Author Neil Gaiman has come to the defence of a comic-book writer after some on social media questioned her experience.
Eve Ewing has been chosen to pen Marvel's new Ironheart comic-book series but the writer is perhaps better known as an award winning poet and academic.
Gaiman's Twitter exchange also involved comic-book writer Kurt Busiek and prompted a discussion around how transferable poetry skills were to storytelling.
Poetry is also about language, and ideas, and elegance of thought and expression. For that matter, so is nonfiction. A writer is a writer.— Zach Rabiroff (@zachrabiroff) September 2, 2018
FlorbFnarb, who had questioned Ewing's credentials, replied that a good writer of one genre was not necessarily skilled in another.
I agree entirely that elegance of thought matters. I do not agree that a writer is a writer. A good fiction writer does not automatically make a good nonfiction writer; a good novelist would not automatically make a good playwright.— FlorbFnarb (@FlorbFnarb) September 2, 2018
Gaiman then stated that historically poets often wrote comics, as did playwrights and journalists.
I agree: being able to write prose fiction ≠ you can write comics. Many tried & failed. The key seems to be enthusiasm for & interest in the medium & the characters and being able to convince others that you can do it. Comics writers were often poets, playwrights, journalists.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) September 2, 2018
The Sandman comic book series writer also responded to @ComixFanboy on Twitter, who said comic-book authors "should have a track record within the industry", explaining that the industry had taken a chance on him.
In the kindest possible way, this is ignorant twaddle. I was hired by DC having not published any comics yet, with 3 published short stories to my credit. I’d journalism background so they knew I understood deadlines. But they liked my pitches+my enthusiasm, & they took a chance.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) September 3, 2018
Twitter user @ComixFanboy later said he was "satisfied" with Eve Ewing's experience in comics.
I'm not even asking for a high bar. I want some experience in fiction or experience that translates to comics in some way...any way. That's why when they said Eve Ewing wrote some comic pages I withdrew my complaint. Other people might want more. I'm satisfied with that.— Comix the Fanboy (@ComixFanboy) September 3, 2018
Touched by the fact that Gaiman would defend her ability to write comics, Ewing took to Twitter to have a conversation with her 15-year-old self.
She told the teenager that she would one day write for Marvel and people would "argue" about it.
[travels back in time to 15-year-old self] hey guess what?! one day you’ll be a marvel comics writer— wikipedia brown aka eve ewing aka lil muji pen (@eveewing) September 3, 2018
me: omg that’s great
me: but people on the internet will argue for days over whether you’re qualified
me: but Neil Gaiman will indirectly defend you...?!
me: WAT https://t.co/Z8eMaoLwvz
The Chicago-born author told users she would rather people did "not" fight about her on the internet.
There has been support for Ewing's appointment.
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Ironheart follows the adventures of Riri Williams, a teenage genius, who designs a suit of armour inspired by the superhero Iron Man.
Speaking to Marvel in August, Ewing said of the series: "Ironheart symbolises what happens when you combine incredible strength and might with a sense of love, care and a true desire for justice.
"[Riri] and I have a lot in common and it's been so fun to write her so far. Not just as a black woman but specifically as a black woman from Chicago and an awkward nerd."
The first "solo" Ironheart comic, with Ewing as author, will be released in November.