Karma to Steve for the Eisner quote. I actually was going to post that very thing before I'd read through the whole thread.
Going back to the idea that artists aren't "co-authors":
If you think that the artist only follows the directions provided in the script, then you've never had your own script illustrated by someone other than yourself. Or you've never illustrated a script for another person.
Tell that to the people who bust their asses, in all likelihood putting in more hours per comic than the writers, only to have their contributions minimized.
And if you found this comment of Jim's to be inflammatory, then you've never illustrated a comic book -- period.
Writers the world over recognize that it generally takes a great deal more work to draw a comic than it does to write one. This is why so many writers are able to juggle multiple monthly titles, and it's why very FEW artists are able to do the same.
I'm not saying that the writer is less important than the artist. It's not diminishing in the slightest to the contribution of the writer to realize that drawing a book simply takes more time, and in most cases, more effort.
I think this is something that we can recognize if we're being honest with ourselves. So, if for no other reason than out of respect for the amount of work that goes into drawing a comic, then YES, artists deserve equal billing.
McFarlane was right on in this regard:
I think it's too easy for a writer to put stuff on paper that he doesn't have to draw. So, in other words, if I'm writing and I don't have to draw it... well, I wouldn't actually ever write this, because I know somebody would have to draw it. But if I were a writer and I never drew, then I would go, "Oh! Let's do a fleet of aliens coming down from 12 planets, about a thousand of them, and then heads are floating over the Capitol Building, make about 18,000 of them dropping down, and then we're going to have, like, The Avengers and The Defenders coming," and you're starting to get into Independence Day.
Well, you know what? For me to describe that scene, I can type that in about two and a half minutes. It takes four days to draw that damn picture. Three minutes to think it up, four days to draw the double-page spread. It's just painful.