Tag Archives: Mark Turner

Keeping It Steady with Roger Keel

By Mark Turner

Keel86-2The industry is chock full of talent bursting with original ideas and strange new worlds, but it is a true joy when fans come across creators with a knack for capturing the fun and magic of the medium. Creator Roger Keel is such a creator. With an imagination that enables him to traverse genres, he is writing stories that engage fans of all ages. Taking time out of his busy schedule, Roger Keel talks about influences, Golden Age overtures, discipline when writing, and the challenges of the industry.

IM: Roger, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

RK: I was born in 1959 in Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada, and still live there. I have lived here for the majority of my life. I am currently employed as a Heritage Interpreter at two joint Provincial Historic Sites—Cape Bonavista Lighthouse, which houses one of the few remaining Stevenson catoptric light systems in the world. The building dates back to 1843, the light to 1816. At the other site in the town, The Mockbeggar Plantation, we have a building that dates back to the early 1700s. As a fan of history, this is a dream job.

Keel86-1I have been a comic fan and reader since I learned how to read. Growing up in the 60s and 70s my tastes in comics ranged from Archie to Warren and all points in-between. A fan of SF and fantasy, I still enjoy a good murder mystery or action novel from time to time.

A fan and collector of old time radio, 30s and 40s b-movies and serials, silent films and classic TV and, as a writer, I’m not ashamed of “borrowing” a plot idea from all the aforementioned.

Happily married to a great woman who puts up with all my little eccentricities, we share the home with a dog and cat.

I follow hockey (hey, I’m Canadian!!), like the occasional beer, try to keep active, and hope that my fondness for Earl Grey tea affects me like it has Patrick Stewart (the man seems not to age).

IM: Much of your work has a decidedly Golden Age tone. What would you say is key to writing and crafting stories in this style versus, say, a more contemporary style?

Keel86-3RK: I’m not sure about the Golden Age tone. I would label most of my stories as having more of an early Silver Age tone, but thanks. I’m trying to write my stories in the same tone, and with the same feel as the stories I grew up reading. Most comics back in the early 60s had more than one story per issue and all the stories in the issue (in most cases) were complete in that issue. The main key to doing stories in this tone would be keeping the stories complete in 8 to 14 pages. I find a lot of contemporary stories to be just one chapter in a longer story. Not that that is a bad thing, at times, but in the small press/self-publishing world this can be a problem.

IM: What about this era of storytelling do you find so compelling? Who are some of your influences?

RK: Just the sense of fun that was prevalent in the Golden Age/Silver Age of comics. There was very little of the dark and sometimes overtly dreary feel that a lot of modern comic stories seem to have. I want to try to keep that sense of fun, even in my horror stories. I don’t often succeed, but I try. Now, when I say “sense of fun,” I don’t mean campy humor or silly jokes. I mean the sense that these stories are for enjoyment, not to pass along some grand idea, or some political or social point of view.

Keel86-4My influences? I could take the easy way out and say “everyone,” but some are Gaylord Dubois, Richard Hughes, Robert Kanigher, Carl Barks, Stan Lee, John Broome, Archie Goodwin, and Joe Gill, among many others.

IM: You’ve managed to write stories that span a number of different genres: westerns, superheroes, and tales like those of O.T. Ferret. Would you say you have a favorite? Could you share a bit about the differences between the various genres and what is involved in writing in a tone that is true to the various elements that each are known for? Which would you say is the most challenging to write?

RK: That is one of the great advantages of working in the small press: you can get the chance to work in so many different genres. I really can’t say I have a true favourite; I do tend to lean more toward the action/adventure genre, western, and my serial-style hero Jack Banyon, but O. T. Ferret (my attempt at a Carl Barks style story) was so much fun.

Each genre has their own set of differences and some similarities, though I find the pacing of each story to be the biggest difference. When doing an action story, like a superhero one, you try to pace the story faster than if you were doing a horror or romance story. The difference in pacing helps you set the tone. I like to try to have the events in a story unfold as slowly as possible with in the page limit constraints. This gives me the chance to add tension and conflict and build to a climax. With horror stories, I have found that the slower you pace the story, the better you can build tension. With action-filled stories, you can pace faster and let the action build the tension and move the plot.

