Category Archives: Interviews

Interview: Michael Golden

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for an interview with the Michael Golden who was first known for his work on Marvel’s Micronauts, before drawing a number of Marvel comics throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He is also well known as the co-creator of Rogue and creator of Bucky O’Hare.

BookGateway.com (BG): I’ll tell you the truth. I am here personally because my first comic books were… [pulls out personal original copies of Micronauts 1 and 2  (1978) to Michael Golden’s delighted laughter] one’s I fought with my brother over and when I found out you were going to be here I had to see you. I’ve only got a few of my old comics but I still have these so I wanted to bring them in to show you. I don’t want you to sign them or anything. I mean they are worth nothing…

micro1Michael Golden (MG): What do you mean they are worth nothing?!

BG: Well, they are worth a lot to me!

MG: Yeah, that’s what it’s all about!

BG: I was joking with the ratings booth and asked, ‘does this even have a rating?’ The covers come off. My brother wrote on one of them and I whited it out. I’m like, no that’s not yours, that’s mine.

MG: You know what? That makes them priceless!

BG: It does make them priceless! So how are things going for you? What are you working on now?

MG: I am doing all kinds of things, most of which if I tell you I’ll have to kill you.

BG: I don’t want to die so keep it to yourself.

Boothmate: He has a Daredevil cover coming out soon. And several other covers.

BG: Do you have to kill her now?

MG: No, no. The Daredevil cover is already out, so.

Boothmate: I meant Deadpool, not Daredevil.

GoldenAvengersAnn10MG: Yeah, Deadpool. We still don’t have to kill you because Marvel already put that out there.

BG: Do you mostly do covers now?

MG: As far as the comic book companies, yes. Simply because I don’t have a whole lot of time to do interior work. And if I do it’s my own stuff. As far as presentation and concept work.

BG: So what are you doing? You mostly do graphic design now? I heard you were out of…

MG: I’m mostly out of the commercial art business. But if something lands in my lap, and I’ve got the time to do it and they pay well, you know…

BG: They pay well for certain artists. I think you’re on the list.

MG: I’m not out of comics. Fortunately, I’m one of the top tier artists in the business. But I just don’t have a whole lot of time. I don’t have the incentive. It’s all work for hire. If I’m gonna bother to put that much effort and work into something I’m gonna do it for myself.

BG: So now you created some well known comic characters. Rogue (1981). How did that come about?

MG: Well, very pedantically actually. We just needed a villain for the script. The whole story was about an entirely different circumstance and event but we needed a catalyst. [Chris Claremont] had this idea for a character sitting handy and it landed in my lap and we created this character. I thought she made a great villian but what he’s done with her since as far as evolution has been profound.

G_I_ Joe 027BG: How is seeing something like that on the big screen?

MG: Everything I, you know, Bucky O’Hare, ‘Nam, you know all of this stuff has made it to other venues. And it’s – I’m gonna equate it, even though I don’t have the experience, to seeing your kids finally grow up and move out of the house. It’s like, about damn time! But isn’t it cool?

BG: It’s exciting to see comic books in movies where they don’t look super cheesy.

MG: Yeah, well, the thing is you could still make them cheesy but make them good. Like the Mask. That was one of the cheesiest movies you’ve ever saw, but it was right out of the comic book and because they had such a screen presence in Jim Carey and Cameron Diaz, her first movie and she was a little doll back then, that movie got pulled off. That’s what happened in the second one. When they lost Jim Carey they were back to bad cheesy. So it can be done.

BG: Dick Tracy was one of my (David) favorites.

MG: Yep. Dick Tracy was another example. He went out of his way to make it like it was out of a comic book and it was good! Very good. Despite Madonna.

BG: Despite Madonna. That’s awesome.

MG: She’s great to look at but she can’t work worth a damn!

BG: Well we have seen that time after time, right? Thank you very much for your time!


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Interview: Robert and Shawn Lamb

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for an interview with the former Filmation storyboard artist and writer/ director Robert Lamb (He-Man Masters of the Universe, Ghostbusters, She-Ra, Fat Albert, BraveStarr, Darkwing Duck) and screen writer and author Shawn Lamb (BraveStarr, Allon series). We spoke to them about Shawn’s book series and their history from Filmation to current.

BookGateway.com: I know you (Shawn Lamb) are in to the book and just started a new series. Is that right?

Shawn Lamb: The most recent series is the children’s books (the King’s Children). An offshoot of [the Allon series.]

