With HeroesCon ’11 just around the corner we’re happy to continue to shine a spotlight on several of the creators who will be appearing. Today we’re featuring an interview with John Arcudi, a veteran writer who has worked on everything from Superman (in Wednesday Comics) and Doom Patrol, to Gen13 and the cult favorite Major Bummer. He’s also been a mainstay at Dark Horse Comics for years working on titles like The Mask, Aliens, Predator, RoboCop, and for the past several years as the co-writer of the popular Hellboy spinoffs B.P.R.D. and Witchfinder. Make sure to stop by and say hello to John and welcome him to his first ever HeroesCon appearance!
Seth Peagler (SP): John, we’ve been fortunate to have several of your Dark Horse cohorts appear at HeroesCon over the years, so it’s nice to have you be in Charlotte with us this year. Many of our attendees probably know you best from your work on B.P.R.D., but you’ve written everything from mainstream superhero titles to original graphic novels like A God Somewhere. I’m curious how your writing approach differs between superhero books and titles of other genres. Is there a difference at all, or do you structure your writing the same way regardless of the genre?
John Arcudi (JA): Thanks for having me, and I sure hope many attendees know me. We’ll see. As for my writingapproach, that’s an interesting question. I’m always trying to tell the best stories I can, but there’s no getting around that I look at different work in different lights. The way I write superheroes, for the most part, is pretty badly. Never really got the feel for them, hence the creation of Major Bummer, my and Doug Mahnke’s super-satire. It was more personal so I felt I could pour a lot more stuff into it. Same thing for A god Somewhere. In both cases, there’s no existing continuity to adhere to. They’re my characters and my stories, and I’m more confident that I actually know what I’m doing.
(SP): Particularly with writers I’m always curious about their educational background. Did you study English and screenwriting? Was comics writing something you naturally found yourself working toward?
(JA): English major, but was never working towards writing comics. Never. It was a kind of accident, actually, but as soon as I started it turned out I worked well in the medium, so it’s lucky I ended up doing this instead of being a mechanic.
(SP): OnB.P.R.D. you’re working with one of our industry’s giants Mike Mignola to develop and flesh out his universe, but you’re still able to bring your own ideas and elements to it. What’s the creative process like between you and Mignola? Are plots collaboratively developed with you handling the scripting duties?
(JA): B.P.R.D. is a strange animal. Mike and I do sometimes collaborate on plots, and sometimes we don’t. It just depends on what the mini-series is about — but as for the large, over-arcing plot — which is to say, where the series is heading, yes, we did and do collaborate on that. I’m also very fortunate that for being as big a name as Mike is, he still lets me do what I do, lets me run with an idea, and takes my ideas seriously. He seems to trust me, which is another reason the B.P.R.D. books work so well, or at least why I’m happy working on them, which one would hope translates to good reading.
(SP): Earlier this year longtime B.P.R.D. artist (and HeroesCon regular) Guy Davis announced he was departing the book. After working on this title for so long with Guy, I’d imagine the two of you and Mike had developed a kind of instinctive working relationship with each other. How have you and Mignola handled the transition over to new artist Tyler Crook? Are you finding elements in his style that are informing your storytelling or that might influence future storylines?
(JA): Sure, it’s been weird, and I do already miss Guy. He’s so talented, but he’s also a sweetheart, and you’re right; we all got into a groove with him. That said, Tyler is really an incredible artist. There’s going to be an adjustment period, obviously, but once we all get used to each other, Tyler’s going to do a great job. He’s already finished one issue and it’s beautiful. If he can handle all of our idiosyncrasies, then he’ll kick ass. And I expect that I will play to his strengths, so sure, my stories — or how I tell them — will turn out to be a little different.
(SP): Having been a mainstay at Dark Horse for years, I’m curious as to whether or not you’ll be bringing some of your popular characters like The Mask back in the new Dark Horse Presents title?
(JA): Right now we’re negotiating to get an old character back in DHP, but I can’t say much more about it than that.
(SP): I mentioned your original graphic novel A god Somewhere, are there any other creator owned books that you’re developing at the moment?
(JA): I’m working on a Graphic novel involving that self-same character that I can’t talk about (regrettably). I also have a large OGN I’m developing and am just looking for a publisher. It’ll be more along the lines of A god Somewhere. Got a lot of hopes for that one. Also, while it’s not a new book, Major Bummer is creator owned in every sense of the word and Dark Horse will be publishing the complete collection of that series in October of this year with some extras from both me and Doug Mahnke tossed in.
(SP): Thanks to John Arcudi for taking the time to talk with me. Make sure to stop by and welcome him to HeroesCon this summer. Stay tuned to the Heroes blog for HeroesCon news and guest spotlights, and remember, we still have tickets available, so pick them up while you can!