Chances are you may have heard of Geeky Comics' own Victor Wright from the lands of the UK. And if chances are that you haven't, well my friends. This interview may just change that and give you something new to check out!
Interview by: Robert McClelland
1. First off, I just want to say thanks to agreeing to be interviewed here at IndieComiX. And my first question for you is for those that may not know of you. Who are you and what is it that you do?
Many thanks for taking an interest. I’m Victor Wright, author and owner of Geeky Comics - an independent publisher. I’ve read comics for the last forty two years, so you can imagine how many stories I have pondered over. It was these tales that inspired me to want to write.
By the time I was in my 20’s, I could think of nothing else but writing, but due to work commitments I never got the chance to do anything substantial. In my early thirties, I wrote my first book, a children’s title called ‘Casso’s Kite’. It didn’t sell fantastically, but it gave me the energy to continue. I then ghost wrote a book with historian Simon Harrison for the ‘60th Anniversary of the Dambusters’. This was a fun job, but very factual and my heart lay with fiction. A couple of years passed and I never wrote anymore, until my daughter started to pester me on a daily basis to tell her stories of my childhood. She loved to listen to my antics, so I thought why not write them down and ‘One Plus Ten’ was penned.
Since then I have written constantly, my latest book is ‘Light of Darkness – Days of Reckoning’ the first book in a trilogy of supernatural horrors. As an avid reader of indie titles, I decided this year to put pen to paper on my first comic. I have a love or war, horror and crime stories - I decided that would be my focus, those three genres. We released ‘Exposed’ in March 2013 and have not looked back since. It’s now on issue two and is selling very well. The comic gave me the ability to pen a Sgt. Rock style title, something I’d always wanted to do – it’s a little like Sgt. Rock meets the ‘Lost Boys’.
I followed this up with ‘The Lawless Ones’ – the story of a teenage gang who steal $2 million from the mob. The conversion of ‘Light of Darkness’ from book to comic came third and then 'T.E.AL. The Total Elimination of All Life', a zombie story set in space.
My latest title, 'Esmee’ is due for release on 23rd November (Also my late father’s birthday) which is set in Victorian London. It’s about a French girl who is abducted and taken to Whitechapel by her stepfather, who then puts her to work on the street. Esmee gets bitten by Marcellus a thousand year old vampire who changes her life forever. If you love vampires and ‘Jack the Ripper’ – then this is for you!
Books and comics, that’s what I love!
2. Wow, pretty great I have to say! You run a publisher known as Geeky Comics, how did the name wind up coming to life?
You are going to laugh at me for the name. As I said before, I started to read comics when I was a young child, at that time I was the Geekiest kid on the street (Now I’m the coolest bloke everyone knows lol!). Well times change and now it’s acceptable to be geeky, so I though why not go back to my roots. The ‘Geeky’ is me. The actual company started its life as Geeky Kid Comics - I’ve since dropped the ‘Kid’ bit.
3. As you mentioned converting 'Light of Darkness' from a book to comic, what was the deciding factor in doing so?
‘Light of Darkness – Days of Reckoning’ was converted to comic format, because my readers asked me too. When they came to the Comic Cons to meet me, I talked about my forthcoming projects and my new book was one of the projects - it stemmed from there. I’m glad I did it now as it sells really well.
4. Of the three genres you are a fan of, which one do you find the easiest to write about?
I guess the horror genre for me is the easiest to write. Coming up with something original and new is the hard part. Horror films and books these days don’t scare us like they did years ago, possibly because we have virtually seen or read everything. For me it’s about good writing as opposed to literally trying to scare someone. I like to build characters people can associate with and want to read more about. ‘Days of Reckoning’ is the first in the ‘Light of Darkness’ trilogy. In the first book I want you to get involved with the characters – in the second book ‘Restless Souls’, I tear it all apart. This I’m hoping will captivate my audience enough to want to read the third book. Saying all this, I get a kick from writing the other two genres too. I’ve big plans for ‘Exposed’ – ‘The Lawless Ones’ will be different. With that I want to tell lots of short stories as opposed to one long ongoing one.
5. Wow, certainly sounds like your readers are in for an experience! When it comes to Print vs. Digital, which do you prefer? And are your titles available in both forms as well?
Definitely print. I just can’t see the fascination with digital comics. They are useful, because you can transport them anywhere you like, but they simply don’t have the impact that a print copy does. To illustrate this, think of a double page printed spread. You open your comic and ‘BANG!’ the wondrous image blows you away. Now do the same with your mobile phone or iPad. You have to scroll around and mess about to see the full image – the impact is lost. Also for me I like the feel of printed media in my hands, the smell of old comics and the quirks that age brings (Even yellowing of the pages lol!).