Allon1_cover_424x646BG: It’s not an adaptation…

SL: No, no. Because the younger siblings want to know what the older siblings are reading… And I had some of the older siblings say that their younger siblings play Allon. So what I did was take the characters from the series that are teens, starting as teens, in the books and this is when they are children. The same characters…

Robert Lamb: Same places, but stand along stories.

SL: It’s just kid misadventures. They go some place they shouldn’t have. Their parents told them not to. He (Robert Lamb) illustrates them because our daughter left so he had to match her style.

BG: (To Robert Lamb) I think you’re qualified.

SL: He (Robert Lamb) calls these the deleted scenes between books two and three.

RL: Because the oldest Nigel is an infant here (in book 2) and a 16 year old there (book 3).

BG: So there is a skip there between 2 and 3.

SL: Right.

BS_PROMO_01RL: (To Shawn Lamb) Which one of these books is actually referenced?

SL: All these stories are referenced in the series.

RL: “Remember when we were kids and we did this?”

BG: So this was back story…

SL: Yes. These are for 8 to 10 [year olds] – chapter books.

BG: So how many books are going to be in this series?

SL: These three.

BG: The nine of [Allon] and the three of [the King’s Children]. What’s next?

SL: I’ve had some fans ask me about the Guardians. The Guardians are the immortal characters . They represent… they have an angelic type quality. And of course, there was a great battle before this. Of course, they fell. They were banished from Allon. So they go, “how did that happen?” So I’m kinda toying around with a trilogy about the Guardians prior to this because there is like a 500 year gap.

RL: It won’t be called “Allon.” It would be “The Guardians of Allon.” And we would not put them in the numeric series.

SL: Yeah. I’m getting a lot of questions about that. “What happens she-ra-imagewith this Guardian…”

RL: Instead of using the Arabic numbers, I’d use Roman numerals.

BG: So [Robert Lamb] is like, “Let’s make sure this fits my art style!” She will write it but I’m gonna do the covers, k?

SL: [laughter] He does all the covers.

RL: I do all the typesetting. Right now, I’m a graphic designer and illustrator. The film work is done. I’m now doing stuff that pays the bills. Creative work. I still enjoy doing it.

BG: Did you guys both work at Filmation?

SL: I did freelance. I did BraveStarr.

BG: Just BraveStarr?

SL: That was the last series I got in.

RL: In fact, I think I was just finishing up She-Ra when we met…

SL: It’s almost… it’s gonna be 30 years soon!

BG: Congratulations!

RL: Yeah, so I was on staff. I went back from writing to storyboards because I got in to too many technical arguments with the head hemanwriter who said, “Nobody cares. It’s just kids.” Cause I’d say, “We established a character did this in this episode what do you mean they can’t do the same thing in this other episode?” He goes, “Well it ruins the whole thing.” If a person can teleport then you can’t trap him in a ditch. He can teleport out. “No one’s gonna notice.” I kept butting heads too many times.

BG: I think you’ve been proven right at this point with the kids when they grew up and are now taking everything apart.

RL: I tell you I have been inundated with questions over the last ten years, “How come this, this and this and was there a master plan?” I go, “No there wasn’t a master plan.” There was something like eight scripts in production at the same time. Four in house. Four freelance. And the in house writers would talk to each other. “I want to do this with this character. Did you do anything with this character?” And you could do that. The outside guys were just writing, you know, off the cuff.

SL: I was outside. But I also had an insider.

BG: I don’t know if you count as an outsider…

RL: But we tried as much as possible to maintain continuity and establish things and play off…

shapeimage_4BG: What did you do between Filmation and now?

RL: Actually I tried to get on at other studios but it just didn’t work out. And the Lord moved us here [to Tennessee]. We sold our house in eight hours! We didn’t have enough money for another mortgage payment. We put it up for sale, went to choir practice, and that night we had an offer on our answering machine.

BG: Very nice!

RL: You know, God speaks in a still small voice. But every once and while he shouts. And it was “Get out!” And he moved us here…

BG: From where?

RL: California. Los Angeles to here.

SL: His family is originally from Middle Tennessee. They’ve been here since like the 1790s.

RL: Our daughter was about a year old and we were kinda wanting to get out of LA but I loved working at Filmation so when that dried up we thought about it again. And when I wasn’t getting anywhere in ReturnGranamyr_SC_03-05LA I said, “OK, maybe it’s time to go here.” We came out here, checked out Nashville and Memphis – liked Nashville better. And I was getting some freelance offers. Well, OK, let’s see if we’re supposed to go. We will try selling our house… And also the reason was that we could live off the equity in our house for about six months in LA or two years here. And we did. It was tough.

