10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Marc Deschamps

We continue our interview series with members of The Gathering and GrayHaven Comics. We’ve put out the same questions to numerous individuals and can compare their responses. A hopefully intriguing interview series.

Check out our previous interviews.

George Amaru Travis M. Holyfield
Elena Andrews Marc Lombardi
Andrew Goletz Glenn Matchett
Doug Hahner James O’Callaghan
Erica J. Heflin

Up next is writer Marc Deschamps marking our tenth interview in the series!

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

Marc Deschamps: I collaborated on my first comic at the age of 9 or 10 with a couple of my friends. There was only one copy, on white, lined paper, so I’ll forgive you if you haven’t had a chance to read it. It was a big hit on Camelot Drive, though. My Dad said it was one of the best comics he’d ever read. It was the only comic he’d ever read, but I still took the compliment.

About 16 years later, I got back in the game with the fourth issue of The Gathering with a story called There’s No Such Thing as Monsters, a little homage to Calvin and Hobbes, with art by the very talented Donal DeLay. By the time it was actually published though, I’d already started writing an ongoing webcomic for GrayHaven, called Kid Robo. It’s beautifully drawn and painted by my terrific partner Christopher Chamberlain, and it’s a lot of fun to write.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

MD: I’ve been reading comics since about 1989, or so. My Mom got me started with the occasional issues of Batman, G.I. Joe, Transformers and Count Duckula. My love of comics really started with the X-Men cartoon, though. It was a gateway drug. After that, I was hooked for life. There was just no going back.

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

MD: I read WAY too many comics. If Marvel puts it out, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be in my pile, but Ultimate Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Force are just brilliant, right now. IDW is doing incredible things with the Transformers and G.I. Joe licenses. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead still manages to make my jaw drop every time I read it. I also love Chris Giarusso’s G-Man and Stephen Pastis’ wonderful comic strip Pearls Before Swine. Those two have helped to teach me so much while writing Kid Robo. I’d absolutely love to do a crossover with either one of them, some day.

GP: How did you get involved with The Gathering?

MD: I was actually a bit of a late-comer to The Gathering. While I posted in the DC thread with the rest of the guys, for some reason, I kind of glanced over the GrayHaven stuff, pretty much obliviously. Once I started paying attention, and saw what they were putting together, I knew I had to get involved. So, I grabbed my copy of Mark Millar’s Civil War Script book, and taught myself how to write a comic.

To be honest, GrayHaven reminds me of the early days of Saturday Night Live. There’s a sense that some of these people are going to explode in the industry and completely change the game. And I can’t wait to see who does, because I think the number will be very, very surprising to a lot of people.

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

MD: The themes for The Gathering are interesting because they force you to come up with stories you might not have, otherwise. I’m very proud of my story from our upcoming Western volume, but, truth is, I’ve never been much of a Western guy! But it challenged me to grow as a writer, and I love that.

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

MD: My biggest advice is to be nice, and make good friends. Creators are people too, and if you approach them and treat them with respect and kindness, it opens up all kinds of doors. I’m currently working with an artist that I’m a long time fan of, and it all started because I took some books to have him sign at a convention! I went from fan to partner, which is still mind-blowing, to me.

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

MD: The most important lesson I’ve learned is to just push yourself. Andrew Goletz created a huge opportunity for us, but it’s all for nothing if I don’t sit down at the computer and ignore distractions, once in a while. “Write, write, write,” that’s the biggest one.

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

MD: Absolutely. The internet has provided an incredible tool for people to make their voice heard. Not just in terms of comics, but for musicians, actors, artists… I feel like “incredible” isn’t a powerful enough word to describe the opportunities that are available now, that simply weren’t there just a few years ago. When you look at the stories of how creators like Mark Bagley or Dan Slott made their way into this industry, you can already see just how much has changed. And that’s fantastic.

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

MD: I think the results speak for themselves. It’s an opportunity for people to put their money where their mouth is and support creative efforts that may have otherwise been overlooked. It’s the most democratic model we’ve ever had for getting art into the hands of the consumer.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

MD: Well, I’ve got one major project on the way that I really can’t talk about just yet, but other than that, Kid Robo goes up every Monday or Tuesday at http://www.grayhavencomics.com/ and we have a collected edition coming in early 2013, I believe. I’ve also got lots more coming in the pages of The Gathering, including our Western and Dark volumes, so keep an eye out for my work, and I hope you like it!