6. You are currently running a Kickstarter known as Cursed, Which is a story about the fabled Atlantis. What was about it about Atlantis that made you decide to want to write a comic on it?
Cursed is the story, or at least my take on it, as to what happened to the lost City of Atlantis. It’s a mythical bonanza! I wanted to write a tale that had lots of ‘Ray Harryhausen’ type creatures, coupled with half naked women and heroic men! Well maybe not the later two. Fantasy isn’t something that I normally write, so it puts me out of my comfort zone. That’s why I must do it, to prove to myself, that genre doesn’t matter, only the quality of my writing. Besides all of this who doesn’t love a new angle on the Atlantis story? I know I’m fascinated by it.
7. What has the experience been like for you when it comes to using Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is not a platform I’m entirely comfortable with to be honest. I never know what drives it. I’ve been studying my own project on there and it’s difficult to see how people choose to make a pledge. By this I mean I have a loyal fan base with my comics, who tend to buy almost everything I release- where on Kickstarter, it’s mainly people who are searching the platform that are making the pledges. I’ve spoken to people who have had amazing results – some with superb project others with very average ones. I’ve also spoken to people with amazing projects that have failed and I can’t see why. I guess because I’m new to the concept, I still have a lot to learn.
8. As you seem to be the sole writer for Geeky Comics, will that always remain the case? Or will you eventually have more writers come on board?
I smiled when I read this question. My problem is I write fast and lots. The ideas flow quickly and I rarely suffer from writers block. But..... I will be taking looking to invest into some new talent in the New Year. Mainly because my novels take up a huge chunk of my time and I don’t want to rush titles out for the sake of doing so. I have read a few scripts from writers this year that have interested me and have been in talks with a couple of them, but there is nothing solid yet. My goal this year was eight titles – the actual figure released this was six, plus my novel, so can I be forgiven? Next year, I’m looking to continue the titles I have and add some new ones. I have plans for a new character I am working on, but I’m unsure if I will be introducing it into ‘Esmee’ or their own stand alone title. Which means at present, I don’t have any new titles of my own for next year as of yet, so lots of opportunities for the right candidates I guess.
9. Its great that you are willing to take your time on things instead of rushing. Shows you care more about the quality then the Quantity. And heck, just 6 plus the novel is a great achievement! And as you mentioned with the new angle you are bringing to the Atlantis story, what can fans expect to see?
Yeah I guess I do write a lot Rob! Our Kickstarter is a story called ‘Cursed’ - The real fate of Atlantis. Set many years ago, when Atlantis ruled the land and seas, a peaceful reign, by an Emperor loved across many nations. The Emperor rewarded his neighboring allies with riches from his harvests, and gold taken from battles in faraway lands. But the high priest known as Chinua, a jealous rival of the Emperor, takes exception, when he is refused the same wealth and prosperity for his twisted religion. In a rage of anger, Chinua enlists the aid of a dark sorcerer know as Nepfalium. Nepfalium is promised the souls of all of the Atlantean people and so places a powerful curse to drive them deep under the sea.
It’s a beautifully painted work of art and will be 128 pages long - Written and created by myself and illustrated by the amazing Joshua Carrenca. The lettering and layout will be provided by Brant Fowler.
I want my fans to see a brand new side to my story telling. They will marvel at the amazing pencils and be enthralled by the storyline and its twists.
10. How long of a run can fans expect to be in for with Cursed?
Cursed is a one off graphic novel - though I am hoping if this works to write more stories based around the same period and genre. I would love to write something that remains in everyone’s comic box but is never forgotten, a bit like what Ray Harryhausen did for fantasy films – its sits tidily on the shelf and every now and then you pop it back in the DVD player.
11. Seeing as how you are in the United Kingdom, what sort of difference (for you at least) is there between the comics there and the ones here?
British comics nowadays tend to be aimed at the very young. Nearly all comic collectors purchase US comics or Indies. The independent market in the UK is ripe with incredible talent, well worth checking out if you haven’t already. . The comic collecting audience is strong, but just the same as the US market there is room for new creators all the time. Personally I’ve got to the point where I prefer the indie market to the mainstream, there is a lot to discover. 12. You've currently got a cosplayer by the name of Hanna Valley (a lovely one at that) taking on a real live look of your Esmee character. How did that come about?
