SKTCHDxTiny Onion: Part Nine, Collaborating and Collaborators

James Tynion IV might be the winner of three straight Eisner Awards for Best Writer, but he’d be the first to admit it: he wouldn’t be where he is without his collaborators. Tynion works and has worked with some of the most electric talent in comics, whether you’re talking Álvaro Martínez Bueno on The Nice House on the Lake, Werther Dell’edera on Something is Killing the Children, Fernando Blanco on w0rldtr33, or any number of incredible folks on any number of other books.

That’s why it was about time Tynion and I talked about those collaborators in our SKTCHDxTiny Onion interview series. So, this month, Tynion discusses what he looks for in his artistic partner, how he finds these collaborators, building off previous collaborations, putting them in position to succeed, the importance of the key image, and a whole lot more. It’s a great chat, and this interview — which has been edited for length and clarity — is open to non-subscribers. If you enjoy what you read, consider subscribing to SKTCHD and to Tynion’s The Empire of the Tiny Onion newsletter for more like it.

This month we’re talking about the most important people in your professional life: your artistic collaborators. We’ve talked about them a bit already throughout this interview series, but especially on the heels of your recent trip to Spain, it feels like time we talk about them in specific.

I want to start by talking about the discovery process. You’ve worked with some great artists on your own books, all of whom fit your projects perfectly, but figuring out the right fit for each project is a big challenge for any creator, not the least of which is you as someone who has a lot of projects. What’s your process for finding that right fit? Are there specific things you look for, or does it always depend on the project you’re working on?

James: It very much depends on the project. I’ve talked a little bit about the ideation process before, where what comes to me first and foremost is the kernel of an idea. The reason I want to make a story. Sometimes it’s a plot twist or it’s a genre or it’s a three-sentence version of the idea that it will eventually become something more. But that normally forms without a specific artist in mind. The second that I start figuring out the next stage, I start figuring out what’s the aesthetic vibe of the piece.

Last night, I stayed up way too late and I reread a bunch of my DC stuff. I read a big chunk of my Detective Comics run. I reread a big chunk of my Justice League Dark run, and it’s fascinating because in a lot of ways, those books were my discovery process. My superhero work taught me what does and doesn’t work for me on an artistic level.

It’s no coincidence that two of my primary collaborators right now, Alvaro Martinez Bueno and Fernando Blanco, both come out of those runs. I only got a few pages here and there working directly with Fernando. It was in the League of Shadows arc of my Detective Comics run, and then the Witching Hour crossover event with Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark. There was just a vibe on those pages. Honestly, it was the way that Fernando drew dangerous women, and with Alvaro, it was the way…I’ve talked about this before. Alvaro draws the way I think in a way that has created such an easy shorthand between us.

I remember at the start of the Detective Comics run; his first page was this beautiful concept that basically turned an entire page into a pint of beer where all the action was inside the pint. It was the third or fourth issue of that run, and it just blew me away. That wasn’t in the script, but it just elevated the entire piece. It was such a cool concept. He just kept delivering pieces like that, and then I started wanting to challenge him, to throw things at him and see what he could throw back at me.

That was the fun bit in that era because a lot of times, I had very little control of what artists I could work with. Sometimes, I would be paired with people whose work, bluntly, I didn’t connect with, or work that I enjoyed but had a kind of muted reaction to it. It delivered something that was right for the story but isn’t something that I would go chasing in any of my own work. When someone’s art hits a nerve with me, I always take note of that and then I would try to test it.

Once I got further into my DC career and had more direct control over who I could work with, honestly, superhero stuff was a great opportunity to test people out. You can see a lot of the people that I’m working with right now – the generation of books that are being announced now that I was starting to think up at the end of my DC tenure – I worked on a few issues with Christian Ward. Now I’m doing a whole project with him. Those conversations started at that exact time.

Joshua Hixson came in and did the Peacekeeper-01 One Shot for my Fear State event, and all those pieces were me deliberately being like, “Okay. I really like what this artist is doing, and I want to check a few things.” Those were really valuable.

From w0rldtr33 #1, art by Fernando Blanco and Jordie Bellaire

You said, “When they strike a nerve.” That seems like something that just hits when it hits. It’s not something you can really control. Is that striking of a nerve more about storytelling, or is it more about seeing untapped potential?

James: I think it’s a little bit of all the above. But also, a lot of my work relies on acting. I grew up reading a lot of manga. I think my work has a lot more reaction shots in it than a lot of my peers because of my manga influence. And if you can’t make a closeup shot of a character just having an emotion interesting, and make a page that’s conversational interesting, then I don’t think we’re going to work well together because that’s how I find my pacing.

