Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why’d it all come to a screaming halt?

After I did #8 of Dark Nebula back in 1991/1992 I was going to take a break for a couple of months & launch back in with Dark Nebula # 9 - 12. That didn’t happen. many factors came into consideration at that time which led to my decision not to continue but the major one was fore-seeing the landscape of comics at the time.

Marvel were going to glut the market with an inordinate amount of extraneous titles, designed to flood the market & flush out the little guys (including me).

I could see my money either being set alight, flushed down the toilet, wasted on publishing, or i could hang on to it. I waited for a better climate to emerge - hello worldwideweb! It's been a long time between drinks & I'm sure everyone's parched but it's worth the wait.

How to kill a conversation?

Many people look at my surname & give up while they’re still behind. It’s pronounced ‘Pee-et-cha-kov-ski’ - it works better when you’re drunk.

What’s the best murdered spelling of your name you have come across??

Oh, the list is long & distinguished, not unlike the length of my actual surname, but the honor of the greatest dog’s breakfast that ANYONE’s ever come up with my surname, goes to an insurance company that addressed a letter to Pieter Zykowski - I mean, seriously, there are names more complicated than mine out there & they still look at my name like it’s a Christian & Surname all rolled into one - puh-leeze!

Uncharted territory

When the inventory material of Dark Nebula is exhausted the new material, I believe, will be well worth the wait. I’m interspersing old plots with newly conceived plots to ‘pepper’ the time-line from the way it was originally intended. The way we did storytelling before had to be really concise, couldn’t have too many sub-plots going all at once, because you were never sure when it was over. Now I see no reason to have more sub-plots running con-currently. Still getting to the desired end-result without overt confusion but an ability to overlap stories more. That was a luxury I thought I’d never see.

Hold onto your braincells!

I’ve been asked what level of involvement the Southern Squadron will have on the website. Basically, we’re running the seminal stuff Dave, Gary & Glenn did, chiefly because of the inter-relation between D.N. & the Squadron, which culminated in the popular D.N./Southern Squadron crossover in D.N. #7 & 8. With all the good stuff in between it’d be a shame to have stuff not seen on the world stage - kind of like all the charm of a smile with a missing tooth. After we’ve exhausted all the Squadron inventory material I’ve spoken to Dave about inter-weaving the Squadron where they’ll help with the overall tapestry of any given story. It’d be a shame for their involvement to come to a screaming halt. For those instances I want Dave to have autonomy over the ‘Squadron bits’ (hell, it worked in the crossover) - that way everyone’s happy!

Oh, just to add to this, I’m not limiting this to just the Squadron. I’ve got some story ideas I’ve loosely plotted that involve Gary’s Jackaroo & Flash Damingo. It’s great to already picture specific sequences in my mind’s eye & I can see D.N’s first meeting with Flash.

where do we go from here?

Now that is live & happening, this year ahead is focused on presenting all the stories in sequence as they were originally intended. The first two adventures which i felt were a little weak art-wise were re-done by the very talented Shane Foley, who’s set the tone for the series quite frankly. Then, all the inventory will be presented in colour for the first time. This will include the Southern Squadron-related stories which featured Grandstander, my most popular villainous creation, & Crossover, the Southern Cross-featured story. After that, it’s continuing on, business as usual, from where we left off.

Where do you get inspiration?

Inspiration is wherever you look - you’d be surprised at what can inspire you. For me it’s when I'm driving or riding, the passing scenery seems to unlock the key to new ideas, doing something menial with my hands (gardening, etc) also helps unleash inspiration.

Music is a biggie. I’ve written stories directly inspired by songs - my popular villain Grandstander was inspired by a Don McLean song off his American Pie album ‘Everybody Loves Me Baby’. The story ‘Asylum’ was inspired by a song of the same title by Supertramp. A short story I did in Southern Aurora Comics Presents, ‘The Other Side of Life’ was inspired by a song of the same name by the Moody Blues. Oh, & Roadtrip was inspired by an ‘Eddie & the Cruisers’ song by John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band, ‘On the Open Road’.

Oh, & if someone with a really interesting name makes my aquaintance, they’re fair game too. I have over the years used names I felt quirky & unique in the most unsual ways. I have, in fact, a major villain coming up in the next year or so based on a harmless old man's ( & really nice guy) surname, because it inspired me.

Required reading

If i can get someone onto good reading then my job is done. If a child isn’t reading, the key is to get them onto comics because then they are at least reading something. The trick from there is to get them onto literature.

If someone asked me what I’d like to see someone get into reading after they started with comics I’d have this semi-short list:

The James Herriot All Creatures Great & Small series of books, 'Gladiator' by Phillip Wylie, 'The Power & the Glory', 'Catcher in the Rye', any Robert Heinlein book except I Will Fear No Evil, but my personal faves are Door into Summer, Stranger in a Strange Land, Double Star & the original Starship Troopers, E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensmen series, Day of the Triffids, ANYTHING by H.G. Wells, A Stitch in Time, oh, My Brother Jack - & probably a few more I can’t recall off the top of my head.

Any gems of literature anyone care to add to that distinguished list?

How to World-Build

The way we define our characters & the worlds that each of them live in isthe good old concept of ‘world-building’. It’s amazing how far we can stretch the envelope for the reader without it snapping in their faces as they read it, largely because we establish the believeable parameters, some which we don’t disclose from the outset but introduce in time. I’ve always found the easier it is to write, the easier it is to read. If you have some thoughts you wish to add to this I'd be happy to hear them.