Twilight Star News-Sun Interview-Director[s Cut

Okay…I apologize. I really wanted to post a new blog every week but I didn’t get a chance to last week end because things got so crazy…I’m not even sure I had a last weekend…it all blurred together so fast.

I’m going to make an attempt to make up for that by posting two blogs tonight a double dose of Twilight Star…a local art studio in my home town of Springfield Ohio which I am a member of….but bare with me I’m a little punch drunk…

You see…I got beat up….well it feels like I got beat up. So much has happened in the last seven days…and it all started with an article that ran in the Springfield News Sun last Friday…..

Twilight Star/Springfield News Sun Interview:

Director’s Cut:

Part One

Sunday evening, March 27th, Springfield News-Sun Entertainment Editor Andy McGinn sat down with three of the four founding members of Springfield Ohio’s Twilight Star Studios. Those three gentlemen being Derron “Dirt” Church, Gary Church, and Bill Gladman.

The interview ran for about two hours and was printed in the Friday April 1st edition of the Springfield News-Sun in its “official” version, a link to that article is provided below.

http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/entertainment/ohio-theater-arts/four-locals-start-their-own-line-of-comic-books-1123569.html

But during the entire course of the interview, I (that would be me Bill Gladman) was recording everything on an audio recorder I once used when I was part of a paranormal investigation unit here in town…with everybody’s permission of course.

The interview is extremely long and taking even longer for me to type up from the audio…matter of fact finding time to type it is very challenging…I typed the bulk of this a day or so after the interview and have not had the time to go back and type any more as of yet….so I will be posting this a piece at a time of the course of the next few weeks until the whole damn thing gets it’s just due.

Here is Part One of the interview as it occurred.

Dirt: So is that one of the recorders you used to use when you were a ghost hunter?

Bill: Sure is…

Dirt: Cool…you might get some other voices on there besides ours…

Bill: Andy, you know the last time you were at my house…my old house that is…I was still working on the very first issue of Jack The Rabbit…

Andy: Man that was a long time ago. I can’t believe Raichal has already graduated from college. I mean that’s what I had come over for….I was doing a story about Kid Chaos…she was like ten years old and she was playing guitar in her own metal band…

Gary: That’s news to me. I’ve never heard about that.

Bill: I’ve still got the newspaper article.

Andy: As an art studio you guys have been up and running for what….a little over a year now?

Gary: A little over a year…

Bill: It will actually be a year and a half….eighteen months April 26th.

Andy: And in that time you’ve put out how many books?

Bill: We will have twenty books out by April 3rd. (actually we only had 19 books out by that date…our printer shorted us a book  and we are in the process of looking at another printer) Hopefully. Counting Tim Hagans’ The Cowboy, The Kid, and The Samurai ashcan. That makes twenty. We have six in shipment right now coming up from the printer which is in Atlanta. Hopefully they get here in time and such…been a “little” rocky this last week but I think everything is on track now.

Andy: I’m assuming twenty comic books in that amount of time is pretty damn prolific..

Dirt: Yeah…that’ pretty good. There’s other indie comic studios out there that have been together for two or three years…even longer than that… but have only but out one or two books during that whole time…maybe four or five books tops.

Gary: Most people, at the most, might do a book a year….

Bill: That’s true…a book a year by most indie creators is a pretty accepted pace…

Gary: That may be true, but we’re breaking that mold…

Bill: The goal at first was to try to produce a new book every month…something other indie creators would never try and the numbers indicate that’s what we’ve been doing but it’s not always the case. Sometimes a month goes by without a book, but the very next month you get two or three…so everything averages out in the end.

Gary: That’s what happened in January…

Bill: Two years in a row we couldn’t get a book out January. Bad month for us. Got the February book out both years…no March book either year….last April we got one book…this April six. All debuting at Gem City Comic Con a week from today.

Andy: So basically….what lit the fire under your guy’s ass?