The other thing is density. I like dense pages. I work best with artists that can deliver a density of information, and who lean towards making something more dense. That was something that I always noticed with Fernando. Fernando would add panels to give it more density, and now I’m doing a series where we regularly do 12-panel pages. It’s not always just density of panels. With Martin Simmonds, it’s a density of information. There’s a lot going on in a page. It’s not just a simple, singular image.

In my superhero revisit, that was one of those things where I can go back where I can look at a few pieces where it’s just like, “Alright. I might have made this a little too dense,” and then on another sequence where it’s just like, “Oh, right. I really didn’t like this sequence when the art came in, but it really suited the story. It’s just not in my style of storytelling.”

Now that I I can work exclusively with people that I really enjoy working with, that means that I can just lean into how I want to tell a story. I don’t have to convince DC that this is the right way. For me to write a James Tynion creator owned comic, I can just write it the way I want.

A good example of what we’re talking about is Joshua Hixson and your just announced The Deviant at Image. It’s a horror book. It has a lot of complexity to it, but it has the horror elements to it. For that, did you look for somebody that specifically fits the genre you’re going for, or is it not even about that? It’s just about the storytelling and making sure that they can convey the story on the page?

James: It’s more tonal, I think, than genre driven. The stories that I’m pulling from for The Deviant are Silence of the Lambs and the entire library of David Fincher. It’s stories that have that kind of muted quality, but a deep intensity to it.

I felt like it’s Mindhunter times Zodiac, basically.

James: Exactly. And it’s a serial killer story. It’s a colorful serial killer story, but this is a story that doesn’t have supernatural elements in it. There’s not a sci-fi twist. There’s not anything. These are human characters in a human world that is based on a real world. It’s heightened. But it’s heightened in the way of a Fincher story or a Thomas Harris novel. That was the vibe that I was very much going for.

From The Deviant #1, art by Joshua Hixson

Hixson’s work has been on my radar for a while. I really enjoyed it. I think the first book of his that I read was Shanghai Red, which I adored. I absolutely adored him and Chris Sebela on that. It was one of those things, for a long time, where I wanted to build something for him, and I didn’t have the kind of core concept there. But I’d had this rough idea that would become The Deviant for a long time, where I wanted to do a serial killer story, and I also wanted to do a queer serial killer story. Something that pulls from the fact that there is a queer undercurrent in a lot of serial killer fiction, and a lot of that’s pretty rough for queer people.

Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies, even though it has a few undercurrents that make me uncomfortable. But I wanted to dig right into that discomfort. I wanted to dig right into the fact that I went to high school 15 blocks from the building where Jeffrey Dahmer killed all those people, and I grew up in Milwaukee in the 1990s. Wisconsin is the home of Ed Gein. Serial killers were deep in the culture around where I grew up and queerness was very much ingrained into that.

I had this raw feeling, and I knew how I wanted that to be visually represented. Josh was on my list of people that I was just waiting to see how their art continued to evolve. Then it’s like when a day suddenly hits where it’s like, “You know what? I want to get his project up and running. I finally think I’m ready to tell this story.” Then it’s like reaching out to an artist and it’s like asking someone out on a date, but it’s more than that because it’s just like, “Do you want to date for like three years?” Because there’s the first year of just getting the schedules to line up where you’re talking about development stuff. Then there’s the early process of working together where you’re getting into the flow of things.

Then there’s the year of actually doing it, and this is going to be a nine-issue maxi series, but it’ll be self-contained. This isn’t a Nice House where there’s going to be three more volumes. I say that now, but right now, it is a contained story with a beginning, middle, and end. But I knew that Josh could deliver that kind of muted, haunted quality. The thing that made me so fucking happy is when I pitched it to him, Josh was like, “I’m excited to draw the intense conversation scenes.” It was just like, “Oh my god. I’m never letting go of you.”

It’s like a date if you immediately start sharing finances.

James: Yeah, it’s scary. Honestly, the dating side of it has been a weird conversation that I’ve had with a bunch of the artists I work with over the last year. I made the comparison earlier in the year when I was walking around Paris with Alvaro just talking about future work that we may or may not be doing together, and just laid out that it was just like, this is very much like being in a poly relationship situation where I am dating 10 people, and I need to make sure that every time that I’m spending time with one of those people that I’m giving them the full focus of my attention and love and creative power and all of the things that will make for a good book.

