The Royal Mail delivered to my door a copy of Volume 3 in the collected Seventh Doctor Comic Strips series. It contains nine reprinted Dr Who strips including one drawn by me. I assume it was sent by someone at Panini. It came as a surprise since I had forgotten that there was to be a reprint to which I had grouchily declined to contribute a few words. There was no explanatory letter enclosed in the package, no cheque or suggestion of how a reprint fee might be invoiced for. I will get round to asking them about it.
The book contains commentaries by the writers and/or artists of each story. There is an article by Andrew Cartmel who was responsible for the script I drew. After some nice words about my artwork he complains about my not making his monster scary enough. The reptilian monster in question was a transformed dress-wearing granny whose granny identity had to be maintained to make sense of her dialogue and behaviour. Granny/reptile still wears the dress was because she/it later reverts to regular granny form. Without reference to his script I can't know exactly what he asked for by way of a portrayal of granny/reptile. It was my practice to follow the writers lead in just what level of monster scariness is required so presume I did what I thought he was asking for. Andrew complains about having similar problems with monster images created by BBC designers for his TV scripts. Since he does say how pleased he is with his writing we can only suppose that it is what he perceives of as a lack of imagination on the part of those making his scripts visual that disappoints him. I can't speak for TV designers but it is possible that they and I could have made a better representation of a monster but then it is also conceivable that Andrew could have written a better description of one.
In my case Andrew suggests he should have contacted the editor and asked for granny/reptile to be redrawn, saying "After all, it was just ink on paper". In the same way I suppose as writing scripts is just typing. Twat.
An artist can't expect to thrill all the writers all the time but one would hope that the writer might have some slight idea of what visualising and creating images from a few words entails. We must take it that they will ensure that their writing is of sufficient clarity to stimulate the artist to match the writers intention.
A comic strip is the work of two people mediated by an editor. It is the editor who has the last word. I have done an illustration directly for the author and, charming though they were, have never before or since had to make so many alterations, additions and changes of emphasis to a piece of work. Both artist and writer have to trust the judgement of the editor.
I consider it bad form for either contributor to comment unfavourably on the work of the other. I don't think Andrew would like me to say what I thought about his script - in fact, thinking about it, I'm sure he wouldn't.
May 7th. Been in touch with Panini about reprint fee and am told they don't pay them. The reason given is that the company own these comic strips outright. The same is true for Marvel, DC and Rebellion of course but they have a more enlightened attitude to the creators and do pay reprint fees.