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When writers strike, you can bet the experience will be well covered, and the Writer’s Guild Strike is certainly living up to that precept. With comics and holly wood crossing over every which way, there’s much to cover.

First, there are a bunch of comical-types who are involved:
Mark Evanier
Marv Wolfman
Mark Verheiden:

Went to a nearby restaurant afterward, where we bumped into John Stamos and Moira Tierney, both of whom said they would be joining us on the picket line in the afternoon. Big thanks to them, we need all the help we can get!


Brian K. Vaughan

The big question for comicdom is: what will all those TV and movie writers who dabble with comics do with all this free time? Write more comics? Will Damon Lindelof finish Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk> CBR surveys several scribes:

Daniel Knauf (creator of HBO’s “Carnivale” and current writer of “Iron Man”) told CBR News that fans could absolutely expect his comics output to increase in the coming months, but that that has more to do with the “creative oppression endemic to television” than it has to do with the strike. “The truth is, I’ve been much happier with the creative freedom I have experienced with comics for some time, and have considered redirecting my efforts toward graphic storytelling rather than television series creation,” Knauf said. “An idiosyncratic show like ‘Carnivale’ would never be greenlit today. Comics, on the other hand, are much more willing to gamble on fresh concepts.”


Others say despite needing the money and the temptation to get going, the strike will hopefully afford the time to get ahead on comics deadlines and not get into more. Vaughan had this to say:

I’m lucky that my phone started ringing from editors at Marvel and DC as soon as the threat of the strike materialized, and while I’ve gotten some cool offers to work on existing books, I think I’m going to take however long the strike lasts (which could be anywhere between a day and forever) to concentrate on making Ex Machina kick as much ass as possible as we start to head into that series’ final year, and to continue to develop my next big creator-owned projects now that I’ve finished all my scripts for Y: The Last Man, Runaways, Buffy, The Escapists, Doctor Strange, and the upcoming Logan mini with Eduardo Risso. (Sorry, gratuitous plugging isn’t prohibited by the WGA during the strike.)

But this isn’t a vacation. I’ll be walking the picket line every single day, so if you’re visiting sunny Burbank, drive past and honk your support for the pasty bald kid, won’t you?

From the comics side Evan Dorkin sums up the fears:

I mean, I’m exaggerating here (I hope), and I’m sympathetic to the writers, even if I hate most of their work and don’t give a rip if late night talk shows are in reruns, the 2008 pilot season might be fucked, or the next Saw movie might be delayed. I just wince thinking about the possible influx of yet more overvalued and under-talented Hollywood dinks into the already fattened Previews phonebook of horrors.


Colleen Doran has a non WGA-member view of why we should support the strike. The Beat was but a young tyke working at the trades during the last strike (in 1988) but it went on for far too long, and devastated the economy of Southern California. People who are out of work don’t eat fancy meals and so on. It all trickles down. The toll this time on Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf may be incalculable.

1 COMMENT

  1. I got stuck in a traffic jam en route to the dentist, one time you don’t mind traffic. People were rubber-necking at the strikers in front of Fox. James L. Brooks writer was on strike against James L. Brooks producer and offering canned bon mots to the media.

    I’m an avowed leftist, but I do find the public’s fascination with a strike by well paid, well-spoken, predominantly white folks repellent next to the refusal to back a living wage, justice for janitors, or striking grocery store clerks. Hell, every WGA member with a baby is on the picket line for photogenic sympathy. When the grocery store staff struck, they were afraid to bring their kids (police batons, ya know) and couldn’t afford childcare.

    And this is a boon for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Where else will the writers gather to gossip, rest their weary dogs, and work on the novel they don’t have the gramamtical chops to finish? A $4 Ice Blended and you have a chair for the day.

  2. Rather than being afraid of WGA flooding the far lower-paying comics field, it might be more productive for work-for-hire creators to consider the merits of unionizing while the shape of the industry is changing. No, wait – that’s proactive thinking, not petty bitching. Never mind.

  3. “And this is a boon for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Where else will the writers gather to gossip, rest their weary dogs, and work on the novel they don’t have the gramamtical chops to finish? A $4 Ice Blended and you have a chair for the day.”

    Interesting observation … café workers at my local Barnes & Noble were wondering about people who bring their laptop computers. Are they really working, or are they just trying to FEEL like a writer, and be seen in a writerly light?

    Meanwhile, the PRINCETON BUSINESS JOURNAL (one of the tabloid’s I work for) is running an article this week about increasing numbers of people who purchase a latté and occupy a booth for several hours, while allegedly conducting business.

  4. I wouldn’t categorize what I wrote as “comics fears”. They’re just my comments. I’m not afraid of anything, personally, and this is reflected in the rest of my blog post and the comments section. If Heidi wants to categorize it as a ‘fear”, that’s fine. I personally couldn’t care less about this in any real sense other than a snarky LJ post, it doesn’t and won’t affect me as a creator, reader or even viewer (I barely do any comics work these days, and stopped doing DC and Marvel work years ago by mutual consent between myself and the comics industry), and I don’t believe it will really mean much of anything to comics in the long run, by and large. It might, in fact, bring a lot of unexpected press to the medium and industry in the short run. Which will also not affect me as a creator or reader. So, yeah, really, it’s an excerpt from a longer discussion, and a misrepresented one, at that. I don’t speak for comics, I don’t fear for comics, I’m sympathetic to the strike, and I’ve made a career off petty bitching. Make of that what you will. And don’t hold your breath waiting for any proactive thinking in this industry unless you’ve made out your will first.

  5. I wouldn’t categorize what I wrote as “comics fears”. They’re just my comments. I’m not afraid of anything, personally, and this is reflected in the rest of my blog post and the comments section. If Heidi wants to categorize it as a ‘fear”, that’s fine. I personally couldn’t care less about this in any real sense other than a snarky LJ post, it doesn’t and won’t affect me as a creator, reader or even viewer (I barely do any comics work these days, and stopped doing DC and Marvel work years ago by mutual consent between myself and the comics industry), and I don’t believe it will really mean much of anything to comics in the long run, by and large. It might, in fact, bring a lot of unexpected press to the medium and industry in the short run. Which will also not affect me as a creator or reader. So, yeah, really, it’s an excerpt from a longer discussion, and a misrepresented one, at that. I don’t speak for comics, I don’t fear for comics, I’m sympathetic to the strike (work is work, compensation is compensation), and I’ve made a career off petty bitching. Make of that what you will.

    And folks, don’t hold your breath waiting for any proactive thinking in this industry unless you’ve made out your will first.

  6. All of this is interesting, but I wonder what will happen if the strike lasts long enough to coincide with the expiration of the Screen Actors Guild contract and the Directors Guild.
    Much more interesting, as mentioned by Mark Evanier, is the parallel News Writers situation. CBS may have to air reruns of the Evening News!

  7. Come contract time, no union should strike over an issue (or issues) unless it has some real leverage, and its members are prepared to stick it out for the long haul. This is particularly true if it is facing a management body that is stubborn and hard core.

    I’ve seen a union get a decent initial offer, vote to strike anyway, then, a few months later, when the pain of reduced income takes its toll, vote to take the original offer. What’s the point in that?

    The writers seem to have a legitimate beef, so here’s hoping they have the leverage to work out a deal. If not, it’s going to be brutal in a few months.

    R. Maheras
    Former member, Teamsters Local 710