Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jason Becker Interview - Creator/Writer Killing Pickman

Jason Becker is the writer and creator of Killling Pickman with Jon Rea as the artist. It is a six issue mini-series from Archaia Studios Press.

The official hype : William “Bloody Wulf” Zu is a New York homicide detective that has just made the arrest of his career. With the apprehension of Richard Pickman he has solved over one hundred missing child cases over a span of thirty years. The excavation of Pickman’s basement reveals horrors beyond imagination…the bodies of children mutilated in bizarre satanic rites.
But nine years of solving violent crimes and this latest and most awful discovery has pushed William Zu to the brink. Neither a promotion at work, a lucrative book deal, nor even the love of his wife and newborn son can break the grip of a dark depression that settles over his soul. Frustrated with his role of clean-up man to the detritus of the world, William makes what may be a fatal mistake: he decides to kill Pickman.
Fatal, for Richard Pickman is no ordinary psychopath. The rituals he performed were not the work of a madman but sacrifices made to a very real demon to prolong his life. Killing him is going to be a lot tougher than Zu ever thought possible…

I have read the first two issues and long delays between issues has caused me to abandon buying the monthly book. I absolutely love the premise as I enjoy really dark stories and Jason seems to enjoy finding those type of stories. I have told Jason that I will buy the hardcover collection and then really sit back and see what I think of Killing Pickman.

Jason was kind enough to subject himself to an interview with us.

Jim: Whenever I read about someone I’m curious as to the background of the writer or artist. With that as a preamble who is Jason Becker? How old are you? Is writing a full time job for you yet? What else beside Killing Pickman have you had published?

Jason: I'm 26 years old. Currently my only source of employment is Killing Pickman. I was just let go from a seven year gig at Sally's Beauty Supply warehouse. Killing Pickman isn't turning a profit at this junction so I find it hard to think of it as a job since I'm not getting paid. I published a self contained GN in 2005 called Hero Corps: The Rookie. There are still plenty of copies floating around. You can check it out at or or you can just buy it from

Jim: Killing Pickman is a very dark book. Based on another interview that you had you seem to enjoy the darkness. Why? Can you separate the darkness you need to write from your daily life?

Jason: Despite the more fantastic elements I feel like Killing Pickman is a reflection of the world we live in. The darkness in a book like Killing Pickman is how I deal with the darkness of the world we live in, its how I deal with daily life. Turn on the TV, read a newspaper or just walk down the street and you are slapped in the face with a world of horrific violence. I only wish we could blame it on some demon or supernatural force. That would make life a lot easier.

Jim: People who know me understand I have a pessimistic (I call realistic) view of what the world is coming too. How do you see tomorrow?

Jason: The world was always a pretty awful place. The only difference is now we hear about all the awful things that happen around the world. If anything the standard of what is consider "evil" has changed... at least in some countries. Slavery, child abuse, hate crimes, genocide... these things used to be accepted behavior. Now... not so much. If anything things are getting better. If only we could get people off their @$$#$ to do something about these things instead of shaking their heads and commenting on how awful it all is.

Jim: Onto the creative side. Where did Killing Pickman come from?
Jason: Killing Pickman comes from a teenager's obsession with Hong Kong cop movies and H.P. Lovecraft. It also comes from a place of trying to do something fresh with the serial killer thriller. Its not the most original comic but I'd like to think I'm crafting something that is at least consistently entertaining.

Jim: You said that you do not want to write a full script until you know the artist. That makes a lot of sense, but did you have the entire story outlined before you searched for an artist?

Jason: Killing Pickman is a story that has been evolving since early 2001. I've always had a basic outline. I've always known the beginning, middle and end but every page I see from Jon informs what comes next in the script... The characters themselves have also affected the original outline. As I script the series and develop Zhu, Pickman and especially Raimi the story evolves.

Jim: The premise is a perfect movie concept and with the right production values and actors could be a great film. Are you shopping this to “Hollywood”? If yes, where are you in the process?

