Greetings Chris Roberson of iZombie, Starborn, Elric, Fables: Cinderella, Superman, Superman/Batman and a load of other stories and comics. How are you doing?
I’m dandy, thanks!
For those people who are unfortunately unfamiliar with your work, is there any recurring theme through your work?
There are probably more recurring themes than I’m aware of, actually. I find that there are the things that the writer includes consciously, and then a whole lot of OTHER stuff that happens without the writer even noticing. My stories tend to deal with memories quite a bit, I find, either losing them or recovering them, or both. I also tend to take familiar character types or clichéd story tropes and try to do things interesting with them (I leave it to the reader to judge whether I’m successful at that or not). Also, talking animals.
Your new series Memorial which I haven’t been able to pick up yet has been getting a lot of buzz, you have a wonderful art team though. How would you pitch the series to someone so they pick it up?
Memorial the story of a young woman who arrives at a hospital one day with no memory of her previous life, and no clue to her identity other than a necklace she wears with the letter “M” engraved on it. A year later, she has managed to build something like a life for herself, with a job, an apartment, and friends, but she continued to search for clues to her previous identity. One day she notices a strange antique shop down an alleyway, one that she’s passed a million times and never noticed before. And it turns out to be one of those mysterious shops where you might buy a gremlin or a cursed monkey’s paw, and when you go to return the offending item, the store isn’t there anymore. Well, our heroine goes into the shop, and when she comes back out, she’s somewhere else. And that’s where the story starts. Tonally, it’s like Doctor Who meets Sandman by way of Miyazaki, with art by a supremely talented newcomer named Rich Ellis.
Also, there is a talking cat.
You ended up working on the last Superman arc taking it from a rather precarious position into what is honestly my favorite Superman story – it was those issues that got me to see Superman as an interesting character again. If you were the option to write for Superman again would you?
Thanks, I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! The chance to write Superman for eight months was a childhood dream come true.
I knew when I took the job that it would only be for eight months, but I couldn’t help working out what I WOULD do with the book if I stayed on. I mapped out a couple of years’ worth of storylines, and actually started planting seeds in my eight issues of Superman that I could come back to, if given the chance. This was before I knew anything about the relaunch, of course, and as it happens very little of what I had in mind would work without the character’s past continuity to draw on. So I guess it just wasn’t meant to be!
From your Twitter and a few other sources, I’ve picked up that you are a big fan of cartoons and animated series. What are some of your all time favorites?
My list of favorites is a weird mix of stuff. I love Futurama, Cowboy Beebop, The Venture Bros., Secret Saturdays, Adventure Time, and Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc. And I’ll always have a soft-spot for old Hanna-Barbera adventure cartoons of the late 60s, anything Jay Ward did, the classic Looney Tunes, and so on. Basically, I like anything GOOD.
If you were given full creative control over a superhero or character and didn’t need to follow established conventions – i.e. you got to define the characters completely from scratch if you wanted, what series would you like to write?
My first instinct is actually a character that I don’t believe has appeared in comics before, but was created by a group of comic book legends: Thundarr The Barbarian. That could be a lot of fun to try!
With more and more mainstream artists starting up webcomics, have you considered trying your hand at the webcomics game?
I’m intrigued by the possibilities of digital comics in general, both webcomics and digital delivery through things like ComiXology’s Comics app. So yes, I have DEFINITELY considered the possibility. And there MAY just be an announcement coming in July…
Thanks for the interview!