Ah yes the lovely Hanna Valley – she’s beautiful isn’t she! Hanna and I met in Manchester at a Comic Con. She was looking for new books to read and ideas for costumes and characters. The moment she saw ‘Esmee’ she fell in love (As we all have) with the character and story. Hanna was already dressed in a cosplay outfit at the time and I said to her, you’d look amazing as my leading lady. And that was it. Hanna got in touch a few days later via Facebook and asked if I minded if she portrayed Esmee. I was delighted. Since then, we have been working together to perfect the look and feel of the costume and deciding how we premier the live version of ‘Esmee’. Her first appearance will be at the London Super Comic Con in February 2014 – the same event Stan Lee headlined last year and Neil Adams this year. We’ve been talking about creating a coffin and a graveyard backdrop for Hanna to use at shows, so people can have photos taken with scenery rather than a crowd of comic collecting fans. That’s one thing that always looks disappointing on photos of great cosplayers – when you see people walking past instead of a scene from the topic they are depicting. But Hanna is not the first person to ask – there are others who are creating ‘Esmee’ too. It’s a sign you have created something extraordinary in my opinion, when people want to be them. More than anything it’s a huge compliment to the creator.
13. Compliments are always a great thing! And boy, there's always got to be someone who has to go and ruin things for everyone else! As the man behind Geeky Comics, where do you hope to see the Publisher at in about say the next 5 years?
In five years, as a very established publisher of highly rated comics and books. I want Geeky Comics to be ones known for bringing fresh new talent to the scene and a stream of superb titles. There is a lot happening at the moment, we are in talks with two movie companies which could rocket us into orbit. What I won’t do though is to diminish the quality of our books at any time, even if the silver screen comes knocking at our door, unless they can deliver the goods we won’t be progressing any further with them.
14. From comments I've heard here and there, there was a recent Con that happened called Thought Bubble if I am not mistaken. How was the experience for you if you were able to attend?
There was a Comic Con in Leeds called ‘Thought Bubble’ – originally we tried to get appear at the show but it was fully booked. We ended up going to the very busy MCM Comic Con in Birmingham instead. 15. If you could go back and change any one thing, what would it be?
What would I change? Good question. I don’t think I’d change anything other than doing it quicker. I spent way too much time thinking about writing the comics than actually doing it - should have done it years ago.
16. And as for the last question of the hour, what kind of advice do you have for those that are entering the world of Comics? Whether its a writer, artist, colorist, letterer, or otherwise.
From a writers perspective I’d say ignore what you read and hear and be prepared for a lot of hard work with very little results. By this I mean it’s hard for a writer to prove themselves. It’s not like being an artist where the results are instant, people either like what they see or they don’t. For a writer it’s much harder, you have to draw them in first, and then slowly grasp their attention until they succumb to your wonderful tale. Having a great artist is a must, but don’t give them all the credit, remember without your story their images don’t exist. A good artist will take what the writer describes and will bring it to life. I make all my artists send me samples before I work with them, and then I ask for thumbnails of every panel before they even attempt to layout a page. It’s essential you have a bond with your artist, build a relationship where you are both as valuable as each other. I really get annoyed when I read on forums that the artist is always the main player in the team. Just remember without the words the artists page is blank.
From an artist’s point of view I would say you need to stand out from the crowd – there are so many great illustrators that it is essential you are different. I use lots of styles - this appeals to my audience as they don’t all like the same thing. What I will say is that like a great artist, if you have a top writer your comics are noticed and sought after. I used to get a lot of people say to me that the artwork was amazing in my comics, now they come and tell me what a great story I wrote. I guess what I’m saying is the writer and artist should complement each other, not fight for the top slot.
Often overlooked, but equally as important are the colourist and letterer. If these two elements are not as cool as your art and story then the whole thing won’t hang together well.
Create an amazing cover – I hate to admit it, but books are judged by their cover appeal. Try to not always use the same artist for the cover as the main work. I never use the same person because for me they are two completely different types of work. The cover draws you in, the interior makes you want to read and buy!
Finally, don’t be a ‘Jack of All Trades, Master of None!’ – I can draw, but choose not to as I’m a better writer. Good artists don’t always make great writers, find your strengths and build on it.
Most awesome! Once again I just want to say thank you for agreeing to doing this interview Victor! And I wish you all the luck with the Kickstarter for Cursed!
Currently as of right now, the funding for the Cursed Kickstarter is at 858 of its intended 7,500 goal and with only 13 days to go. With your help, the project can surely be a success!