The GeeksverseNathan Edmondson Interview

Nathan Edmondson Interview
Published on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by

Read the interview with the writer of “Who Is Jake Ellis?” and “The Light”.

Starting off, I have to admit that Jake Ellis is the first of your work that I’ve read. I’ve seen The Light but never got a chance to pick it up but I’m going to have to track it and Olympus down. How did you get into comics in the first place? And how did you wind up at Image?

I got into comics with an idea and an artist. I was introduced to the genre by another, rather successful creator who was living down the street from me at the time, and I was well acquainted with the internal mechanics of the industry–at least to some extent–before I even had a desire to write for comics.

Christian Ward and I, with OLYMPUS, were not initially at Image. I’d brought it to Erik Larsen’s attention but received no response, and what happened was, when I showed a lawyer the contract I’d been offered from another publisher, he recommended we bring the book to Image, and he sent it over there. Eric Stephenson responded rather quickly at that point.

How did you and Christian end up working together on Olympus? Was the final published product how you envisioned it would come out? Did you ever think of going the full self-publishing route?

Christian was always my first choice for the book. That said, the end product was certainly different than what I had in mind from the get go, both in scope, story and style–but the end product was better than what I’d intended. Christian had an active role in the collaboration, strong opinions and a strong voice, and not only did he keep me honest but he radically improved the final product.

We never really considered self-publishing, no. Didn’t much have the chance, the book moved pretty quickly once Christian had completed issue 1.

Are you surprised with how well your books have been received?

Oh, I don’t know. The reception comes in small steps so I’m constantly adjusting to it. JAKE ELLIS to be certain has generated more attention, good press, readership, twitter followers than I could have hoped for. On one hand I’m humbled and excited, on the other encouraged to work harder to deserve the success.

What are your long term plans for your career? Would you like to work at one of the Big Two on one of their books? If so, which ones?

My interest in not primarily in working at the Big 2. That’s not to say I’d turn down a gig, but I’m inspired to write my own stories and it’s in telling those that I derive my greatest satisfaction. If I were to pick one, I don’t know, I’d have to say the more obscure the better, the more “real” the more preferred. I think I’d like to take a stab at HP Lovecraft lore, which is not a big two title of course but it comes to mind.

Being one of the new faces in the industry, along with folks like Nick Spencer who seems to have had a similar start to his career, how do you see the state of the industry? Are you a fan of Digital Publishing? How do you feel about it’s impact on the industry?

Economically speaking, there are a number of backward dynamics in the comics industry. It only stirs the pot to really get into them, but sometimes I’m amazed that certain business models I come across seem to continue to function. Time will tell if the market will make its corrections and how so.

As for digital distribution, I think that as tablets become more ubiquitous, I can see all singles going digital and publishers and retailers focusing more on trades and OGNs and even widening their publishing arms to include other mediums of literature. That’s not to say I’m necessarily advocating for that, but I can see that being a market migration and I think that comics might ultimately truly benefit from embracing digital distribution.

The Light and Jake Ellis couldn’t be more different. How did you come up with both books? Why did you do The Light first? What else is coming from you?

THE LIGHT came up because I wanted to work with Brett Weldele and he wanted to do a horror book and I came up with this idea of a light-borne infection. It was a pretty rapid process from first-email-to-Brett to first-art-seen.

JAKE ELLIS was conceived while I was reading and researching military special forces, spycraft, things like that. And I’d had this sense for a while that I wanted a story with a strong character, a memorable, memorizable character. The idea grew and grew and the story was birthed a few months later.

I have an ongoing next year I’m working on, and then a handful of minis in various stages of development. Some more fantastic, some more grounded; at least a couple have no sci-fi facets whatsoever.

How do you get your ideas? For example, what prompted you to start researching spycraft?

I’ve had a number of ideas floating around the spycraft world, and once I have a nugget of an idea, the next step is research. Often times, the research generates an entirely new idea.

As for how I get my ideas, primarily reading. Many of my strongest ideas come from long drives, when my “nervous” faculties are otherwise occupied and my mind is left to roam. Some ideas assimilate from, well, who knows, the vast and slow aggregation of mental memorabilia amassed from experience, education, and emotion.

Will the ongoing be at Image? Is it too early or can you let us know the artist involved and the general plot?

Unfortunately I can’t talk about any of those things quite yet, but check back with me in a month and we’ll see about some teasers!

How did you wind up with the artists you worked with? Did you approach them or did Image serve as the go-between? Who would you like to work with someday?

I contacted and partnered with the artists completely on my own. Rarely does Image play matchmaker, but generally I’m interested as much in an artist as I am a story and so finding the right person is part of the development of any project.

I have a list of favorites I’d lose a finger to work with. Declan Shalvey, Greg Tocchini, JP Leon, Nathan Fox.

What advice do you have for a writer that wants to break into the industry?

Keep reading, keep writing. In that order.

We’d like to thank Nathan for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to check out his latest work, “Who Is Jake Ellis”, in stores now. For a review of the book, follow the link.

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