We caught up with writer Joe Glass this week, and asked some questions via written interview for his new book launching via Kickstarter, The Miracles. To give you an idea about the book if you’ve not already checked the Kickstarter, which can be found here, here is a brief introduction to the series, copied from the campaign page.
“The Miracles is a brand new, 120 page original graphic novel. It tells the story of high school senior Elliot Morgan: a massive comic fan with graduation and Major Voltage Adventures on his mind, when he’s astonished to discover he has superhuman abilities of his own.
When he almost immediately goes out and makes a public display of his new superheroic abilities, he’s amazed to be confronted by his favourite comic book characters staring him down in the real world. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, they reveal the truth about themselves – they’re his parents and they reveal that they are refugees from the world of his favourite comic book escaped to this world when he was just a baby.
What follows is revelation after revelation, after more and more of the family’s secrets come to light. Just how many secrets can one family be keeping?”
Joe graciously answered some questions we had regarding his creative process, his influences, and working through Kickstarter to bring his vision to life.
What are some of your key influences for The Miracles? Are there any you think might surprise some folks?
In terms of comics, there’s things like Invincible (which was a big influence), Fantastic Four and also a bit of Justice Society in there. But the book is also influenced by TV shows too, most predominantly The OC and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If you’re wondering what comics it’s like, well those I’ve mentioned, but also the excellent Getting It Together and the mystery books like Meet the Skrulls and Morning Glories.
The one major influence that I think will surprise many is the book is heavily influenced by Alan Moore et al’s run on Miracleman.
What are some of the greatest challenges to overcome in doing indie superheroes beyond the big two?
Oh, easy. That absolutely NO publisher will consider them. Honestly, I’ve approached publishers where as soon as the word ‘superhero’ left my lips they shut me down and shut me out. Indie publishers seem to be terrified of doing superheroes because they think they’d have to compete with Marvel and DC, but it’s ridiculous. If you go in planning to sell as many as them, then sure, you probably won’t. But what you will be doing is the kind of superhero stories that Marvel and DC are either too scared to do or simply can’t due to the constraints of corporate intellectual property management.
There do seem to be signs that this is starting to change. Image certainly seem to be more open to superheroes than they used to be. But generally, if you want to make superhero books that are independent or creator-owned, be prepared to go the self-publishing route. And that is itself not without its own difficulties and challenges.
Do you have an artist in mind when you come up with a new idea for a book? Or do you pitch an idea specific to your collaborators?
Sometimes you do. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to have the artist up for just doing something with you, and you come up with something together from the ground up. But sometimes you just have to write the story, and the artist comes in later. For The Miracles, several artists were attached at one time or another, and each time the project evolved to fit in with them and the things they like to do and do best. Ultimately, it all became truly ready when Vince came aboard, and the final elements all clicked in place. In fact, it was in working with him that I realised we could probably go with a more young adult, book market style and a self-contained graphic novel, as opposed to breaking the story unevenly into issues.
But yeah, I’d say you have to be flexible with it, but even if you don’t have an artist in mind or someone already working on it with you, still write it FOR an artist. Make it as easy as possible for whoever you’re working with. There’s loads of hints and tips out there on how to do that, and as long as you are doing that as you write, you’re all good.
Are there any lessons you learned from doing The Pride on kickstarter that inform how you’re tackling The Miracles?
Honestly, not especially. Mainly because it seems like every campaign is completely different and what works for one won’t work for others. For example, when I ran the initial The Pride hardcover campaign, Facebook Pages were still actually useful and didn’t require you spending heaps of cash just to get in touch with your followers. So each time you run a campaign, it feels like it’s your first one.
Do you think of yourself as being primarily a superhero writer? While some skew to fantasy, science fiction, and many to crime, what do you find yourself most gravitated towards?
Oh yes, I’m definitely a superhero writer. It’s the genre and character type I’m most drawn too, always has been. I of course have other stories in other genres; obviously, last year I published Glitter Vipers and I’m working on a romance with an exciting creator too. But superheroes will always be my biggest obsession.
Are there any interests of yours outside of superheroes that readers can expect to see reflected in The Miracles?
Well, as I say, my love of dramas, in particular family/teen dramas is definitely in there. Anyone who’s watched The OC, The Outs, Eastsiders, Dawson’s Creek and so many more will probably feel something of that in The Miracles too.
How much of the marketing and advertisement do you take into consideration before launching a project like The Miracles?
Well, not much, sadly. I wish I could do more. But I come from a working class background, and still work a retail job, so I don’t really have a personal budget to put into a great deal of advertising. That certainly helps, I imagine, when running a Kickstarter campaign. But I don’t really want to add it into the goal (and push the goal amount even higher and risk it not working out and being left on the line). I would recommend for anyone thinking of doing Kickstarter, if they have the means, to include a marketing budget though to be sure.
Are there any final thoughts on The Miracles you’d like for readers to know?
I suppose just that the story is something deeply close to me, which is why I’ve worked so hard on bringing it together over the last ten years. It’s different from me, it’s my most metatextual book to date, and it’s very personal. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it a lot.
We are all looking forward to Joe’s new project, and we hope you are too. So once more you can check out the Kickstarter right here, and consider backing the campaign as it winds down to its last days. We want to see this comic be made into reality! You can also support Joe by pre-ordering The Pride omnibus at your local comic shop with Diamond code: FEB210312. FOC is March 8th!