How To Interview A Creator
Being the resident gonzo over at The Weekly Crisis has given me the chance to infect a wider range of the populace through their larger internets portal. It’s fun. I also wonder how many then follow me back here, or even know to…and in the end, would it change a thing? Knowing me, most likely not.
So, over there I’ve been writing about the books I like, and other nerd stuff. Usually I just rant, op/ed style, and the fantastic creator of the site, Kirk Warren, just gives me enough rope each time. I’ve looked at the Savage Magazine Format of Marvel and the resurgence (very small) that it is making once more; I’ve looked at the upcoming Secret Avengers title from Ed Brubaker and rather than be journalistic with the investigation and the hoo-ha I’ve instead just discussed what I think about it; I’ve hyped up a new series soon to hit by Jonathan Hickman titled S.H.I.E.L.D., and showcased some stuff from the artist, Dustin Weaver; they’ve let me join in commentary of covers of the week and solicitation thoughts, which has been revamped and I really dig; and obviously I’ve looked at the pending Daredevil film reboot, mostly just editorialising because of lack of real news to report, and just today have put up my 10 favourite DD covers. It’s been real fun but the thing I get most caught up in is the interviews.
Yeah, interviews, like a real journalist. I managed to interview Steven Sanders, the artist behind Marvel’s sadly cancelled S.W.O.R.D. and now I’ve got three more interviews with big league creators, all of whom are some of my favourites in the field. Imagine that, getting to interview massive names that you buy and respect each month. Most people won’t understand, but this is the comic equivalent of interviewing Martin Scorsese, or Michael Jordan, or Kevin Rudd, or Garth Brooks; and yes, no hyperbole, these people I’m interviewing are that big in their equivalent fields. I’m excited but in the end I need to keep my stony professional exterior on show, or do I?
There are comic news websites out there, CBR, Newsarama, etc, who lead the field and get the most page views. They score all the big releases and they interview all the big names. Smaller presses do what they can, but no one wants to read the same information from a bunch of different sites, we need to make the interviews different. So I thought long and hard about how to do this.
Could it be the venue? If we interviewed creators from inside giant dead armadillos, would this make for a better process? Considering I use email for all interviews as I live in Australia and the rest of the world lives scattered, almost randomly, throughout the rest of the world it seems my venue is stuck.
Could it be what we wore? If I insisted that each creator sat at their computer with a helmet made of honey would that increase the creativity, or simply melt brain function in order for us to sneak an exclusive? I doubt it on both counts.
The questions? Could they have anything to do with an interview? I hope so because they’re all I’ve got. With my trusty long bow in hand, I find my quiver only full of words, and it’s the order in which I fire them that makes the difference. So I endeavour to make my interviews a tad more relaxed, a little more fun, dare I say it, not even serious. I don’t devolve into dick and fart jokes, but I’m not the staid upper lip of boredom either. I want to know what I want to know, and it just so happens people who read our interviews will only get to know what I ask, so we’re stuck with that cycle. Fear not, I don’t want to know anything lame, all question’s are certain to be awesome, 99 and 3/4% guaranteed. Hell, even look at the name of the segment we gave it. If that doesn’t spell relaxed then I don’t know what does.
But these interviews are certainly not puff pieces where the creator sounds off on a bunch of news flashes to promote the latest work, oh no. That’s not my style. These things tangent out and give us all a slice of the creator that they’ll never get back.
Sure, I want to know what they’re working on and how it’s going, but I also want to know what they’ve been listening to while they created it. I want to know what influences them, comics from childhood, art on their walls now, and I want to know where they’re headed, dream characters, a movie or book they’d love to adapt to the four colour world. I want to know the creator, not just the work they dish out. Comics is a small field, in perspective, and there’s no reason we can’t all just get along.
I have also invented, and I’m sure no one else is doing this right now but I’m also sure someone will prove me wrong, the Literary Rorschach Test; this is where I give the creator ten words and they have to write whatever it makes them think or feel. Could be one word, could be a half a page rant. Any and all elicited responses must simply be real. I like it because they’re not questions I would generally ask but they are little nuggets of the world I am interested in getting their perspective on.
The interviews need to be fun and interesting and hopefully unlike anything else going out there. That’s the plan and hopefully in the next few weeks you’ll see just what I’m talking about as more will be coming live at you through your Weekly Crisis fix.
Until then, have a browse around the site and make yourself comfortable. It’s a friendly place to go and you’ll learn all sorts of fun stuff. Maybe even about yourself.
Posted on March 2nd, 2010 by ryan
Filed under: comics