I first discovered Lou as a writer when I reviewed American Bison and since that review I have enjoyed Wicker and am really looking forward to Metamora’s Kickstarter. Lou is really fun guy with a passion for comics, be it reading or creating. I seriously enjoyed talking to Lou and I hope his true passion for comics comes through in this interview. I also hope that this gets people as pumped for Metamora as I am!
Ian: You’re a very busy guy, you have several books going on right now like American Bison and Wicker, could you give us a quick overview of all the books you have going currently?
Lou: That’s a fun question. To start off I’d like to say Steve Benton (American Bison creator), let me come in and help shape the Bison, in a world he beautifully established. A real gem- that fella. With that said after the upcoming release, “American Bison: Short Stories”, I’m going to focus on some other projects.
My current line-up consists of Metamora, Wicker, The Swan Song, Norse, The Last Of The Unliving, Hunt/Cook/Kill, and a few others. I’ve been truly blessed to be involved with such talent.
Ian: Without spoilers, can you tell how these books are connected?
Lou: Ahh! Well with Wicker, there’s room to tie into any Insane Comics brand that is willing, for example in Wicker: Storytellers the witch meets the American Bison! Which was loads of fun. As far as the others they are currently in their own universes, for now.
Ian: How do you plan on crossing these storylines?
Lou: You know, I’ve not put a great deal of thought into it. I’ve talked to several Insane Alum, and we’re racking our brains for suitable, believable, and enjoyable crossovers. As for my own stories there will be a surprise or two.
Ian: What is your writing process? Do you have any tricks to outlining your stories to keep the storylines in tact?
Lou: Well my writing process always starts with the notepad, or on my phone. I’ll type some words that interest me and from there I begin outlines. When it comes to drafting I try to keep it minimal, I know some would disagree but while refining your story it’s extremely easy to lose the raw element that provoked your soul to push it to begin with. I enjoy finding a flow and riding it until I clearly see the need for heavy revisions. My wife is hundreds times better at writing and really let’s me know if I’m taking a wrong turn, so to speak. So that helps as well. I don’t like to structure stories in acts. Life doesn’t always work in acts so why should the lives of characters in comics? I let them do what they need in their world, when they need to do it. That way the story you end with isn’t a generic fresh-press like some folks tend to end up with. I want each story, each character, each situation to come off as natural or as unnatural as they themselves would be in the real world.
Ian: Do you plan on doing other books that tie into Wicker and American Bison?
Lou: With Wicker I’ve plans to structure and restructure its world. Its expands through time in a seamless fashion. The offshoot Wicker: Storytellers has been a fun way to include not just new content, but new life as well. The artists in Storytellers #1 take it to a whole other level. Its a thing of wonder really. As far as American Bison goes, I may return at some point to do a story but Steve seems to have a pretty good strategy on where he wants to take J.B. and I’m excited to see it! He’s brought in some new talent to bring the beast to a new realm of epicness.
Ian: Wicker and American Bison are set in different times dating around the 1800’s or earlier, what made you want to write in that time frame?
Lou: Chance and circumstance. Steve was working on American Bison as I was finishing the second attempt of the first Wicker issue. So it just seemed like working in that period with him would be beneficial for both of us. I really enjoy that period of time and earlier, Calvinists and Puratins scare the Hell out of me. Best way to write horror is to work from what frightens you as the creator, your genuine fear will then, hopefully, translate to the reader. It’s also a simpler time, one which anything that goes against the norm scares the Hell out of folks. It’s a real treat to imagine how hard the lives of these folks would’ve been.
Ian: I feel like you’re heavily influenced by American history, is that true and can you tell us a little bit about some of the American history that most influences you?
Lou: American history has always intrigued me. Strangely enough history doesn’t repeat itself as they say. People just repeat the nature of humans, hence “human nature.” Or course there’s exceptions to the rule, some evolve, some regress; so my tending to a time is to show that to the best of my ability. As I stated Calvinists… They frighten me. The silence of the time frightens me. Those elements build a top one another until you have lore, folk tales, myths, and legends. Those are great— but the reality of those were probably far worse, and as a historical writer, or even historical horror writer I love having that raw terror to tap into to.
Ian: What are some other books you’re working on?
Lou: Metamora: Its a Sci-fi/Action/Horror/Theological/Space Opera. Its a wonderful thing. People will really enjoy it’s content I hope. We have a Kickstarter coming soon for it!
The Last Of The Unliving: Vampires vs Mutants vs Humans— Oh My! This is a piece I’ve cowrote with a good buddy Alex Giles. It’s a real treat!
The Swan Song: A retired superhero, dying and struggling to find his place in the world. With only so much time he has a lot left to do. No more retirement. Time for one more run…
Ian: Can you tell us a little bit about the artists you work with on your books?
Lou: Gosh. That’s a tough one, as I don’t wanna leave anyone out. So I’ll say this– Truthfully they are amazing artists all around. I’m a lucky guy. They’re all so unique, soulful, vastly talented, and wise beyond their collective years… I’ve yet to have a negative experience with any of my teams. All great fellas. We live in a time where there are no barriers aside the one’s we create ourselves, it’s made creation across the world possible in many new facets. I’m a lucky cat to be apart of it.
Ian: As a writer what sort of a process do you go through to find artists to work with you?
Lou: Well I’ve met some people whom shared a like mind for a story, which makes it super easy. I’m not that d-bag selling you exposure, I see guys offering royalties that never ever show. It gives writers a bad image ya know? It all depends on the artist. Some require pay upfront, some are willing to work with you via crowdfunding, and some just wanna crank out good materials. Comics are a beast of a different nature. Publishers want your comic, but want you (the creator) to carry the cost of the team, promos, and occasionally printing. At that point you may as well be self publishing. This has put an awkward standard of expectations in indie comics today, as the people who make up the team want to be paid like anyone else (as they should be) only they look to the creator for that funding (when in reality it should fall to the publisher). It makes for a “tight rope” type situation that stresses most everyone in the industry, I love my teams and have been blessed to have great guys building amazing worlds with me. With that said I’ve watched horrendous comic train wrecks, as well.
Ian: Have you ever had creative differences and if so how did you overcome them?
Lou: I’ve not had too many. Alas when they happen it depends on the property if it’s not mine, then it’s not my call. If it’s my ip (intellectual property), then I usually try to find middle ground.
Ian: As an indie creator can you share some of your favorite indie books, besides your own obviously?
Lou: I really like Salvagers, Barrens, The Odd Lot, Masks, Planet Zero, Faithless, Godlikes, and many more. This list would likely take up a lot of space…
Ian: Yes sir, I love Salvagers and Bob Salley, but that list could go on forever!
Ian: What mainstream books do you enjoy?
Lou: Ahh anything Mignola. Ales Kot is doing some pretty great stuff right now. Steve Orlando has been a great voice for the lgbt community in mainstream comics, which is great. David Walker keeps a keen eye on some extremely important issues as well.
Ian: Where can people find you?
Ian: Where can people find your books?
Lou: Obscure little comic shops in KY, IN, OH, and, TN.