There needs to be a mutual understanding that, “Yes, I am going to go spend time with Werther (Dell’edera) to go make Something is Killing the Children really good, but I promise I’m going to come back and also give you your time.” Each relationship’s different. It’s managing a lot of different emotions and all that, but you realize quickly whether you have that kind of, honestly, chemistry where you share the same priorities, and that you want to deliver the same things story-wise, and that you care about the story.

Then there’s the degree of handholding I require and the degree of handholding they require. It’s something to navigate in each of those relationships, and then you figure out the ways that you made missteps, and you have to be very communicative. It’s managing a bunch of relationships at the same time.

I’m going to push it even further. It is interesting to think about how, in some situations, you’re in an arranged marriage like with Werther where it’s not something that you necessarily chose him, but it proved to be a strong relationship you had.

James: Yeah.

Martin Simmonds’ cover to The Department of Truth #1

And other times…did you work with Martin before you worked on Department of Truth?

James: No.

Martin is a unique situation where you hadn’t worked with him before, but with a lot of your other collaborators, you talked about this already, you had worked with them on other things. Like Joshua, you’d worked with. Alvaro, you’d worked with, Fernando. You had an idea that there was something there.

It was kind of like you’d run into this person at a party a couple times and you’d think, “Maybe this could work out.” Is that part of the reason why you like working with collaborators you have experience with? Because you know you can trust them, and you know that there is some sort of overlap between how you like to tell stories?

James: 100%. Honestly, Razorblades was another great testing ground in that way. I did a short with Fernando. I did a short with Hixson. It is one of those things where it’s just like, “Okay. I am trying to figure out, what are you going to bring to the table? What is the actual process working with you like? Is this something where I think we can make more substantial in long form?”

Because I’ll be honest…the process of starting with Martin was terrifying. It was like jumping in blind in a way that I had no idea what to expect. So much of that process was going in blind in a massive way in that I had never done an Image book before. I had never run the finances of a book before. Then on top of that, I was like, “Hey, I will pay you upfront. I’m not going to take anything from the front end.”

I was making up an entire system of how this worked, and asking someone to trust me that I could deliver a good series. At that moment, you have to remember I was the Justice League Dark guy. I didn’t have the stature I do now in the industry. It is like fairly substantial to be like, “Literally, give me a few years of your life to make this book.”

It’s a leap of faith.

James: Yeah.

That’s one of the underrated parts about all this. A huge part of this is, of any project, if you’re going to take something on, you have to know that your collaborator’s reliable and can hit deadlines. I imagine that’s another one of the benefits of working with someone previously is you know their pace. You know what they’re capable of. You know that if you’re going to launch The Deviant, that Joshua’s going to be able do it. That’s a super important thing because if you just disappear for year, it could kill the book.

James: 100%.

Have you ever picked wrong and had to go back to the drawing board, so to speak?

James: So far, I’ve been pretty lucky, but I do credit being able to feel things out a bit. It’s been nice having a few smaller format projects that I was able to see, “Okay. How are you going to deliver in this way?” Razorblades, once again…that was a great testing ground. Now I also have the True Weird shorts that I run in the backups of my Blue Book series, and other projects that I’ve got coming out through Dark Horse, so I can do some matchmaking even when it’s not with my writing and just see how different people react with different types of storytelling.

Then on top of that, there are a bunch of people whose work I really vibe with when they work with other creators. When I’m going out on the conventions, I try to have conversations with those people. I try to see, “What is the vibe here? Do we connect on storytelling principles?” and all that stuff. It is the nice thing where now, it takes me a year or two to spin up a new project, so there is a feeling out period. Sometimes, we might have a few initial conversations but then they peter out.

That hasn’t gotten to the point of pairing them with a concept. It’s just like, “I love your work. You love my work. Let’s have a conversation about working together down the line. Let’s talk about the sorts of movies and stuff that we like.” If nothing really comes from that, then nothing really comes from that, but it’s nice to have a deep list of people whose work I really connect with and that I have a sense of the sort of personal relationship I would have with.

So that’s just a feeling out process where you’re just talking with somebody whose work you love before you get to the pitch, and that insulates you from making the wrong choice.

James: Yeah. Six months before I sent Fernando the w0rldtr33 pitch, it was early pandemic time, and the w0rldtr33 concept existed. I had soft pitched it to Vertigo because I needed to do that to relieve me of the terms of my exclusive agreement with DC at the time. The pitch existed without an artist for a little bit, and it was different from what it is now, but a lot of the core pieces were the same.