SL: When we got here he did some freelance for Disney.

RL: The Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa (1992-1993) which was on ABC. A weird western about anthropomorphized cows with slogans like, “To err is human, to forgive bovine.”

BG: You ever try to go into the comic industry at all?

RL: I did not.

BG: What kept you out of that?

RL: I was more of a concept guy. I actually honed my illustration chops in later years by doing graphic design and illustration to the point where I was doing this (Allon book illustrations). At Filmation ReturnGranamyr_SC-0321we did this size (very small drawings of scenes on roughly the size of a third of a piece of standard paper). This is not a reduction. This is the actual size I had to do it on. And so they used to tell us, “If you wanted to draw go in to layout.” Cause then you’re doing full size. I was more interested in the staging and the thinking through process. So I would take a script and interpret it visually. In fact they now call the roll of storyboard, director. Because you’re really calling all the shots. The animation directors at Filmation actually did the timings and would instruct the animator on what they wanted for performances. They would revise the setup… After I moved here I worked for Brentwood Music, a Christian company… They were just making the switch from traditional layout to desktop publishing. It was not a good paying job but I went back to school and learned Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark Express. Which definitely gave me some skill set that I could use in more places than this (Filmation)… This was a limited skill set. Then built on that.

BG: Well whatever you did after this, you still had a part in our childhood so thank you for that… I mean it’s He-Man, Transformers, G.I. Joe and for me Robotech. And after that it’s everything else.

RL: She was a big Robotech fan! The thing that amazed me was that I had favorite shows as a kid but none of them really held to my adulthood other than fond memories. I was amazed at the way He-Man resonated that generation that as adults they are still big time He-Man fans! Some of them have whole rooms full of the toys!

BG: That’s a little much, but it’s on Netflix now so we can take our kids and watch through it again. It’s pretty fun.

SL: He is interviewed on the DVD, the special edition DVD. On Ghostbusters, She-Ra…

RL: Filmation’s Ghostbusters.

BG: I remember that. It was a little quirky. Is this the Ghostbusters with the monkey? The ape or gorilla?

RL: Yes.

BG: Thank you for your time. It has been great talking to you!

Check out Shawn’s book series website and Robert’s site. Storyboard pics taken from Robert Lamb’s website all rights reserved by him. Book cover pics taken from Shawn Lamb’s website all rights reserved by her.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Interview: Ron Garney

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for a quick interview with Ron Garney one of the most iconic artists in comics since the 90s. From Wikipedia: Ron Garney is a comic book writer/artist, known for his work on books such as JLA,The Amazing Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Hulk, Daredevil and Captain America. Garney has worked on JLA,The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Ghost Rider volume 3, Wolverine, Captain America, X-Men, Silver Surfer and Hulk. He has also written for Hulk in collaboration with Jerry Ordway.

BookGateway.com: I’d like to ask you about a couple of your older runs. Captain America with Mark Waid (1995-1996). Did you guys know when it changed over to Heroes Reborn… did you know that was coming?

Ron Garney: No. It was a… it was a surprise to both of us. We were um in the middle of a run and it was going really well and we both got a call from the editor and he told us that the book was leaving house to Rob Liefeld. So we were pretty shocked.

cap445BG: After that run, you guys came back for a few more for Heroes Return (1998).

RG: Yep.

BG: That lasted like 4 or 5 issues with you.

RG: Yeah that lasted like 4 or 5 issues then they wanted to start the new book Sentinel of Liberty (1998).

BG: You wrote that and drew that, right?

RG: I helped. It was [a collaboration.] But um, yeah, after that I went from Cap to Silver Surfer (#123 cover) to Heroes Return. Then to Sentinel of Liberty. I can’t remember what I did after that. It’s been a long career.

BG: That sorta segues to another question. You’ve had a very long career – right now it’s Uncanny X-Force (2013), I believe –

thorRG: I did Uncanny X-Force then I did Thor, God of Thunder (2012). Now I’m working on a creator owned with Jason Aaron, Men of Wrath (2014).

BG: Through Icon?

RG: Through Icon. It’s the first book they’ve put out in a while. So we’re excited about it. It comes out in October.

BG: What would you credit to your longevity in the business. You don’t see guys in the business like that. You’ve been on some big books throughout your career.

