Visionary Comic Creators Share Secret Origins

As expected, if you bring seven of comics' most talented and most outspoken creators together on a panel and just ask them about... well, anything and everything about comic books, you'll end up with an amusing and educational way to spend an hour... But also one that's impossible to summarize. That's why, under the jump, you'll get the best parts of Entertainment Weekly's Visionaries: Comic Book Creators panel.

Thursday afternoon, EW's Nisha Goplan introduced Jim Lee, John Cassaday, Matt Fraction, Mike Mignola, Robert Kirkman, Colleen Doran and Grant Morrison to an eager audience, and then shut up and let them do the talking. The short version of the event would go something like this: Comics can do anything, comic creators should be less afraid to try to do anything and everything they want, and Mike Mignola really can't stop himself swearing accidentally. But why give you a short version when we can let the panelists talk for themselves?

On Movies' Influence On Comics:

Kirkman: I don't think [movies] will change the content, I don't think it should change the content. Hollywood comes to us because of our content.

Morrison: I think we should write comic books that are more like comic books.

Mignola: The plus side is, I think some things are getting published... because they might see potential in it somewhere else...

Morrison: Hollywood's got a lot of rules, it's very formulaic. Comics should break those rules.

Mignola: It's sad to see people changing their structure to fit [the Hollywood rule]... Let's do the comic and see someone else turn it into a film.

Lee: I think it's the opposite, I see a lot of movies and TV shows like Lost following the comics form.

Morrison: Death to Hollywood!

Mike Mignola On The Pluses And Minuses On The Hellboy Movies:

You try your best to convince yourself that you're doing the best thing, and then you spend the rest of your life explaining yourself that, no, Hellboy doesn't have a girlfriend... You live in the shadow of the movie. But you make your peace with it. Or don't license the character.

On The Future Of Print Comics:

Fraction: As long as there's print, there'll be comics. We're a cheap, easy, nasty, swarthy medium. We'll be the last to go... I've yet to see an iPhone that can beat a comic.

Cassaday: I can't stare at my computer screen for very long.

Morrison: You can't take your computer in the bath,

Kirkman: Yes you can!

Morrison: This man knows more than me.

Kirkman: Do you mean bathroom or bath?

Morrison: I mean bath, being immersed, I mean, water is the best element.

Kirkman: We'll talk later.

Mignola: We sure sound like visionaries, don't we?

Grant Morrison On The Need For Superheroes:

I think superheroes are more relevant now than they've ever been before. Superheroes have become this desperate attempt to imagine the future for ourselves. Superheroes and Star Trek. They represent something that isn't a cowboy for the West to be. I don't know if we'll ever reach it, because we have a lot of good bombs.

On working on personal projects against corporate creations:

Fraction: A lot of guys like me, their own stuff doesn't pay the bills. It doesn't even buy lunch. If you write the X-Men, it's okay, bills are paid.

Mignola: Find some time in between commercial projects and try something. I firmly believed that, after I'd done the first Hellboy, I'd go back and do another Batman book. But when you try that thing, you should really make sure that it's something you love so that if it's successful, you're stuck doing the thing you love.

Doran: Too many people treat their entire project as an audition for the rest of their career.

Robert Kirkman On Killing Characters:

I never think of this stuff, or else I wouldn't do it. I just write things and think, yeah, I think this guy's gonna die now. The main character in Walking Dead gets his hand cut off, and I didn't think about it. I remember thinking, I should think about what this will mean. Oh, he can't button his shirt, this'll be easy. And then, ten years later, I was like, oh crap. I shouldn't have cut that guy's hand off.

On Why They Create Comics:

Kirkman: I do it so my wife doesn't think if I'm a failure. I can't do anything else.
Fraction: I've never run across anything that you can't do in comics. No-one ever says that you can't afford to blow up New York. We can blow up New York and rebuild it twice if we want.
Lee: I always figured that if I was ever arrested, I could be the big guy's art bitch. I'm being completely serious.

On Why Colleen Doran Got Into Comics:

Doran: I had a crush on Aquaman.

Morrison: What was it about him?

Doran: He was wet.

On Who Today's Visionaries Think We Should Watch Out For:

Fraction: Jason Aaron.

Doran: Derek McCullogh.

Kirkman: Jonathan Hickman.

Mignola: It's not that I don't think that anyone's good, I tend to not remember anyone's names.

Morrison: I want to see an entire generation of crazy 17 year-olds doing this stuff.