10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Gary Hogan

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 Nick Francis William Levert Amanda Rachels
Elena Andrews Andrew Goletz Marc Lombardi Jason Snyder
Arcadio Bolaños Doug Hahner Glenn Matchett Sam Tung
John M. Coker Erica J. Heflin James O’Callaghan
Marc Deschamps Travis M. Holyfield Chris Page

Up next is writer Gary Hogan.

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

GH: By way of GrayHaven Comics recently. My two page story in The Gathering Vol. #2 was the first comic script I’d ever written in my life. While I’d been writing creatively for years the idea of writing a comic script had never even occurred to me as a passing thought. In fact prior to writing my first GrayHaven script I pulled out my copy of the first Powers trade and read over the script to the first issue of Powers by Bendis that was included in the trade, to get an idea of how I was supposed to write and format it.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

GH: Yes, I was, from a young age actually and then getting into some of the mature titles as I got older.

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

GH: Yes, still do. Saga, Daredevil, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman, Fables, Unwritten, Sweet Tooth, Amazing & Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers and Powers, and that’s just naming a few.  Oh, and I wish Tom Beland’s True Story, Swear To God were still around.

GP:  How did you get involved with The Gathering?

GH: Andrew posted in the DC Thread on the Brian Michael Bendis Board that he was going to put together a comic among those who were interested, pairing writers with artists if needed. I thought that might be fun so I responded and I was paired with artist Blake Sims, which turned out to be quite the pairing and inspiration for what I wrote later on.

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

GH: I wrote for the theme but always tried to turn it around and put a twist on it. For example, when the theme of Myth was announced and Andrew said that meant anything based a myth or a creature of myth such as Bigfoot, could be used, I thought, well, why not have Bigfoot retiring and using a reality TV show to find his replacement? It fits the theme but it also bends it. Plus, I knew Blake would draw awesome monsters and freaks.

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

GH: Be original. Try to find your voice. Try to do something different. Trust your artist.

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

GH: That comic writing is a lot harder than it look, that  like everything, it has rules and pacing is so important. After I wrote my first script for The Gathering Vol #2 I started writing scripts on my own, without a GrayHaven theme to guide me and looking back at some of them now, I cringe. As I was still new to comic scripting then, I was putting 7 or 8 panels on a page with alarming regularity. I got out of that fast.

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

GH: I don’t know if I’d say easier but there exists a lot of opportunities that didn’t exist before.

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

GH: Well, Internet networking in general.  Just the Jinxworld Bendis Board, even – by posting there I came to have contact with Andrew and other creative people. There’s no way that I, a guy in Nova Scotia, Canada, would be having comic book art drawn by a guy from Kentucky. There’s just no way. As for Kickstarter, I’m sure most of what GrayHaven does wouldn’t exist without it, so, yes, big impact. Heck, even awesome established writers like Gail Simone are using it now.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

GH: Schedule wise, a story in GrayHaven’s The Dark Anthology coming up soon, along with other long time Gathering writers like Jason Snyder, ect. Then if things fall into place on time, a six page story in the crime issue of The Gathering that has multiple writers telling one tale, from an idea and a lead character created by Sasha Makarewicz. That was interesting – writing with someone else’s character creation.

That same month should see the currently titled one shot The Bid written by myself with art by the awesome Blake Sims and edited by Marc Lombardi. This will consist of that very first script I did for The Gathering Vol. #2, also called The Bid, along with the 13 pages Blake and I did for the GrayHaven Comics web site called The Further Adventures of a Super Annuated Adventurer, plus 15 brand new pages.  The whole thing is about a retired Superhero with less than stellar people skills who tends to find himself in awkward situations. Of the 15 brand new pages I think Blake is going to kill on them, as he does on pretty much everything.  The Bid one shot will be the 6th thing Blake and I have worked on together.  I love how his art takes things to another level and gives an emotional kick even I didn’t think of when writing it. We’re really hoping everyone will check it out.