RG: That’s a great question. Um, You know just persevering and grinding it out you know? I think you get a reputation for being pretty dependable. Within reason. It’s a hard industry to be dependable in.

BG: You seeing that more and more? Not meeting deadlines?

Uncanny_X-Force_Vol_2_1_Garney_VariantRG: You know, I mean, to be really excellent like a lot of these guys are it takes time. God bless John Buscema, you know. For a guy like that who can draw as well as he can. No, it’s much more developed sensibility now than it was back in the 70s. Or the 60s. So I think artists are artists and they tend to do their thing. There is a certain type. I am fortunate that I’m a… can be a workhorse if I have to be. So that’s probably why. And I’ve also been successful, like with Cap. You have a successful run like that, you know, it lasts a career. People remember you for that. They appreciate it so they give you other opportunities that other people might not necessarily get.

BG: Another run you did with J. Michael Straczynski on was on Spider-Man (2006). That also happened to be right before they made a big change. Is that something you knew was coming? With One More Day (2007-2008) and all the changes?

RG: As far as changing the marriage and the Mephisto thing? I didn’t know about that either.

mofwBG: How was that working with J. Michael Straczynski?

RG: Honestly, to be perfectly frank, I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t speak to him once. I have my personal opinions about that that I’ll keep off record. We’ve never spoken.

BG: So what’s Men of Wrath about?

RG: It follows a lineage of hit men back to this old farmer, sheep farmer, who ends up accidentally mixing his sheep with another farmer and they get in an argument about it and this guy Wrath stabs the other farmer in the neck. Just over the argument. His little kid is watching, his son, and it starts a succession of violence through the generations and it ends up where we end up with this hit man in the mafia in modern day is sick and ultimately contracts a hit on his own son. So the story goes from there. We learn the history fo all this and all the incidences that led to this being just a complete bastard and wanting to kill his own kid.

BG: Limited run or a series?

RG: Five issues. It was a story Jason wanted to tell and he asked me if I’d be interested. When he told me the story it appealed to me because it wasn’t superhero. It’s more real. I’ve been doing superheroes for so long I felt like I wanted to do a real movie in a comic book, you know? Not just the superhero thing. Something like Road to Perdition (1998)…

BG: Image Skybound has a whole mess of books that are not superheroes, like Thief of Thieves and so on where it’s basically like a movie. I think they’re going for that…

RG: That’s kinda what we’re doing. I’m enjoying it.

BG: It’s exciting. Aaron’s on a big roll right now.

RG: It’s a good time to be friends with Jason Aaron.

BG: Thank you for your time!

RG: I appreciate it.


RAW audio of Ron Garney interview with BookGateway.com (Scott Asher, David Mason) 9/27/14. (c) BookGateway.com / Scott Asher. Attribution Required.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Q&A with William Shatner (Video)

Video of William Shatner at Comic Con Nashville Q&A event from BookGateway.com! BG was one of the first, if the not the first, outlets to report about Shatner’s comments about JJ Abrams calling him about how he and Nimoy “might” appear in Star Trek 3! (Six minute mark). Our quotes, transcripts and video have been embedded and used in reporting across the globe!

Remember you heard it here first!

Interview: Mike McKone

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for a quick interview with Mike McKone one of the greatest artists in comics over the last 20 years. From Wikipedia: “Mike” McKone is a British comic book artist. McKone’s first published works for the major companies included DC Comics’ Justice League of America and Justice League International for DC Comics and The Punisher War Zone for Marvel Comics. However, it was his work on Marvel’s Exiles which brought him instant attention, and led him to work on two of DC’s Teen Titans and Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

BookGateway: I’d like to ask you about your Teen Titans (2003–07) experience with Geoff Johns. How did that all begin? How’d you get on the book?

Mike McKone: [laughter] Oh, I was drinking heavily. [laughter] I knew Eddie Berganza the editor and he asked me to work on the book. I’d spent two years on Exiles (2001–03) so I was hired.

BG: At that time Teen Titans had kinda failed over and over again. It wasn’t doing very good until you guys took over… You remember Dan Jurgens did Teen Titans (1996-1998) and it just didn’t work. Did you guys have any idea how it was teentitans1gonna [take off?]

MM: Actually they wanted me to work on Outsiders.

BG: Because they launched at the same time.

MM: Yeah. They wanted me to work on Outsiders.

BG: With Judd Winick?

MM: Yeah. Because Judd Winick was writing Exiles.

