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Now Part of the Mystery Writers of America

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magister

A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

I am pleased to announce your humble scribe has been inducted into the Mystery Writers of America as an active (read: full) member on the basis of the Division and Rush webcomic (start here).

"What?" you ask. "Membership in a professional writers association for writing a webcomic?"

Oh, don't be so shocked.  It's not like I'm the first.  Tim Broderick's not just a member, he's VP of the Mid-West chapter and he's best known for his Odd Jobs webcomic.  You can even get the collected print edition of Odd Jobs at the Chicago Public Library.  (I did.)  I also somehow doubt that Dick Tracy, Ms. Tree or Road to Perdition were held against Max Allan Collins, even if Collins was already an accomplished novelist prior to his comics work.

Moral of the story: times are changing and definitions of professional credentials are changing.   The Mystery Writers of America accept that professional writing is professional writing, be it prose, a movie/television script or a comic strip.  And it's an affirming thing to be recognized by your higher profile peers and be told "yes, you're a professional just like us."

With their discovery by Hollywood, comics have taken on a higher profile, but that doesn't mean they're respected in every circle.  Take the Science Fiction Writers of America, for example.  Comics are generally associated more with science fiction and fantasy, than they are with mysteries.  If you look at the SFWA's eligibility requirements, you'll find that "graphic novelists" are specifically categorized as "affiliate" members.  Please note that "affiliate" is also the membership category for reviewers.  Might that be interpreted as commentary? 

This is even sadder when the science fiction-based Hugo Awards have added a "Graphic Story" category, which was won by Phil Foglio's Girl Genius webcomic, last year.  [BTW, I haven't written any science fiction, nor have I applied for SFWA membership.  I just think the situation is uncommonly silly.]

Me, I'm now in enlightened company with the MWA.  I may be in the minority of comic writers, but it always takes somebody (the MWA, in this case) to be first, so maybe the other professional organizations will come around in time.

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