Vincent S. Moore Presents:
The Genre 19 Interview: How to create comics the garage band way.
In the game of comics, one learns or finds out about any number of ways to create and produce comics. There's the Marvel Method and the manga style. There's self publishing and webcomics and any number of variations in between. What one usually finds that these ways have in common are a vision. However that vision can either be expressed through a single creator or through a whole studio of folks. What one doesn't hear about all that often are a couple of guys with the mad skills to produce a complete comic--from script to pencils and inks to colors and letters--all on their own.
Geoffrey Thorne and Todd Harris are not the usually combination of writer and artist, as you will learn below. They are that comics creative team as garage band, a couple of guys putting together cool ideas in their respective garages, connected by the magic of the internet and their shared vision.
The first product of that vision is Prodigal, coming in February from Ape Entertainment and Genre 19.
I reviewed the opening pages of this double sized adventure comic in the previous issue of Comics Waiting Room; you can check it out again to refresh your memories. After reading the book I just knew I had to talk with the minds behind the dazzling adventure I had read.
What follows is less a formal interview and more like what would happen if you caught John and Paul noodling around in Paul's room in the days before The Beatles were even a twinkle in their eyes. A talk, pure and simple, with a couple of brilliant guys on the edge of blowing up big.
--Vincent S. Moore
VSM: Please introduce yourselves to the Comics Waiting Room readers.
Thorne: Hello. I'm Geoff. I wrote this thing.
Harris: Hi there. Todd. I drew it.
VSM: Uh oh, tough guys, eh? So how did the idea for Prodigal come about?
GT: Well. Long story or short?
TH: Short, man.
GT: Okay. Todd's in Germany, working on (story)boards for NINJA ASSASSIN. He Skypes me and says he wants to get going on one of the things we'd been talking about and how quickly can I turn a script around. We hammered out the big story points over Skype. I asked him what kind of stuff he didn't want to draw and what he did.
TH: No ninjas.
GT: Yeah. He was sick of ninjas by then. Drawing hundreds every day for weeks, right?
TH: At least hundreds.
GT: So, we did that. I came up with a loose plot which he signed off on with notes
TH: Not too many, though. He's good.
GT: Shut up. Anyway. Then I started churning out scripts. We did the ashcan first, to make sure we had the process right and then went on to the actual book. Is that it?
TH: Sounds like it. Yeah.
VSM: I get it: as long as there were no ninjas, it didn't take too long to go from concept to finished book. What are your influences? What influenced the development of Prodigal?
GT: We're both pretty old school when it comes to who influences us.
TH: REALLY old school. He's still going off about (Alexandre) Dumas.
GT: You're an Al Williamson guy, right? And (John) Buscema? Yeah. We like that stuff. It's good stuff.
TH: But we're not going for a retro thing. We like how they did it back then and we wanted to do our version now.
GT: We both loved Busiek and Nord on Conan.
TH: Body Bags!
GT: Yeah. It's all about Body Bags. Our stuff is basically Neo Pulp Fiction, right? Old School Adventure.
TH: New School Flavor.
VSM: Neo Pulp Fiction, got it. Now, just to be a nuisance, could you say again what was the creative process like for this project?
TH: You take this one.
GT: Pretty easy really. We plot the broad strokes out together. Todd does designs while I write the scripts. Minor discussions of changes. Todd does the pencil art. Minor discussion of changes. Then I do the lettering while he inks. Then I do the flats in grayscale for him to color. Done.
VSM: So that means you two guys are it in terms of the creative team? Do you think that allows you to have better control over how the end product looks versus what happens with most books having up to five people involved?
TH: More control, yeah. More work too. Lots more work.
GT: And no editors to hold your hand.
VSM: What's wrong with editors? No, don't answer that. So what are your goals for Prodigal?
TH: We're cool with world domination.
GT: Works for me.
VSM: Besides ruling the world, what are your future plans?
TH: More Prodigal stuff, for sure.
GT: Yeah, yeah. He wants to jump right back in with the next chapter. Because he's crazy.
TH: Or we can drop the new thing.
GT: No. We're saving that.
TH: But we don't have to. We could just give a hint.
GT: Come on, man. Not in front of the interviewer.
TH: We want to get into some gaming stuff, for sure.
GT: Hell, yeah, we do.
TH: But, really, the whole point of Genre 19 is to make some fun comics. Like we want to see.
VSM: Okay, so you don't want to spoil us by giving away any other plans. But, for the sake of our readers, what exactly is Genre 19?
GT: I like to think of it like the comic book version of a band. Like a music group composed of skilled solo artists. We only get together to do the stuff we can only do together.
TH: Or the short answer: It's two guys who like making comics together.
VSM:CWR: One last question and I won't bug you busy guys any more. Are there any websites you'd like to promote?
GT: You take this one.
GT: You forgot our site: Genre19.blogspot.com.
VSM: Well, Geoff and Todd, I'd like to thank you both for stopping by and chatting with the Comics Waiting Room.
Genre 19: Any time, man. Thanks.
Copyright 2006- 2010 Marc Mason/Comics Waiting Room. All rights reserved