Monday, June 24, 2013

Literary Influences.

People always ask me about my literary influences. And I go down the list of the usual suspects of my youth and young adulthood:

Ernest Thompson Seton. Ray Bradbury. Ernest Hemingway. Charles Bukowski. Robert Graves. Hal Clement. Charles Dickens. Hugh Lofting. Jack Kerouac. Cormac McCarty. Robert E. Howard. Charles Portis. Isaac Asimov. Harlan Ellison. Karl Edward Wagner. Etc.

But I rarely talk about two writers who had a huge and almost overwhelming influence on my modern work, because they didn't work in the form of straight prose. These men are principally remembered as illustrators of comics, but they created and wrote everything that they illustrated. Those two amazing gents are:

Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

Now, contrary to the general line of ultimate bullshit propaganda that you will read, both of these men were the creators of the comics that they are best known for penciling. They didn't just draw the pretty pictures. They concocted the characters and the situations and they WROTE THE STORIES.

And what stories they wrote! Adventure yarns! Fantasy tales! Science Fiction! Thrillers! Political subterfuge! Romantic entanglements!

Kirby and Ditko were the finest comics writers of their age.
The fact that they are regarded mainly as illustrators is only part of their history and something that needs to be corrected.

From Kirby I learned how to write broad stories that contain tension and great emotion.

From Ditko I learned how to write stories of conviction, and to have the courage not to flinch in the telling of those tales.

Thus, two writers I rarely mention when I list my seminal influences. But I'll try to correct that in the future.

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