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FOR TOMMY: CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: Let's go with something a bit more topical. Shi is moving to Dark Horse, it's just been announced. I understand you have some... unfinished business with Shi creator and owner Bill Tucci. Can you elaborate on that?

CHRISTOPHER: Don't get me wrong. I love Billy. He's a great guy. He just also happens to be a great guy who never paid me and Tom Sniegoski for the final issue of the SHI monthly series, which we wrote. We were very supportive of Billy and of Crusade during the period in which the comics industry started to take a lot of hits. We voluntarily dropped our page rate to help out on the bottom line of that series. WE suggested it. I know he had some difficulties, including a deal with Marvel that turned out badly, but every time I've seen him in the years since, I get a promise that we'll be paid soon. And it never happens. He always seems surprised to learn that we haven't been paid, like the shoe-making elves are going to come in the middle of the night and write checks to cover his debts. For his birthday one year I gave him an antique machete inscribed with a Spanish saying that, translated, means "It is better to die with honor than to live without it." My sister had given me that as a gift a number of years before. It meant a lot to me, but I gave it to him because he was a friend and I had the impression, from SHI and from having worked with the guy, that honor was the most important thing in his life. Or one of them, anyway. At this point, I'd have to say it seems I was wrong about that.

RICHARD: (Readers! Look for an update on this situation in an upcoming Lying In The Gutters). Tell me a secret about your oft-writing partner Tom Sniegoski that no one else knows, or indeed, should know?

CHRISTOPHER: Oh, I only wish I had something juicy for you. How bout this? Boxers. Heh. He comes off like the crankiest man in comics, but he's actually a total softie. A sentimental guy at heart. With a bizarre sense of humor and an amazing instinct for story pacing. STUPID STUPID RAT-TAILS, the BONE prequel that he wrote for Jeff Smith, is one of the most TOM things he's ever written. I guess one thing most people in comics don't know is that he's made a VERY successful transition from comics writer to novelist. The third book in his teen series THE FALLEN was just published by Pocket Books, and he's got some serious film and tv interest, from parties I can't name but that would be very exciting to see working on that. He's shopping other novels right now, for teens and adults, and he and I are working on two different series together, a fantasy series called THE ENAGERIE for Ace, and a young adult fantasy series called OUTCAST for Aladdin.

RICHARD: A number of comic book companies have stressed the need to entice writers from other media into their wacky world. With the success the likes of JMS and Kevin Smith have had, and the - let's say, less prominent success, Ron Zimmerman has had, what lessons can be learnt?

CHRISTOPHER: That celebrity helps sell comics? I really think that's the lesson. The important thing is, how many people can you get to pick up the first issue, because if you get a couple hundred thousand to pick up #1, and only half of them stick around, that's still better than having fifty thousand people pick up #1, and not losing a single reader. Sales wise, at least. Fans from other mediums, and an awareness of a writer's name, can bring more people to a comic book. But it's the fact that Kevin and JMS are damn fine writers that keeps people coming back. If they sucked, it wouldn't matter where they came from. JMS, I have to say, is doing a wonderful job on Amazing Spider-Man. That said, for me as a reader, Bendis and Geoff Johns have kept the fire burning on my interest in comics the last couple of years. Without them, and Mark Millar, I'd probably be left reading only Strangers in Paradise, Bone, Hellboy and The Goon. I mean, I read other comics too, but I'd probably have lost interest in superheroes completely if not for Geoff and Bendis.

RICHARD: And the final question that everyone's been asking everyone... did you pitch anything to Epic?

CHRISTOPHER: Well, first I had thought about something original, but when I got the contract you had to sign off on, I realized that the entire "creator-owned" thing was bullsh*t. You couldn't have called what they were doing creator-owned, at least not from the documents I saw. So Sniegoski and I started to pitch Guardians of the Galaxy. We have this really nasty, revisionist take on it that we both love. I should just send you the pitch so you can read it. They liked it quite a bit, but they wanted us to write the entire first issue on spec, with the knowledge that we might have to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite before it got approved, IF EVER. We had a VERY detailed outline, and loads of examples of our other work.

I just didn't have time to do that kind of work on spec, if they couldn't guarantee they'd make a decision based upon that script. My first responsibility is to the people who are actually paying me, right?

RICHARD: What a novel thought.... and you can all read the Guardians Of The Galaxy Epic pitch by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski ... right here!

Guardians of the Galazy is TM and copyright Marvel. Probably.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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