Gary: Well…it all started when I met up with Bill. The two of us decided to work on a project together for another company….and that company knuckle headed and failed to put the finished work out, so I told Bill….I’m getting ready to move and when I move into this new house I’m thinking about starting up a local art studio…where people could come over and draw, hang out, whatever….he thought it was a good idea. He wanted to start up a studio too and was thinking about getting a couple of guys together. Then one night he called me up and said he wanted to bring a friend over to meet me…that was Frank…..and I invited Dirt…

Dirt: I’d already met Bill once before…matter of fact we all three was working on that story that Gary was talking about…

Gary: We all hit it off pretty good and we decided let’s work together and let’s get some stuff published. And then it just snowballed….and there was several people we asked to get involved with us…and at first they were….very hesitant.  And politely declined in most cases. Maybe later. That type of deal, you know…but as soon as we came out with our first book it was like…Holy Shit these guys are for real…they got a book out in months after they got together….usually people talk about making a comic a good year before any work gets done…

Bill: Yeah…there was definitely people who wanted to wait but later was ready to jump on board…even more so. A couple of critics that were some what critical of that first book are now producing stuff through the studio or interested in working with us.

Gary: And to me that’s the best thing ever…

Bill: And to be honest one of the reasons we were able to produce so much so fast was because we had a lot of material saved up…sometimes as far back as ten years worth of stuff….that first Jack The Rabbit book is going on eleven years old…Dirt’s got a story he’s working on that started out about eight years ago. We finally get to work on this stuff now and see it through…but we didn’t rely on that stockpile of material. We knew we were going have to produce to keep that early pace. And of course there’s a lot of artistic growth that can be seen in this stuff… There are people who talk about making comics and people who talk about the comics they make and we knew what side of that line we wanted to be on. Luckily we’ve gotten a great bunch of guys together and everybody really has a strong work ethic…

Gary: The thing is…we never limited ourselves in any way. No one is saying…you only get to write…you just draw….you can’t do this, you can’t do that….every creator has complete free reign with his own projects…and thanks to the web Bill has found several great artists and colorists.

Bill: All over the country…Hell the world even…we work with people in Canada….two or three people down in Texas….Great Britain….the Philippines…..

Gary: A couple of people in Nevada…

Bill: That’s right…Victor and Jonny…both from Las Vegas…two creators in Colorado, there’s a guy in Michigan, Seattle , Miami, …Brant’s in Kentucky…James Hill is in Alabama…

Andy: The guy in the Philippines…that a writer or an artist?

Bill: That’s an artist…wait….he’s an inker. Still an artist. Don’t sell inkers short…

Andy: And the guy in Great Britain…that a writer…

Bill: Yeah…he’s a writer. His name is Sam Johnson.

Andy: So how many people did you start with…

Bill: Four.

Andy: You started with four…all local?

Bill: Yes. It was the three of us plus Frank Raynor.

Dirt: That’s the four founding members…

Bill: And  it just grew from there. Now we have a pretty solid group of core members of about nine people who are all locals for the most part except one guy…Kevin Adkins…who drives in every other weekend from northern Indiana. There’s the four of us….Kevin, Tim Hagans, Joe Pruitt, Dan Matthews and Chris Metzger. Plus can’t forget Chad Strohl who was with us since day one but isn’t local…he lives somewhere around Zanesville…I think and Raichal….so that’s a solid nine plus a couple. Oh yeah…Steve Brewington…the guy that now formats all our books…can’t forget about him. He’s incredible. We’re fuckin’ growing all the time…

Gary: Every two weeks we have production meetings over at my place…and every two weeks Kevin actually comes to these meetings.

Bill: Three and half hour drive…

Gary: And he comes down just for that. The guy is hard core. That’s the type of people we have involved with this thing…

Andy: So nine core members and everybody’s pretty much local except the guy that lives in Indiana. So…the artist in the Philippines. So you find him how? On-line?

Bill: Through the Comic Related web site…

Andy: Oh. Okay….you find all the international people through Comic Related?

Bill: Pretty much…people in other states too.

Gary: We have a regular forum Bill updates every week called the Hell Yeah forum. A lot of people check that out…

Dirt: Hell Yeah is our official catch phrase…

Bill: Kind of like Avengers Assemble. but cooler….

