Monday, March 05, 2012

Ask Me Anything #18

It's time once again for "Ask Me Anything." This feature runs on the first Monday of every month and gives you the opportunity to ask me anything you might be wondering about me, my work, or anything else i might have a possible answer for. 

Head down to the comment section and post your question. I'll either post my answer in the comment section as well, or answer it in a special post all its own sometime later in the month.

Please take the time to view the previous questions so that we don't wind up with a lot of repetition. I've been asked a lot of good, thought provoking questions in the past as well as some really banal ones. all of which I tried to answer. You can see the previous questions by visiting Ask Me Anything  #1#2 ,  #3#4#5#6 , #7 , #8#9,  #10,  #11,  #12 , #13#14,  #15 , #16, and #17.  Answers not found following the questions can be found in the archives section for each associated month.

Now ask away.


The Mighty Monarch said...

Is there any character or team on DC you would really like to write for? Based on what I've seen from you I think you'd be a perfect writer for Doom Patrol.

Have you been reading any of the other New 52? If so, which ones do you like?

What is love?

Do you have any tips on breaking into the industry as a writer?

You get a lot of praise for Xombi, and I'm not saying it isn't entirely deserving of it because it is, but I'm also interested in Kobalt. How did that series come about, it's definitely very different from your usual stuff.

Sean Cloran said...

On a few online forums, I would list Milestone's Xombi among one of the comic book series I would have liked to see continued or completed. Luckily, I got my wish, if only for a short while.
My question is...Is there any fictional work or works you would have like seen more of or come to fruition? For example, I would have liked to seen another Tod Browning directed film made after 1939.
Another example is I know some would have given their best towel away to read a new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book written by Douglas Adams.

You've reportedly seen a few monster and horror movies, What is the scariest scene or scenes you've seen. For me one scene I can remember is in David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive", (without giving anything away for those who haven't seen the film ) the scene is where one character timidly describes a fear he has and then faces that fear. When originally watching that scene I remember thinking they've talked about this too much whatever will happen can not possible live up to the hype. A when the climax came I remember feeling like my heart jumped out of my chest and flew across the room.

How have you determined what to trim, remove or leave out a comic script? That is a kooky question, but comic book scripts to me have to have a certain balance since in most cases the script has to go another creative person to make a finished product.
For example, One could write a scene where a character looks for his car keys for 20 panels and maybe create a certain visual pacing but it would probably be better just to have the character on panel one say, "Sorry, I'm late I had trouble finding my car keys." and move on with the story.
Can you recall any specific stories where you had to "kill your darlings" for telling a better story?


Michael Jones said...

Once you win the Rondo (fingers crossed), how does that (or any other award) impact on you professionally and personally?

John Rozum said...

A lot of good questions. I'll start with the easiest one first.

Michael -- Not one bit whatsoever.

I've never really been one for awards or criticism (good, or bad). My goal is always to do the best work that I can. Different factors can aid that or hinder it and unless they are completely outside of my control I still try to produce quality work even under the least friendly conditions.

As long as I do that I don't really sweat the outcome. I can usually tell if something I did is good or not, and I don't need reviews or awards presented by bikini clad models to validate it.

John Rozum said...

The Mighty Monarch --

In order:

1: For a long time I really wanted to write the Doom Patrol and campaigned really hard to get the job when Grant Morrison announced he was leaving. Rachel Pollack, who did get the job, once told me that she thought it should have been me. So many revamps of the team have happened since that I've pretty much lost interest in trying my hand at it again. To do it justice it would need to be rebooted again, and I'd rather start my own project now.

I would, however, love to bring back Kamandi as an ongoing series and would really enjoy a long stint on one of the Batman titles, which was the original plan when I wrote my two-part Scarecrow story for Detective a few years back.

2: I read the first 5 issues of the New 52 before DC cut me off the comp list. The books that really excited me were Animal Man, Swamp Thing, the batbook written by Scott Snyder and the Penguin mini-series. There were other titles I enjoyed as well, but those were at the very top of the heap.

3: Best enjoyed when you find the answer yourself.

4: Pick a different industry to break into as a writer. This isn't facetious. The industry is becoming more and more insular and the big companies are having a hard time providing enough work for their regular writers, and the independent companies don't pay enough that you can really make a living.

At the best of times it's still really hard to break in as a writer. Any editor can look at a page of art and determine if the artist is ready to hire. But you give them a writing sample and all they can tell at a quick glance is that you can type. Getting them to actually read it is an extremely difficult task, and usually unlikely. I got in because I removed positive post it notes that then Marvel editor-in-chief, Tom Defalco put on other people's work and slapped them on my own.

If you're still determined, then pair up with an artist and produce your own comics, even digitally at first.

5: Kobalt was something I'd actually developed as a project I was going to do at Marvel. Dwayne McDuffie was well aware of it, because I was always bouncing ideas for it off of him. I also had entire notebooks of material. When Milestone was under way and they were putting their second wave of titles together he asked me if I wanted to do it at Milestone. It was also my lesson in writing for myself rather than a perceived audience. When Kobalt came out, it was during the "grim and gritty" days of comics, and ended up being a lot darker than the light hearted comedic satire of superhero comics I really wanted it to be. At some point I let go of that and wrote three scripts that were exactly the way it should have been all along, and I think are three of the best comic book stories I've ever written. Those were issues #17, 18 and #19. The series ended with issue #16.

There's a notion that straight superheroes are outside my realm of comfort, which isn't true. I just don't get offered a lot of superhero work, though I would love to do more.

John Rozum said...

Sean -- I'm going to answer your first two questions here, and handle your third question in a separate post in the days to come.

The fictional works I really wanted to see completed are "Twin Peaks" and what Octavia Butler started with her novel "Fledgling." "Fledgling" was clearly meant to be the beginning of a much bigger storyline and was a really original, fantastic, and fresh take on the vampire that I was eagerly looking forward to what was to come next, which with Butler's untimely death, never came to be.

Back in the mid-90s, the editor-in-chief at a comic book company, knowing I had a real devotion to "Twin Peaks" asked me if I'd be interested in picking up where "Twin Peaks" left off as a comic book series. I don't know if this was purely hypothetical, or if there was an intention to pursue the license, and I surprised myself by saying "No. I'm only interested in finding out what happens next if David Lynch and Mark Frost do it themselves." And, really, only interested if it had been the same cast which by then was already too late.

I've watched tons of monster and horror movies, and I don't know what the reason is for this, but I've never been scared by any of them. I often watch them right before I go to bed and think of them as comfort food.

I know the scene that you speak of in "Mulholland Drive" and David Lynch is really successful at creating unease by what he withholds as much as by what he reveals. His incredible use of sound also helps immensely.

I've found some movies pretty intense. The two that come to mind are actually pretty unimpressive movies overall. The first ten minutes of the "Dawn of the Dead" remake for example were really powerful, as was about the first two thirds of "Haute Tension" before the movie collapsed under a ridiculous plot twist.

I tend to be more affected by movies that convey an overwhelming bleak feeling like "Dead Ringers," "Children of Men" or "The Plague Dogs." I could not bring myself to watch more than 45 minutes of "Dancer in the Dark" because I just could not watch Bjork's character face one more setback from poor decision making. That for me was torture.

Sean Cloran said...

Thank you for your responses to the questions.