We’re still talking blogging! Chad has part six, this is part seven!
DB: I used to make the Casey/Kelly mistake off and on when I was getting back into comics. It doesn’t help that they’re both involved with man of Action, they’ve both had runs on Superman, and have done several books that I’m extremely fond of. Also they’re both named Joe, and I mean, people barely pay enough attention to know how to spell Frank Quitely, it seems like
And you’re right– Wildcats 3.0 was the eye-opener for me. I want to say that I was pretty high off The Invisibles and these new and amazing comics that actually meant things, maybe partway through the series, and a friend pointed me at 3.0. I dove into it blind, only familiar with the original WildC.A.T.s, and loved it. Dustin Nguyen’s art was a huge surprise to me, expressive and action-packed, and he’s been a favorite ever since. Casey hit the “Comics for grown-ups” spot in a way that very few people had, and 3.0 has been a personal favorite ever since. It’s flawed, sometimes hilariously so, but one of those books that I enjoy basically cover to cover.
I worked my way backwards from there, reading his runs on Wildcats and Mr. Majestic midway through 3.0. I never made it as far back as his ’90s Marvel work. I’m not sure why, but it never seemed like something I needed to do. His Wildstorm work seemed like all I need to know, you know? Excepting Automatic Kafka, I mean. I never got into that one.
I followed Casey from there, hopping back over to Marvel after The Intimates went out in a blaze of… something. I read a few of his Roy Thomas/Geoff Johns books over there- Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, First Family, a few others- and found them ranging from pretty cool to being kinda boring. I was into Godland for a while, too, but fell behind in trades. I’ve heard that it’s wrapping soon, so I’ll grab it in bulk then and tear through.
Casey struck me as a differently kind of accessible Grant Morrison. Not more accessible, exactly, but a different kind of accessible. They both can play around with psychedelic and traditional superhero frameworks in their work, but they approach it from different, though complementary, angles. I think I like him best when he’s in his Wildcats 3.0 mode, which is reflected in his Youngblood, The Intimates, and Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance. Playing with public relations, the idea of what makes a hero, youth culture, all of that really tickles my fancy. I recently reread Casey’s run on Uncanny X-Men, and I can see why the editors picked him to write alongside Morrison. I wish it had worked out better than it did, but there are kernels of great ideas there, and once Casey hits his stride, he’s off the book.
It’s similar to your point about his work on the human level of things. People working out how to be heroes, or trying to be heroes in the face of everything around them fighting against them, is endlessly fascinating to me. Even old Luke Cage comics scratch that itch for me.
Where do you see yourself going with GraphiContent and your other work? I know you wear several hats as far as writing online goes- are all the gigs a stepping stone on your way to a dream job or are you already there?
CN: I’m definitely not there, but I seem to be on my way. Go back to before October 2008 and all I was doing was GraphiContent, so in the year and a bit since then, I’ve managed to get a pretty sweet gig doing reviews for CBR, got invited to join Comics Should be Good, and earned a spot co-writing a wrestling column at 411mania.com (which has led to other writing for that site). Now, only one of those gigs actually pays (and not nearly enough to live on — enough to buy comics, though, which is pretty damn great), so I’m not where I want to be, which is a full-time writer, but things are progressing. I’ve never thought of GraphiContent as a means to that, oddly enough. I’ve always approach the blog as a place where I’d post my thoughts on comics because I want to write about comics. I’ve never used a hit counter, because attracting an audience was never a goal. Writing on there was for me first and if anyone else liked it, well that’s good, too.
Beyond the blog, I also write fiction and have a Master’s in English with a specialisation in creative writing, so I’ve been pursuing fiction writing, too. For my Master’s, I wrote a novel as my thesis and have been sending it out. I have a short story coming out in an anthology of Canadian writers under 30 this spring that I actually just got the proofs for, which was an odd experience in a good way. I will admit that my fiction writing has been overtaken by the online stuff this past year, which I’m hoping to change.
I know you recently got a new gig writing for Comic Alliance, so is your goal to make a living off of this as well? Do you just do non-fiction criticism stuff or do you dabble in fiction as well?
Chad has part 08!