On this edition of 7 Questions, we have a writer who has worked on a diverse range of books and with diverse range of artists. It is 7 Questions With… Aaron Fever.
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
First printed work I ever did was ARTOS #3 with Jason Browne and Phil Roe at Buttonpress Publications. It came out in November 2015.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Oh man, so much! It would be another year before I had a second comic printed and basically that gap in between may as well have been a lifetime because I had so much to learn. My background in writing stories was with stage and film. So while I had to learn the basics of comic writing such as format (I wrote that ARTOS #3 script like a film script) what I really hadn’t wrapped my head around yet was how panel numbers can effect pacing, how important a lettering draft is, how to describe your scenes clearly enough for your artist to understand you, etc. If I had to choose one lesson though it would be to let go of my control. Giving in to the collaboration process was the best thing in comics that I don’t think I was expecting going in. When you’re used to directing your work like I was, there is a level of perfectionism and stubbornness that you get comfortable with. It’s been wonderful breaking out of that mindset and being excited to see what your artist, colourist, and letterer bring to the project.
What’s your process for writing a comic book?
Plan, plan, plan, leave a little wiggle room, plan. The first things I tend to work out are the start of the story and the ending. Once I am satisfied with those two parts, then I figure out as many details as I can to make the journey from one to the other satisfying. This is where I can really find themes and morals to put into the story. I don’t like a script to be about the plot, it has to be about something else and the plot is just the bread you serve the cheese on, so to speak. Then I pace it out. If its a multi issue arc I summarise each issue so I can have the plot beats, reveals etc set-up and I know that there is going to be a satisfying story in each issue but making sure it serves the over-all arc. Then I work out page-by-page, writing a sentence/paragraph for each one, again just making sure that I have the space and time to tell the story without skipping over bits or spending too long on scenes. It’s only after these steps do I actually start writing the script which means I always spend more time planning the script than actually writing it.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
Life! Honestly, especially looking back on the comics that I’ve written, real life events influence my work the most. SHIP WRECKED is low-key basically my life through a very strange lens. FROZEN WASTE was written because my therapist at the time advised me to write about my relationship’s break-up. SWIFT is inspired by my own disconnect with my Dad and how he doesn’t really understand/connect with my creative side. Life is what influences me by far the most when it comes to my writing. I find it difficult to put my finger on any other creators who inspire my work. I think most of the time any influence they have is often subconscious anyway. Professionally, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire have taught me a million lessons, too many to list. I’ve been impressed by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s SOUTHERN BASTARDS because of its ability to slow down story telling pacing is something I aspire to be better at. Robert Kirkman’s ability to tell stories long term with THE WALKING DEAD and INVINCIBLE is also inspiring. Kieron Gillen and Warren Ellis are always worth listening to when it comes to writing theory. 100 BULLETS by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso is still my holy grail. So yeah, I don’t think they really influence how I write my comics but they’re definitely people I’m jealous of. Brian K Vaughan is my own personal jesus.
What are you working on right now?
Just last week I finished the script for Volume 3 of SHIP WRECKED. I’m excited to see my first page back from Katie Fleming. I have 3 pitches for publishers that I’m finishing up. That’s my big focus at the moment. Lets get another Irish writer in the Diamond shipping list, eh?
What do you have out now or coming out next?
As I mentioned above, SHIP WRECKED Vol 3 will start posting early next year. The final part of the Winter King story will come out next year too, it’s been a long road but I’m jazzed about ARTOS #6 wrapping that story up. In the mean-time, you can buy SWIFT and FROZEN WASTE from The Big Bang in Dundrum or via my online shop http://aaronfever.bigcartel.com/
What is your favourite Irish comic?
Before I ever met Stephen Mooney I gave a glowing review to HALF PAST DANGER (http://www.aaronfever.com/2013/10/comics-catch-up-half-past-danger.html) and so it’s a particular kind of mind-blowing that I’m now responsible (or to blame, I’m sure, depending on who you ask) for the subtitle of HPD2: DEAD TO REICHS. Stephen asked for suggestions of tag-lines from a gang of us over drinks one night and my suggestion of Dead To Reichs seemed to get enough of an “oh god, that’s awful/brilliant” reaction. So I’m gonna plug that here. Yes, that’s right. You asked me about other people’s comics and I somehow managed to make it about myself. I’m also currently reading THE GIRL AND THE GLIM by India Swift and Michael Doig right now and I think it’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen come out of Ireland. Watch them, folks. They have the ability to skyrocket.