An Interview with Jordan Clark Part 1: Kane Maverick

0
Posted October 20, 2014 by Josh McCullough in Comic Books

Josh recently had the chance to chat with writer Jordan Clark about comics and his upcoming projects. In part one of our interview we talked about his current Kickstarter project Kane Maverick and Jordan gave some advice on how to get involved with writing comics. You can check out his Kickstarter page for Kane Maverick  here, which I guarantee you’ll want to do after reading the interview.

We The Nerdy: So what can you tell me about Kane Maverick?

Jordan Clark: Kane Maverick is a fun, even sort of retro comic. The character is based on a lot of the pulp characters from the 30’s and 40’s like Doc Savage and my favourite super-hero, Booster Gold. Kane Maverick is a man of action, science, and adventure, and protector of the 12th dimension. Along with his team (which includes a talking super-giraffe, a super spy, and a cowgirl), Kane explores different dimensions and fights against his arch nemesis, Dr. Whiro. But during one of their battles, Kane and the doctor get pulled into the 13th dimension, which just happens to be ours. Along with his new friend Ana Tom, Kane has to find his way home, while also stopping his foe from destroying ours. The only problem is, Kane comes from a non-linear dimension, so he’s used to non-stop action. It also means he’s not used to doing things like eating, or waiting around for things to happen. Needless to say this causes him a few problems.

WTN: The book seems to have a very meta quality to it, does this make the story more humorous and comedic or do you play it straight with an action focus?

JC: It’s actually a bit of both. I wanted to create a character and story that were as much parodies of pulp heroes as they were a love letter to them. I grew up watching Indiana Jones, Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, not to mention the 60’s Batman show, and I always loved how they managed to balance the campiness, with the drama. It probably would be just as easy to make fun of how silly they were, but I feel like it makes for a better story if you can laugh at these characters, but still respect them, and root for them. So there’s plenty of action (or sometimes just the desire for action) but the story and characters are very aware of themselves.

For example in the first issue, when Kane first meets Ana, he saves her from being mugged, but in a very violent, comic book sort of way. He breaks one guy’s arm, and knocks out another ones teeth. And while she’s grateful for him saving her, she’s also kind of freaked out because here’s this guy coming in and just beating the crap out of these people. I always think, if Batman saved you from being mugged, you’d be grateful of course, but you’d also be thinking “geez, he didn’t have to put that guy in a coma”.

WTN: What drew you to do this type of story?

JC: Pulp sci-fi action heroes were always my thing. Like I said Space Ghost, Birdman, Buckaroo Banzai I love all of those. I watched all of the Indiana Jones movies on repeat when I was a kid too. Something about these people going on these crazy adventures really sucked me in, and recently I think I figured out what it was. They were free! They didn’t really have any responsibility or things tying them down, it’s like they never had to grow up. They could just go on running around doing impossible things in impossible places forever. Who wouldn’t want that?

Kane Maverick

WTN: What sort of things influenced you when writing Kane Maverick?

JC: On top of being my sort of love letter to pulp heroes, I wanted to see what it would be like if they were put in our world. I’m a big fan of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, and one of the things I loved most is how Animal Man would try and solve problems without fighting anyone. There’s one issue where he and the JLA get into this fight with a super villain, and everyone starts attacking him, and Animal Man is like, wait, why don’t we just talk to him and see what he wants?

In our world fighting doesn’t usually make things better. If someone does something you don’t like or you think is wrong, you can’t just punch them and everything is okay. So I wanted to put this action hero in a position where he can’t just punch or blast his problems away. You can’t punch societal problems in the face or blast away your problems with your family and friends, so what would one of those pulp heroes do if they were faced with that?

WTN: How has Kickstarter helped you break into the comics scene?

JC: As a writer, your options are really limited. No one wants to read a script, and no one cares about your Batman pitch when there are a million established writers who have been waiting in line for years to get their shot. The only way to get noticed and get out there is to make the comic yourself, and hope that people want to read it. Kickstarter is a great way to make that happen for those who are financially challenged like, for example, me. Making comics is not cheap at all, between paying people for the art and lettering, printing up copies, marketing them and then shipping them out. So being able to raise the funds and sell the comic at the same time is a pretty great thing.

It’s also a great way to start up a community around your project, which in my opinion is the most important part of comics. The community that forms around these books and characters is phenomenal. If you go to a convention and see the people dressed up, having a great time, it’s really a special thing. Kickstarters might not always be successful, but they do give people a great chance to take something out of their head and put it into the world for people to see.

13 (1)

WTN: What are your ambitions beyond these books? Are there any particular characters you’d like to work on in the mainstream scene or any publisher you’d like to end up?

JC: Booster Gold, hands down. If I get to write this Booster Gold book that’s in my head and nothing else, I’ll die a happy man. I’m sure some people will read that and be like “wow, that guy has set the bar really low” haha, but he’s my Batman, believe it or not. Besides that I’d love to write a bunch of things for just about every publisher. I have an original X-Men book that I think would be pretty cool (although I’m sure some people would say we don’t need any more X books), I’d love to get my hands on Taskmaster too. The Flash, Constantine or Zatana at DC, Doctor Who or Star Trek at IDW, any of the pulp heroes at Dynamite, and I have some original books I think would be great at Dark Horse or Image. Really as long as I get to write comics for a living, I’d be the happiest guy around, whether I’m making them out of pocket, or getting to write Justice League…preferably Justice League International.

WTN: Any advice for aspiring young writers out there?

JC: Write every day! That’s the advice that everyone gives, and it’s good advice, but let me throw out some things you might not hear as much, and some are a bit harsher, but I think they’re good things to know or consider if you really want to do this for a living. For example, don’t expect to make any money, at least not for a while. I’m probably going to lose money on these projects, at best break even, but I’m doing it because pretty much all I think about are comics and telling these stories. So no money means you should probably get a steady job to help support yourself and your projects, even if it’s a job you hate. Which also means you need to make sure you love to do this, because it doesn’t get easier. It’s a lot of sitting alone in a room, or in my case with a cat, and staring at a screen. If the idea of doing that day in and day out doesn’t excite you, writing is probably not for you, which is perfectly fine. Lastly, be ready for the long haul. The people who make it, not just in this business, but really at anything in life, are the ones who don’t quit. J.K. Rowling got rejected, like 20 something times before she sold Harry Potter. Brian Michael Bendis spent years doing his own indie comics until he finally got his shot. It’s all about sticking with it.

On a more positive note, it’s never been easier to make, and break into comics. The most important part is to do it. Do a webcomic, do a kickstarter, do zines or mini-comics. Go to digital webbing, deviant art, comixtribe, and find an artist to hook up with and create something. And do it from the heart, no matter how crazy or unmarketable you think your idea is. No one knew they wanted people fighting in space with laser swords and mind powers until George Lucas gave it to them. Also essential reading is as follows: any book by Scott Mcloud, Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narritive, Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Brain Michael Bendis’ Words For Pictures, and any script by any writer you like at comicbookscriptarchive.com. Also keep an eye out for anthology submissions and contests for writers, which are a great way to get published and get your name out there.

 

That’s it for part 1, make sure to check back soon for part 2. In the meantime if you’d like to learn more about Kane Maverick you can learn more about it on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and once again you can back the book on Kickstarter.

 


About the Author

Josh McCullough

A writer at WTN Josh is a huge comic fan whose tastes edge towards the strange and surreal. If there’s one thing he loves more than comics then it’s Doctor who. Never try and argue with him that there’s a better doctor than Sylvester McCoy.
Any fedoras that would make good press hats should be sent to his PO Box.