Jason: We have an attachment deal with a fairly large production company. We haven't sold the film rights yet but the producers attached are going to show it to studios to see if anyone wants to spend the money to make a Killing Pickman movie a reality.

Jim: In another interview you said that Archaia saved you from giving up on the book. What was the process to get a publisher to say yes?

Jason: You put together a submissions package and send it to any publisher that accepts creator owned material and pray someone says yes. That's what we did. It took almost five years but Mark Smylie at Archaia saved the day.

Jim: If you had your preference would Killing Pickman be a six issue mini-series or released as a graphic novel from the start?

Jason: If I had my druthers I would go straight to Graphic Novel. Hardcovers and TPBs are not limited to comic book stores for distribution so that is where indie books make their money, anyway. That being said Killing Pickman is crafted as a mini-series with cliff hangers. It is paced to be read in six chapters. Jon and I are also new creators without name recognition so the single issues are vital to building word of mouth and basically advertising for the hardcover. The way comic books are distributed with retailers being forced to order books three months in advance sight unseen basically f**ks independent books with rookie creators. The orders suck and single issues don't make money so that means the guys doing Indie books have to work on them in their spare time. Hence the release schedule is inconsistent to say the least. I don't know what the problem is with Marvel and DC not being able to get things out on time but at the very least guys working in the Indie world have an excuse. If you draw eight hours a day five days a week and you can't get a monthly book out on time then you probably shouldn't be working in comic books at all.
(Jim - Agreed!)

Jim: What other projects do you have going on and in what stages?

Jason: I'm having a hard time finding artists to work with so I don't have anything in active development. Its hard to write a script without someone doing character designs, without someone to bounce ideas off of. You can always find someone to start a book but then you give them a script and nothing happens. Maybe when I get some money coming in and I can offer a page rate that will change.

Jim: Would you ever want to write for Marvel or DC? If yes what character(s) would you want a shot at?

Jason: If I can make money working on my own creations then I have no real burning desire to work on any mainstream Marvel or DC books. I would love to do a creator owned book through Vertigo I would jump at the chance. Of course I haven't been asked to work on any mainstream books so its hard to say for sure. Money talks and I'm unemployed. You can't stand by your artistic convictions when your living in your parents garage.

Jim: What conventions are you going to this year?

Jason: Megacon in Orlando, New York in April, Wizard World Philly and Baltimore.

Jim: Do you write full scripts outlining how to layout the book and all the elements in each panel or do you do a page by page outline or some other process?

Jason: I write a basic page and panel breakdown in a loose screenplay format but everything that isn't in a caption box or word balloon is the work of Jon Rea. Killing Pickman is just as much Jon Rea's creation as it is mine... maybe even more so.

Jim: Any closing comments?

Jason: I wish we could keep a better schedule but Jon is a graphic designer with a wife and two small children to support. Killing Pickman has to be a side project for him until it starts turning a profit and with everyone running out to buy all those Countdown tie-ins and Spider-man: One More Bland New Day I don't see that happening any time soon.

Thanks again Jason and I hope to see you at Balto-Con. Maybe the hard cover will be out by then and you can sign it for me. One thing Jason said that I want to emphasize that these guys can never quit their day job unless their books actually sell. I really encourage those of you on tighter budgets to please pass up Bland New Day on Countdown Arena or some other type of project from the big two and try something from the smaller press guys. In fact go out and buy Killing Pickman #1 and if you don’t like it, contact me and tell me why you didn’t like it and why you think Ultimates Volume 3 #1 was a better comic. I will put your arguments up as a post and ask the readers if I should refund your money. If they think your argument is valid I will mail a check for the cover price of Killing Pickman #1 to the first ten readers who participate.

See more on Killing Pickman here.

1 comment:

  1. Guess I'm out of luck. I already had Killing Pickman 1 and 2. And I'm not about to buy Ultimates of any incarnation.