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December 29, 2013


CR Holiday Interview #11 -- Colleen Doran

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Like many in her generation of comics-makers, the artist and cartoonist Colleen Doran is probably best known for a single, signature work: A Distant Soil, which in 2013 celebrated its return 30 years after its major indy-comic debut with a continuation of the long-running series and new collections program made possible by a lengthy and expensive restoration process. Its re-entry into the marketplace was one of a number of high-profile projects for Doran over the last few years. This included art duties on the 2011 Barry Lyga-written work Mangaman, the much-praised 2012 DC/Vertigo project Gone To Amerikay (written by Derek McCulloch), an assignment working on on-line Vampire Diaries comics as a writer, and the announcement of art duties on a project at Dark Horse with the writer Neil Gaiman. I enjoy Doran's perspective on creators rights issued pitched more broadly and humanely than issues of editorial control over corporate comic book characters, into sometimes-uncomfortable topics regarding how cartoonists take care of business and, hopefully, themselves. I've long wanted to have a conversation with her and an on-line encounter on an unrelated matter afforded that opportunity. -- Tom Spurgeon

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imageTOM SPURGEON: How does your work break down these days, Colleen? I have only a cursory grasp of what you're up to and where comics fits in.

COLLEEN DORAN: Well... [laughs] I'm doing some writing, of course. I doing the The Vampire Diaries for DC Comics. But that doesn't take up the whole month. I'm only doing about one issue a month so far. I'm doing book covers -- I will actually be finished with some romance novel book covers in about two hours. And then I'll go back and work on this Neil Gamain graphic novel that I've been putting off forever. I'll be working on that full-time. When I say I'm working on something full time, I mean something probably four days a week. And I'll probably work on something else one or two days a week. Then I'll switch them off. A comic book script doesn't take a whole month to do. You percolate, you let it sit, and then you come back to it a few days later. The book covers are something that I've had sitting on the pot for a while. It's four of them. So I'll work on those for a couple of days, set them aside, and go work on something else. I pick things up and put them down. I like have it to sit there to look at for a while. So I can come back to it, see what's wrong with it, and fix it. I try to be as objective as possible. If it doesn't look right, I do it over again. Which is what I'm doing today. I wrote the client last night and said, "What you requested in this piece does not work." Since it's a digital painting, I sent them what they asked for. And I said, "This doesn't work." I sent them a completely different background and said, "This works." They said, "You're right. Do version two." So I'm finishing up version two sometime in the next two hours.

SPURGEON: I know when I talk to friends of mine that work in a variety of creative fields, and I think this maybe especially true for the artists I know, it does take a while to find that work schedule that best suits them. There's also the fact that your schedule is frequently dictated to you. You don't get to choose what you're work on and when. Do you you feel like you're in a good place with how you work? Does it reflect how you'd ideally like to work? Is it close?

DORAN: I'm in a good place now. But I know that next year is going to be really rough. A lot of stuff got put off this year. Pushed back. Next year is not going to be funny. I'm going to work as much as I can over Christmas and through January to build a little inventory [laughs] -- yeah, like that can happen. And then starting around February shit is going to hit the fan and I'm not going to have a very nice year. But I have to say, when it comes to the freelancer life, I get great support from my family. They practically shove food under the door. [laughs] When I'm in work mode, they know "take care of her." When I'm not in super work mode, I"m out at the house, I'm cleaning the kitchen, I'm gardening, I'm baking. I've been baking all week because my schedule is not that tight at the moment. When I'm in work mode, people just take care of me. They clean my room, for God's sake. They make my bed. [laughter] They make food for me. Then when I have time, I try to take care of them the best I can. It just depend.

imageSPURGEON: Is the baking therapeutic? I know a lot of my friends have turned to baking over the years, and they like that there are hands-on and hands-off elements to it. They get a lot of pleasure out of that act.

DORAN: I am disturbingly maternal. [laughs] I love to take care of people. My family is really touchy-feelie, and lovey-dovey. Nobody goes upstairs... "Can I have a kiss? Can I have a hug?" [laughs] You go upstairs to get a soda and come back, "Is there anything I can get you? Can I have a kiss?" [laughs] People would probably be horrified. [laughter] It's really cutesy-poo. [laughs] That's the way it is around here. I love to bake. I bake things for my clients, and I bake things for my friends. I pack 'em up and ship 'em. I love doing it.

