Showing posts with label IDW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IDW. Show all posts

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Meet a Visiting Comic Book Writer: A Chat with Nejc Juren of Slovenia

by Mike Rhode

Early next month, DC will have the rare treat of two Slovenian cartoonists visiting to sign their Animal Noir graphic novel and open an exhibit of comic art at the Embassy of Slovenia. Last week, we interviewed Izar Lunaček.Today, we chat with Nejc Juren, the co-author of Animal Noir.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I write scripts. I'm so bad at drawing that I never dared to hope I could do any work in comics. However, I've always loved comics, and since I consider myself more of a storyteller then a writer, I jumped at the chance when Izar suggested we tell some stories together in comic book form. I truly believe comics are one of the best storytelling mediums. The possibilities here are endless.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I try to adapt to the process of the illustrator. If he needs a panel by panel script, I try to write it that way, but I prefer the process to be more loose. I tell the illustrator the broad story and then I let his visual ideas guide and shape the script. With Izar, the process was just incredible. When we did Animal Noir we spent a couple of months just world-building. We really went into the foundation of the world those animals created. Then we created the long arc of the story (which has yet to be told and I guarantee is really epic) and only then all the small arcs, the first of which came out last year from IDW.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in 1982. Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia and a socialist country. Yugoslavia dissolved when I was 8 years old and I grew up watching a lot of American television.

Where do you live now?

I live in Ljubljana, our nation's capital.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I always got the worst marks in drawing. But I also always got the worst mark in music and now I make ends meet by writing comic scripts and running a semi-popular swing band. As for formal education, I finished law school.

Who are your influences?

René Goscinny, Allan Moore, Joan Sfar, Christophe Blain.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I don't think I'd change anything. I kinda take it like this: it takes around 20 years to become a good storyteller. So that's a really long journey. And the more you meander, the more you get lost and side-tracked, the more walls you hit, all that should - by this theory - just add to your journey. That's why I'm trying to cherish all the wrong turns I take.


What work are you best-known for?

In comics, it's Animal Noir. However, in Slovenia I'm more known as a musician. This is my band, Počeni Škafi, if you want to check us out. I write all the lyrics and most of the music. In English, it means The Cracking Buckets. Our original singer's surname was Škafar, which means the bucket maker.We have an album on Spotify and all the other streaming sites, but a good sample is here: https://youtu.be/WM5yLKnJwl0

What work are you most proud of?


You'd make me choose among my children? Okay, check this video out. It's the first thing Izar and I did together. Dive is a short comic that was done as a music video for Fed Horses, a band I also write lyrics for. I'm really happy the way it turned out but I don't think the Youtube algorithm likes it too much.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

Izar and I are working on a comic called Thursday Girl that I think will be great. We're hoping to find a publisher soon so we can get our claws into it. I'm also preparing a collection of short stories that's going to get released next year.


What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I stop and let my brain solve it on it's own. I have a constant writer's block and usually resolves it self around deadlines. Or I find that a long walk or a long shower really helps.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

Who knows? But stories will always be important. And if by some chance the world gets overrun by amazing storytellers and will have no use for me, I'll just go back into law.

What conventions do you attend?

I usually go to the Angouleme festival in France. It's super nice.

Have you visited DC before?

Yes. I visited in 98. I was an international student at the Governor's school of South Carolina and we make a field trip.

If so, favorite thing? Least favorite? If not, what do you want to do?

I remember putting my finger into Einstein's nose.

If you've visited, what monument or museum do you like?

I guess the answer is again Einstein. I'm not into the big phallic monuments. I did enjoy the Air & Space Museum.

What can you tell us about your book that you're signing at Big Planet Comics?

One of Goodreads reviewers called it: so intensely overthought that it's hard to tell if it's good or just totally insane. I guess that's my work.

Did Animal Noir when we appear in the United States, or did it appear in your country first? How did you guys bring it to the attention of IDW? Did you do the English script yourselves?

Animal Noir came out in the US first. Some publishing houses in Slovenia liked it, but none wanted to risk the investment. The Slovenian comics market is very small. Our original plan was to find a publisher in France and the first few pages were drawn in a little larger format. When IDW showed interest, we adapted it to the floppy format and we re-wrote the script to fit it into 20-page episodes.

