It hit me rather suddenly when reading Invincible #82 (which hit stands yesterday). Why don’t we see creator own books have guest writers? Stay with me for a second and I’ll tell you my thought process. I discussed on the podcast that I was surprised that issue 81 of Invincible felt a lot like filler and that I was concerned that the book was going down the road of Walking Dead (in which I thought the whole last arc was just filler).
I mean, it makes sense if you take ten steps back and look at what Kirkman’s life is like write now. He’s got his own imprint, a hugely popular AMC show that’s coming back for a second season, as well as trying to balance a couple of different monthly titles. That has got to take its toll, and something is going to give with that much on your plate.
This begs the question: why not just let someone else write your title for a couple of issues until you can come back to it? Who’s to say Erik Larsen (some one you can trust to do it right) doesn’t have a great pitch for Invincible and could take over for a quick three issue story arc and give Kirkman a little time to decompress?
Is it the issue of readers will only accept a writer on their own book? Is it the fact that writers rely on that income to pay their mortgage and can’t afford to pass off the title? I honestly don’t know, but I’m sure it isn’t a case of vanity.
I’m also not saying that fillers only happen for one reason, I’m sure there’s a lot that goes in to setting up something big that I’m not intending to purposely ignoring here. I just think that when someone gets too many irons in the fire there’s a tendency for the quality to suffer. I relate it to the Bendis effect, start getting tapped to write more books than you can logically handle and it’s not rocket surgery to figure out that you’re going to get stretched too thin.
Hmmm maybe it’s just the fanboy in me after all. I’m fantasizing about Brubaker writing Powers right now! Who’s to say that the boys that brought us Witch Doctor don’t have a Walking Dead story they’d love to tell? As long as a creator has a writer’s bible I don’t think it’s a stretch for someone to take a crack at your mythos. And hey, who doesn’t love a little fanfic every now and again?