While I was attending Stonecoast, I needed to come up with a third-semester project. I knew I wanted to involve comic books somehow, but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. What I was sure of was that I wanted to take advantage of any connections I had made with people I met at comic book conventions and people I was going to school with. So I came up with eight simple questions and had multiple comic book writers and sometimes artists answer them and collected the interviews into one small book.
So, in the same vein as my new blog feature “Friend Files” – I present to you the interview I had with Bobby Nash. Mr. Nash is someone I don’t know personally, but my former mentor Nancy Holder works for him occasionally under the Moonstone Comics banner and she managed to get him to answer my questions. Mr. Nash was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer the questions, and so I present them to you now.
Note: These are “beginner” questions for folks who are either interested in Bobby’s work, interested in possibly getting into writing comics, curious about the methods comic book writers use, or if you’re just curious in general. These are very simple questions, meant to just get a snapshot of what the comic business is like for these particular writers. Tune in to later editions of this blog feature for more interviews with other comic book creators. Also, this interview is now a year old or more, so some of the publication data might be old as well.
On to the interview!
- For those people who may be unfamiliar with your work, which comic book company are you working for at the moment (or in the past), and what are your current projects?
At the moment I’m working for Moonstone Books and IDW Publishing. I also work for other publishers, but they don’t publish comic books.
Currently, the Domino Lady/Sherlock Holmes comic book mini series I worked on with Nancy Holder should be out soon. Upcoming projects include Fight Card: Barefoot Bones (paperback), Snow (ebook), Box Thirteen (audio), Ghost Gal, Bloody Olde Englund, Domino Lady, and more. You can see a full list HERE.
- What got you into writing/drawing comic books or graphic novels?
As a kid, I wanted to draw. I started writing comic book scripts so I would have something to draw. When other artists started asking me to write stories for them to draw, I knew I was on to something. Once I focused on writing, I was then able to get work.
- What was the most difficult thing about breaking into the comic book industry?
Finding someone to give me a chance. It’s a catch-22. No one wants to be the first one to hire you. When you have a published book in your hands, it is a little easier to talk to a publisher or editor.
- What do you think about indie publishing?
I love indie publishing. I think that is where the biggest chances are being taken in terms of storytelling, content, and exploring genres that mainstream publishing doesn’t necessarily focus on. I believe that indie publishing is where popular trends find their footing. For example, look at all of the new pulp, or pulp-inspired, work being published today. It was indie publishers that got that wave rolling.
- Who was your biggest influence?
A tough question because the answer changes on a regular basis. One of the earliest influences was from a high school English teacher named Wilma Clark. She caught me drawing in class one day, which wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was her reaction. Instead of telling me to stop, as so many other teachers did, she encouraged me to continue and to join the school newspaper, which she sponsored. I learned a lot as a result of joining the newspaper staff, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. A lot of the lessons learned there have guided me in my dealings with editors, artists, and designers.
- What is the hardest thing about working for a well-known publisher? If you don’t work for one, what’s the hardest thing about doing things yourself?
Working for a larger publisher means more eyes on your work. It also means that your peers in that arena are often well known themselves. You really have to up your game. It can become quite intimidating, especially at first.
- How do you make your own work stand out?
With my work, I try to look for a new angle from which to approach the material. There are tropes you have to work within, obviously, but wherever I can, I look for a different way to look at a plot. I write with my own voice. So far it has worked for me.
- What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone trying to create their first comic book or graphic novel?
If your goal is to write, draw, letter, color, edit, publish, etc. for a living, to make it your career, then you have to treat it like a job. That means the occasional sleepless night to meet deadlines. It can also mean having to miss out of social activities or seeing negative reviews online. Keeping that level of professionalism isn’t easy, but it’s a great skill to learn. Sure, it’s a job we love, but it’s still a job. That means putting your butt in the seat even when you might not feel like writing.
If you liked this interview and want to learn more about Bobby Nash’s work, go to the link above for BobbyNash.com. where you will find info on his novels, short stories, comics, and other things he’s written. And don’t forget to check out his work with Nancy holder on some of the Domino Lady books like Domino Lady/Sherlock Holmes.