How I Get Ideas: Comic book author Ann Nocenti

Author Ann Nocenti has worked on some of the biggest titles in the comic book world. She shares how a wander through the city can be enough to create an entire storyline, and why paying attention to niggling thoughts can spark big ideas 

“If something enters your brain pan and rolls around long enough, it comes out in different ways,” says comic book author Ann Nocenti. Having written and edited a number of major series, including Daredevil, The Uncanny X-Men and Green Arrow, she’s no stranger to the pressures of coming up with fresh ideas. Over the course of a 30-year career – which has also included journalism, filmmaking and curating – Nocenti has learnt that creativity can come from unexpectedly everyday sources.

“Comics are very fast,” she says. “I wrote Daredevil for four years, as well as Spider-Man and Catwoman, and when you’re on a monthly you’re working so fast you can’t help but become a little bit of a documentarian. You start taking from whatever you see. Daredevil lived in Hell’s Kitchen, and I lived in New York, so I would wander Hell’s Kitchen and see things and throw them in the comic.