SPURGEON: You mention that 2014 is going to be jammed up in a work way. It seems like, and I don't know if this is a fair statement, but it seems like the last few years you've been incredibly prolific. It seems like there's been a lot of work from you.

DORAN: There is now... I went through a really bad period where I wasn't able to work and I wasn't getting very much work. That was just not funny. I'm sitting there going, "Woe is me... my career is over, blah, blah." When I got up and I got back on my feet and said, "Okay, I'm available." Then I was really happy the doors were open. I was very relieved. That's been quite nice. Now I've got all the work I can possibly handle. I'm happy about it. I do not like not to be busy. It makes me very upset.

SPURGEON: Do you have any perspective on why the work dried up? Was it just that you weren't presenting yourself as being available to work?

DORAN: I wasn't... I wasn't well. I was very sickly there for several years. And I was quitting jobs. "I can't finish this. I'm not functioning. You need to find somebody else." [laughs] You don't want to walk around being the perpetual industry invalid, telling everybody your every problem. You just want to deal with it and get it over with. When you're able to work, you come back and go, "I'm available." This is a real out of sight, out of mind business, and if you're ever out of the loop for a while, people forget about you, or they assume that you're not interested. So I wasn't entirely certain when I said, "Okay, I'm looking for jobs" that they would say, "Yeah, we'll hire you." You never know. They could be moving on to other people. But there's plenty of work out there right now.

SPURGEON: Do you think your skill set is well-suited to the way publishing has shifted. Do you feel there's a bigger place for you now than maybe 15-20 years ago?

DORAN: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. The kind of work I do -- well, maybe I just sucked -- but the kind of work I do wasn't well-received 15 or 20 years ago. It still stings a little bit. [laughs] And for all I know they still feel the same way, but they hire me so I don't give a rat's ass.

SPURGEON: Do you think it's like an aesthetic catching-up? A reconsideration of certain artistic values that includes the kind of art that you do?

DORAN: I would like to think so. I would certainly like to think so. I don't like to think that my work was always that bad. [laughs] I look back on some of my earlier work and think, "Well, some of it really sucks, but some of it was really solid." I was in an odd position. Well, I wasn't in an odd position, that's not a good thing to say... When you start out in this business, they pretty much decided whether you're going to be a star or a journeyman. And if you get put on the journeyman track, ow. You're going to be the poor son of a bitch who gets a two-week deadline for the full issue. The fill-in artist. You're going to be one of those... you're going to spend a lot of your time getting the jobs that need to be done in a short period of time, and you get the crap anchor. You can either decide to suck it up and take those jobs in the hopes that something better will come along and realize that's how people are going to see you: you're the crap artist that got the job while they were waiting for the good person.

imageI started out getting star treatment right out of the gate. Then I got put on the journeyman track pretty quick. That wasn't pretty. I spent probably 10 years on the journeyman track. I was getting the worst jobs, the worst anchors. It's self-perpetuating because people go, "Oh, they weren't a good artist anyway." It's very hard to get out of that, to say, "I will not work with that anchor. I will not work on that deadline schedule. I would rather not work than work under those circumstances." I'd say it wasn't until... I'd say Warren Ellis probably changed the perception of my work when he started working with me around the year 2000. I would get time to do a good job, and better, more visible assignments. People started hiring me for other things. But until then it was really touch and go. I'd do a really good job on one thing, and people would go, "Yay! Let's hire her for another one." And then I'd get 14 days to do 26 pages. And then I'd get... various inkers.

SPURGEON: [laughs] Right. [laughter]

DORAN: It's not a nice place to be.

SPURGEON: I've always wondered something about you in terms of your artistic development.

DORAN: You have? [laughter] I haven't thought about it at all.

SPURGEON: You were capable of professional-level work really, really early on. You were very young. And I wonder if that's ever something that retards artistic development. I wonder if it reduces the desire to improve at a time in your life when that might come in significant stages. And it sounds like when you were working you had the further thing that maybe you were put in a position to improve. But when you've shown you can do it early on, does that make it more difficult to become the artist you see yourself becoming?

DORAN: It can give... there are two ways you can go. You can get unwarranted validation too soon. Which tells you that, "Hey, you're already there." But I don't think I did. I don't think there was ever a time in my career that people weren't saying, "Her work is girly, and she gets work because she's little and cute." I don't think I was ever there. If anything, getting hired early meant that before I was ready to face... adult pressure... I had to deal with the adult pressures of contracts and money and inappropriate attention from adults. Pressure from fans. All of these things. Starting when I was teen, when I don't think I was ready for any of that. I don't think anybody is. It's a very unnatural environment. I think if that were to happen now, with the Internet? I think I probably would have cracked. Fortunately, I didn't have to read the mail when it came in. Now it's probably... it's horrible what people say on-line. What gets bandied about. At least I could turn that off.

imageSPURGEON: Do you look back on a specific moment from back then that was particularly tough, where you came close to walking away?