Andy: So what about this British guy? Has he ever written any other comic stuff?

Bill: Oh yeah…he’s pretty well known for his Geek Girl stuff which I think he self publishes. And then he has another ongoing series…that he does from time to time which I’m a big fan of called…Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman….love that stuff. And he has some odds and ends type stories which we’ve gotten lucky enough to run…he’s got a story coming up in one of our new books called Gold Town. That’s in Pandemonium Spotlight #2. Which he is already hyping up a great deal over there…

Andy: So he’s an already pretty well known for Geek Girl…

Bill: Yeah…. he’s another creator that got burned by the failed anthology that Gary and I were doing work for. The book may have crumpled but it forged a lot of creative connections…we’re working with another writer…Josh Brown which I met through that project from Hell as well….and we ran a couple of stories that Studio Akumakaze put together  for that book we don’t name….

Andy: So did Twilight Star start out as a vehicle just to get your stuff in print?

Gary: More or less. But it’s gotten much bigger in a short period of time… The actual name Twilight Star came from back in the day when me and my brother used to draw comic books. I had a studio I called Shooting Star and his was called Twilight. But when we would work together on projects we would combine our names it that became Twilight Star. It seemed to fit. Everybody kind of liked it so we just ran with it.

Andy: How far back are we talking…

Gary: Way back…

Dirt: High School days….

Bill: You know a lot of people get the wrong idea and think I have more say in this studio than I really do. A lot of people who think they know how I think…assume I came up with that name and there’s some kind of “Bill Gladman Hidden Meaning” in there which there isn’t. It’s just a simple combination of these two past names. Actually I wanted to call it Evening Star Productions so I could work in the title of a kick ass Judas Priest tune and the catch phrase would have been…”Do You Have E.S.P?” But they both looked at me and said “That Sucks, Bill”….

Dirt: Yeah….that sounds too much like a damn newspaper or something.

Bill: Kind of….I can see that. I’ve grown to love the Twilight Star name though. So I’m glad these guys stuck to their guns.

Gary: I like T.S.P….so you can choose between a teas spoon or a table spoon.

Bill: Hey guys…Andy’s wearing those kick ass rockin’ shows again. Did you see that?

Gary: I noticed that. He was wearing those at Champion City.

Andy: At Champion City I was wearing the Hotter Than Hell pair…

Bill: Yeah…that’s the Rock-n-Roll Over cover art on those. Sweet.

Andy: So have you guys always been creating comics?

Dirt: Ever since I can remember. At least I have.

Gary: Well you did take a hiatus.

Dirt: I did retire if you want to call it that for over ten years. But I got back into it after getting hooked up with theses guys. Bill got me involved with doing the art for an ongoing comic he’s writing called the Un-Naturals and I still working on that first issue which we hope to have out this year.

Bill: I think both of these guys have been drawing comics since they were in high school.

Gary: I’ve been drawing since grade school, dude. Seeing how Dirt is my older brother I was always chasing after him.

Andy: What’s the age difference between you two guys?

Gary: Nine years.

Bill: Dirt is older than dirt and Gary’s not quite as old as dirt….I give Derron Hell about that all the time. Dirt’s actually the oldest member of the studio..

Dirt: You ain’t too far behind Gladman.

Bill: You’re still ahead by a year or two…

Andy: So obviously you got into comics first. How old are you now?

Dirt: 46

Bill: Damn…

Dirt: Whatever.

Andy: So did you start drawing right away , when you were a kid growing up reading comics?

Dirt: Pretty much. I mean ever since I could pick up a pencil. I liked what I was reading back in the day…Batman, Superman, Spider-Man….you know the usual I guess.

Gary: Planet Of The Apes

Dirt: Yeah…that was one of my favorites.

Andy: The magazine.

Dirt: Yeah the big black and white magazine….that thing was awesome. I loved the art in that book.

Andy: I wish they would re-print that stuff.

Gary: Me too…that was good stuff..

Dirt: I used to have a bunch of those. That’s what inspired me to draw.

Gary: And he used to draw on anything. Everything and anything. As long as he could somehow get lead on it he would draw on it.

