Comic Creator Interview
with John Allison
Name: John Allison
City: Saint Petersburg, FL
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
John – I was 12 years old when I really began reading them seriously. I’ve been hooked ever since.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
John – Spawn #1. (Thanks Todd.)
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
John – I began working on several projects over the years but never actually finished & published one until I was 33.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
John – I think that depends what you’re in the mood for. I think comics are great right now, as there are so many talented writers & artists currently working.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
John – I’ve always loved telling stories. I’m also a singer/songwriter, so I guess I would say that I’m always trying to tell a story one way or another. I was attracted to comics initially because of the power of strong visuals that you just can’t nail down with words alone.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
John – Both. It really depends on what you want to do. For a no-name like me, I have hopes that the indie comic becomes more mainstream eventually.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
John – For the time being, I’m only publishing digitally. When I finally do go to print, I’ll probably do a run of between 800 & 1,000.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
John – I think it depends both on the number of pages & whether or not it’s printed in color. The prices these days seem pretty reasonable.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
John – I would love to do 12 a year; but I’m currently wearing all the hats (writing, drawing, inking, coloring, lettering, publishing), so I’m only able to put out an issue every 2 to 3 months.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
John – I prefer complete works, but see the need for breaking it up into issues. The money from the sales of the first issue of Botched have allowed me to eat & live while I work on #2. Without that, it would take vastly longer to produce the book because I would have to find some other way to put food in the belly.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
John – I prefer books myself. I enjoy long stories with big pay-offs. That seems a lot harder to achieve in a strip.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
John – The first issue of Botched was a labor of love that I really only worked on when I had the time, so it actually stretched out over two years. Now I’m shooting for around four months.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
John – Everything! It’s almost comical (no pun, I swear!) how much I’ve grown & learned just putting one issue together.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
John – Absolutely! I always thumb out the entire issue before I start working on any finished art. It just helps me figure out pacing & mood.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
John – I work 100% digitally now, so it’s relative. Traditionally, 11x17 Bristol board. Digitally, 11x17 PSD at 300 DPI.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
John – The stylus that came with my Wacom Cintiq 21UX
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
John – Heaven. It’s my favorite place to be. I keep it pretty neat when I can, but being creative is a messy prospect.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
John – At this point, the entire time. Even my thumbnails are drawn digitally now.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
John – I dig all comics, so they’re great! Plus, they give indie folks like me an affordable way to do their work & get it out for people to see.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
John – Color, all the way for me.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
John – Ideally, a team numbering between 4 & 6 people. I hope to be able to hire some help in the coming year so that I can produce the book a bit faster. For things to run smoothly, I would imagine you would have a writer, a penciller, an inker, a colorist, & a letterer.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
John – I’ll let you know as soon as I find some. (Chuckles.)
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
John – I write very loosely because I know I will be the artist & I already know what I want to see. If someone else were writing though, I would always want as much detail as I can get.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
John – Mmm... I guess it depends. As a writer or penciller or inker, there are too many to list. As a whole, maybe Frank Miller. He’s kinda one of those guys who does all the jobs & he does them very well. Being compared to him would be extremely flattering.… Misguided, but flattering.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
John – They are all very kind & supportive to my face. What they actually think could be anything. (more chuckles.)
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
John – I dig superheroes. My comic doesn’t feature any, but I like them. There are a few superhero books that I’d love to get a shot at. Mostly Daredevil or good ol’ Batman.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
John – Mostly Marvel, but I LOVE Batman.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
John – Daredevil, Batman, Spider-Man.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
John – Sure! It’s rough at the start, but you get to say whatever you want! That’s my favorite part really. At the end of the day, I am responsible for the content & that makes me very happy.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
John – I’ve only ever been to San Diego, but I will be at a lot more in the near future. Why? To peddle my books.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
John – I’m working with a marketing agency now; but other than that, just mostly word of mouth & social networking websites.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
John – I think they’d do fine at comic shops or bookstores.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
John – All of the above!
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
John – Definitely a reader.
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
John – It looks like it’s going more & more digital. It’s cheap & easy to both create & purchase. Tablets are getting more & more popular, so that’s my best guess.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
John – Reading them?... Just kidding. I would love to see more genres explored in this medium. The possibilities really are limitless.
QRD – Anything else?
John – Thank you for including me in this series! Read more comics & check out “Botched” at www.escapeartistentertainment.com!