TOMMY: CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
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?
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.
(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
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.
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?
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
And the final question that everyone's been asking everyone...
did you pitch anything to Epic?
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.
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?
What a novel thought.... and you can all read the Guardians
Of The Galaxy Epic pitch by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski
... right here!
of the Galazy is TM and copyright Marvel. Probably.
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