What made you become part of the Oathbound team?
Having known about the project and having seen the beautiful promotional materials before I was approached, as well as already working with Paul on Astropunk, it was an easy decision to say ‘yes.’ I was only more impressed once I’d read the script and met the creative team. But, the main selling point was that Kevin, just like me, is a Faith No More fan. That guarantees he has good taste. 😛
What was your first experience with comic books?
I know I had seen and read comic books before this, but the first comic book/series I remember vividly is the Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. I remember getting the book from the pharmacy. Out of one of those old spinning racks they had for comic books way back then. (Yes, I know, I’m an old bastard. Shall we move on now? Yes. Good.) My life was never the same again. And, not coincidentally, Wolverine was (and still is) one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. Want to make something of it bub?
Can you tell the folks at home what an Editor does and why it’s so important to a comic?
Well, having not met another editor to actually talk shop, I can only tell you what I do, and how I edit. See, I’m self-taught. Just a guy leaning on his graphic design background, my 30+ years reading comics, and compulsive desire for perfection to create the best books I can. Though, I have been assured by others that I cover all –or, at least, most— of the things a traditional editor does.
So, here we go…
In the simplest terms, an editor does the dirty work. I guess that’s not really a good explanation, but its pretty spot on. The editor’s hands (or more accurately eyes) are on the book at every stage. The script, art, coloring, and lettering are all reviewed by the editor.
You see, everyone needs a second set of eyes (or more) from which to see their own work. Everyone has what I call ‘blind spots’ in their work. Spots of weakness they just can’t see. It’s the editor’s job to catch those issues and help the person recognize these spots. Then, help them find a solution for them.
A few things I look for: Are the character dialogs sharp and on-point? Does the pacing of the panel breakdown make sense with the script? Is there enough room in the panels for the text balloons? Not only that but is the layout designed in a way that allows the lettering to be laid out for easy reading? Is it heavy and plodding in the balloons or crisp and fast reading? Are the colors consistent throughout the scene? The book?
When art and lettering are finally put together, do they ‘complete’ one another or fight for dominance on the page? Are the fonts complimentary to the story being told? Etc. Etc.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I bet you are just chomping at the bit to be an editor now, eh? Well, it’s a lot of unglamorous work…but the satisfaction of guiding a project from rough concept to polished product is a wonder to behold. When you finally hold the finished book in your hand, you can smile knowing you helped make the best it could be.
What are some of your favorite comics? What comics (if any) do you currently read and what comics would you suggest to others?
Favorite comics (in no particular order): Uncanny X-Men (Claremont era and earlier), Almost anything by Alan Moore (of which I think Watchmen & Swamp Thing shine the best), Miller’s Sin City (True Story- I absolutely hated the series when I first saw it. This was, by the way, when it first came out. But, found myself gravitating back to it and eventually fell head over heels for it) and Kamandi (the King!) just to name a few classics.
As for new (modern) books, series I’m enamored with: Saga, Rat Queens, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, immediately come to mind.
What other (if any) comic book series/projects are you involved with and at what capacity?
Well, I’ve been a busy lil’ bee over the last few years. I began this editing journey with Escape From Jesus Island. I’m the book’s editor, production manager, and currently fill in letterer (as of issue #4). I’m the editor and letterer for the grindhouse series The Infernal Pact, letterer for aforementioned upcoming Astropunk book, and did all the interior design and layout work for the just released Cthulhu Williams: Monster Hunter.
Shawn is a Freelance Creative with a focus on world building, developmental/story editing, comic book editing and lettering. You can find out more about him and the services he offers here.