DORAN: Oh, of course. I almost quit... about 1986. I remember sitting down and having a conversation with my family. I said, "I think this business is horrible. I don't want to do this." And in 1999... I went looking for a day job. I said, "This is vile. I don't want to do this anymore." I actually got a dayjob. I applied for a job at UPS. I said, "I'm tired of not having health insurance, I'm tired of not having benefits. I'm tired of all this stuff. I'm tired of this uncertainty. I can't take it anymore. I need stability." In 1999 I applied for a job and two days before I got the phone call saying, "You got the job" I got a job at Marvel. I told my agent I didn't want to work in comics anymore. He said, "Look. Let's give it one more shot." My agent was a gentleman named Spencer Beck. He took me on the rounds with my portfolio, and Marvel started hiring me again. I hadn't worked at Marvel in a while. I was ready to chuck it. He said, "I think people just don't know you're available." Because I don't go to New York that much... which is not the brightest thing in the world. I'm just not like that. So he said, "You need to be more visible. You need to get up here more often." We went in, and I got hired for several good jobs. One of them I almost got the regular gig but they decided to hire somebody more popular, so they gave me Power Pack instead. I didn't do a very good job on it, but then Warren started working with me and I started doing stuff I really liked. We did that webcomic together [Superidol], god I can't believe it's almost 14 years ago now. And Orbiter...

SPURGEON: My memory is that Oribiter got an additional boost when Diamond made its initial push into the book market and needed material to rep at BEA. So in a way I think that was the right book at the right time.

DORAN: It was a strange book at a strange time. I was literally finishing the last page when the space shuttle was destroyed on re-entry.

SPURGEON: Oh, my goodness. That's right.

DORAN: Oh. Oh, yeah. [laughs] It was horrible. We thought they were going to shelve it. It's a terrible thing to even think about a book in light of a tragedy but we were... we were very concerned. I was at a convention that weekend with an enormous poster of the shuttle burning up on re-entry. [Spurgeon groans] It was like, "Oh my God." That was uncomfortable.

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SPURGEON: With your schedule working out the way it is right now, is A Distant Soil the one that gets put aside? Is that one more flexible because it's all you?

DORAN: Oh, yeah. And it's so expensive to do, especially now that we're having to pay for all of that restoration. Even though technically I raised all of the money to pay for the restoration, I've also had to have money to live on while working on new material. I have to have more money, which kind of sucks. I do it when there's cash in the bank. And I'll probably be working on it January and February and getting as much done as I possibly can and then push it aside for a while, and then work on it again and then push it aside for a while. My restoration guy needs to be paid, and now he's getting other work. People have seen what a good job he's doing and they're trying to hire him away from me, damn it. [laughs] I'm really happy for him; he's always wanted to work in comics.

SPURGEON: You posted about the restoration process, how involved it is... I remember someone telling me they were glad you talked about it in public because it wasn't usually talked about how difficult those things can be and as a result there's an assumption that bringing something back is super-easy. Did you hear back from people who were grateful for how transparent you were about the costs of doing this?

DORAN: Yeah. Absolutely. I wasn't expecting to get such positive response. I thought people would say, "Oh, what a whiner. Always complaining." [laughter] I hadn't heard that this was a) a problem, b) a really common problem, and c) really difficult. What a lot of people don't know and I did not know until last summer is that this printer nailed almost everybody. It's not just my book, it's not just a few books at Image, it's almost all of the publishers who worked with this printer have lost negatives. I had... I won't which say publisher -- but it's a big one! -- and they were telling me they had to get the negatives for the Spanish edition of one of their big, painted books because the American edition no longer exists and they have had to pay all of that money to go in and re-letter the thing and re-do the sound effects.

SPURGEON: That is... that is slightly terrifying.

DORAN: It is the comics industry art archives holocaust, I'm just the first pig to squeal. [laughs] A lot of people don't want to talk about in part because they are not going to the time and the expense that I'm going to -- because they can't afford it. There are a lot of fully-painted books out there that are no longer being reprinted from the original negatives; they're being reprinted from scans of the book. The original edition doesn't exist anymore, and there's nowhere to get them: they just don't exist. So all of these beautifully painted books, you're seeing muddy new editions? That's because the books are gone. You're never going to see them again.