I had been starting to message Fernando about horror, like in the early pandemic back when everybody was doing little pen pal like things as ways to communicate while we were all very isolated. Fernando and I were just talking about the books that we were reading and the movies we were watching and then it started shifting more and more towards, “Okay, we really want to do something together.” Then I was like, “This is the project that I think that you would bring to life very well.” For a while, I had to convince Fernando because he was coming out of drawing more grounded stuff, and he didn’t want to draw something really grounded.

I was like, “I promise I’m not going to make it too grounded,” but it took a little push and pull to be like, “I have a vision for how we could work together on this.” Now that we’re in the flow of it, you can see where once I got a little bit further in, it’s like, “Alright. I’ve got to push the imagery a little bit for Fernando. Let’s push the imagery.”

This just makes me think of the most recent issue of w0rldtr33, where it’s grounded, it’s grounded, it’s grounded, and then it’s 14-foot tall naked women.

James: Yeah.

It’s grounded-ish. There’s a lot of stuff going on there.

James: There’s a lot of stuff going on, and there will continue to be a lot of stuff going on.

I have no doubt.

Werther Dell’edera’s cover to Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1

You mentioned the development time side of things. There’s a version of these books where it’s just like, ready, set, go, and you just go, and there’s not a lot of development time. Is part of the reason you want to have development time baked in about making sure your artistic partner can make this project their own and make sure that they’re comfortable in developing this world?

James: 1,000%. Especially, this is something that…Something is Killing the Children changed my entire process of how I develop books. I’ve talked about this a little bit before.

The key image.

James: Yeah, it’s the key image. A book is nothing without the key image. Frankly, there’s a certain degree of story planning that I can’t do until the key image has happened. There’s always little pieces at the start of the development process where I am reaching in the wrong direction towards what I think the key image will be. In w0rldtr33, I was focused very much on the image of when people interact with the Undernet, and how they twist in form. You see a little bit of it in issue one. You’ll continue to see a lot more of it as it goes along.

I do think there’s a lot of iconic images that’ll come from that. Each time we see that, it’s going to be a little different. It’s not a static enough an image. It wasn’t until I had the concept for PH34R that that centralized. I remember, and this is what always ends up happening. I was at an airport bar, in-between two trips, and I just start writing a kind of like manic email on my phone on just like, “I think I have it.” Then we start throwing things back and forth. Being flexible in this process, and finding the visuals together, and understanding there has to be a little push and pull during that development cycle, is important.

Spectregraph is another great example, where I was pulling towards a different set of imagery than Christian was gravitating towards. The images that were in my mind, and Christian was like, “That’s not really what I like to draw.” I was stumped for a minute. But then I saw how Christian drew the first ghost on the page, and the way he showed the intestines of the ghosts, and now I know that that is going to be central image of that entire series. That’s going to shape how we approach every cover. I know how I want to lean in in every possible way because once the art part starts coming in, it all becomes clear in my mind.

Then I am able to throw stuff back at the artist. That’s the process that I love here. It is collaborative. At some point, I would like to challenge myself to write this way again because I haven’t in such a long time. I would love to just write an OGN where it’s fully written before the first page is drawn. I would like to do that just to prove to myself that I can, but at this point, I don’t really understand how to do that because without the exploratory process where we find that key image while I’m still writing the bulk of the story, I don’t know how to lean into how the art works.

I think if I did that, once I saw the art coming in, I would start making changes immediately where it’s just like, “You did this bit so well…this scene, I’m going to compress into nothing, and this scene I’m going to expand out.” I like being able to lean into the strengths of my collaborators. It’s purely selfish. I just want to see cool comic book art. I just want to see the coolest possible images come into my inbox, and so if I had a bad idea, I want to throw out the bad idea, and then I want to lean into the artist’s better idea.

It’s funny. There are different ways you can do it, but the way that you do it reminds me of the faux cartoonist idea that Kieron Gillen put on his, I don’t know, Tumblr or something a long time ago. It was the idea of how when him and Jamie (McKelvie) are working together, it feels like they’ve combined to form a single cartoonist.

While I think that you could do that, writing a graphic novel in one sitting and not have the artist in mind already, I think that’s part of the reason why your books work so well is because it is this collaborative thing that does achieve that faux cartoonist idea where it factors everyone’s thinking in. If you don’t do that, why are you making comics, to some degree?