Bill: What’s really cool is that I’m involved in two different projects with these guys where I’m inking their pencils. And these guys would draw on anything…including really small pieces of paper. Hell they would draw on the back of a postage stamp. And still get all this crazy detail in their pencils. Hurts the Hell out of my hand inking that stuff sometimes. And sometimes…the stuff gets blacked in….I ain’t going to deny that. Time issues…whatever you know.

Dirt: Lazy…

Bill: That too.

Gary: I’ve been trying to get better on that. But I can’t help it when you guys have me drawing nine, ten panels on one page.

Bill: That’s Frank…I rarely go past six.

Gary: Most comic book pages have four to five panels per page. But I’ve gotten pages with eight, nine…sometimes ten panels. And that doesn’t bother me. It’s just to do that it forces you at times to draw small…

Bill: You guys claim to be old school. Old school Marvel guys were doing 12 panel pages forever….the four or five panel page didn’t really get popular until the 90’s…

Gary: Hey I’m all about old school…but drawing small and drawing those many panels slows us down. Can’t have it both ways there, Billy. And Dirt and I both have gotten pretty good at looking at Bill and Frank’s scripts and deciding….well we can combine these two panels….and this has already been shown enough….that type of thing. Or else you’re really doing double the work. Where it’s actually one page we would be doing the art of two pages if we didn’t make this kind of changes. And both of those guys have complete faith in us when we’re drawing. They give us a lot of free reign.

Bill: Hey…they’re story tellers. They know what they’re doing.

Andy: So with him being the older brother you just started doing what he was doing, was that it?

Gary: Pretty much. I used to read his comic books. That’s how I learned how to read, you know, was comic books. They really taught…forced me to increase my vocabulary because there would be words I wouldn’t know….like invincible….the one that got me all the time was omnipotent. I’d go ask what words like that mean and I was always getting told to go look it up in the damn dictionary…so I did. Hell we used to have a stack of old comics in the bathroom to read. Old Werewolf By Night and Morbius…stuff like that. And that’s what I grew up reading. And then I wanted to draw…I mean Dirt was doing it….so he started to give me half finished pictures which I would finish up. I never tried to trace. I wanted to copy elements from him…and the comic book artists I liked but not copy them if you know what I mean. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery well I wasn’t trying to flatter anybody like that.

Bill: What’s really kind of cool…it’s kinda like the Buscema brothers…..Sal and John at Marvel or later Adam and Andy Kubert….these two guys grew up having an art style all their own. There is a distinct “Brothers Church” look to their art which has become a staple of Twilight Star. To the point that one of the complaints we’ve gotten from our readers…if you want to call it a complaint. It’s actually creative criticism…. is people don’t like it when a story by Derron is followed by a story by Gary. Sometimes people just keep on reading thinking they are reading the same story because the art looks so much the same…and all the sudden they’re like…what the Hell happened?!? This doesn’t make sense anymore. So we’ve started to make sure something goes between their stories…even if it’s just a pin up by another artist…but I try my best not to waste page count on just pin ups but it happens sometimes….. BUT….if you are working on their pencils like Tim Hagans and I have as an inker…you start to notice a lot of differences in the two. Joe Pruitt will be inking some cover art by Dirt in the near future…he’s already inked cover art by Gay…I’m sure he’ll see what I’m talking about as well.

Dirt: One of the differences is that my stuff is better…

Gary: Yeah…right….

Andy: So who were some of the artists that influenced you guys as you were growing up?

Dirt: Like Bill said….I was heavy into both John and Sal Buscema. I was into that old school art…Neal Adams. Loved his stuff. I’m not too much into the newer art out there now…too much of it just looks the same….over and over…same stuff, same poses. Talking heads. Nothing dynamic angle wise, not like what Neal Adams was doing when I was growing up.

Andy: So the same influences for you, Gary?

