Longb'ox
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[image: a page from the introduction to the graphic novel Hicksville. The text reads: “After Hicksville came out, I started getting offers of work from the big American comics companies. The money was great and I worked with some nice people… but the stories didn’t come easily. For the first time in my life I was making comics I couldn’t respect. As time went on it drew harder and harder to write and draw my own comics. Soon just looking at a comic - any comic - filled me with dread… I could no longer see the point of it all… I should have listened to Sam.” The page has nine panels. The first is completely black; the second and third show a man working at a computer. The next three panels show an issue from Batman: War Games, a open but blank sketch book, and a graphic novel. The final three panels show a man looking out a large window to a view of a lake or ocean and a distant island or peninsula. We see his face reflected in the glass - he looks unhappy.]

Horrocks was writing for Batgirl when the War Games story ran. When I heard him talk about it recently, at the local Writers and Readers festival, I got the distinct impression that War Games was one of the reasons he went back to writing and drawing his own stories. He called the meeting to decide how Steph was going to die a “mob hit”, and said that Devin Grayson was the only person to ask why it was once again the women and the characters of colour who were getting killed off.

This page is an excerpt from the introduction to the 2010 edition of Horrocks’ book, Hicksville - pay close attention to which title is shown in the fourth panel. The “Sam” he mentions is a Hicksville character who finds writing other people’s comics a harrowing experience, who feels increasingly isolated and the writing itself increasingly more difficult; this story foreshadowed what Horrocks himself was to experience working for DC.

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