artists dispute it– in fact lately I’ve been seeing a lot of people reiterating it. I think it’s important that people get credit for the work they do and for the accomplishments they make, especially in comics where the hours are long and the wages are low. To snub someone on their creative achievements is an injustice.
Food for thought. I’m curious to hear what other people think.