Gary: Actually I have to say Dirt was the biggest influence on me as an artist as I was growing up. I wanted to draw like him…

Dirt: That’s cool….you never told me that before…

Gary: I ain’t going to lie. As I got older I got into other artists….Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee….Simon Beasley…oh yeah….Frank Frazetta.  Boris…those guys were huge when I was growing up. Berni Wrightson. And Arthur Adams…Tim Vigil…

Bill: Hey , Dirt….did you like Paul Gulacy?

Dirt: Yeah…when he was doing Master Of Kung Fu…he was the shit….

Bill: I see a lot of Paul Gulacy stuff in your work….a little Steranko as well…

Dirt: Damn…you never told me that either…

Bill: Well Andy’s here so I have to be nice…

Dirt: I see how it is…kissing up for the press. Really when I look at my stuff I see a lot of Sal Buscema…from the way I draw the cheek bones and stuff like that.

Gary: What about you , Bill?

Bill: I split almost equal amount of time between writing and drawing and I have always been influenced by creators that do both write and draw. Jim Starlin, Frank Miller, John Byrne…greats like Jim Steranko and Jack Kirby…later on people like David Mack and Phil Hester. I consider myself a much stronger writer than an artist  but I like to do both and my art has gotten much better since my involvement in this studio and working with these two guys…and inking an occasional piece by somebody like Victor Moya or James Hill has really helped me out a lot. No doubt inking strong artists like those guys has helped my pencils a great deal.

Gary: You can see a big difference in that new Jack The Rabbit stuff…and that Prodigy stuff too.

Dirt: But it doesn’t quite have that Craig P. Russell look to it anymore..

Andy: Bill….you’ve been creating comics for a while now too. As you mentioned earlier you first started the Jack the Rabbit comics ten years ago. What was it that made you decide that just reading them wasn’t enough and that you wanted to get involved in the creating process?

Bill: Well…it was the same thing when I was playing music…sometimes I would hear or see something….read something and just be puzzled. I mean with the rich history of this fill in the blank character this is the story you’re going to give me. Are you serious? Sometimes a song or a comic left me feeling that something just got screwed up along they way and that I could do it better somehow. Or I wanted to try to do it better at least…but once again just like doing the music I didn’t want to go out and play tunes other bands had already recorded and all these other bands were playing. I wanted to do my stuff. Same with the comics…I had hundreds of characters dying to have their stories told. And I think these two guys felt pretty much the same way.

Dirt: A little similar I suppose…but I have to admit when I was younger I drew my share of Batman…Spider-Man that type of stuff. I would pretend I was one of the “Big Three” and have my characters teaming up with Superman and the Hulk….whatever…

Bill: When I was a kid I had a straight up rip off character of Spider-Man I called the Brown Spider….his costume was different….he was bulkier and he had a cape….and his secret identity was Hal Jordan.

Gary: Me I never drew a lot of that stuff. I always had my own stories and own characters…plus all the stuff you and Frank throw at me…plus Tim… I’m good and I like it that way. I don’t want to draw Spider-Man.

Bill: When I was in one of my past bands one of the guys…the drummer…wanted me to write a “hit single” so it could be played on the radio.  He didn’t really like the dose of reality I interjected to that suggestion. I don’t want to hear my shit on the radio. I hate radio. If I ever heard one of my songs on the radio I think I’d drive my fuckin’ car into a wall…..now a fan listening to a song off of one of my c’d’s in his car. That’s cool as Hell….or somebody reading I comic I wrote featuring characters I created…that’s what it’s all about.

Andy: How far do you guys think you can take Twilight Star?

Bill: That’s a very good question. I guess it boils down to your motivation. Do you produce comics to get rich and famous….dream of telling the day job to kiss your ass…if so making comics…even if you’re working for people like Marvel and D.C….maybe you’re in it for all the wrong reasons. The age of “Rock Star” creators is long over. If you’re in it because you want to create something of merit while maintaining a day job that pays they bills, one you don’t “hate”….that may be a more realistic goal and that’s what I’m shooting for. Being VERY optimistic I’d like to see everyone currently involved with Twilight Star enjoy the quality of life they enjoy right now…but let Twilight Star pay the bills and put food on the table….instead of punching a clock and being a slave to grind somewhere else…

Dirt: To live comfortably while making comics….that would be nice.

