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QRD #48 - Indie/Mini Comic Creator Interview Series
about this issue
Indie/Mini Comic Creators:
Jeremy Johnson - Marked
PB Kain - Mumblypeg
Joe Badon - Behind Yesterday
Andrew White - Sexbuzz
R. J. Paré - Buddha Monkey
Shawn Harbin - The Dungeon
Colin Upton - Big Thing
Kevin LaPorte - Clown Town
Sara Lindo - Carl Finds Love
Joseph Morris - TORC Press
Stephen Hines - Crackerstacker
Steve Seck - Life is Good
Derek R Croston - Method Comix
M. L. Walker - Hero Corp.
Daniel Gracey - G2 Comics
Matthew D. Smith - Liberty City
Brian John Mitchell - Just A Man
Brandon Graham - King City
Gordon McAlpin - Multiplex
Ross Campbell - Hack/Slash
Alex Robinson - BoxOfficePoison
Nik Havert - Pickle Press
Kurt Dinse - One Year in Indiana
Nick Marino - Super Haters
Bob Corby - Oh, Comics! & Vugz
Eric Shonborne - Razorbaby
Melissa Spence Gardner - XO
Dave Sim - Cerebus
Mason Johnson - Zoir
Jason Young - VeggieDog Saturn
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
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Silber Kickstarter

Indie/Mini Comic Creator Interview with M. L. Walker
February 2011
Name: M. (Marcel) L. Walker
City: Pittsburgh, PA
Comics: currently HERO CORP., INTERNATIONAL; previously SMOKING GUNS
Websites: www.HeroCorp.biz

QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?

ML – My father first bought me comic books when I was four or five years old & I was hooked instantly. I always knew I wanted to create them, even when I wasn’t actively collecting. (Although I rarely stopped collecting SUPERMAN titles.)

QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?

ML – That’s lost to the mists of time. I can however clearly recall the covers of many of the first year’s worth of titles I owned. (Especially the ones that scared me... like the cover of DETECTIVE COMICS #467!)

QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?

ML – If you mean for purchase by others, I mark that with the self-publication of M.L.Walker’s SMOKING GUNS in 1997.

QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?

ML – “Best” is subjective... however, I think the 1980s were an unprecedented time in the history of American comic books, in terms of vitality, creativity, creator freedom, new opportunities, expanding audiences, & more. If I had to pick a single year that encapsulated everything good about that time, it would be 1986.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

ML – Why limit myself to one or the other? Comics are the best marriage of both worlds.

QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?

ML – They can be either or both, all depending on what path the creator wants to go & how much drive they possess.

QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?

ML – In this day & age of print-on-demand options, this is something of a dated question. I just print what I need. (& I have an unfair advantage, considering I typically print my own book, not counting online options.)

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

ML – What they’re worth. 

QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?

ML – To be truthful, I’ve let WAY too much time pass between comics (as in YEARS). I’m trying to get better though. If I can do one or two a year, I’ll be satisfied for now. But I do have professional aspirations & want to maintain a monthly schedule eventually.

QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?

ML – Whatever. Doesn’t matter. It’s great if serialized works can be delivered in a regular manner, though.

QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?

ML – Books are longer, independent narratives, bound when printed; strips are typically much smaller narratives, published as a part of a larger publication. I prefer comic books.

QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?

ML – My stories can percolate in my brain literally for years before I start committing ideas to paper. I’m trying to not be such a picky-pants about it now though.

QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?

ML – Everything.

QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?

ML – I like to compose a script on computer following my traditional pencil thumbnail draft. Visually, I “go digital” when cleaning up the scanned inked artwork, prior to lettering.

QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?

ML – Just like their printed counterparts, some are great, & others not so much. It’s all the same medium, just differing methods of production & delivery.

QRD –Do you prefer working in color or black & white?

ML – I’m partially color-blind; so I’d say B&W, but I just work through my limitations.

QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?

ML – As many or as few as are needed to get the job done. There is no one answer to this question.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

ML – I mostly work alone. You know, like Superman. Who needs sidekicks? ;^)

QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?

ML – It truly depends on the writer/artist relationship. I tend to produce pretty detailed scripts, just BECAUSE; but not every artist needs that kind of direction. I think a good, basic script should have it all spelled out, but still have latitude for a talented artist to improve things as they see fit. That’s the artist’s province, to tell the story better.

QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?

ML – Frank Miller & Howard Chaykin are two of my personal heroes in this medium. Strong-willed creators with distinctive viewpoints, writing, & art styles. Gotta love that.

QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?

ML – My friends love my latest book... because most of them are in it! 8^) In all sincerity, I’ve gotten nothing but enormous support from my friends & family. That’s what keeps me going!

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

ML – I think they’re great, but especially when used as metaphor. Superhero stories can & should be instructional to our day-to-day lives, if they are to have lasting worth.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

ML – I’m a DC kid... but that doesn’t matter like it used to. Regardless, back in the day, Marvel & DC kids played in one-another’s back yards anyway!

QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?

ML – If time permitted, I would LOVE to do a series of one-shots featuring my friends’ characters. J.R. Bender’s THE SCARF, Barry Linck’s PHINEUS, MAGICIAN FOR HIRE, Mav’s & Max’s COSMIC HELLCATS, Shawn Atkins’ THUNDERGIRL!... one day, fellas!

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

ML – I already do. Self-publishing takes place as soon as you sell your own work. It’s not particularly difficult.

QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?

ML – I always try to attend the Pittsburgh Comicon, ‘cause that’s in my hometown. I attended the San Diego Comic Con for the first time in ‘09 & it was fanTAStic! That’s Mecca for comic-book creators!

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

ML – Word of mouth, increasing online presence, & general hustling.

QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?

ML – Can I tell you something? I think HERO CORP. will be the NEXT BIG THING, regardless of where it pops up. Seriously, I love the premise, & also love watching the light go on in people’s eyes when they also get it. I had one person tell me that even though they don’t read comics, this is one they would make an effort to buy... & that’s EXACTLY the response I want!

QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?

ML – Everything, as long as the comic book itself maintains its soul & the associated media remains true to the source material.

QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?

ML – Both, but my collecting is usually toward the agenda of reading & creating better stories.

QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?

ML – Frankly, I’d love to see more word-of-mouth marketing for all graphic prose, from dedicated consumers to potential readers. I think there will always be a market for traditional serialized comics; but if it gets augmented via digital distribution, that can enlarge our audience immeasurably.

QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?

ML – Buying & reading, especially non-mainstream books. But whatever gets new readers into stores is a good thing.

QRD –Anything else?

ML – Can’t wait to launch HERO CORP., INTERNATIONAL into S.P.A.C.E.!