Welcome to another edition of Fill in the Blank. Here, creators enlighten us with their thoughts on the comics industry through the medium of informal questionnaire. It’s a neat opportunity for our favorite artists and writers to share some very specific insights, news, and commentary about the wonderful (and sometimes weird) medium we all adore so dearly.
This time around, writer-author Thomas E. Sniegoski offers up thoughts on where comics are headed in the next 15 years, the one lie all comics fans believe, and the power of musical soundtracks. Sniegoski is the writer of Dynamite’s Vengeance of Vampirella, as well as The Punisher (Marvel Knights), The Dollz for Image Comics, Hellboy: Weird Tales, and much, much more. Outside of comics, he’s penned a slew of novels, including The Menagerie, The Fallen, and Remy Chandler series.
I always listen to movie soundtracks when I’m working. I’ve got hundreds of them. It’s like giving the particular thing you’re working on a soundtrack of its own. I find that listening to things with vocals interferes with the flow of words from my brain, onto the page.
A great editor will always listen and negotiate with creators. Sometimes an editor just doesn’t care for something the creator really digs. This can lead to some pretty intense moments, but the best editors that I’ve worked with were always willing to talk things through so that everybody is happy.
The very best villains share three qualities: 1) They are identifiable. You recognize these villains, and maybe can even understand the villainy they are perpetrating. 2) They are completely amoral. They may even have a certain code that they follow, but they’re willing to break any rule in order to achieve what they perceive to be right. 3) They are also charismatic. You like these guys, even though they may be completely horrible. There’s just something that tickles you about them.
Comics in 10-15 years will all share two qualities: strong art and strong story. The perfect balance. What makes a comic book, a comic book. Can’t have one without the other. It’s pretty much been that way forever, and hopefully will continue on into the years.
The one writer/artist everyone sleeps on is Eric Powell. Yeah, I know he has quite a following for The Goon, but all his other stuff is just amazing — scripting as well as art. He’s somebody that you can see is improving with each new thing he does. His book, Hillbilly, is just amazing. The art is gorgeous, and the stories are fascinating.
The biggest lie all fans believe is that you’re a millionaire if you work in comics! That the money is just rolling in! Not true! Most of us are barely making a living, and we do it because we love comics!
Comics need more all-ages books and readers. I think the way to build on the comic reading public, is to introduce comics to them when they’re young and all ages books are the perfect way to do it. Once they’re hooked, it’s a good chance they’ll be fans for life.
The best advice that I’d offer fans/readers is to read what you like and talk about it. Get others to read it too. Spread the word. So many amazing comics go away because their numbers just aren’t great. Be a favorite comic’s cheerleader!
You can’t do anything creatively without passion for the subject matter and perseverance. You need to love what you’re doing (writing/drawing) and you need to be stubborn if you’re going to do it for a living. There are lots of ways one’s spirits can be crushed . . . If you’re going to make this your living, than you have to stick with it.
You will never catch me not giving 150% in my work. If I’m not invested in the work, why bother doing it? You will always get my best effort in anything that you read of mine.
The secret to creating great stories is to stay excited. The work has to continue to thrill you. If it thrills you, it will translate to the page, and hopefully to the reader.
In my series The Menagerie, I wished I could have finished the main plotline. We [Christopher Golden and I] were allowed to write the first four books of the series, but then it was cancelled. We never got wrap up the major plot line that we’d been developing. Always aggravates me when I think about it. Who knows, maybe someday I can do it as a Kickstarter or something?
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