James: I completely agree. I would love my stuff to be adapted into other media. I would love to take a hand in adapting my stuff into other media. But the comic book needs to be the comic book. The comic book needs to lean into what makes this medium amazing. If it’s not, then what’s the point?

I would rather make something singular and amazing, and then take the raw pieces of it, and then build it from scratch again to make, basically, the cousin of it in another medium. That’s almost the thing that’s more exciting to me, but that’s just because it’s an entirely different creative process. It’s all about making cool stuff.

One thing that’s interesting to me is the key image is something that’s a central part of your process. It’s a tried-and-true element of all your successful creator-owned books, it seems.

James: Yeah.

What if your collaborator didn’t see the value to that? Is there some level where it’s like, “These are things we have to have?” Or is it you always have to give them the space to create? It seems like that could be a delicate balance because it’s such an essential thing, but at the same time, everyone has different taste.

James: Yeah, but I think that fundamentally, if an artist is connecting with my work — and the feeling of a James Tynion book is fairly well-established at this point, even though I work across a variety of genres — I just think that we would get to that stumbling block early in the process. Unless it was through the lens of challenging myself and challenging ourselves creatively…I would love to, at some point, do something even more grounded than The Deviant. Something that has no genre elements, including crime. It’s just a human drama.

I would love to do a human drama comic that is just characters in settings and all that. But I still think I would find some kind of thing that gives it a reason to be a comic book. Whether it’s just something the main character wears or the look of a building or something like that. Otherwise, why are you telling this in a visual medium? Why not just write a play?

Bluntly, maybe I’ll write a play. There are other mediums.

Going back to the key image thing too, you already alluded to this, but the good thing is you have proof of concept. And if anyone’s going to understand it, it’s going to be a visual person who recognizes the value in imagery and making something as iconic as possible.

James: That’s the other thing. It’s not actually hard to convince an artist of, “Do you want to draw something that looks cool fairly often?” The worry is always that I’m going to connect to a thread in someone’s art that they don’t actually connect to, like it’s a direction that they don’t plan to go in. That was the worry I had reaching out to Martin, whose style was moving in a very different direction.

It was in a very Phil Noto direction. Very digital. That was the bulk of what his work had been at that moment, and then it was just like, “I want this scritchy, inky stuff, and I have no idea if you have any interest in drawing that way.” Thankfully, he did. If he didn’t, Martin probably wouldn’t be the artist of Department of Truth. I would have tried to find someone who wanted to do that, and the book would be radically different. There isn’t another Martin.

From The Nice House on the Lake #1, art by Álvaro Martínez Bueno and Jordie Bellaire

We talked about this before a bit, but what’s the key to getting the best work out of everyone, in your mind? It seems to me that there isn’t one thing you can do besides making your collaborator feel like their voice is being heard, and that they can embrace who they are as an artist and find solutions on the page that works right. Is that it basically?

James: It’s that, and then the other thing I realized is…to protect yourself emotionally while working on superhero comics, you kind of have to let go of some basic decision-making. You just have to realize that you don’t make the decision. You can throw in options, and then they are going to pick the option and then you have to roll with it. There’s creativity in all of that. In moving into creator-owned comics, you realize that every choice needs to be deliberate, and if it’s not deliberate, if it’s not for a reason, then you can let it go.

If I don’t have a reason that something should be the way it is that I can explain to my creative partner, and if they have a reason they want to do it differently, they win. Following that basic principle, I have not had a contentious relationship with any of my creator-owned partners. I’m sure I will at some point. Things happen. But to date, we’ve had very positive relationships because I don’t hold onto the things that don’t matter to me. If an artist has a radically different approach to a page, unless it totally steps on a beat, I’m interested to see where they go and I’m happy to pick up that thread and play with it.

Obviously, the main artist on the book isn’t the only one. There are letterers and there are colorists, but for those, you often have repeat players. You have Aditya Bidikar and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou for lettering, and Jordie Belaire does a lot of your books on the coloring side. Are those roles you decide on? Or do you talk with the artists you’re working with about those partners and their fit? Because it seems like you have these people you know that are aces, and you just want to have them around. How does that work?

James: With coloring, the final decision’s almost always with the artist. They know how their work’s going to look best. I love working with Jordie. I’ve worked with Jordie a tremendous amount. But the reason Jordie is the colorist on w0rldtr33 is because Fernando loved how Jordie colored Catwoman and Detective. Then when he was like, “I would like to work with Jordie.” I loved Jordie on Nice House. Why would I have any issue with that?

