Words and Pictures with Jason Latour

At last weekend's New York Comic Con, I did some reporting for Bleeding Cool. They were kind enough to let me mirror some of the interviews that I did for them here at THE LONG AND SHORTBOX OF IT! This is one of Jon's favorite upcoming creators, Jason Latour, talking about his writing on the nonnoir Loose Ends and how his process is changed because he is both a writer and an artist. It was originally posted to Bleeding Cool on 10/16/11

JK:Will you tell me a little bit about Loose Ends?

JL: Basically, as it’s billed in the subtitle, it’s a southern crime romance, which is to say it’s a story set in North Carolina that travels throughout the Southeast. It follows what you could call a doomed romance, and it’s very much in the spirit of something like True Romance or other older movies like The Intimates and non-noirs. It’s very much about the execution of the story, more than a plot driven character thing.

JK: How did the book come together?

JL: It’s always been a passion project of mine, I’ve always been interested in crime fiction. I wanted to tell something that was sort of a personal story and a genre study, and Frank Brunner was also looking to do something similarly. He’s an unbelievable artist, and we became close friends and started kicking the story around, and eventually it became such a large part of our lives that we decided that we should hole up and actually do it.

JK: Does being an artist as well as a writer change the way that you write for someone else?

JL: Certainly. I think that it gives me, maybe not a better understanding but a more personal understanding of what he’s doing, and what it's like to have to sit and toil away at a page. I know firsthand what kind of problems sort of rear their head in the process of converting a word into an image. To some extent, I think it helps me to visualize what’s going to go into a script as well as when to let go. Other than that, it's more or less the same job as any other writer.

JK: Anything else coming up the pipe?

JL: Art-wise, it was announced today that I’m doing a two issue B.P.R.D mini series, it’s Scott Allie and Mike Mignola, with Dave Stewart coloring and I’m also doing an X-Force one-shot with Ivan Brandon, and Enrico Renzi is coloring that.

Words and Pictures with Gabriel Hardman

At last weekend's New York Comic Con, I did some reporting for Bleeding Cool. They were kind enough to let me mirror some of the interviews that I did for them here at THE LONG AND SHORTBOX OF IT! This is Gabriel Hardman, talking about his brand new Secret Avengers gig, why he loves drawing Beast and his work for the digital comics platform Double Feature. It was originally posted to Bleeding Cool on 10/16/11

JK: First, could you talk a little bit about how you ended up on Secret Avengers?

GH: I got a call from Lauren Sankovitch, who had been the associate editor on Agents of Atlas, which I drew a couple years ago, and she’s great, and I had worked with Rick Remender briefly on Doctor Voodoo, I did a little flashback sequence, so we had experience working together and I was interested in the group of characters and working with Rick again, and it was as simple as that.

JK: Could you talk about how you’re approaching the new series?

GH: I’m in the process of figuring that out right now. I mean, I’m drawing the first issue, and I’m always looking for a way to ground the characters in a real world, but then have room for it to go crazy and be big and science fiction.

JK: Is there a character you’re particularly excited to be drawing?

GH: I like doing Beast. There’s always something interesting about characters like that, that you have to make look real and work but not, you know, look mundane. It has to be exciting and fun. So, Beast and, to some degree, Hawkeye, as well. I read West Coast Avengers when I was a kid, and some of the other characters were in other Eighties books, the New Defenders and stuff like that that I enjoyed, so there’s a certain amount of familiarity and sentimental feelings about them.

JK: Can you talk a little bit about your work for Double Feature, the “The Liar” short story?

GH: Yeah. My wife and I wrote it, I drew it, and it's a kind of crazy espionage thing. It’s an eight-page story that you can get through the Double Feature iPad app, which has a lot of extras and extra functionality to it, you can see my process, the pencils and stuff like that, so you’re getting a lot for 99 cents. We want to do at least a couple more short stories and very likely there’ll be a creator owned graphic novel.

JK: Does the process feature of Double Feature make you feel exposed at all?

GH: Honestly, I don’t mind it. In general, I don’t like people seeing the process stuff, because I feel like it should all be sort of magic, you know? I think it's better if people don’t know how things are done. But the way that the Double Feature app works is so good and thorough that instead of being some half-assed sort of thumbnail printed somewhere that is out of context. This is everything in context, so you can really see the process of it. That made it feel like it was worthwhile.

Words and Pictures with Cliff Chiang

At last weekend's New York Comic Con, I did some reporting for Bleeding Cool. They were kind enough to let me mirror some of the interviews that I did for them here at THE LONG AND SHORTBOX OF IT! This is Cliff Chiang, talking about his work on Wonder Woman, and it was originally posted to Bleeding Cool on 10/16/11

JK: I was wondering how you like drawing Wonder Woman?