A lot of black and white books out there are being scanned directly and not being restored. They're just scanned and no one is trying to fix the tone sheets or doing whatever. Most people don't want to talk about that, and I understand that. The fact of the matter is the kind of restoration we're doing on this book is prohibitively expensive unless you're some crazy little woman living on a mountain like me who's willing to put your life savings into redoing the book on the off chance it eventually earns its money back. That's what I'm looking at. Most comic books are not going to earn that money back. They're just not.

SPURGEON: When I encountered the whole idea of what you had to do, it's another reminder that as much as we think of comics' disposability and institutional cheapness as things of the past, that there is lack of infrastructure, a basic lack of continuity and thus a lot of reinventing the wheel that still goes on in comics. I think this still happens in part because of those kinds of choices -- bad choices... or bad actors -- along the way. Is there anything we can learn from this? Are things getting better in terms of people realizing there's a benefit to thinking 20 years down the line and not taking short cuts and ensuring that other people don't? Or is that always going to be part of DNA.

DORAN: Well, there's several things going on here. First, our printer was paid to archive these items for us.

SPURGEON: Oh... oh, no. Okay.

DORAN: They have an archival system. They were supposed to be keeping those things. Printers in a foreign country. These negatives are not little photo negative, they're four feet by four feet flats. That's another thing that people don't understand when we say, "They lost our negatives." They think they're losing little strips of film. They're not losing little strips of film, they're losing their enormous flats. They cannot be going back and forth across international lines every time you need to print something. And you sure as hell don't want customs running their grubby hands over your material. [Spurgeon laughs] So they've got to be archived in a place where they're supposed to be safe. We paid these people to do this. They declare bankruptcy, get rid of our material, and we're all standing there with our ass hanging in the wind. [laughs] So we're like, "What are we going to do?" People are like, "Why don't you sue them?" The company that no longer exists? What are we going to sue them for, and even if we do we're still not going to have our negatives. Why don't I take the money that would have gone into a lawsuit, suck it up and work the problem. That's what we chose to do.

Oddly enough, we did get some negatives back. All of my books were shot from clean negatives for each new edition of the book... we did the comic, but we find mistakes in the comics so we'd shoot new negatives. What we'd end up getting is maybe a half-dozen issues of comic-book negatives back. But we also found out [laughs] that they never shot negatives for some of our books in the first place, while charging us for them, which is more expensive -- I found that very amusing. This explains why some of our printing was dubious in the first place.

I'm still using the old Japanese tone-sheet material for all of my tones. Which by the way, nobody uses anymore, for a good reason and I'm not going to use them again when I'm done with this book. In order to keep the look of the series absolutely consistent we've been using Japanese tone sheets for decades now -- oh God, I can't believe I said that out loud. [laughter] Yeah, really. Oh, how sad. [laughs] These sheets were never meant to be used with a computer. Because what you're basically doing is creating gray artificially. By pre-screening the image. When you put that tone sheet onto a scanner, what the scanner does is screen it again. You get all these problems with moiré... it picks up artifacts... my cat has been dead since 2006. I could clone him; he's all over these tone sheets. [laughter] I've actually cried while working on these. "Oh my God, my cat..." We have to take it out because the printer shooting photographic negatives won't find these artifacts but the digital scanner will. So they have to be removed.

imageIt's a fucking nightmare. I've got a thousand pages of this. Fortunately I have someone doing it for me but that costs a small fortune. I don't have any money. Another charity comes to me I'm just going to laugh in their face. [laughs] Yeah... I laugh. Any kind of little dust spec or even the peeling where the adhesive on the back of the tone has rolled a little bit will show. Just to clean up even an original page can take up to four hours a page. Now the result is pristine. The printing we got on volume one was just kick ass/take names. It's some of the best black and white printing I've seen in years. It was so nice to have some picky dude like Bob Chapman come up and looking at it through a jeweler's loop going, "This is great." [laughter] We got just a little bit of moray, which is not even... I mean, who cares? Just a little bit on some of the pages shot from originals. Nothing we can do about it. Maybe ten places in a 240 page book. You cannot get better than what we got. So, so clean. So good. Crispest black and white. Better than we had before! If we had the negatives, the book would not look this good. It just wouldn't, because the original material is not this clean. So all of the clean up and everything has given us a better result that we could have gotten had we done with what we originally had.