Gary: The REAL optimistic thing would be having somebody pick up one of our books, somebody well known with some clout….and have that person find something that he likes and say….I want this as a movie!

Bill: Wow….a movie deal would be nice. But so would be wining the lottery….I mean nobody with that type of clout goes to the comic shops and shows our books are at…

Gary: Well….I can’t deny I don’t dream about something like that happening. That would be the ultimate goal for me. To live off what we do through the studio. To be completely established to the point where we could just create. You want to draw one day…draw…you want to write go ahead and write…and at the same time know your bills are getting paid due to these efforts .

Bill: Dude…I want to be there too…but I don’t have to be rich. Along as I could make a living and create…I’m happy. If I could take the 40-48 hours a week I spend working at my day job and put that into creating comics…man that would be great. But I’ve borrowed a page from a good friend of mine…..Dustin Carson….make yourself happy first. That includes the day job….and then make comics. Doing it the other way around means you’re gonna wind up beating your head against the wall. A lot. And I think I’m there. I like my job. I feel productive, and appreciated and the days go fast. And I have plenty of time to work on this other stuff…I wish I had more time….true…but right now it works for me.

Gary: Well I’m just saying….I’d like to make a living at this but I’d like to be REALLY successful at it. To have people really like our stuff. To know our name. I want to hear about people going into a store and asking for a Twilight Star book…instead of a Marvel or D.C. book…man that would be great.

Bill: Some of that may not be as far fetched as it might sound. The current state of mainstream comics actually helps independent creators like us. So many people have gotten tired of the non-stop crossovers and the gimmicks that Marvel and D.C have become to be known by these last five…six years. These books used to be great….now they’re watered down…there’s still one or two good ones out there…but I can remember having to make choices when buying comics….now you’re hoping you might find something worth reading. And I don’t think it’s too unrealistic to work towards…within the next 18 months…to get a spinner rack in several of these comic shops that support us…even if we have to buy the racks as long as they can provide the space…and have a spinner rack of nothing but Twilight Star books in each store. So a customer doesn’t have to even try to find the “indie” section of the store to find our books. They can go right to that spinner rack…the Twilight Star section of that store and find any Twilight Star book they’re looking for…who knows maybe down the road our own store front where we can sell other things besides just comics…novels, music, framed art, clothing…whatever…I guess that’s my pipe dream. I don’t need a swimming pool in the shape of our mascot or anything like that. I’m happy where I am…but would still like to grow of course…

Gary: I want to be successful to the point there’s no worries involved with my day to day. I want to live by doing want I want, even if that means doing nothing and telling other people what to do.

Bill: No matter what the long term goal is for each creator in this studio it all starts by getting the customer….that reader into the shops and asking for a Twilight Star book. We have readers at a couple of stores that have our books on their file pull. Because they know with us…which isn’t the case with every indie comic studio…they know they are going to get something new every 30 to 60 days. Not every one or two years…

Gary: Yeah…every couple of months…

Andy: Going back to that comment about the current state of mainstream comics…why do you think that’s beneficial to comic creators like you guys?

Bill: I don’t think that mains stream comic publishers care any more. And the creators sense that. Everybody is just going through the motions making comics for a paycheck. They don’t have the passion or drive that the creators that came before them had. Jack Kirby loved to write and draw comics…that he got paid to do that was just a bonus to him. Today creators don’t realize how lucky they are to be given the opportunity to do what they do every day….they probably complain about their day job….got write another stupid Teen Titans story today… and comic companies don’t really invest in the comics like they used to. They don’t try to find any body beyond the cookie cutter quality creators that they have drawing a check. The big money for these comic companies nowadays are in films. The comics are just flyers for these films…just a way to maintain active copyright and possibly some kind of grass roots interest in the characters. It’s like going into McDonalds….they don’t care how many times you refill your Coke as long as you buy the Big Mac…

Dirt: And that’s why they use the gimmick stuff. To bring attention back to something that has gotten over stale…like the Fantastic Four.