Keel86-5As to what genre I find the more challenging to write, strangely it has been superheroes. I haven’t done many, but trying to get the feel of the characters in terms of how they work in their world has been hard, and working out plots that can work within those worlds has been a bit troublesome. But these two things, especially plots, are troublesome for every genre. It is hard not to be a bit repetitive in plot ideas in any type of story, but with so many superhero stories/plots having been done over the years, it is harder to find something different each time. Horror or SF stories, you can always put a slight spin to an old plot and get a fresh (or at least a not to moldy) story. With superhero stories, a lot of the plots have been spun and spun again.

IM: To successfully create stories like you do, it takes discipline. In terms of your craft, do you write every day? What are some of the challenges that you find you face and how do you overcome many of the creative obstacles faced by writers? Typically, how long does it take you to complete a script?

RK: I try to write at least one hour a day minimum. Not always successful, but I try. Now I don’t mean just writing on whatever my current script or story is, but I’ll just develop plots, try out lines of dialogue, and create characters. Some of these may never see the light of day; others may find their way into different stories.

The major challenge I face, and I’m sure others do too, is time. Getting time to write. I work, have a family and a home to take care of, and all the things that go along with that. Luckily, I have managed to work around these problems as best as I can. Due to my work, I tend to write less in the summer months than in the winter, but I do get some done in the warmer months. Writer’s block, that bane of writers everywhere, hits me from time to time. Sometimes I’ll have to walk away from a story and either work on something else, or take a walk around town (muttering to myself like a madman) and work the story out in my head far from a keyboard or pen. Dialogue is one of my constant obstacles, trying to get my characters to sound natural. This is hard to do when the character and the story is set in some past century. I find saying the lines out loud to myself helps, but getting feedback from another person is great.

Keel86-6Perhaps, one of the advantages I may have when it comes to getting time and space to write is that I write all my plots, ideas, and first drafts of all scripts in longhand, using pen and paper. I have quite a few notebooks filled with notes, plots, and scripts, stacked in a corner of my room. This method lets me write on lunch breaks at work, during intermissions as I watch hockey, or just lounging on the patio in the sun enjoying a beer. I then take my first draft, type it up and make any corrections or changes needed.

It may not be the “proper” or “correct” method to write, but it works for me.

Depending on the type of story and how excited I am about it, I have written a six-page story in as short a time as eight hours—from idea to first draft to final draft. Others have taken days, weeks, or even months to do. It all depends on the story, how many changes I need to make, and of course, the free time to write.

IM: Currently, what are you working on? Where can fans find you and your work?

RK: Currently I am working on the next issue of my comic: The Adventures of Jack Banyon. Also in the works is a new title from my comic imprint Stone Island Comics: Princess of the Trees!

Keel86-7I’m associate editor on a project that has been in the works for a while, a comic featuring the ACE Publication heroes of the 40s (Magno, Vulcan, Black Spider, and Lash Lightening). This will be a full color comic featuring art by Rock Baker, Scott Shriver (of AC Comics fame), Tony Lorenz, and John Lambert.

And of course, there is always a script or story in some level of completeness around.

My published work can be found at:

      Main Enterprises: http://www.mainenterprises.ecrater.com/

      Recollection Magazine: http://www.indyplanet.com/front/product/109957/

      We Love Monsters: http://www.we-love-monsters.com/

And from Stone Island Comics:

http://www.indyplanet.com/front/brand/StoneIslandComics/

https://www.facebook.com/StoneIslandComics

My prose work can be found in

      Collector’s Club Newsletter http://collectorsclubnewsletter.com/

      Or https://www.facebook.com/groups/collectorsclubnewsletter/

      The Imagination Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ImaginationLink/?fref=ts

I can be found on Facebook as can my comic imprint, Stone Island Comics

IM: Growing up, were you a fan of comics? What were/are some of your favorite titles? When did you know that you wanted to write comic books?

