|DF INTERVIEW: MICHAEL AVON OEMING
Michael Avon Oeming is a comic book writer and artist well known for his art style which he uses for telling sophisticated and mature subject matter. He was born in Bordentown, New Jersey. He is a well known fan of ancient mythology, having written or drawn several projects centering on the Norse gods, as well as others. He frequently collaborates with long-time friend Bryan Glass, and with Brian Michael Bendis. He is part of the Bendis M.O.B. crew of comic book creator-friends (which stands for Mack, Oeming and Bendis. Mack is their friend David Mack.
Oeming has won the Eisner Award for "Best New Series" in 2001 for Powers. For our friends at Dynamite Entertainment, Oeming is the man behind the She-Devil with a Sword – Red Sonja!
DF: You do it all. From drawing a hit series like Powers to writing books like Red Sonja, Thor, and Ares. How do you find the time to do a little of everything in the comic book biz?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: I just try and use my time to the fullest. As long as I work hard from about 9am until 1 or 2 pm, drawing, then the rest of the day is free for writing - or drawing more. I can usually do a page to two pages in those few hours of drawing. I’m also very focused and driven, outside of the occasional movie or bar visit with a pal, I don’t go out much. That’s why I usually go crazy at conventions - I’m like a tiger let out of a cage!
DF: Do you remember the very first comic that you ever read?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: I think so. It was before I really started reading comics, it was just a random thing. The very first thing I didn’t read, it was a comic in a barber shop, I was real young, I remember looking through it. The first thing I actually read was some weird DC WW2 book like Unknown Soldier or something. Maybe it was like Ghost Tank or something.
DF: How did your fascination with mythology come about?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: Before comics, this is what interested me. Going to the library at school, I always checked this stuff out. It probably started from TV, watching Star Wars and Clash of the Titans as a kid, that sort of thing.
DF: When you’re taking time off from comics, what do you normally like to do? Any hobbies?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: I really don’t have much - but I do go snowboarding 5 or 6 times a season. I like that. I don’t do stunts, I just like to ride. Other than that, I really don’t do much.
DF: How’s the Powers movie coming along?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: They are still working on the scripts. Several versions are in and they still don’t quite have it. They should just let Bendis write it, he'd give them what they want while still maintaining what makes the idea work. Frank Oz is still on to direct.
DF: What is currently in your CD Player/MP3 player right now?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: What’s not? Seriously, I have about 15k songs on iTunes/iPod. I love it all. I’m a huge Zeppelin fan, I love White Stripes and System of a Down, but I also love cheesy 70's singer songwriter stuff. Recently I’ve been big into Celtic folk music like the Dubliners. The last things I’ve downloaded were some works by Neil Gaiman. One of the best things I found was a prayer for writing he wrote you can hear it here Prayer <http://www.neilgaiman.net/sound/01-a-writers-prayer.mp3>
DF: Tell us about Ares...
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: He's the old God of War, trying to change his ways. He's sick of who he is and wants to change. He moves to earth and raises a kid, but he's still got his old ways to contend with, such as being an old school chauvinist - he raises his kid by himself so that he wont have a woman making his boy weak. However, when the gods call on him and he refuses, they figure the only way to get the old War god back is by pissing him off, so they kidnap his son - All hell breaks lose with Ares trying to get his boy back while waging a war on the gods.
DF: How did you and your crew (M.O.B. – Mack, Oeming, Bendis) get together?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: We met early on when we were nobodies, well, Dave was kind of someone, as Kabuki did pretty well out of the gate, but Brian and I were losers. Brian and Dave were already pals, but we all hit it off together, and stayed in touch as each of us moved on in our careers supporting each other. Eventually, we all found ourselves in a good place and decided we should publicly associate our works with each other, hence the term M.O.B. It’s nothing official, its just a way to identify ourselves with each other and the public.
DF: We’ve been told that the best advice to give someone who is beginning a writing career in comics, is to write what you wanna write. What do you think of that advice and what's the best advice you would give someone?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: Yes and no. More specifically - just write. Keep a journal, that helps. Write short stories, little essays - and just as important- read. Read Fiction and Non-Fiction, newspapers and such. Keep up with the world, and get out in the world, experience it even if it’s just in the minutia of your small town day to day life. Listen to others, ask them about their life and listen. Listen, listen, listen.
DF: Last but not least, what was your most memorable experience at a con?
MICHAEL AVON OEMING: Oh, I couldn’t write about that publicly, so just use your imagination :)
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