This past weekend, I had an opportunity to speak briefly with artist Annie Wu, during which we discussed her collaboration with writer Matt Fraction on Hawkeye. Previously, I had written about connections between the L.A. Woman story-line and the film The Long Goodbye. Wu confirmed my theory that Fraction based the mentor P.I. character on Eliot Gould’s performance in the movie. She even admitted trying to recreate the same cat food brand which Gould is searching for in the film’s opening seqeunce. She added that Gould was not the only cultural figure to slip into the narrative. The features for the gay couple were based on Issac Hayes and Lou Gossett Jr’s characters on The Rockford Files, a TV detective series from the same period. Meanwhile, Fraction mixed some horror into the mix by evoking obscure Marvel character Harold H. Harold. Oh, and yes, that reclusive musician was based in part on The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. L.A. Woman turned out to be a project which required a fair amount of research.
Yet, we both agreed that was one of the things which made Fraction’s writing so rich. He possesses a wide scope of cultural knowledge so that he can pull in ideas from all sorts of places. In fact, while Wu and I discussed her comics work, we spent an equal amount of time chatting about the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which was the subject of the commission she was drawing for me. This sentiment was echoed the next day at an Image panel. When asked what comic artists influenced him, Wes Craig said that the most important thing for developing artists was to “get their heads out of comics.” Look outside the medium at other art forms. Draw from all over in order to find your own voice. Your work will be richer for it.