Keel86-8RK: I was always, and still am, a fan of comics. I learned how to read, thanks to Bugs Bunny and Uncle Scrooge, moving quickly to Tarzan, Superman, and Sgt. Rock.

Some of my favourite titles over the years and even now: Uncle Scrooge, Walt Disney Comics and Stories, Tarzan, Magnus, Robot Fighter, Turok, (Dell/Gold Key),  Superman, G. I. Combat, Sgt. Rock, JLA, Batman, Legion of Super-Heroes, House of Secrets/Mystery, Ghostly Tales, Fighting Five, Blackhawk, Fantastic Four, Strange Tales (Shield!!), Master of Kung Fu, Jon Sable, Warlord, Conan, Nexus, Bone ,Crossfire, Ms. Tree, DNAgents, Airboy, Jonah Hex, and more.

I first got the idea that maybe I could write comics back in the late 1970s. I wrote all the comic companies at the time: DC, Archie, Charlton, Marvel, and Warren, asking for information on being a comic book writer. I got sample scripts, submission info and nice letters from all. Armed with this, I started. Then, fear took over. I forgot my idea for many years. Figured I wasn’t good enough. A few years later, I discovered fandom and fanzines, yet never worked up the nerve to try scripts for any of the ‘zines. Around the mid-80s, I started writing a column for It’s A Fanzine and made the acquaintance of Jim Burke (aka T.M. Maple). From this, I got letters printed in some comics, more sent and not printed, got more articles in other fanzines, and so on. A few years ago, via some mutual acquaintances, I met (via Facebook) Jim Main. Jim is a long-time small press publisher. After sending him an article for one of his magazines, I inquired about trying my hand at a comic story. With Jim’s help, *PFFZST! #32 featured my first story, Ghost Dance, with fantastic art by Kevin Dale Duncan.

IM: Any advice for aspiring writers/creators?

Keel86-9RK: For writers: WRITE!!!! Sounds like a cliché, but it is true. Write something every day. Also, read. Read everything: comics, newspapers, novels (fiction and non-fiction), magazines, etc. Not only will this help you in story construction, dialogue, pacing, and the like, you may get plot ideas as well, and who knows? You could even “borrow” a line of dialogue or two.

For creators: When you create a character or series, work out a background, a timeline of the characters and the series. With some of my characters, I have a timeline stretching back to the character’s birth. As ideas come to me related to the character, I add them to the timeline where I think they should fit in the character’s history. Now, not every idea will be added to any story, but they help me in forming an idea of what would motivate the character in any particular story, and sometimes, they help build the depth of the character and future plots.

For Artists: Draw! Every day. Not just heroes in action poses, but cars, houses, furniture, ordinary people in ordinary clothes, people sitting and talking, animals, boats, trees, everything!! You never know when one of us crazy writers may ask for two people in evening clothes, sitting in a boat in a tree, being served by a dog in a tux!!

IM: If you had to choose, would you rather be a golden age superhero or an animated pulp action hero?

RK: Tough one!!  I think I would lean toward being an animated pulp action hero, something on the lines of The Shadow or The Spider.


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Ancient Wisdom

Ancient Wisdom for the Contemporary Age: A Talk with Aaron Trudgeon

By Mark Turner

Aaron1The creation of any work of art takes a certain amount of passion and faith to endure the hurdles faced by anyone engaged in anything creative. How much more powerful is the endeavor when one’s faith is the subject given that very same passion?  Such is the case with Ancient Wisdom Comics and their current project, The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Armed with an intense interest in the Gospels, and a desire to visually bring them to life, this creative team has stepped out to create what promises to be a moving tribute. These books attempt a broader picture of the familiar Bible tale, bringing the individual players into sharper focus, and thus, hopefully providing a more comprehensive understanding of a story most believe they already know. Taking time out of a busy schedule, writer Aaron Trudgeon shared a bit about the company’s current endeavor and what makes this project so unique.