Izar met Ted Adams at the comics festival in Barcelona, pitched him the story and showed him a few pages. Ted liked it so much, he also took on the editing duties. It was surreal for us.

Yeah, we wrote Animal Noir in English. When in came out in Slovenia 6 months later, we needed to translate it into our mother tongue. Moreover, when we did the world-building we named everything in English with some reckless abandon, so we put ourselves in some tight spots when we needed to translate those names into Slovenian.

Do you have a website or blog?

No. But you can follow me on Instagram.

As Izar Lunaček noted on our blog last week:

The first days of November will see a double hit of Slovenian comics descend on Washington DC. On Thursday November 1st at 7PM, Nejc Juren and Izar Lunaček will swing by Big Planet Comics on U St., NW to talk about and sign their book Animal Noir, a comic thriller about a giraffe detective in a world of lion politicians and hippo mobsters that came out with IDW last year, and on the 2nd the same guys will open an exhibition on the vivid history of their own country's comics scene at the Slovenian embassy on California Street. Admission to both events is free and food and drinks might be served. Come on, come all, it'll be wonderfully fun! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Shannon Gallant talks about leaving G.I. Joe for… G.I. Joe



By Mike Rhode
 
Shannon “S.L.” Gallant spoke recently on a panel on graphic novels at George Mason University’s Fall for the Book Festival. I last interviewed him in 2010 so it was about time to check in again. After the panel (which will be transcribed here in the future), we sat down for a quick talk.

You have just come off of what is supposed to be the longest run of an artist on the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic book. How many issues did you draw?

I didn’t even count. I think the IDW guys said something like 70 or 75. I started on #161, which had a cover-date of November 2010, so that means I started before then timewise, and I just did my last issue three months ago, and that was issue #245. There were some fill-ins of various issues along the way.

You were mainly the penciler and didn’t ink yourself on the book?

Gallant inked by Earskine
The only thing I inked were covers. My first few covers were done by whoever the inker was on the book. Some were by Gary Erskine, and a couple were by Brian Shearer, but the last twenty or thirty or so that I did were inked by myself. That was the only inking that I did.

Larry Hama wrote the entire run that you worked on?

He did.

How did he give you the scripts? Was it thumbnails, or typescript? 

Larry works in the old Marvel style which is a springboard style – a synopsis of the page, rather than broken down on the page into panel-by-panel descriptions. He very rarely included any kind of dialogue, because he would script that later. It was basically just a synopsis of the page and he would say things like, “If I have more than one paragraph, consider the paragraph to be a panel,” but it wasn’t a hard rule. That’s generally how he worked.

So you’re leaving the main G.I. Joe title to do… another G.I. Joe title?
 
I am. It’s G.I.Joe versus the Six Million Dollar Man [jointly published by IDW and Dynamite]. It’s a period piece and I’m setting it in my head in 1981 so it’ll be between the end of the Six Million Dollar Man tv show and the beginning of the G.I. Joe cartoon. I’m modelling G.I. Joe more on the cartoon characters than on the comic book version. So the costumes are pretty much the same, but the characters backgrounds are slightly different.

Who’s writing it?

Ryan Ferrier. He’s done comics for a lot of companies, IDW and Dynamite included.

What kind of script is he giving you?

It’s more of a full script, panel-by-panel breakdowns with dialogue.

Who made the decision about when this was set it time?

It evolved out of everyone talking and deciding with Steve Austin being so set in the ‘70s because of the tv show and the fashions, and Dynamite has gone back from updating the character, to making it more like the classic character in most of their books. I wanted to do it [that way], and feel those books need to be period pieces. A lot of the G.I. Joe fans had issues when we started at IDW with the updating of characters and making everyone have cell phones, and computers, and laptops and iPads and so forth… so this is my way of doing a period piece. The research is one of the biggest hurdles for me on it.

Plus he’d be a Six Trillion Dollar Man now… You’ve said you do a lot of research. Since you’re setting this 35 years ago, are you doing a lot of research to see what buildings and cars looked like at the time?

I’m trying to. I trying to make sure that it at least feels like it’s set in 1981, as opposed to having people with iPods. You don’t want to make those kinds of mistakes. When I got the first script, there were references to an office building with computers on the tables, so I had a discussion with the editor, saying “Well, people didn’t have computers on their desk in 1981. There was a room you had to go to and use a computer.”

