Now there are only a hand full of people I can think of who have made the big leap from broadcasting media to the printed page. For example: Kevin Smith, Frank Miller, Dan Didio, Seth Green, Leonard Nimoy, and Barbra Streisand, just to name a few. However, out of this motley crew, I can only think of one other person who has the tenacity and the guile to make this leap stick. My mate Russell Nohelty. Here, check out a conversation I had with him just the other day about his new comic book, 'Ichabod Jones : Monster Hunter', whilst getting art lessons from Barry Manilow.
Graphicly Meets Monster Hunter
1) When was the first time you knew that you had the talent to write, Russell? And how did you develop your style? Well I don't have the hubris to say I have the talent to write, but I've been writing since I was a kid. First terribly, then slightly less terribly, and all the way through until now, when I hope I don’t write terribly at all.
I developed that through the simplest way possible. I wrote and read. Anything I wanted to write, I would read everything I could possibly get my hands in that format, then I would try to ape it until I developed my own voice.
2) What are your own aspirations? And what inspired you to create the comic ‘Ichabod Jones : Monster Hunter’? Again, I’m a simple man. I only aspire to be the best I can possibly be and always create content I want to read. People get so caught up with creating comics or media that sells well that it sometimes gets in the way of doing something really cool.
As for Ichabod’s inspiration, I’d just gotten back from comic-con with my tail between my legs after failing to sell my first comic, Wannabes, and I thought “Well if a publisher’s not gonna put out my comic, they might as well not publish something AWESOME. The classic “if I’m gonna fail, I’m gonna fail spectacularly” approach.
So I started thinking “What’s the craziest, most screwed up concept I could think of. Something so cool and out there that no publisher could ever sign off on it”. I thought a psychopath anti-hero who escaped from an asylum because the voice in his head told him he’s the chosen one was just that idea.
A buddy of mine wrote a movie called “Fugue” a while back. I always thought that was a really good representation of Ichabod.
A fugue is a piece of music that involves two or more voices just like Ichabod and the Voice in his head. It also represents a dissociative disorder related to reverse amnesia, and since Ichabod is all about the question “Is Ichabod really in the Apocalypse, is it all in his head, or is he really psychotic, killing people and hallucinating he’s in the Apocalypse”, I think Ichabod would be a fugue.
From that experience I really learned a ton of things about how to write for any budget. And I mean any budget.
5) In my personal option, Renzo’s style of art is somewhat similar to the works of Todd McFarlane (Spawn) or Joe Quesada (Daredevil). Who do you feel that his artwork is like, and why? Well, I know he drew a lot of inspiration for this book from Jhonen Vasquez’s 'Johnny the Homicidal Maniac'. It’s a fantastic book about this psychopathic serial killer. It’s surrealistic and weird. Seriously, the guy kills people indiscriminately and somehow it’s hilarious.
But the reason Johnny works, in my opinion, is that it’s cartoony. And because of that, the murders never seem real. You’re never really horrified by anything that happens. Both Renzo and I really loved that idea for Ichabod, since he’s a similar kind of anti-hero.
7) If there was one thing you could change about your work, what would it be and why? I put a huge premium on action and moving the story along. I would like to be able to write dialog heavy scenes better and more often. I read these great books like 'Preacher' and 'Transmetropolitan'. They have pages upon pages of talking heads that are incredibly engaging. I wanna do that.
8) During your time as a writer, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead? You know, I like to think I’m very open with my knowledge. I try to distill information as openly as possible. Above that, being on time and professional is paramount with me.
9) Do you have any tips or advice for an aspiring writer? The best writing advice I’ve ever gotten is the just keep writing. Write all day, every chance you get. You’re going to suck at first, you’re going to suck less over time, and eventually when you suck very, very little or not at all, you might even make some money at it. Of course you should never bank on the money. You should only worry about making good art. The rest will come.
Thanks for that Russell. Much appreciated mate. So when you have the time dear reader, please check out Russ's website, www.russell-nohelty.com, for updates on his forthcoming projects. Plus follow him on on twitter too.