Unfortunately, it's costing me more money per page than I got to do most of this material in the first place. We're talking as much as 50 dollars or more a page for restoration... some are $15 but some are over $50. You do that over enough pages it's like doing a new book. It's really, really, really, really expensive. And like I said, only a crazy woman living on a mountain would go to this trouble. The chances are I will earn this money back. But chances are very good I will not see a profit for a considerable amount of time. Thank God for digital, because that's free money.

It is just so, so, so expensive. You see these crappy editions like Checker Publishing puts out, the Winsor McCay stuff, you just shake your head and go, "Well, what are you going to do?" Because they're not going to put in that time and money and effort.

SPURGEON: How do you even work on a story that you've been working on as long as you've been working on A Distant Soil? [Doran laughs] I know writer friends of mine that have abandoned rewrites on plays because they can't access the writer they were even one or two years ago. Is it difficult in that way, to return to this material, to make the newer stuff work in the same voice as the older material?

DORAN: It does mess with your head a little bit. I don't feel like it's any different than going back and reading a book I used to enjoy. If the book really sucked... well, here I am complimenting myself. There are some things about my earlier volumes that make my hair go the wrong way. [laughs] But having read them and read them years later -- I can go years between having read them -- I still go, "You know, that was kind of fun." And if I can do that with stuff that makes my hair go the wrong way I guess I did all right. I don't know any other way to put it. [laughter]

SPURGEON: You have a reputation as an image-maker. That's probably due to the illustration work you do, but even when I think of your public reputation as a cartoonist I think of picture-making: attractive, stand-alone visuals. So I re-read a bunch of A Distant Soil and what struck me wasn't the visual aspect but how dense the storytelling was. I don't mean to reduce it to the cliche of "There's a lot going on," but there's certainly a commitment to a multi-faceted narrative there; it's not about setting up the next image. The pages themselves are tightly structured, and you have this large cast... The plot is much more focused than I remember from my first reading some years ago. Is it compulsive in that way for you, to make sure the intricacies of your plot gets onto the page?

DORAN: That is very nice of you to say and it's very satisfying to hear you say it, because I don't think I have a reputation as a writer. I remember having a conversation... I was often put down for my writing when I started. I would have editors go in and say, "You don't know how to write" or "How dare you call yourself a writer" or "Let me re-do this for you." I was talking to Steve Bissette the other day, and I said, "I swear to God, one editor said to me, 'My brother can help you write this.'"

SPURGEON: Ugh.

DORAN: [laughs] We were talking about the strange imposition of other people on our stuff. Years ago I remember having a conversation with Scott McCloud and he said, "I think you're a better writer than you are an artist" which I guess is a backhanded compliment. I said that to a writer and the writer blew up. "You are not a writer. You don't know what you are doing." [laughter] You know, I probably just take negative comments to heart too much and assume they're always right. I like to think my work is careful and considered, and just as careful and considered as the art. I put almost as much time into writing a single issue as I do drawing it.

SPURGEON: That's interesting.

DORAN: I don't know if everybody notices, but I do. Because it's such a long story and because it was so complex for the very beginning, and I suppose it could be fairly argued that I substituted substance for complexity, but what can I say. I'm getting to the end, and it better be solid. That's what I think every time I sit down to write it. I have to make sure that all of this is what was meant from the very beginning. It needs to get from point A to point Z and it needs to be tight. I do not want all of these people that have put all that faith into me all of these years get to the end and go, "What the fuck?" [laughs]

So yeah, I am very very very careful. I will rewrite while I'm drawing it.

SPURGEON: I was talking to a mutual acquaintance of ours, and we were looking at some of your work, and we both wondered if there were things that you like to draw more than other things.

DORAN: Oh, shit yeah.

SPURGEON: So what is a good page for you? What is it about a page that makes you go, "Yeah, that's the one I want to do"?

DORAN: That depends on the book. There are things in some books. For me, A Distant Soil is the book where I get to indulge everything I want to draw. But on other books, if I'm drawing car chases, I'll tell you straight up I hate drawing cars. I hate drawing cars with a passion. But if I have to draw a car, I'll draw a car. If you look at Orbiter, it doesn't look a damn thing like A Distant Soil.

SPURGEON: No, it does not. It struck us both that there were maybe pages in the book with Derek McCulloch, Gone To Amerikay, where you really went to town.