BG: How was that working with Geoff Johns?

MM: It was fun. Yeah. He was very receptive of ideas. Very funny. That was in the days when we still talked to each other. Writers and artists. Now it’s email.

BG: How much did you and Johns talk about Teen Titans?

MM: Oh wow. Quite a bit. He likes to go over scripts.

ImpulseBG: Was it always planned to take Impulse and make him Kid Flash? How’d that evolve?

MM: I think so. It’s not Teen Titans without Kid Flash with the yellow and red costume.

BG: You guys came out with Superboy in jeans and a t-shirt, right? Was that your idea or Johns? How did that evolve?

MM: I don’t remember. I know that I did a lot of costume designs for Superboy. I know that the black t-shirts are very popular.

BG: How was your time on the new Justice League (Unlimited)?

MM: It’s been great. I was on for issues 0 to 5 (2014).

BG: What’s your upcoming project?

jluMM: I’ve been working on my own books. I’m writing it…

BG: Gonna publish with Image?

MM: I’m not sure. I’ve got a couple ideas to play with. I’ve been on the road at hotels a lot so maybe I’ll write a story about that. I’ve just got to figure out what I’m going to write.

BG: One other question. Recently it’s been kinda a big deal with the Spider-Woman cover by Milo Manara with the over-sexualization of the female character. How do you feel about that? Marvel said we aren’t gonna use Manara on a couple other covers they had planned because of the backlash.

MM: Oh they did?

BG: Yeah. But after 20 or 30 years of Marvel coming out with things like X-Men Swimsuit issue does that mean anything?

MM: You have to appreciate that comics do represent the idealized body – male and female. But there is a line of good taste that shouldn’t be crossed. And I’m not saying that Marvel and Milo crossed it…. I think everyone who works in comics has been guilty of it at times.

BG: Yeah, everyone is super buff and wearing skin tight clothes. So there is a certain expectation that they will be sexy.

MM: Yeah. But there is a line for good taste. It’s not really what they are wearing but how they are posed. I think people are starting to be more aware of this.

BG: It’s a little bit harder to get away with this because there is so much more immediate scrutiny on the internet.

MM: Yeah, finally the internet is good for something!

BG: Thank you for your time!

MM: I appreciate it. Take care.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Live Blog: Day 2 #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

Welcome to BookGateway.com’s Wizard World Comic Con Nashville live blog! Join me (Scott Asher @ashertopia) and David Mason as we blog everything that happens on day 2 of Comic Con Nashville! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BookGateway and #WizardWorld! On tap tonight: Q&A with creators and actors for the Walking Dead, Star Trek, WWE, interviews with artists and writers, and cosplay photos. Coverage starts 9/27 at 1 pm Central. Tune in for updates!

Live Blog: Opening Night #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

Welcome to BookGateway.com’s Wizard World Comic Con Nashville live blog! Join me (Scott Asher @ashertopia) and David Mason as we blog everything that happens on opening night of Comic Con Nashville! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BookGateway and #WizardWorld! On tap tonight: opening ceremonies, cosplay and a bunch of quick hit interviews with artists and writers. Coverage starts at 9/26 at 7 pm Central. Tune in for updates!

Comic Con Nashville – Friday Interviews

Wizard World brought Comic Con to Nashville for the first time ever and we were there for it. Check out the interviews from Opening Night!

I (Scott Asher) was joined by David Mason, a comic book expert (and fanboy), in interviewing many of the artists on the show room floor. Here are some excerpts.

WP_20131018_18_01_13_Pro Daniel Leister (Artist: Hack/Slash, Army of Darkness).
Scott: Are you working on anything new?
Daniel: My own book? I hope so. I have a four issue mini-series that I wrote – I had to put it on hold for Army of Darkness – probably I’m gonna start a Kickstarter up soon for the series in another months or so. Put it up in December or January.:
Scott: What’s that one called?
Daniel: Werewolf Run.
David: Through Image?
Daniel: Probably. I’ll try to get it through them first.