CC: It’s great. We’ve been given a lot of creative freedom with it, to be able to take it in this direction has been a lot of fun.

JK: What are you guys doing with all that creative freedom?

CC: Well, we’re just trying to tell good stories in a way that people aren’t expecting from Wonder Woman. There’s a lot of preconceptions about what a Wonder Woman story is, and we’re trying to blast through that.

JK: is there a way that your Wonder Woman is different than the way she has been approached in the past?

CC: I think other people have also done this, but that there’s more eyes on it now. I think we’re trying to do a very straight forward Wonder Woman, that isn’t tied up in backstory, and just present her as a very straight forward warrior.

JK: Do you have anything other than Wonder Woman going on right now?

CC: No, Wonder Woman is taking up all my time.

Words and Pictures with Ryan Kelly

At last weekend's New York Comic Con, I did some reporting for Bleeding Cool. They were kind enough to let me mirror some of the interviews that I did for them here at THE LONG AND SHORTBOX OF IT! This is Ryan Kelly talking about his upcoming ongoing series with Paul Cornell, Saucer Country, and it was originally posted to Bleeding Cool on 10/15/11

JK: Ryan, can you tell me about Saucer Country, the new book you’re doing with Paul Cornell?
RK: Well, Paul could tell you a lot more, but unfortunately he couldn’t be here this week. It’s going to be an ongoing, I have a good way of explaining it to most people, but I don’t want to spoil. There really is a good way I could explain in two sentences, but I’m afraid of spoiling it for people and so I’m still slowly learning how to explain to people. Roughly, it's about aliens, but overall it's about everything that goes into the American mythology of aliens. As far as I know, it could be about anything from abduction to saucer mythology, close encounters of the first kind, the second kind, the third kind, maybe hybrid star children… that’s only things I get from the first script, and I’ve only read the first script. I read the outline, the second and third scripts are done, but I haven’t read it yet. The editors have read it. So, roughly, what I can say is this: it’s about this woman, she’s the governor of New Mexico and she’s running for President, and what we find out in the first issue is that something happened to her. Something bad happened to her. What we understand is that she’s been abducted, but we don’t really know. She’s in this situation where she has to run for President, but she also has to tell everybody what happened. That’s a conflict that we see in the first issue, the first arc. I don’t want to get too much into it. All we know is that the aliens could be anything. She does get a team together, an academic on alien mythology, you know, on abduction, someone who is really knowledgeable, some visitors from space. Also, she has her publicist, some of her political people together, because she has to run for President and she’s also got to find proof, to figure out what happened to her. She’s having dreams. It’s kind of dark. She believes she’s having visitors, she’s having experiences. I’m treading really carefully about the story here because I don’t want to spoil too much, we’re at a very early stage, but just so you get the gist of what it’s about. It’s a mix of hard sci-fi and political drama/thriller. I think it’s going to be introduced in February.
JK: Can you talk about you’re going to approach it as an artist?
RK: It’s interesting. They’ve really just let me run with it and do my thing. There’s been some challenges early on about how to depict them, you know, the grays. I’m investigating and learning more about this and doing research on the hundreds and thousands of people around the world that truly believe they’ve had experiences of the third kind, that they’ve been abducted. I’ve been doing a lot of research, and I want it to be really scary, I don’t want it to be like an alien invasion, like what you would see on movies or tv. I something kind of new, but also kind of familiar. I’m inspired by everything from Whitely Striber’s Communion, and also Stephen Speilberg’s take in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so I want to be scary, but I don’t want to give away too much: they have black eyes, they’re scary, they’re frightening. I want people to use their imagination, without having to give too much. I want there to be a lot of mystery, a lot of black, a lot of darkness. But there are also a lot of people standing around in business suits talking, because it's also like a government conspiracy. I’m going to mix in some of that.
JK: Can you talk a little bit about your book FUNRAMA?
RK: Funrama is a total side project. Every artist has one of these. You know how it is. I work on it every minute I’m not working on my real work, it’s a total side project, but I’m totally dedicated to it. I’m going to be doing it for the rest of my life. Funrama is like me doing superheroes, if I did superheroes. There are characters and stories in it that I created when I was 11 years old. All of my characters, I created them when I was a little kid. I’m bringing them back, because the whole point of doing this is fun. I’m not making a dime from it, no money from it, no publisher. It’s kind of like remembering that comics are for fun, that that’s what I do. I won’t call it a hobby but… that’s why I call it Funrama. Funrama is a place, it’s a power, it’s a spirit. It could be anything. I’ll be drawing it for the rest of my life. Probably until I’m about 80. There’ll be a hundred issues, and I’ll still be doing it. I’m really dedicated to it.