Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aaron Nelson Writer and Co-Creator of Marlow

The reason this interview is a little shorter is I was hoping to get this to be part of the post for the review of Marlow, but the timing did not work out. I really enjoy during these interviews with creators, especially people who are new to me and sometimes new to be on the creator side of the coin.

Jim: Who is Aaron Nelson and how did you get into writing comics?
Aaron: I got into writing comics shortly after I finished my Master's at Chicago. I've always loved comics, and felt that the medium was perfect for telling the kind of stories I wanted to tell.

Jim: Why Marlow? Beyond this issue, do you have any future plans for Marlow and his crew?
Aaron: I wanted to tell a story about a guy who is struggling with his zombie-side and his human-side; and to show that the life he's leading, while seeming to preserve his humanity, is actually the life of a zombie. I also wanted to show him realizing all of this, and then choosing to succumb to his zombie-side in order to be truly human. The reason why I wanted to tell the story of Marlow, is because I've personally felt like The War on Terror and The Bush Doctrine have had an overwhelming impact on our imaginations and world-view. In fact, I even wrote an essay for the book "Jack Bauer for President: Terrorism and Politics in 24" called "Simulating Terror", which looked at how 24 constructs and projects a reality based on the ticking time-bomb scenario in order to defend moral exceptionalism and the use of torture, etc. That's who I wanted Marlow to be -- this guy who's a living ticking time-bomb, ready to go off at any moment and turn him into a zombie. That's how he can personally be all right with doing all of these unethical things like murdering human experiments and other nasty things for the corporation he works for--because it's what keeps him "human". It's only at the end of the story where he realizes his condition has nothing to do with his actions; and that the only way to be human is to suffer his condition.

We are currently working on the next Marlow story. Unlike the first story, it's going to be a bit more pulpy and a bit less philosophical. With that said, it will expand Marlow's story while (hopefully) entertaining the readers, and (hopefully) making them think.
Jim: What is your process for producing this book? Did you write a full script with detail panel descriptions or some other method? How did you and the artist work together?
Aaron: The process was fairly lengthy. When I was thinking about the storyline, I decided to re-read Thucydide's "Peloponnesian Wars", Virgil's "Aeneid" and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" in order to find some inspiration as to how to tell the story. Ultimately, I felt like "Heart of Darkness" was most "in-line" with the concerns I wanted to address, and his use of the frame-narrative and first-person storytelling was pretty appealing, as well. I thought it would work well in a comic book. After the storyline was established, I wrote a full script, and then collaborated with the artist on any panel or layout changes. I felt that Mathew and I worked extremely well together, especially on elaborating the story visually.

Jim: Do you have any other new projects on the horizon and/or are you pitching ideas to companies?
Aaron: I do. I have a couple of creator-owned projects that are nearing the submissions phase, and can't wait to get them out. One of them is a sci-fi comedy in the vein of Phil Foglio and Robert Asprin; the other is a mythological story that has been my baby for quite some time.

Jim: Would you want to work for DC or Marvel? If yes what would be your dream project.
Aaron: Although my immediate goals are focused around creator-owned projects, perhaps in the long-run, were I to be lucky enought to work for DC or Marvel, I'd certainly do it. From a dream project standpoint, I'd love to tell my story about Bruce Wayne.

Jim: What would be your dream project as a creator owned book?
Aaron: I'm actually working on it right now. I've read a lot of Ancient Greek and Roman epics, tragedies, comedies, histories, and dialogues, and my dream project takes that and incorporates it into a modern story.
Aaron, thank you for your time and we will keep watching the credit box to see your name.

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