 

WP_20131018_18_19_48_ProThony Silas (Spider-Man, Batman Beyond)

David: So what are you working on now?
Thony: I’m working on a mini-series… [issues] 6, 7, 8 of Daredevil Dark Knights. It is so hard to finish it [following the great art by Lee Weeks].
David: Are you working on Batman Beyond?
Thony: “Yes. You saw the movie? Bruce was the teacher of new Batman. Now Dick Grayson will be like the uncle… Batman beyond… Dick is more mature. He leave Bruce. Dick Grayson will try to [work through] forgiveness. Grayson will try to get together again with Bruce.”
David: Is this still their own universe or are they trying to mix it in with the New 52?
Thony: “Movies is one time. Comic book is another time. This moment, two years after the last one. I will draw what will happen.”
David: Your art is great for Daredevil. All the air shots.
Thoney: “Very different Batman beyond and Daredevil. It’s less. You see. A lot less line art. More brush.”

 

WP_20131018_18_17_27_ProHarvey Tolibao (Danger Girl, Uncanny X-Force)

David: So what are you working on now?
Harvey: Danger Girls the Chase. They put me on the new arch. It’s going to be what’s in the briefcase the whole time. It is cool that it’s written by the real writers; the originals. I’m on issue three and every night I don’t know what’s inside the case.”
David: You’ve been good for Danger Girl. You gotta have a certain type of artwork.
Harvey: “Yeah. But Marvel just announced this morning that I’m going to do Uncanny X-Force for them. They told me that they have a project for me; a secret project. I was so happy! I don’t know who is going be the writer but I am very excited!”
David:
Harvey: “I’m going to do the next four books.:
David: So how long does it take to do one issue?
Harvey: “Marvel gives you six weeks usually. But it takes about one month [for art]. You have 30 days. The writer takes a week then passes it to you.”
Scott: Describe how Marvel gives you scripts.
Harvey: “Sometimes there are writers like that… Sometimes they give just a couple pages. It happened that [the script] got leaked to a website. I think it was Electra was a Skrull. So Marvel sometimes does it 5 pages… 10 pages. Sometimes I’ve done certain panels with a kick ass motorcycle in the background [that later] Abby Chase would ride it. It’s good when the artist and the writer have a link.”

 

WP_20131018_18_29_15_ProJackie Lewis (Play Ball)

Jackie: “What I’m working on now is a historical, kinda adventure one that’s based on a massacre that happened a couple hundred years ago…”
Scott: What is it called?
Jackie: “Um, I don’t know if I can talk about it yet! I don’t think it’s a secret, but my editor always says don’t talk about it until we announce it.”
Scott: I’m a big fan of Oni. I think Oni put’s out some really good stuff.
Jackie: “I love Oni. It’s really fun to work them. Their philosophy is the same as mine. The way they work and the way they communicate is like a family.”

 

WP_20131018_18_48_32_ProEric Powell (The Goon, Action Comics, Avengers)

David: So how are things coming with the Goon movie?
Eric: They are doing animatics. Everyone’s still involved. It’s been a while. What I’m hearing is that it’s not a lot different than a lot of [movies]. It took Hellboy 5 years. Still plugging away.”

 

 

 

WP_20131018_18_51_54_ProMike Grell (Green Arrow, X-Men, Action Comics)

David: What’s happening with Green Arrow?
Mike: “They stopped the stop for the summer thing was a ‘oh yeah, we are just stopping for the summer.’ [It is actually more permanent.] It was so tightly drawn to the plot of the show. When there was no show on they [lost their audience.] Foolish.”
David: It was good seeing you do Green Arrow again.
Mike: “Yeah, me too.”
David: What are you doing now?
Mike: “I’m working on Tarzan next.”

 

WP_20131018_18_54_36_ProNeal Adams (Superman, X-Men, Batman)

David: I would always get disappointed when I’d buy Superman and see you covers and then a different artist would be doing the inside.
Neal: “All right, enough of that! You can’t compliment one guy but put down the other guy.” [Said with a smile]; chiding but playful.]
David: Oh, I know the other artists were great I’m just saying you are great. Personally. You and Garcia Lopex are my two favorite Superman artists.
Neal: “I agree about Garcia Lopez.”
David: Did you do the insides or just covers?
Neal: “I did the inside of Superman vs Mohammed Ali. If you look it up on the internet and figure out how many pages I did on a given year it would be… I did five covers a week. Usually that’s enough for one guy. But I did the insides as well.”

 

shadowA.J. Scudiere (God’s Eye, Vengeance, Resonance, Shadow Constant)

Scott: So what are you working on now?
A.J.: “Have you seen the graphic novel? I wrote the story. [A company we worked with on the graphic novel] is running a thing in Fort Meyers right now. They are running RPGs, FPS. Games. They will eventually have roller coasters… They did the setup. They built these worlds. The five worlds that encompass all the possible worlds. The fantasy, tech, cartoony. I just wrote a live play event.”
David: So like a theme park?
A.J.: “Yeah. Basically they are going to kidnap people and send them through the game and act out part of it.”
Scott: Like a Murder Mystery?
A.J.: “Yes. Except video game. First Person Shooter. It’s a game.”

