The Case of the Missing Author: Toward an Anatomy of Collaboration in Comics

  • Brenna Clarke Gray
  • Peter Wilkins
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels book series (PSCGN)


In a January 2012 interview for BBC4, Matthew Cain questions the painter David Hockney on his use of assistants. Cain is trying to get at whether Hockney’s three assistants produce any of his art. But Hockney doesn’t bite. He says that he made “all the marks” and that an assistant would never pick up a paintbrush. The role of the assistant is purely that of the logistical helper; he or she does physical work, but not the work most associated with the production of capital “A” art: the relationship of the hand, the eye, and the heart. David Hockney is an art star, significant as both commercial brand and artist. His name confers value to his artwork. An anonymous painting that looked like a David Hockney piece, but wasn’t, would be dismissed as either a valueless imitation or a forgery. Even people who cannot afford a David Hockney work have some stake in its authenticity, otherwise interviewers like Matthew Cain would not ask questions about it. It is a relief that Hockney “made all the marks.”


Collaborative Process Collaborative Comic Comic Book Comic Artist Apprenticeship Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. The A.V. Club. 2014. Exclusive Preview: Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser Tackle Post-WWII Hollywood in The Fade Out #1. The A.V. Club, August 08.
  2. Barthes, Roland, and Stephen Heath. 1977. Image, Music, Text. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  3. Berry, Dan. 2014. Jillian Tamaki. Make It Then Tell Everybody, September 18.
  4. Bredehoft, Thomas A. 2011. Style, Voice, and Authorship in Harvey Pekar’s (Auto) (Bio)Graphical Comics. College Literature 38(3): 97–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, Chester and Seth. 2008. An Open Letter to the Governor General’s Literary Awards. November 12.
  6. CBCNews. 2015. The 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award Winners. CBCNews, February 13.
  7. Channel 4 News. 2012. David Hockney—Full Channel 4 News Interview. YouTube, January 17.
  8. Gardner, Jared. 2011. Storylines. SubStance #124.Google Scholar
  9. Mag, Uidhir Christy. 2012. Comics and Collective Authorship. PhilPapers.
  10. McConnell, Robin. 2014. Mariko Tamaki. Inkstuds Radio, November 13.
  11. Meskin, Aaron, and Roy T. Cook. 2012. The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Phegley, Kiel. 2014. ‘Scott Pilgrim’s’ Bryan Lee O’Malley Goes for ‘Seconds’. July 16.
  13. Stevenson, Noelle, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen. 2014a. Lumberjanes #1. Los Angeles: Boom! Box.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2014b. Lumberjanes #5. Los Angeles: Boom! Box.Google Scholar
  15. Stevenson, Noelle, Shannon Watters, and Brittney Williams. 2014c. Lumberjanes #9. Los Angeles: Boom! Box.Google Scholar
  16. Sturm, James. 2014. The Sponsor. The Nib, November 3.
  17. Tamaki, Jillian. 2014. GGs. Sketchblog, December 1.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenna Clarke Gray
    • 1
  • Peter Wilkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Douglas CollegeNew WestminsterCanada

Personalised recommendations