Bill: They invest millions of dollars in one film in hopes of  making 10% to 20% of that back on top of the initial investment in the mean time they grab what they can at the comic shops and continue to hike the prices….while paying as little as they can to their creative staff, and hoping they same guy that buys that Thor comic is going to go see the movie at least twice and later buy it on Blue Ray…so that’s where the money is in comics right now…movies. And the books that fuel those characters….are stagnating. They are going nowhere. People are starting to realize this and looking for something else. Something fresh…created by people how care about the stories and the characters…like independent comics.

Andy: So you guys think there’s just a general lack of care in the story telling and what…the editing of comics on the mainstream level.

Bill: I don’t want to put words in these guys’ mouths but I feel that way. There’s just nothing new or fresh out there anymore. They don’t give the creators the opportunity to create new characters…new ideas…new books…plus creators don’t want to create anything new for these guys any way. Who wants to create the next Wolverine and never get a nickel out of the movies that character is going to be in,…the big guys are going to get all that cash. Disney and Warner Brothers will take all the money created from a character that takes off at Marvel and D.C….while indie creators are out there taking chances…working new ideas and concepts  and they’re not worried about what some suit in an office overlooking Park Avenue thinks about the book…these guys are much more concerned about what a guy…or girl…with four bucks in their pocket thinks of the book. So if you’re looking for something completely new…you’re getting that from an indie book. You’re not getting that from a Marvel or D.C book. You’re going to get a re-vamped Spider-Man of Green Lantern story. No viable characters of any real importance have been created by either of these two companies in over fifteen years…and when you start charging four dollars…five dollars for a book, readers are wanting something new and dynamic for that four dollars. They don’t care if the interior art is black and white. They don’t care if the paper stock is a little bit different. They just want something fun Something that is going to thrill them. Comics don’t thrill anybody anymore. At least don’t thrill me any more.

Gary: When you read a Spider-Man book…you know he’s not going to die. Unless they advertise three months ahead of time…and then you know…okay he might die…it must be his time to be on the get killed off list…but you also know he’ll be back in about six months. Truth is they’re not really going to kill off anybody of real importance in any of those books. You don’t advertise that stuff…it just doesn’t make sense. That’s just a bunch of bullshit to get you to buy the book. To me it would make better sense and make the book more sought out if you didn’t tell anybody that a major character was going to die. I would love to be reading a book and  be like…damn! They killed off so and so…I didn’t expect that!

Bill: Comics don’t take chances like that any more…the days of The Death of Gwen Stacy are long over. Nobody knew Jean Grey was going to die at the end of X-Men #137. Nobody. Everybody thought the X-Men was going to come out of that little scrap on the moon with no problem…just like everything else they have gotten into. Nobody expected anything like what really happened.. She died. It was awesome.

Gary: And then she came back…

Bill: And got killed again…and came back…and got killed again…

Andy: So these stories are just too predictable any more.

Gary: They’re stale. That’s what they are. I still buy a little…I bought The Last Unicorn even though I knew the story…I like the story and wanted the comic version. I buy  Secret Avengers…

Bill: Good book…

Gary: And I bought The Thanos Imperative.

Bill: Another good book. You see that’s what gets me to buy a book now. Good writing. Serious thought provoking writing. Unless Ed Brubaker writes it and that’s the guy writing Secret Avengers and Captain America….or unless Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning…the guys behind the Cosmic Marvel stuff and Heroes For Hire write it…I don’t even bother. I used to spend 40-60 bucks a week on comics…did it for years. I only buy three books now. And it’s not because of the money situation it’s because I just don’t think there’s anything out there worth buying. I rather take the money I would of spent buying those books and use it to produce my own.

Gary: And I buy one….at the most.

Bill: Man I used to get pissed off reading comics. I actually threw a book across the room once. And cussed Bendis out as I stomped on it and then threw it away…I guess that was worth four bucks…

Dirt: We all know how you have a personal hate on for him…

Gary: What about Deadpool?

Bill: Don’t even get me started on that Deadpool shit…

Andy: I’ve been thinking about what you said and it has been a long time since you’ve seen any interesting new characters….worth carrying their own monthly title.