How many issues is it?

From what I understand it’s supposed to be four, depending on sales they may expand it.

You’ve also done work for American Mythology in Baltimore lately?

They do a lot of licensed properties. They do have some creator-owned stuff, but the work I’ve been doing for them is on their cartoon properties. They have the rights to Bullwinkle, Casper, Underdog… they started out with a license for Pink Panther and I did the Free Comic Book Day Pink Panther comic where he turns into Thor. Most of what I’ve done for them has been on their cartoon side, but they also do a Three Stooges comic and a Stargate comic.

Do you find it easy to switch styles between G.I. Joe and Pink Panther?

It’s something I’ve always had to do when I was working in advertising. I had to switch styles up a lot. That’s how I ended up as a staff illustrator which is pretty rare.  If they wanted a New Yorker-type comic style or something more realistic, or traditional advertising – that was something I was used to doing and I still enjoy. It keeps the batteries fresh.

Are you hoping to continue on the Six Million Dollar Man after this miniseries?

I enjoy the character. I wonder if it’s one of those things though. I read an interview with Adam Hughes once, about Star Trek, after he did the big Debt of Honor Star Trek graphic novel. He said, “No, I got that out of my system. I’m done with it.” So we’ll see if at the end of this if I’m over the Six Million Dollar Man.

Is there anything you would like to work on?

Dynamite has announced that they’re going to redo Swords of the Swashbucklers, and that’s a series I would love to get on. It was when I fell in love with Jackson “Butch” Guice’s artwork. I would love to do that because I love those characters. It was steampunky before steampunk was a thing. I was never into pirates until that but it’s got enough of a Star Wars feel to it. It’s a fun book.

Who’s writing that?

Marc Guggenheim, the producer of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow tv show.

Over the years at HeroesCon, you’ve become friendly with Butch?

Shadows drawn and inked by Gallant
He was introduced to me by our mutual friend Chris Sparks, who was friends with Butch for years and years. We email back and forth and are friendly acquaintances. I think he’s phenomenal. One of the things I really enjoy about his work – when I fell in love with it, back he was working on Swords of the Swashbucklers, and the work he’s doing now… if you look at his work then, and his work now, you wouldn’t guess it was the same person. Stylistically he has grown, but a lot of artists, when they hit a certain level, they plateau and they stay at that level and they don’t change. He’s still experimenting and trying different techniques. He’s gotten very obsessed with shadow work. To see his penciled pages and then to see what the final looks like… I still don’t know he makes that leap. I’ve asked him multiple times, “how do you approach your shadows, because what you’re penciling, and what I’m seeing in the final product, makes it almost seem like two different people did the book.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SL Gallant interview coming up soon on City Paper

DC-area cartoonist SL Gallant, the artist on IDW's GI Joe, answered some brief interview questions for me and it should be coming up on Monday after it's edited on the City Paper site.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama and McCain comic books press release

Hmmm, somehow I got on the mailing list for this press release - perhaps because the two candidates are DC personalities no matter how much a politician may attempt to deny that when running. Or maybe because I went to see Andy Helfer in Charlottesville when he spoke about his Malcolm X biography... it's probably not the number of readers here!

So without further ado, or editing, here's the PR:


IDW PUBLISHING PRESENTS GRAPHIC NOVEL BIOGRAPHIES OF U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SENATOR BARACK OBAMA AND SENATOR JOHN McCAIN

GoComics Will Bring Comic Books To Mobile Users Worldwide


(San Diego, CA; July 22, 2008) -- Seldom has there been a presidential election year as momentous as this one. The larger-than-life personal stories and come-from-behind political victories of the presumptive candidates, Senator Barack Obama (Dem; IL) and Senator John McCain (Rep; AZ), have electrified the political discourse in this country and around the world. Now IDW Publishing (www.idwpublishing.com) is pleased to present an extraordinary venture in this political year: a pair of biographies, PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL: BARACK OBAMA (Author: Jeff Mariotte/Artist: Tom Morgan) and PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL: JOHN MCCAIN (Author: Andy Helfer/Artist: Stephen Thompson) presented in one of the true American art forms, the comic book. These graphic novel biographies are painstakingly researched with beautifully drawn depictions highlighting key incidents in the lives of the two men. Sure to be a hot collector’s item, the books can be pre-ordered starting today at www.presidentialcomics.com in advance of the October 8 publication date. In addition to the separate tomes, the two issues will also be available in a special trade paperback flip-book edition.

