The comic book industry is built on collaboration, with writers and artists working together to create something magical. The same can be said for indie comic writers and bloggers, which is why The Comic Vault is open to promoting independent comics and graphic novels. I’m pleased to reveal an interview with indie comic writer and pop culture website editor, Casey Bowker, who has created his first comic called Hollowed. He’s looking to get the series up and running through Kickstarter and he chatted to The Comic Vault about why he wanted to become a comic writer and how the industry has changed for independent writers.
Thanks for agreeing to the interview Casey. Hollowed sounds like an intriguing comic that mixes noir and supernatural themes together. Can you give readers a brief summary of what it’s about?
Hollowed is a sci-fi/horror/dark comedy comic about two detectives who are hunting down a killer across the country. The killer leaves little clues behind other than all of the victims are male, will be smiling and their insides are completely hollowed out.
As you’re using Kickstarter to fund the comic, what kind of rewards and incentives can readers get by donating money?
For the Kickstarter we really wanted to do some fun things to get people excited. Of course you can get the comic book in digital and print form, but we’re also going to be making T-Shirts, Stickers, Pint Glasses, original artwork from the illustrator Darius Johnson and a soundtrack to go along with the comic book!
You mentioned Hollowed started as a film script and it transitioned into a comic. What inspired you to change it and does writing the story as a comic feel any different?
I started writing the script for Hollowed back in my college screenwriting class. It then sat on my shelf for over a decade, waiting for the right opportunity. I had a few other friends find success on Kickstarter with their comic books and I thought that it would be the perfect way to get the story out there. The transition from film script to comic book isn’t all that hard, other than I have to give my artist some directions with what to do with the panels.
Did you read comics when you were growing up and do you have any stories or characters that have stuck with you?
I was and still am obsessed with comics. My favourite characters are Spider-Man and Batman. I think the latter being a bigger influence on this particular story. I also love Sherlock Holmes and movies like Se7en; both of those in particular were huge influences on the story of Hollowed.
The idea of including music alongside the comic is an interesting concept. What made you choose Of Mars for the sound track and just how hard was it to acquire the songs?
Of Mars was one of those bands that I constantly had heard about from my friends who are obsessed with the 80s. They knew of their discography but no one knew how to really find their albums. So, I was in Sanduskee Ohio on a road trip one day, had to stop off for gas, and behind the toilet in the restroom I found an old box of cassette tapes.
Little did I know that the music of Of Mars would be hidden inside. Upon hearing the music, I KNEW that their tracks had to accompany the comic. It was destiny! So, I cleaned up the sounds digitally and formatted them for mp3 and have included select tracks for this first issue of Hollowed. If the Kickstarter is successful, we’ll continue to release tracks to go along with every issue.
Where did you draw the inspiration for Detective Vasquez and Tyler?
Tyler is myself if I was more of an a-hole. Vasquez was my writing partner back in college. The look, the voice, all of it was very much him. They say to write what you know and I certainly know these two.
Do you have any favourite comic writers and if so, what it is about their work that you thought was memorable?
My favourite comic book writer is Mark Millar, hands down. There’s others I love like Brian K. Vaughn, Garth Ennis, Jason Aaron and others; but Millar has consistently put out work that I adore. I got familiar with him when he rebooted the Ultimate Universe for Marvel and my love continued on through Kick-Ass, The Secret Service, Wanted, and Supercrooks. The man is so devilishly evil in his writing and he does a fantastic job of mixing genres.
You also run a pop culture website called Don’t Forget A Towel and it has some great content on it. How did the website get started?
The website was started out of a need to be creative again. At the time, I was working a corporate job and constantly on the road and putting work before my dreams. On the rare vacation that I had, I used the time to create Don’t Forget a Towel with my best friend and Co-Editor, Chris Walk.
We’d always talk on the phone and geek out and I thought, “why not see if the rest of the planet agrees with our rants?” From then on we just keep putting out content every day and have a stable of writers and love doing it. It’s afforded opportunities to go to a ton of conventions and meeting other creatives, it’s been a blast!
Do you find that being an editor as well as a writer has helped make you a better writer overall?
It makes me worse. I’m so horrid at self-editing if I’m being honest. I want to write and write and I can do so very fast; but then I have a hard time slowing down and going back and making sure that what I wrote even makes sense. Chris does a lot of my editing if it’s a big editorial piece, so does my wife.
It seems like a great time to be an indie comic writer. What are your thoughts on the independent comic industry in general?
I think it’s never been a better time to be an indie comic writer. You have so many different ways to get your voice heard, FINALLY. Think 10 years ago. You were fighting to try and get a publisher to read your stuff and MAYBE give you a chance. Now you can just create a comic, go to a crowdfunding site, and hopefully people believe in your passion enough to see it get made. It’s truly awesome we have platforms that allow people to realize their dreams.
For anyone who’s trying to write and publish their own comic, what’s your best advice?
Write and publish your comic. Seriously. Like I said, there’s no stopping you from doing what you want. Want to make movies? Pick up your cellphone and shoot one. Want to write a comic? Write one and find someone who can draw really well. Become friends.
Plan it out and put it out there! Don’t get in your own way with excuses of how no one cares, or it’s too hard, or whatever. Just create and create and create. Your passion will help you do what you want.
If you could have any kind of superpower then what would it be?
It’s always been mind-reading. I just love that idea of being someone like Professor X and knowing peoples thoughts. I think it would be scary and awesome at the same time.
Casey Bowker is the writer of Hollowed, a sci-fi/horror comic that needs your support to happen through Kickstarter. You can help to get it out there now. Also be sure to check out Don’t Forget A Towel for comic book news and pop culture geekery.