Bill: The last viable character to come out in mainstream comics…if you want to call Image mainstream comics and I do. I consider them one of the Big Five…would be Invincible. Before him…I’d hate to admit would be Deadpool who came out about twenty years ago…

Gary: I’d say Spawn was the last good, new character created by anybody. I know he’s lost his way…even I don’t read his books any more but I think he was the last one as far as I’m concerned. Despite the fact he has lost quite a bit of his mojo and that was in 92 I think…

Andy: Yeah he was huge for a while…

Bill: If you get a brand new book nowadays from Marvel or D.C…with a brand new character or a brand new character….you’re lucky if it last four issues. That’s why they do so many limited series. Even major characters have limited series sometimes instead of an established on-going series. Nobody wants to take a chance anymore…they rather revamp X-Force once again instead investing time and effort into creating something new and different.

Andy: But is that really on the corporate level or is that on the fan level? I mean I’m sure if people bought the book they would continue to produce it, right.

Bill: But nothing sells as good as Batman…so let’s give him nine books a month. Let’s cancel a good book like Nova or the Guardians of the Galaxy so Wolverine, Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Avengers, and Deadpool can sell more books…so I blame the corporate level more so than the fans.  Used to Marvel would give a book a while to find an audience….look at Spider-Woman back in the 80’s that book wasn’t selling but they kept making it…Dazzler…She-Hulk….Hell even Team America ran longer than most new books that Marvel tries to launch now.

Gary: They don’t give it a chance to develop an actual story or the characters….and to me I’m an artist foremost. I can pick up a book and look at the art and it’s got to grab me. I pick up book today and I get pissed…I can do better than that. And it’s just not about the caliber of art. It’s about storytelling. Any artist worth calling an artist can draw a picture and then another …and then another picture… you need to tell a story with your art but a lot of new artists can’t do that. That’s why today’s books are so story driven and word heavy at times….see I’m the opposite of Bill. The art has to come first and then the story…I should be able to look at the pages and figure out most of the story and that should pull me in. The words should just be there to embellish the art…to make the pictures hit harder.

Dirt: I remember reading an article from Jim Shooter back when he was running Marvel…

Bill: Man do I miss Jim Shooter…..

Dirt: And he said when he would look at work from possible artists and never took notice how well they drew details like a brick wall or broken glass…or how dynamic the panels were. It was all about story telling. Can this artist tell a story with just his art…to get hired at Marvel you had to be a story teller first and an artist second.

Gary: And it’s harder than most people realize….to actually get a feel of a story and do it justice. Not just draw pretty pictures from panel to panel.

 

END OF PART ONE OF INTERVIEW:

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6 Responses to “Twilight Star News-Sun Interview-Director[s Cut”

  1. Not bad Bill…must be the writer in you (except for some typos)!

  2. Typing challenge is on! You type 6,000 words. I type 6,000 words….then we count typos…but the 6,000 words has to be done in one 24 hour period….you start.

  3. I don’t remember you saying that you were under a deadline.
    Hell…you could type out ten words and we would still probably
    find a typo!
    “Don’t be mad ‘Twon it’s all good!”

    • Watcha talkin’ Willis?

      My entire life is one big deadline and I’m always running late….my mind travels at light speed while three fingers peck at the keyboard trying to keep up.

      Way I figure I have a good ten to twenty years left…if that…..got a lot to do in a short period of time and still find time to enjoy the little things in life and everything I’ve worked at achieving.

      Designed, constructed, installed the only 18 hole disc golf course in Springfield back in 2007….played it less then 10 times since I dropped the last basket in the ground Nov 22nd 2007….that’s the story of my life so far.

      But 1,000’s of people play every year….and none of them would be able to do that if not for me and I’m cool with that…I have left a mark there that will hopefully be there years after I’m taking my dirt nap.

      I need to work on changing things like that…I would love to sit down behind a table at a con for two hours….haven’t had a chance to do that in four years…

  4. Who’s bickering ?
    Besides he’s talking about taking a nap with me!
    Sorry, but I’m not into that!

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