“We’re tremendously proud of these books,” says IDW president Ted Adams. “Comics and graphic novels speak to millions of people encompassing all demographic, social, cultural and economic stripes. It’s a great way to get beyond the headlines on these two candidates.”

In addition to the print versions, mobile phone users can purchase the books for downloading through uclick’s GoComics mobile comic book reader at www.gocomics.com/presidents. The books will be available on phones through top U.S. carriers and on the mobile Internet at http://m.gocomics.com. A leading digital entertainment provider offering a broad mix of popular products for the Web and mobile phones, uclick’s content lineup includes other IDW properties, among many other leading brands.

“The Presidential Material books are the latest example of why IDW is considered one of the most innovative comic book publishing companies,” said Jeff Webber, Uclick Vice President of Product Development. “The simultaneous release of these books in print and on mobile phones has never been done in the U.S. before. We’ve seen a lot of new ground broken so far in this presidential contest, so it’s fitting that these books should be released in a way that’s unprecedented.”

The powerful cover art illustrations for both books were created by fan favorite J. Scott Campbell. His first book was the popular Gen13, which he followed with Danger Girl, a runaway bestseller that spawned a video game as well as a series of toys. More recently he has been working on a Spider-Man series that will debut in 2009.

Senator Barack Obama’s meteoric rise to the top of the Democratic Party is the stuff of political legend. His epic battle with Senator Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic Party’s nominee has ensured, regardless of outcome, a historic election in November. Obama author Jeff Mariotte is an award-winning, bestselling writer of more than 30 novels, including original supernatural thrillers River Runs Red and Missing White Girl, horror epic The Slab, and Stoker Award nominated teen horror series Witch Season, as well as books set in the universes of CSI: Miami, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Supernatural, Spider-Man, Superman, and Star Trek. He is a veteran comics author, including his original Western series, Desperadoes.

Senator John McCain comes from a family steeped in public service—both his father and grandfather were Admirals in the U.S. Navy—and he has followed in that tradition. His Navy tenure included an extended period as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and he has been a longtime member of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Andy Helfer, author of the John McCain bio, has been one of comics’ most innovative forces since 1980. During his tenure in charge of Paradox Press, an experimental imprint of DC Comics, he published the original graphic novels Road to Perdition and A History of Violence, both of which became major feature films. He is also the author of well-received and critically lauded graphic novel biographies of Ronald Reagan and Malcolm X.

BARACK OBAMA: PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL: 28 pages of story and art, plus annotations. $3.99 cover price. JOHN MCCAIN: PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL: 28 pages of story and art, plus annotations. $3.99 cover price. FLIP-BOOK encompassing both titles: $7.99 cover price.

About IDW: IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, Calif. As a leader in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry including: television's #1 prime time series CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Paramount's Star Trek; Fox's Angel; Hasbro's The Transformers, and the BBC's Doctor Who. IDW's original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. In April 2008, IDW released Michael Recycle, the first title from its new children's book imprint, Worthwhile Books. More information about the company can be found at http://www.idwpublishing.com.

Press Contact: Maggie Begley Communications
Office: 310-301-1785
Mobile: 310-749-3055
mbegley@aol.com

McGruder, McCain, Obama, Kirkman and True

A roundup from today's papers -

"The Interview: 'Boondocks' Creator Aaron McGruder," By Michael Cavna, Comic Riffs blog July 22, 2008;

I'm not sure what this is about - "Meeting Every Superhero's Needs In Brooklyn," By Jennifer 8. Lee, New York Times City Room blog July 22 2008.

McCain and Obama will appear in IDW comic books - "The Candidates, Comically Drawn," By George Gene Gustines, New York Times July 22, 2008.

Robert Kirkman becomes one of the partners in Image Comics - "Writer of the Undead Is Reborn as a Partner at Image Comics," By GEORGE GENE GUSTINES, New York Times July 22, 2008. I think he'll be at the Baltimore Comic Con again this year.

Finally, the comics editor of True has died - "Roger Hall; Memoirist of World War II Espionage," By Adam Bernstein, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, July 22, 2008; B06.