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 Greg Pak shares his thoughts on the rules for proper editing, what the best comics all share, and why he can’t abandon ideas/notes. Pak is the author of countless comics, including Turok and Battlestar Galactica for Dynamite, Action Comics, Silver Surfer, Teen Titans, Hulk, X-Men, and much, much more
The one thing you should know about writing/drawing comics is “genius” and “perfection” are useless words. Just keep on working and getting better.
When editing your own work, always remember to listen to the honest, helpful little voice inside that’s telling you that something needs more work. But don’t listen to the scared, vicious little voice that tells you to give up. Tough to figure out which is which sometimes. You can do it!
The best kinds of comics/stories always focus on the heart.
My most under-appreciated story/project is Eternal Warrior volume two (Eternal Emperor). A post-apocalyptic storyline with one of the best endings I’ve ever written. And the Robert Gil art is tremendous.
My biggest professional disappointment is there are too many to count! And many of them are under NDAs! This business is full of heartbreaking near misses. But I don’t brood on it — if you try a hundred things and three come through, you got three things going on, which is fantastic.
All great art/stories should feature art and stories. 🙂 Actually, maybe: heart and honesty.
When in doubt, always hack away whatever doesn’t relate to your characters’ emotional story/struggle.
You’re never done with a project until you choose to be. Every project requires real emotional commitment. Sometimes hard to let it go when it’s time. Choosing to let yourself be done with a project can be a hugely important step in moving on to other things and growing as a creator.
People read comic books because they’re incredibly fun and beautiful and frequently very personal and often take huge risks that more expensively produced media can’t get approval for.
People don’t read comic books because people do read comics, by the millions. But the hobbyist/collector model for distribution of monthly comics, which is super fun and hugely attractive to current readers (and which has kept the industry afloat for decades), can be a hard thing for new readers to crack. An ongoing challenge for us!
If my stories/art share anything in common, it’s genuine human emotion combined with fun genre hijinks.
The one thing I’m afraid to do with my work is throw it away. I have so many journals and files filled with almost indecipherable notes that I just can’t let go of. I think that’s… fiiine? But in another twenty years I’m gonna have some storage issues.