IM:  Currently, you and the team over at Ancient Wisdom Comics are working on adapting the Gospels of the New Testament into a graphic novel. Could you share a bit about this project?

31-12 copyAT: The project is entitled The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a planned graphic novel of the Gospels that will have 109 chapters, with 16 pages in each chapter. The project will include original art and cut-and-paste images, as well as stock religious images to help tell the story. The images help tell the story, but the strongest point is really writing. I would say it is written culturally from a western mindset, with a very linear approach to the story going from point A to B (early start to the ascension). The team is aiming to create a work that merges all of the Gospels into one continuous story that is 99 per cent accurate in terms of how it relates to the source material.

IM: With a planned extended version of the Gospels clocking in at 109 chapters (at 16 pages for each chapter), how do you manage that work load? It sounds like a massive undertaking. Who is the creative team involved with the project? In terms of creating the look for the book, how did you come about taking this approach?

31-13 copyAT: Yes, it is quite a work load, but it is fun. I’m learning a lot and religious reading interests me. I have a team, but I’m the main producer, I just met with my first proofreader today; we did chapters 52, 53, and 54. My second proofreader is my wife Carol.  Working with two proofreaders goes a long way in helping reduce all the small errors; I have others on the team to help check accuracy of content.  I’ve been working on this a long time. I finally started to write in January of 2012, back when I still had a decent job working at a hospital. The hospital closed and I soon ran low on money, so we started using stock pictures. I quickly realized it worked quite well.  Any scenes that I could not match up with stock images, I had an artist draw. The main artists are Larry Blake and Rachelle Westmoreland.  The project also includes art unique to certain issues, including work by Larry Blake, Sean Bieri, George McVey, Dan Hyson, and John Nagridge. At this point, it’s turning out quite well; all chapters are written out and almost all pictures are done. We just have to be patient till the proofreaders are done.

IM: What would you say someone who reads this project will come away with?

AT:  I would say with some confidence, that if someone were to read this, they could pass Christianity 101. Also all of Christianity, all denominations, everything out there was considered; only what stood the test made it into this project.

IM:  Would you and the team over there at Ancient Wisdom Comics consider yourselves to be fans of the medium? Is there anything that you are reading currently that inspires you?

31-14 copyAT: Yes, we are comic book fans—also zine fans—who have been creating for years. We have a lot of mini-comics we have been doing for years. One comic book which we created in the late 90s is called Christianman (art by Larry Blake). It was a one-shot deal, but since that, and up to this point, we have been creating many mini-comics and zines. As far as my reading goes, I read all the time. Usually, I’m going through a book, but most of my reading has been this gospel comic, lately.

IM: Of all of the books in the Old and New Testaments, what made you decide to tackle the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

AT: I think that we decided to do the Gospel of Jesus Christ because of our interest in Christianity. Since Jesus is the focus of Christianity, the best place to focus our project on would be the Gospels.

IM: When is the project slatted to debut and where will fans be able to find it once it is available?

AT: Hopefully, by the end of this year or early 2016, it will be ready. Once it is, we think putting the book on Amazon would be a good idea; not sure how it would do in comic shops, since it is a hodgepodge of art, as we stated earlier. The writing is the strong part, pictures are just a help.

IM: Where can fans learn more about the project and Ancient Wisdom Comics?

AR: For now, fans can find out more about Ancient Wisdom Comics and our work on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AncientWisdomComics461871_453285951364482_47639300_o


 

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Leave them Howling

Leave Them HowlingVavara3
An Interview with Vin Varvara

By Mark Turner

Horror in comics is a stylistic story telling structure that is quite often difficult to master. For those who practice the craft, a love of the medium and a passion for things that go “bump” in the night is a must. Case in point: Vin Varvara and his graphic novel The Howler, the story of a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit, on the run from the law and the beast that lurks within. A throwback to classic comic tales from the pages of DC Comics’ Swamp Thing and Marvel Comics’ The Incredible Hulk, The Howler captures the spirit of the late night creature feature from a bygone era.
Vin Varvara, writer of the graphic novel The Howler took time out of a busy schedule to share a bit about his career, love of monster mash-ups, comics, and the monster that lurks within The Howler.