 

 

 

WP_20131018_19_59_50_ProMike Miller (Injustice: God’s Among Us, Game of Thrones)

Scott: So what are you working on now?
Mike: “Game of Thrones prequel stuff.”
Scott: So it’s a prequel to the Game of Thrones? Who’s writing that?
Mike: “The original novella is written by George R.R. Martin. Then they are adapted. I did the first one ten years ago. Then the second one six years ago. We’ve been on a hiatus until now.”
Scott: That guy will write every other story other than the ending of his series of books! His most recent book told the story of characters that hadn’t been written about in ten real years!
Mike: “Did you hear that he wrote another novella about the Targaryen reign. I said I’m drawing that!”
Scott: That series is now 10 or 15 years old.
Mike: “Maybe he doesn’t want to let people down. You know how they end series and people are like man, that ending sucked. Like Lost.”
Scott: When it never ends it is definitely going to be one of those series that the ending sucks!
Mike: “That’s like life!”

 

WP_20131018_19_54_08_ProGreg Horn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers)

David: Are you doing anything new?
Greg: “I worked on Avengers 1. I worked on Guardians of the Galaxy 1. The big thing I’m working on right now is War of Heroes. It’s a video game you play on an iPhone or Android. Nobody even knows about this!”
Scott: “Tell me about it.
Greg: It is a video game by Disney. I describe it as Candy Crush for men. Because you play it and you get addicted and then spend all your money. You buy the damn lollipop.” [joking]
Scott: I’m not sure men will buy a lollipop…
Greg: “It’s Thor’s hammer.”
David: It’s Disney? Does it have Marvel characters in it?
Greg: “Yeah. I did the artwork.”

Interview with Skybound’s Shawn Kirkham

I admit it: I’m a Walking Dead fanboy. I’ve read all the issues of the comic, played through the full Telltale game on Xbox 360, watched all the seasons of the TV show, read both published novels, and read most of the interviews online by the creators of the comics and TV show. I’m fascinated by this world and why so many of us are hooked. That’s why I’m very excited today to bring you a conversation I had with Shawn Kirkham, Director of Business Development at Skybound, the company behind The Walking Dead, on the future of the comic and novel series’ and the world of the Walking Dead.

BookGateway (BG): Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some of my questions Shawn.

Shawn Kirkham (SK): Thanks for having me Scott. Please be gentle.

BG: To get to know you better: You are about to be marooned on an island (it’s good to know ahead of time, right?) and you get to take three books. What are they?

SK: The classic three items on a deserted island question. I’d have to say Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft and 1,001 Ways to Cook Coconut. 

BG: We can’t always prepare for the apocalypse, so let’s say it happens right now and – for better or for worse – you only have the book(s) you were currently reading in your backpack. What book(s) did you bring with you as you (foolishly) make your way to a big city?

SK: In my bag right now are Blackdog by K.V. Johansen and Quarterback of the Future by Mike Florio.

BG: Now that we know everything about you, on to The Walking Dead (WD). The WD is officially a cultural phenomenon. The zombies have invaded and overrun first comics, then TV, and now novels and video games. As Director of Business Development, what’s next?

SK: This October is the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead.   There are some very cool and fun things planned throughout the year.  We find ourselves quickly approaching San Diego Comic-Con in July and New York Comic-Con in October. We’ll also be announcing soon the next step in The Walking Dead 100 Covers program with Hero Initiative.  Also at the Wizard World conventions this year, each paid attendee gets an exclusive copy of The Walking Dead #1 featuring a different cover artist for each event.  People can get all of the news and announcements about The Walking Dead at www.thewalkingdead.com.

BG: Everyone wants to know, so I’ll take a shot and get these two questions out of the way: will the comics and Telltale Games characters cross over? And will we see Daryl in the comics? (I had to try!)

SK: We’ve already seen some crossover of characters from the comics appearing in the Telltale game.  I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone out there.  As for Mr. Dixon, I believe he just had his own video game release.  Isn’t that enough?

BG: Zombie stories had always previously been a niche market. The WD has certainly changed that. Why is it that this world has captivated us to the point where it’s now mainstream to admit to enjoying a zombie story?

