10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Glenn Matchett

Yesterday we kicked off a series of interviews with those associated with GrayHaven Comics and The Gathering. You can read our first entry.

Today, we’ve got the second entry with comic book writer and senior editor for GrayHaven Comics Glenn Matchett.

Graphic Policy: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Glenn Matchett: It’s been my dream to write comics for over 10 years now. I’ve worked on writing styles and ways to plot and script in all that time.  I really began as a fan to be honest and it wasn’t until Andrew came up with the original proposal for the Gathering that I got my first comics work printed.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

GM: Yes for many years, since as far back as I can remember.  I did a series of articles on Grayhaven’s website titled ‘My Life As An Irish Fanboy’ which details me learning to read with UK comics such as the Beano and takes the reader up to the point I begin to write comics.  I can’t seem to locate part 1 but here’s part 2 that talks about my passion for Sonic the Hedgehog comics in my youth lol http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2011/12/16/my-life-as-an-irish-fanboy-part-2/

GP: Do you read comics now? If so, what are some of your current picks?

GM: Oh yes, too many.  I think Batman under Scott Snyder’s pen may be a modern classic in the making.  Dan Slott is also doing great work on Amazing Spider-Man at the moment.  I love Robert Kirkman’s indie titles especially Walking Dead and Invincible which I collect in the lovely yearly hardcovers.  I wait forever for those things and devour them in no time and then end up having to wait all over again.

GP: How did you get involved with The Gathering?

GM: I had known Andrew for a while as a fellow poster on Brian Michael Bendis Jinxworld forums.  Both he and I were huge Spider-Man fans so we got a connection quickly.  He basically proposed to the people who posted in a thread we both frequented (the DCU megathread) about doing a one off comic for laughs.  I gave a pitch for a 2 page story and he liked it.

GP:  Each issue of The Gathering has a theme, how did that factor into the comic creation?

GM: It’s an interesting challenge I feel.  There are particular genres I feel very comfortable with and others less so.  Working with various themes allows me to play outside my comfort zone.  It’s also interesting to try and go ‘okay what hasn’t been done before’.  The interesting thing about Grayhaven and the Gathering is how many talented folks we have.  You have to stand out and go ‘well what will no one else think of?’ and I enjoy that a great deal.

GP: What advice would you give to independent creators just breaking into the business?

GM: Write every day and never give up.  It’s cliché but it’s true that if you want to write you should just write.  I may be in the minority here but I feel writing is not something you can learn from a book or a classroom it is something that has to be deep inside you.  As an editor for Grayhaven I’ve learned the difference between people who write and those who are writers.  You have to keep plugging and along and listen to the advice you’re given.  Don’t take a break and don’t come up with excuses not to do it.  If you’re serious about writing you will make the time.  You’ll also hear a lot of people tell you that you can’t do it or it’s too hard.  It’s not easy and no not everyone will make it but you will never forgive yourself if you don’t try.  Hard work does pay off in the end I feel.

GP: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experiences?

GM: Oh god there are so many.  Both from the editing and the writing I’ve learned a lot.  I think even though I thought I was doing this initially I think I’ve learned to not give the artists such a huge headache.  It literally takes me seconds to write ‘and there’s a fight scene involving 1 million people!’ but someone has to draw that and it will take considerably longer than a few seconds.  Just because you’re only given a few pages don’t overdo it on the multiple panels either.  Try to think of how you can apply ‘less is more’ to your stories.   Basically I’ve learned how to be a better writer by just doing it and that leads back to my point earlier.

GP: Do you think it’s easier today for creators to get published?

GM: With the internet and things that in a way yes it is.  However since there are new ways to get yourself out there and more avenues available to get your work noticed it’s hard to stand out in the crowd.  Its swings and roundabouts really because in some ways yes it is easier but that in itself makes it harder to stand out.  Since the success of Walking Dead there has been an explosion of zombie related comics trying to capture the same ‘lightening in a bottle’.  Don’t get lost in the shuffle think ‘well how is my zombie story or whatever different from his or hers?’  That’s the challenge now I feel.

GP:  How do you think technology like social networking or crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are impacting comic book publishing?

GM: Without social networking and kickstarter there might not be a Grayhaven comics.  Using avenues like the ones you mentioned and others like Twitter have got us some serious talent.  There are is a lot of amazing artists out there that no one has ever heard of and we’re given this great tool to find them.  It also brought our work to the attention of some pro’s who are doing some stories for us down the line.  It’s been invaluable and I see the same story all across the internet.  Again there are more ways to get your work out there but capturing people’s attention will be the new stumbling block to success.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

GM: Editing wise I’m currently pushing out our third and final Gathering Horror anthology that should be available to buy soon.  Our Horror anthologies have been incredibly popular so we’re splitting them off into their own series ‘Tales Of The Abyss’ which I’m co-editing with Erica Heflin.  This is going to be the book where we really give our best creators a bigger playing ground and will feature a regularly appearing story from comic Pro Sterling Gates.

I’m also editing the second Sci-Fi and Fairy Tale volumes next year.  I edited both the initial volumes and they turned out very well so I want to top that next year.  I’m also editing something else that hasn’t officially be announced but could be our most successful anthology ever so stay tuned for that.

Writing wise I have stories coming up in Horror 3 with artist George Amaru, our first Dark Anthology with Arcadio Bolanos, Western with Amanda Rachels and True Ghost Stories with Alan Anguiano.  I also have stories and scripts written for our Mystery volume and the Superhero volume out next year as well as one of the stories in our third issue in Tales Of The Abyss.

Also late this year I will be very proud to debut my own one shot entitled ‘Sparks’ that is being drawn by Cassandra James.  This is a story I first came up with when I was 16 or 17 and I can’t wait to see it finally in print.  I don’t want to say a lot about it but I think people will certainly find something different in its pages.  I’m also plotting out a sequel in my mind at this time so I very much hope it becomes a regular thing maybe 2-3 times a year.

I’m also involved in the Gathering Phase 2 which is allowing some of our creators to publish their own creator owned work.  I’ve got a project approved for that too which I’m thinking might even be a series of mini’s.  Don’t want to say much about that since its in the early stages but I will say it may be the best idea I’ve ever had and allows me to pay partial tribute to one of the reasons I’m a writer.