DORAN: That doesn't look like A Distant Soil, either.

imageSPURGEON: No, it does not. The scenes set squarely in the past, it looks like you may have particularly enjoyed those.

DORAN: Hell, yeah. Yeah. That's fun. I love that stuff. Just don't give me a car chase scene. I can draw those things. I like to draw non-panel progressions. I like to draw buildings -- I know that sounds nuts, but I like to draw buildings.

SPURGEON: Is there an architectural impulse there? What is it about buildings?

DORAN: There's something very zen about drawing buildings. I know that sounds nutty. There's something thrilling about making lines on paper and coming up with a structure that seems to have validity. Does that sound nutty?

SPURGEON: Nah, that sounds interesting. We've talked a few times about your ability to get things done, to get past the way you might want things to be and work with what you have: sucking it up. This has been a tough year for a lot of comics people, including people we both know. Things get unraveled and people get in trouble. Does that element to the industry bother you at all, particularly now that a lot of our friends are going to be into their late fifties and then into their sixties and then into their seventies. Is that a special concern for you at all?

DORAN: I don't think... I was concerned about this stuff when I was in my twenties. I was already thinking about what am I going to do at this age, this age and this age. Will I have enough money for retirement? Do I have a home? Is somebody going to take my house away from me?

I remember the first time I bought a home, having a cartoonist who I won't rat out saying, "Don't buy a home. That's a waste of money. You should live very frugally." I'm so glad I didn't take that advice. I sold it for twice what I bought it for and always had a roof over my head that nobody could thow me out of at a moment's notice.

I've always thought about the long-term. In fact, a lot of the assignments that I take are with the eye for the long-term. I look at the back end. Ninety percent of the stuff I take is because of the back end. I don't think a lot of people do that. I'm not sure if it's because they can't do it or don't understand how to do it or don't have the option.

SPURGEON: There's a fear as well, it seems, in just talking about it, giving voice to these worries. There's a puffery that comics people have that sometimes gets in the way, too.

DORAN: Yeah. They're all afraid of being seen as weak or failures or vulnerable -- which I just think is... mmm. The fact of the matter is everybody's walking around with a sense of shame about money and success. I have none. That's why I have my blog. So I can talk about it all the damn time. I have no fear of talking about it. I think it's the biggest load of bullshit not to talk about money -- not to be concerned about money. We are professional artists after all. And the shame about asking what you're worth and expecting to get paid and even talking about money? What are we, landed gentry? What the fuck is this? We are laborers? Get paid for your damn work. What's so genteel about being above money? I don't get it. I don't know who the hell these people are, but I'm not one of them.

SPURGEON: Do you think you've had some influence by talking about it? Have you heard back from younger people or anyone that wants to orient themselves that way. It does seem like more people want to stick around comics, or at least have a foot in and thus a longer career that maybe isn't always going to be enmeshed with the larger companies, which is an interesting way to project 10, 20 years in the future. Are people listening to you, Colleen?

DORAN: Sure. What we've got are people that want to be authors. They want to be lifelong creators and owners or the works they produce instead of workers for product. As somebody who thoroughly enjoys working on licensed product [laughs] and gets a kick out of a lot of it, I certainly understand the appeal, but the likelihood you're going to have a long term career working for some of these companies is very small. Even some of these people that have been working there for decades find it's harder and harder and harder to make that pay off.

There's a huge pool of talent out there. Your competition in 1980s was who could get to New York with a portfolio. Your competition now is worldwide. And that is a really big deal. So what you need now is to have no competition -- be the only voice out there that is your voice, instead of the peg that fits in Superman's hole. [laughter] That sounds dirty. You won't get any shit from me for working on Superman. You won't get any shit from me for working on Wonder Woman. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of that stuff. But I know I can be replaced. If any creator knows what's good for them, they need to be the commodity -- not the product. You need to be the one place to go to get what you do.

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* Colleen Doran
* A Distant Soil
* A Distant Soil At Image Comics

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* image from Reign Of The Zodiac
* Vampire Diaries panel; Doran is writing
* Doran bakes (photo supplied by Doran and not really intended for publication; I hope she'll forgive me)
* working with Warren Ellis on Orbiter and Superidol
* from A Distant Soil; one page of many broken down into specific beats
* a restored page from ADS as scanned into Doran's blog
* non-panel progression page from Gone To Amerikay
* you will not get any grief from Doran for drawing Wonder Woman (below)

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