Jesse Grillo Gets Comic Booked!
I recently had the opportunity to interview Jesse Grillo, the writer behind Bleeding Ink Comics, and the creator of the comic book Patriot.
What got you into writing comic books, and as a storyteller, what attracts you to the medium?
First of all, thank you so much for interviewing me. It’s an honor.
I want to give an example of some great comic I picked up that inspired me to write comic books but that isn’t the case. I just love writing and I love attacking my writing from every different angle. About 3 years ago I decided to give comic book writing a try and I fell in love with it. I still write in other mediums but comic book writing has to be my favorite.
I’m really all over the place but edgy writers have always pulled me in. Palahniuk, Danielewski, Moore, Edward Bunker, Capote, Lovecraft. I do read a great deal of comics but I also finish off about a book a week.
When you create a comic book series like Patriot, do you write the entire story arc before contacting an artist? Or do you just write the first issue and work on the subsequent issues while the artist illustrates the first issue?
For a 4 issue miniseries I write a full layout. I then show that to people as I’m writing the script to spark interest. I write the script for the first issue then hire my art team. Then while they are working on that I write the other 3 issues.
Patriot is the best story I’ve ever written. If you read the scripts you would think so too. I wrote all 4 scripts in about a month while I was working on other projects. It is a story that I can’t even believe came out of me and I can’t wait till it’s completed.
What is your process like for finding an artist to work with on your projects?
I’ve had some terrible experiences with artists in the past. Now I go off mostly referral. I try to give opportunities to up and coming artists but that is sometimes hard to do. A lot of them lack the focus and drive that sometimes takes years to develope.
Have you conceived Patriot as a finite story arc, or do you think there is potential for the story to continue as an ongoing series?
I don’t want to give anything away but a lot of people die in Patriot. It has a really great twist ending that I’m not sure would allow the story to spread to other comics.
There’s been something of a rise in the number of big name writers who are choosing to work on their creator owned projects. Image Comics recently announced a slew of series from superstar creators at their Image Expo, and there was even a “creator owned day” on March 1st. What are your thoughts on creator owned comics versus working for a company like Marvel or DC?
You’re asking the wrong guy. I’m just some dirt bag that lives in a studio apartment, drives a crappy car, and spends all his money making comics. I’ve never worked for the majors. I would of course love to, I’ll do just about any writing job and if I got paid for it that would also be great.
I think it’s great that the majors are distributing more creator owned work. I love that the artists are able to create their own vision and I hope the fans support them as much as possible.
Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get their own ideas into production?
If you really believe in your work, invest in it. Everyone has great ideas. It’s the amount of work you put into them that make it reality. Get feedback on your work. Hire an editor (mine costs a dollar a page so don’t tell me your can’t afford one.) Get good artists to develope your vision. You want to get a city college kid to draw your comic you’re just wasting your time. There are way too many good comics out there and you need to make yours stand out. Kill your TV, don’t buy video games and work a little harder. Use that money to develope your dream. If you’re not willing to sacrifice to make your dream a reality why should people sacrifice their time to read your comic?
Is there anything else you’re working on that you want to let our readers know about?
I have over 12 un-produced comic book scripts that are good to go. I’m just trying to build a following for my current comics, hopefully find some funding to develope other scripts and keep the momentum going.
I’m also writing my first book right now and I’m really enjoying it. Every day I work on poetry as well so I always have stuff going on.
Thank you to everyone for their support. It’s overwhelming and heart touching.