IM: What is your professional background/training? How did you get into comics?

VV: Funny thing about that, I actually never really had any professional training or came from a professional type of background. I never went to art school or took specialized writing classes for comic books. Everything I have done in comics so far just came from a combination of me trying and learning through trial and error. I also take some time to read interviews from other comic creators, and talk to other creators that are just starting out – like myself – about their experiences working in this industry.
Vavara howler face2I got involved in comics when I was very young. I remember my first exposure to superheroes didn’t even come from comics! I used to watch reruns of the old Incredible Hulk TV show with Bill Bixby, the old 60s Batman with Adam West, and the Spider-Man cartoons and his appearances on the Electric Company. It wasn’t until later, when I saw a Spider-Man comic on the old spinner racks of my local grocery store, that I had to have it. Funny thing, looking back on it, that Spider-Man comic didn’t even have Spidey on the cover. It was a menacing shot of the Vulture, of all characters, in these really crazy colors, and menacing pose. For some reason that I just can’t explain, the book just stood out to me. I read through the book a bunch of times that day and I was instantly hooked, wanting to read more and more! Yeah, I was definitely down the rabbit hole at that point.

IM: How did Howler come to be?

VV: I’ve always chalked up Howler’s creation to one of those stories you hear about where you are working on a different project and you get a welcome unexpected result. Howler’s creation started when I was approached by Jemir Johnson (creator/writer of the Jay Nova series of graphic novels), who had told me he and Matt Wilbekin (creator/artist of Vigilance) were putting together a small press publishing company (that would eventually become Creative Elamentz Studios). I was asked if I wanted to be a part of it. It took me all of about five seconds to think about it and say yes! So, I got down to work on creating a character that I would bring to Creative Elamentz. As I was sitting at the computer, figuring out this one character (who I called Retribution)’s bio, abilities, allies, enemies, etc…, I got to the allies section. I had one of those stray thoughts about how cool would it be if there was a werewolf character in the mix of this story. So, in the Retribution character’s bio pack I had jotted down under allies, literally something along the lines of “something—something—werewolf”. Then it happened. I’ve read stories from other authors about how their characters would just come to life and tell the author their story. Well, this happened to me, once I began to give this werewolf character—that would eventually become the Howler—some thought. As corny as this may sound, this werewolf came off the page and basically guided me in the storytelling. So, Retribution was put off to the side for the time being, and this werewolf got my full attention! After a few feverish hours of sitting at the computer, I became familiar with the story of Chris Stevens, the protagonist of our story, as he is cursed with being a werewolf. Chris, who now has to try to find a cure for his condition while on the run as a wanted fugitive, because the authorities have accused him for the murder of his family. Even with all that drama alone, you have the makings of a powerful story, but then, you add in, while on his journey to find a cure, Chris comes across creatures that are based in the supernatural/ mythology. So now, also added to the story, are old fashioned monster-versus-monster fights. Put all of these elements together and you have the ingredients of a great story!

howler fc 6-22-14IM: Stylistically, the storytelling in Howler is a bit of a throwback to such titles as Swamp Thing and The Incredible Hulk from the 70s, in that it has a strong horror/creature feature-type vein running through the work. What would you say influenced the tone of Howler?

VV: Thanks for noticing the style for The Howler, Mark. That was what I was aiming for. The classic Len Wein and Alan Moore Swamp Thing stories are just great reads, as well as the Hulk comics from the early 80s. Howler’s style was also heavily based in the old Universal Monster movies of the 30s and 40s. I remember watching those movies and just enjoying them. I’m sure they heavily influenced me on a subconscious level when it came to developing the Howler. Looking back and ahead when it comes to the Howler, I’ve always kind of likened the beats of the story to “The Fugitive meets The Wolfman”.

IM: What do you think Howler brings to the genre that other horror/hero titles lack?

