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WAITING FOR TOMMY: ED BRUBAKER
By Richard Johnston

RICH: And how would your past selves react to Batman/Grifter/Authority writer Ed Brubaker?

ED: Probably with their hand out, looking for some cash. I remember worrying that people would think I was a sell-out, but all my friends just wanted my editor's phone numbers instead. I guess once you hit thirty being dirt poor loses its appeal.

RICH: There's the common belief that artists must be starving. Is there a danger that success can deaden your creative impulses? Stories that cease to come from your innate beliefs about how the world is and could be, and instead come from your annoyances about mortgage companies, airline food and golf courses?

ED: I don't think so. I think the things you hated in your formative years will always be the things you hate. Just like the music you liked in those years will always sound good.

RICH: F**k that. I used to like Dire Straits when I was twelve. I blame it on their marketing. Talking of which, how different have you found the marketing departments of, say DC, DC/Vertigo and DC/Wildstorm in promoting and presenting your work?

ED: Honestly, it's a bit dicey. They're all the same department, really. I'd say at Vertigo you get more marketing support for lower profile stuff then you do elsewhere, but at the same time, once you get to know who to talk to about this stuff, you can make stuff happen. I helped engineer my own ads for Gotham Central and Sleeper simply by talking to my buddy Matt Keller, who really digs both books and realized they hadn't been pushing them in-house enough.

But the blunt truth of it is that DC will never market anything any of us do to our complete satisfaction. I've never spoken to any other writer who felt his publisher pushed his work enough. Comic creators are just impossible to please, and we always see what they don't do instead of what they've done. I get a page in the Previews catalog and I wonder why I didn't get the cover. It's the nature of being one of a few hundred books published. All I care about is my books, I don't care if they promote Titans or Outsiders, even though they're done by two good friends of mine. I see that and I say, how come there's no double-page spot for Catwoman in the new catalog? That's just the way it is in this industry, and I'm just as bad as anyone else.

RICH: So how much of activist do *you* have to be? Do you think you'll ever be able to go back to just being an author?

ED: You always have to do a certain amount of promotion in any creative field. Look at film, they have all these press junkets that are exhausting. In comics we have to hustle our wares a bit more than I would like, but that's because there are more comics published in a month than there are movies that come out all year. I think if the number of comics stores doubled, we could all rest a little easier, maybe.

RICH: Is there an argument for publishers kick-starting these themselves? Bring back the days of the Tekno kiosks in shopping malls, or the Marvel Marts that were once threatened?

ED: Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. Bill Jemas could run them.

RICH: Ah yes. That may well be the job description for his new position. Talking of whom, did you pitch to Epic at all?

ED: Yeah, in the 80s. I did Dreadstar and Coyote for them. Don't you know who I am?

RICH: Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart's ghost writer? And you've kept it hidden so long!

Ed Brubaker writes SLEEPER for Wildstorm. Rich Johnston writes Lying In The Gutters.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

The Waiting For Tommy Archive

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