SK: With The Walking Dead it’s more than just a “zombie” story. It’s a story about the people who are put into the most horrific of situations and how they find ways to survive.  To me, it’s the interpersonal relationships that keep me coming back every month.  The zombies are more background players to the central story.

BG: The fiction novel marketplace is being flooded with cheap zombie romance (WTH?!) and fantasy books, similar to how Twilight nearly ruined vampires. This year we also see two heavily advertised movies featuring zombies prominently: World War Z and Warm Bodies (speaking of Twilight. Ugh.) How do you differentiate the WD from all the noise?

SK: I can’t say that I’ve read any “zombie romance” novels, but I know that there’s a place for everything in the market.  If someone is looking for those types of interpersonal relationships, they can definitely find them in The Walking Dead.   Early on in the series you’re put in the middle of the Rick/Lori/Shane dynamic.  Over the course of the series you find these types of themes popping up while the survivors try to cope with a new normal.  I think that’s truly the core of the series.  These are regular people trying to find some sort of normalcy in an apocalyptic world. 

BG: Just so I know my chances: What would make someone in a world like the WD successful? What traits would give someone a better chance of survival than other people?

SK: Honestly, I don’t think I have any of the traits needed to survive. So, I’m not sure I’d be much help to you. Maybe learn to use a katana sword. 

[SPOILERS]

BG: In the WD, becoming emotionally attached to characters can be devastating. Take the ending of the Telltale Game, where WE die leaving Clementine alone, or in (what I think is possibly the most emotional TV episode in the history of TV) when Carl talks to Lori as she lies dying and then has to shoot her. We know that Robert Kirkman (RK) is going to kill our favorite characters but we watch anyway. What is wrong with us? And why is RK so frakkin evil?

SK: There’s something magical about reading a book or watching a show and knowing that anything can happen to your favorite character.  That’s what keeps you coming back for more.  Is this the week that (insert fan favorite character name here) dies?  Who knows, but you’ll be there to check it out.

[END SPOILERS]

BG: RK has said that this is not a book about zombies but about people, “I mean the book is really just a bunch of guys standing around talking. I’m not trying to rag on my own book or anything, but at its heart it’s not just strictly a horror story” (IGN 2007). We’ve been watching these characters “stand around talking” for a long time now. What have we learned? What’s the moral of the story?

SK: What we’ve learned is that no matter what, against the greatest odds, humans find the will to live. 

BG: Final question about the comics. Back in issue 75 when the aliens revived Rick to… just kidding.

SK: I thought we ended spoilers!!! 

BG: On to the future. Speaking of Skybound specifically and where this series is going, RK said he could see himself doing this for 20 years. It’s been nearly 10 years since he said this and the series is exploding. Imagine that this series lasts a further 20 years. In 2033, where do you see the world of the Walking Dead? Will there be a series of books or just the current trilogy? Are we on issue 200 of the comics and if so what’s happening? Can you see RK giving up creative, day-to-day writing and control?

SK: I’m not one who looks too far into the future, but I can definitely see The Walking Dead lasting another 20 years.  Robert has always said that as long as people are still interested in The Walking Dead, then he’ll keep writing it.  If we make it to 2033, then we should be beyond issue 300. I think that would be an outstanding accomplishment.  As for what I think the world of The Walking Dead would be headed by issue 300, I can’t say for sure.  We’ve seen the world start to expand in the last few story arcs.  So I’d hope that we’d get to see more of the world and how other people have survived. 

BG: Thank you again for speaking with me. Congratulations on your company’s success and good luck in the future. (And tell RK I love him!)

SK: Thank you!


Skybound is the home of Robert Kirkman’s creator-owned work including his Eisner Award-winning comic book series, The Walking Dead, long-running Invincible, all-ages Super Dinosaur, Thief of Thieves and Clone as well as Witch Doctor and Invincible Universe. Since its inception, Skybound has created television shows, merchandise and a wide spectrum of platforms, games (The Walking Dead: Assault iOS app), and entertainment events (The Walking Dead Escape). Skybound’s successes include the comic behind the hit Emmy®-winning television show, AMC’s The Walking Dead, the highest-rated basic cable drama of all time in the U.S, also an international success in 122 countries and 37 languages. AMC is developing Thief of Thieves as a potential series. Skybound/Kirkman frequently top the hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. Your destinations for all news and merchandise from Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead and all Skybound titles is www.Skybound.com or www.TheWalkingDead.com

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.