VV: I’d like to think that the Howler is a return to those big fun classic monster-versus-monster fights that you used to see in the older Marvel horror comics, back in the 70s and early 80s, like Ghost Rider, Tomb of Dracula, and of course, Werewolf By Night. But I also would like to think that Howler, in regards to this graphic novel and future stories, will be able to bring old-style suspense and classic horror that readers may have checked out in the older EC comics titles, like Tales from the Crypt. I guess, to really answer your question, Mark, I’d like to think that Howler offers a throwback to old-school horror, while still being grounded with contemporary sensibilities.

IM: Did you grow up reading comics? What were some of your favorite titles? Any influences that inspired you to create?

VV: Oh, absolutely. I’ve been reading comics since I was eight years old! I remember, when I first started reading comics, I was taken aback by all these different titles that were on the spinner racks of my local grocery stores. (I didn’t come across comic shops until a few years later.) But I always had a few favorites that I had to read every month, like Bill Mantlo’s run on the Incredible Hulk and John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four. The one favorite title where I had to have every issue, because I was so hooked by this book—and it had a heavy influence on my creativity—was Chris Claremont’s amazing run on the Uncanny X-Men. Now, I can probably go on and on about Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men, which would bore your readers. So, all I’m going to say is that as a writer, I truly appreciated what Mr. Claremont did with this group of misunderstood heroes. By injecting personalities and fleshing out each of the X-Men, it got to the point that you, the reader, were fully invested in the X-Men. You found a way to identify with one or all of them, because even though they were fictional characters, it read like real people dealing with real everyday problems (things such as acceptance in a society that doesn’t understand or approve of those that are different). These are problems that are still relevant today. The stories were so rich in these characterizations that you had to keep coming back every month, because you cared. Mr. Claremont made you care about the fates of fictional characters. That is an incredible feat for any writer to accomplish, and it’s something that I aspire to achieve in my writing too. Not only do I want people to read and enjoy the Howler, but I really want them to have the same type of feelings for Chris Stevens and Howler’s struggles, just as I had I felt for the X-Men. I’ll also just want to add that Mr. Claremont showed me that you can indeed write a strong female lead character, and not every female character in comic stories needs to be the damsel in distress.

IM: Where did the idea for Howler come from? How did the creative team come together?

VV: Going back to the creation of the Howler, I always found the myth of werewolves appealing and was captured by their stories, whether it was “The Wolfman,” “Werewolf By Night,” or the first “Howling” movie. I always liked the concept of werewolves and they were part of my subconscious for years. So, again, when I was working on Retribution for Creative Elamentz, I just saw an opportunity to take a shot to explore the werewolf mythos.
The creative team came together pretty quickly, if I remember correctly. After I had written a couple of the stories that are featured in the Howler graphic novel, I knew that I had to find an artist to bring these stories to life, because I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life! So, I had put a want ad in the old Comics Buyer’s Guide magazine, and this talented artist by the name of Bill Young had answered my ad and sent me his submission samples. Now, Bill sent a few samples, some superhero, some sci-fi, but the one submission that he included, without any prompting from me, was this incredible painting of a werewolf. How could I not offer Bill the job after seeing that submission piece? After a couple of email exchanges with Bill, he was on board and quickly began working on the stories that I had already written, while also tackling the other Howler stories that I had finished writing, that are part of the Howler graphic novel.howler bc 6-22-14

IM: With the graphic novel, the reader can clearly see a progression in the art style as the story progresses. Would you say that your storytelling abilities underwent a similar evolution over time, as the project was worked on? If so, in what way would you say your writing changed?

VV: Yeah, absolutely. As I was writing the different stories that comprise this Howler graphic novel, I did notice that my writing style changed. I always attributed the change in writing style to me becoming more and more familiar with the characters, and being totally drawn into Howler’s world.

IM: When writing, do you tend to work full script or Marvel style? How did this eventually affect the end product of Howler? What challenges did working in that style present to the creative team? How did they overcome them?

