Focus on the Artist: Garth Ennis, the brilliant writer that desperately needs an editor.

I’ve been a fan of Garth Ennis since the days of Constantine and Preacher (read mid 1990’s)

I’ve even made a post regarding a review on The Boys series and I’ve made vocal my admiration for The Crossed as an example of modern horror, and how to rehash the modern zombie mythos. 

But in this world of comics I find two arenas clearly defined when it cames to this writer: Either you find unconditional fans, or strange detractors whose criticism of him come across as petty and maybe even jealous of his success.

At the end of the post I will add a short biography of Garth, for those who got to this page in search of biographical information.

Garth Ennis gets criticized for being very violent, for being foul mouthed, even for being misogynistic, and for being a hack.

What really really pissed me off is that no one criticizes him for the right reasons. Having little sense of timing/rhythm, and for being too long winded.

I don’t know if during his period in Preacher, Garth had editors, but the work turned out to be dynamic, with a flux that showed dynamism while giving in to interesting exposure. I am sure that the art of Steve Dillon had a lot to do with it.

But every backstory had a bit of flashiness to it. The scenes of people talking their asses off in a bar were kept to a minimum, considering the quantity of issues it took to complete the story, and his subsequent work.

Another flaw of Garth as comic writer: Mistaking his interesting moments in real life for something that may work well for comics.

You see, I too have had my share of interesting stories happening during a night out with “my mates”… I got stories that range from impromptu strippers being chased into my poker game by jealous boyfriends who happened to be undercover cops, to UFO sightings leaving a bar, to sad sob stories about a five year old panhandling in front of a disco to pay for his mother’s addiction…

Problem is, Garth, that what my work nicely in a novel, might be very very very difficult to make it work in a comic, and even more difficult to make it sustainable in a long-on-going series.

This is a nice sedgway into another problem Mr Ennis seems to have.

He either doesn’t want to be edited, or no one wants to bother editing him.  And holy mackrel!! does he need a content-editor! Not to censor his ideas, but to smack him over the head once in a while and say “You are really farting into your hands and smelling your own methane, friend. For the last 5 pages. You should say this, but condense it in 1”

I mean, we all got frustrated with our high-school creative writer teacher who told us to be more direct and say it with less words, and use more action-related verbs, etc… and we, in our teenage wisdom would mutter “She doesn’t understand what I am trying to do here. She doesn’t get me…” and guess what? WE WERE WRONG!

That teacher had read tons and tons of books that we hadn’t and thus was speaking from a position of experience and know-how that we didn’t have because a) were too young and hadn’t lived long enough or b) were too lazy to have read enough, or worst yet BOTH a) and b)

But by know, my friend, after having seen your work for more than 20 years in the comic industry, I would assume you would’ve outgrown that teenage angst of someone criticizing your work, and would’ve learned to welcome it.

I seriously think that someone in DC asked him while working on Preacher to “Cool it off with the bar scenes” and he did, resulting in a more dynamically paced narrative, but in The Boys, every other floppy has a static exposure of bar scenes. Again, I am sure Garth has a blast sharing a pint with his closest mates, and swapping stories, but I TOO REPEAT: WHAT SOUNDS LIKE FUN IN REAL LIFE DOES NOT ALWAYS TRANSLATE I GOOD COMIC BOOK WRITING.

Garth, how about this for homework: From now own, every-time you write about character/s sitting in a bar and talking, you have to pay every reader who buys the book the cost. (tongue in cheek)

Here is a collection of Images from the first search page in Google Images (bar, gets exchanged with “sitting down and chatting”)


And I could go on and on…

And by no means am I a prude against drinking or bar-scenes on grounds of “But what about the children…” I’ve always said “Children’s are their parents responsibility.” and thank goodness there are a plethora of comics for young readers out there!

Is just that in the last 15 years of reading Garth’s comics, he abused the “Guys hanging out in a bar” concept, as I’ve shown above.
See, Garth? I am repeating my premise changing the words. That is like using a graphic medium, and having guys sitting in a bar, to tell stories. You don’t need a graphic novel for that, Garth. Seriously. A movie with flashbacks, or a novel is better suited.

The other major reason why Garth needs to hire an editor is because I just read his web-comic Crossed “Wish you were here”, and I only muster to read half of it. Because now, Garth has exchanged a guy sitting in a bar and talking to friends for a guy sitting down and writing his diary.

Dude, you have stories to tell, but you have a problem getting them set up.

Is that easy, and that sad after so many years doing this.

Pretty decent fair for a Crossed Series, but Jeeez, does he go on rambling on and on about the inner thoughts and feelings!!I Call FLUFF! Fillers, I tell you! Fillers!!

That is why he desperately needs an editor. He has fallen for the sin of hubris, where he thinks that every line he writes is indispensable.
Please, Mr. Ennis, read this wonderful short article by Kwanza Why Image Comics and Creators Need to Stop Demonizing Editors Now

Does his degree of verbal diarrhea warrant me to stop buying/reading his stuff? No, but he has fallen into the category of those authors who I skim through their work, because they have turned into those writers that you have to work through their stuff to get to the good part. And even if the good parts are great, that makes them less than good.

Here is looking at you, Garth, in the hopes that you get an editor someday soon!!


Garth Ennis in all his humbleness.

A Northern Irish comics writer, best known for the DC/Vertigo series Preacher, co-created with artist Steve Dillon. His work is characterised by extreme violence, black humour and profanity, but also by an interest in male friendship and an amused disdain for organised religion. Frequent artistic collaborators include Dillon, Glenn Fabry and John McCrea.

Date of Birth: January 16, 1970
Birthplace: Holywood, Northern Ireland

Link to a fairly accurate bibliography of Garth Ennis at Comicbook


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