Comic Creator Interview
with William Dean Blankenship, Jr
Name: William Dean Blankenship, Jr
City: Recently relocated to Brentwood, CA.
Comics: Special Edition, Crazy Mary, Double Jumpers
Websites: twitter.com/MadcapComics, williamblankenshipjr.deviantart.com/
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
William – I can’t remember ever having a time when I wasn’t into superheroes & comics. I think I bought a bulk of a few hundred “meh” level comics from a collector trying to get rid of their doubles & questionable buys when I was about 9. Since then I’ve been wanting to draw them professionally.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
William – The first one I can remember was a Kelley Jones Batman issue when I was 7 or so.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
William – 24-25 maybe?
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
William – I don’t know if I can just tie it to a decade. I’m more interested in what creators put out the best books during what eras. I’m obviously biased toward late 90s & early 2000s just because that’s when comics were most influential on me, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the quality of the work put out as a whole.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
William – To be able to tell a story with a more focused & singular vision, where the only barrier to create is skill, rather than money or agency, which I did not have growing up.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
William – I’d rather see indie comics be their own unique media. I think there are things that studios tried to do in the 90s that would be far more successful now, but a lot of those creators are older & more apathetic. They’re now looking out for their retirement & not trying to make waves. Guys like Mark Waid are taking a chance, but he’s Mark Waid, he’s gonna have the audience to support him. I want to see the next Image, or Gaijin Studios, or Man of Action.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
William – I have no clue. I don’t deal with printing really.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
William – I’m in no position to act like I know what a print book should cost, but I think digital issues need to be about 2 bucks, maybe 2.99 if it’s an oversized issue.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
William – I’ve produced an embarrassingly low number of books over the past few years, but I’d like to be putting out at least 6 full issues a year. More than that if I’m only doing part of the process. (Pencils or line art)
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
William – I think serialized comics as they are being done now are pretty bad for the most part. I prefer whole stories in one mini-series or trade paperback.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
William – I prefer comic books but I can see the benefits of strips when doing different sorts of projects.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
William – 4-5 months if I’m doing it myself. 3-4 months on an assembly line style gig.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
William – Everything?
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
William – I tend to work digitally, so I just layout a few pages & then tighten up each individually on the pencils. Laying out or “thumbnailing” is always the hardest part for me because I have to make the most decisions & troubleshooting there.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
William – ALL OF THE SIZES!
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
William – Microns.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
William – It used to look like a skyline of beer bottles & empty cigarette packs, but now it’s a Cintiq at a kitchen table.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
William – Usually all the way through, but sometimes I ink traditionally.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
William – There’s a lot of awesome ones & a lot that suck. There’s a lot of people doing them for nothing & a lot of people who’ve built a business model & supported themselves with them. Their comics. Same thing. Just on the interwebs.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
William – Color.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
William – Whatever works best to serve the story.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
William – I kidnap them & tie them to a drawing table, feeding them only scraps & abusing them nightly with an assortment of whips & chains. After a few years of that they start to produce good work & they became submissive to my every command, which makes the collaboration go smoothly.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
William – Depends on the writer. Depends on the artist. Depends on the project.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
William – Jack Kirby.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
William – Family has been fairly supportive. Friends think it’s more cool than it really is.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
William – I think they’re good people & they should be allowed to get married if they want to. Oh wait, wrong debate topic.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
William – Action Lab.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
William – Dr. Steel, Hunter Thompson, Deadpool.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
William – Yup.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
William – I haven’t been able to attend many prior to this beyond Pittsburgh Comic Con, which was local for me. I’m hoping to attend many more this year on the West Coast.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
William – Fail miserably?
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
William – I try to make books that sell to people, so I want them to sell in as many places as possible.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
William – ALL OF THE MEDIUMS!
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
William – Comic creator. Never been a collector & I rarely get enough time to really sit down & read one. I mostly do the magic behind the curtain anymore.
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
William – Internet? Distribution really isn’t my thing.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
William – Making them with quality & absolute servitude to the story.