VV: When I write a story, I always write in full script format and I rarely deviate from that format. When I do get the finished artwork back, I may tweak dialogue for a couple panels, depending on how the artwork in that specific panel is laid out. But yeah, I write full scripts. I just feel more comfortable getting the whole story out at once, beat for beat, as opposed to doing it in a piecemeal fashion.
Let me tell you what a talented artist Bill Young is, and what a pleasure it was to collaborate with him on this graphic novel. When I sent Bill the scripts for the Howler stories that would comprise this graphic novel, he just rolled up his sleeves and dove in. There were times where, in the script, I may not have been as descriptive as to I had envisioned how a panel should be, but Bill would nail the panel exactly as I wanted it. It’s like he was a mind reader! All jokes aside, though, what you see in the pages of The Howler is the direct result of stories written in full script format, and drawn by a talented artist, who was able to take my thoughts, bringing them to the comic book page.

IM: The graphic novel represents just the beginning of the adventure. Are there plans to pick up the story in another GN, or a series? If so, do you have an idea of when the next installment will be making its debut?

VV: As much as I would love to do a Howler monthly comic series, it is not feasible for me at this moment. Perhaps someday, depending on how sales go, and if Howler catches on with the readers (fingers crossed), I could revisit my stance on a monthly series. But right now, I’m happy with having Howler come out in original graphic novels. Besides, I’m sure the readers would like to get the whole story in one book, rather than having to track down multiple monthly issues.
But, to get back on track, I’d like to take this opportunity to let you and your readers know that, yes, there is a sequel for the Howler already written. This new story will also be a graphic novel. As for when the new story will be released, I cannot say at the moment. Unfortunately, Bill Young has moved on to other projects and is unable to keep up art duties with the Howler. As much as I will miss collaborating with Bill, I understand his need to move on to other projects and wish him nothing but the best. So, I’m going to take as much time as I need in finding someone who is talented enough to take up the art chores and bring Howler to life.

IM: As a writer, would you say that you practice your craft daily? What kinds of habits do you practice to keep you skills sharp and ensure you have a professional work ethic?

VV: I do practice my craft in some fashion on an almost daily basis. Whether I’m plotting stories, writing down some stray outlines for stories, working on character bios for new characters, or just writing a script, I’m working on my craft as a writer. I admit, some days, I find it harder than others. On those days, you find you have to work even harder. It’s always easy to write when the ideas are just flowing out of you. Sometimes, the most rewarding ideas are the ones that you have to coax out of you through maximum effort. But, even when I’m not writing stories, I’m always thinking of story plots.

IM: Aside from any future plans for Howler, are there any other genres that you would like to explore?

VV: Well, I am pretty comfortable within the horror genre and love exploring that world and all the different mythologies that encompass the genre. But it’s also good to step out of your comfort zone. I wouldn’t want to be pigeon-held to one specific genre. I’d like to explore other genres, like the superhero genre, and I’d love to try to create one of those epic sci-fi space operas, similar to Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica.

IM: For you, what would you say is the most rewarding aspect of working in the comics industry and what would you say is the most challenging?

VV: Hands down, the most rewarding aspect of this whole process is watching the step-by-step process of how a passing stray thought takes on a life of its own; going from script to art to finished product. It’s the watching the characters that you have created being brought to life! I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching this process happen. It’s definitely worth all the hard work that is put in to get the graphic novel finished.
For me, the most challenging part of working in this industry is the whole marketing, advertising, and trying to get the book noticed. As much work as it took in creating the characters, the stories, and the graphic novel itself, it was fun work. When it comes to actually driving people to the book, I find it to be the hardest part of this process. I hope that this interview is able to direct people to Amazon.com, where they can purchase the Howler, a 165-page graphic novel written by Vin Varvara with art by Bill Young, in either paperback or Kindle formats, for under $10.00! See what I did there?

ONLINE FOLLOW-THROUGH
Get it Online: http://www.amazon.com/Howler-Full-Cycle-Vin-Varvara/dp/1500200662/
Interviewer: Mark Turner https://mag.indyfestusa.com/staff/#Mark_Turner

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