A Month of Writing Stars – Barbara Slate
Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book writing “star,” someone who I think is a very good writer.
I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?
Here is the archive of previously featured writers.
Today we look at the third in a series of…(I dunno…three? four? something like that…) great Archie writers.
Barbara Slate broke into the comics field in a rather enterprising manner. She created her own line of sassy female-geared greeting cards (based around the main character of Ms. Liz) during the mid-70s and after selling Bloomingdale’s on the cards based just on sketches – he then used the money from the pre-orders to actually print the cards!!
After having some notable success with both the greeting card industry and also having Ms. Liz featured on the Today Show, Slate approached Jenette Kahn about doing some comic book work, and that’s where Slate created the rather unique comic book series, Angel Love.
Angel Love was unique because although it was geared towards teenagers, it dealt with adult issues (anyone remember the DC house ads for Angel Love? Those were way over the top, but the series itself was fun).
We all know, however, what often happens to “unique” things, right? They don’t find a market, and DC quickly dried up for Slate. Marvel, though, was willing to do work with her…including two decidedly offbeat projects…
The first, a Yuppies From Hell series of one-shots…
And two, a book about teens in the Roman Empire – Sweet XVI.
Up until that point, she was writing and drawing her work, but then she got a gig at Marvel writing for Barbie, where she switched gears a bit (doing strictly kids work for the first time ever), but she did it well (and yes, that is how vast my comic book reading goes – I have even read issues of Barbie).
At this point, she popped on to Archie Comics’ radar, and she has been writing Archie Comics ever since!
Unlike Webb and Boldman, Slate’s stories tend not to have the same standard themes – they are just normal, well-written stories, although usually with a nice topicality to them – she is quite adept at writing female characters. However, the main thing you get out of her work is that she knows how to tell a story extremely well (especially in the short amount of pages afforded to her in Archie Comics). In fact, Slate has become such a master at storytelling that she even teaches classes on how to write graphic novels (she has a book out on the topic, too!)!
That’s what she spends a lot of her time doing nowadays (her Archie Comics output is not as prolific as Webb or particularly Boldman – she tends to just do an occasional short story here and there nowadays).
Here‘s her website. Be sure to check out the article on her graphic novel classes by Kate Kirschenheiter where she absolutely butchers Jenette Kahn’s name (Jeanette Conn? Seriously? Couldn’t spend 30 seconds on Google to check that out?).