I have very strong opinions on coloring. The other colorist whose work I deeply love and I wish I could just clone him in a factory and put him on a million books is Miquel Muerto, who’s the main colorist on Something is Killing the Children and on (The Oddly Pedestrian Life of) Christopher Chaos. He’s the one who brought that kind of neon blood and the glowing eyes into the visual language of that book. That wasn’t a piece from me and Werther. That was Miquel’s touch, and it’s one of the core pieces of the book. The visual feel of that book is so coherent in this beautiful way. I think Miquel’s a genius.

I’ve been very lucky with colorists. I don’t like when stuff’s super rendered. There are styles of coloring that I just don’t really connect to, but the artists that I work with tend not to gravitate towards that type of coloring. A lot of my artists color themselves. Hixson’s coloring himself on The Deviant. Martin. Oeming’s coloring himself on Blue Book. There are fewer colors in that one.

It is one of those things where, obviously, that makes the process a bit easier. It’s working with just one person. Lettering I have lots of opinions about because I’ve worked with phenomenal letterers who do not get my style of writing because I write dense dialogue and that’s one of, I think, the hallmarks of my writing that I’m not going to pull away from anytime soon. It was one of those things that was very gratifying early on, the first time I worked with a letterer who got the work that I’m doing because suddenly, the same amount of dialogue on the page went from being an overwhelming mess to something that was a part of the art unit.

Aditya gets my work so tremendously well, and I give Aditya tremendous latitude to work with. Bluntly, I have worked with letterers whose work I adore on other writers, and then I’ve worked with them and there’s a slight disconnect there. It’s just like the dialogue is how I, as the comic book writer, interact most directly with the reader, so it is the thing I have the most opinions about.

A commonality between all this is, whether it’s the writing, the lettering side of it, the coloring, or the line art, the key is that everyone speaks the same language of storytelling. Because if you have the wrong letterer on there, it’s not going to feel right. There’s a visual consistency to the lettering that makes it always feel like one of your books. I think that that is super important because if you pick up Nice House, or you pick up Department of Truth…Actually, Aditya doesn’t letter Nice House.

James: But Deron Bennett at AndWorld Design does, who also does Something is Killing the Children.

There you go. You have this consistency, so if you read one, you have a feel for it.

The last thing I want to bring up is…I don’t want to make this like a writers versus artist thing. I don’t need to be responsible for a discourse, James. But I do think it’s interesting how there is often a disparity between how we talk about writers and how we talk about artists, whether it’s the penciler, or the inker, or the colorist, or the letterer, whomever. You get a ton of talk and acclaim, but your partners don’t always get that same love.

It seems to me, no matter what we’re talking about, you always bring them up. How important is it for you to highlight your collaborators and their immense contributions as much as possible? Because it seems like that is something you endeavor to do every time.

James: I fail constantly. I don’t want to toot my own horn. I could always do a lot better. This is the problem with working on like a million fucking books. I’m always worried that I’m giving someone the short shrift. It’s easy when I’m talking about all of my horror projects to group them all together, but then I might leave out Oeming on Blue Book, which is kind of like left of center, or Wynd with Michael Dialynas, who’s my longest-running collaborator. They’re all so phenomenally important to me and they’re all relationships that matter tremendously to me.

I am a blunt instrument. When it comes to trying to sell these books, I want to sell the most amount of books. I’m happy to lean into the fact that right now, my name has a certain cachet in the comics market to try to make one of my books sell like all my books. But I constantly want to point towards my collaborators because the books would be nothing without them. Also, everyone I’m working with right now I want to work with for many years, which stresses me out because I’m working on too many books. I definitely can’t work on this many books simultaneously forever. But I love working with these creators. I just absolutely do.

I understand in terms of…especially like Geek Media and all that. Coverage can fall into the plotty side of the work, which then leans towards the writers. And especially in superhero comics, the writers are more consistent than the artists because the punishing schedules of it. They don’t allow as many breaks, so there are more artists, there’s one writer. The rare exceptions of it are notable.

I think I am an okay writer, but I think I am very good at picking my collaborators, and I’m good at finding people who understand the language of storytelling that I want to speak in. I work towards making something really cool that people want to engage in. I think that’s my skillset. I want to get a lot better as a writer. I’m not anywhere close to where I want to be as a writer. I think I’m fine, but I think that’s where I have found my talent, and I think it comes from the fact that I simply love comic book art more than anything else in the world.

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