I think It means you have to be able to tell a really good story. You have to be able to Draw, for sure. But Storytelling is the Pure Essence of what it's about. You have to be able to lead the viewers eye around the page from panel to panel without them noticing, while they have a good time doing it.
Books are Books. Prose. Words strung together in a poetic fashion to weave what you hope to be an entertaining yarn. Comics are Comics. Words strung together with Drawings to weave what you also hope to an entertaining yarn. Heres the difference though: Drawings. Theres the real rub. People read comics, because they want pictures with their words. If not, then they would read a Book, right?
So let's focus on the collaboration of Writer and Artist. I don't think that one is more important than the other, because in a perfect world a Comic should be a true collaboration of word and picture. That the Writer should not feel like he should, or should want to tell the Artist how he should interpret his script, and that the Artist should also not presume to tell the Writer how to do his job. It should melt together. Writers should leave enough leverage in their script for interpretation by the Artist to create a great story that pays respect to the source material. Working together. And by that, I mean if you, as the Artist, have an idea that diverges from the script you were given, then talk to your Writer about it before you just run with it. Now that's not to say that you won't be over eager from time to time. You will. It's the nature of who you are. Just as Writers sometimes want you to draw Exactly what they wrote. That's where the collaboration comes in. Give and take. Knowing when to fight for your ideas, and when to let go and trust your partner. Again, I am talking about a perfect world here. Which is rare. That's why there are so few REALLY great Comics. It's rare to hook up with "That" guy, or Girl who "Get's" you, and you "Get" them. So when it happens, attach yourself to that person for as long as you can. I promise It will be rewarding. Communication is key. If you find yourself connected with a creator that isn't interested in talking, whether it be on the phone or e-mail, RUN. That's a clear sign that they are NOT into collaboration.
Now there is also another theory:
It goes like this...
The writer is like a Script Writer for film. They write the Script, then it goes into production. That means a Storyboard Artist, A Director, a Cameraman, a Lighting technician, Costumers, designers, Special Effects, Set dressers, make-up, pyrotechnics, research and development and post production. And I know I missed a ton. So really the Heavy Lifting of a Comic is all on the Artist. The Writer has one Job, and the Artist is saddled with every-one-of-those-other-positions. ALL of them. So, theres that. And let's just say that there are few guys who can pull all that weight without being crushed under it. And It's not for me to say who can and cannot bare the weight. Just to point it out.
It also bares pointing out that a LOT of these things come with time. You can't do some or all of these things as a Freshman. You have to spend time learning your craft. Making mistakes and learning from them. Being paired with the wrong guys, and the right guys, and knowing the difference after. And hopefully moving towards creating your own material and steering your own ship. But again, that's in a perfect world and shit gets fucked up on a regular basis in Comics. You just do your best to Navigate the waters without your ship sinking, and hopefully create something beautiful along the way. The balance between your Job and your Art will always rip you to pieces. To be continued.