Corinna Bechko – The Expanse! Invisible Republic! Zoology?

Today Melissa is joined my writer and zoologist Corinna Bechko! This one is a lot of fun! Comics and zoo’s!

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Corinna Bechko Interview

[00:00:00] Melissa: this is spoiler country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show. I’m thrilled to welcome pros and comic book writer of star Wars, like a invisible Republic. He then town and many more. Ms. Karina Bacco. Welcome to the

Corinna Bechko: show. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks

Melissa: for being here. How are you doing this evening?

Corinna Bechko: Pretty good. I really can’t complain.

Melissa: Awesome. Awesome. Well you know, you’ve, you’ve worked on some really cool projects and franchises in various different genres, but I read that you, you started out writing in the horror genre and I was just curious, you know, what what about that genre did you love and you know, why were you drawn to it so

Corinna Bechko: much?

You know, it’s interesting. I feel like a horror can. Encompass a lot of other things that you can play in areas that have a lot of emotion and you can touch on things that in other genres are kind of off limits. You can [00:01:00] have romance and a thriller, and any of those things work with horror, but you can also really get at some of the stuff that I like from Saifai as well, which is interpersonal relationships and politics, and kind of personified those sorts of fears that we all have.

But make them concrete in a way that, I mean, I personally think that horror can sometimes be a very, almost a utopian genre because a lot of times people confront a horrible fear and the worst thing that could possibly happen and sometimes they don’t make it and sometimes they do make it, but either way they actually fought it.

And I think that’s a very hopeful The way to express things.

Melissa: Yeah. That’s no, that’s a really interesting way to look at it. And I bet. Do you feel like you have more story arc or I should say character arc with the characters in horror, like as far as stretching them and, you know, pushing their limits.

Corinna Bechko: You know, I think that often you really can do that and. Also, I feel like there’s a lot more room in [00:02:00] whore for this might sound counterintuitive, but often for a female characters and non-binary characters and characters that you can’t as easily she weren’t in, or that maybe people don’t Except as easily in genres and you can have them in horror and have them be fully realized.

And for whatever reason, because of the deep emotion, I think people really connect with with them when other genres they might be like, Hey, wait a minute.

Melissa: Yeah, exactly. Well, and he even found was that was your debut comic? Correct? Yeah. And so what was, so is that, how did you get into comics? You know, what was your ears like foray into it?

How did you break into it? Did you always want to be a comic book writer? Yeah,

Corinna Bechko: I’ve been actually really, really lucky. I have kind of dual tracks in my life. I have a science background, but I also writing and sometimes they intermingle and sometimes they don’t, but with even town, I’d written a lot of pros, shorts that had been [00:03:00] published that horror usually occasionally Saifai and my writing partner, Gabriel Hardeman is a very good.

Artists amazing artists. And we used to, well before the, in the, before times

we were published and making a lot of comics. We would go to San Diego. Years and years ago before it was San Diego. And at one point we just were there and we’re like, you know, we should combine what we do and make a comic. And that was he, the town I grew up in Florida. So it’s a very personal story because it’s set in the Everglades and I just really wanted to write something with that feel of old Florida.

And he did all the artwork and we shopped it around it. Expect anything to happen, but image shadow line picked it up. So I was very lucky because that’s unusual for your first time out and it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have [00:04:00] amazing artists on.

Melissa: Yeah. That’s awesome. And so after that, how, what was like your first major comic book company?

I know you’ve worked on a lot of different things in green lantern and star Wars. Was it? It was DC soon after.

Corinna Bechko: Well, actually not long after that I was offered a short for marble and then I actually did a couple of. Once upon a time that the television series graphic novels with, for Marvel Disney that were all at that point, it was with Marvel through Disney and it was working with the creators of the show.

So those were actually Really fun. And both of them are New York times bestsellers, which was because of me, it was because, you know, people love that show, but it was really funny in that that world. And from there I started getting some other stuff like, yeah. Did some work with dynamite. I actually got to do a alien Vampirella it was a lot of fun.

That’s so cool. [00:05:00] Did some boom and yeah, a lot of Spotify after that.

Melissa: Very cool. And then you know, I, I always like to ask because, you know, we don’t, we obviously get more men on the show than women. And I like to showcase more, you know, women in the industry and being a woman in a male dominated industry, you know, how has that experience been like for you.

Corinna Bechko: You know, it’s interesting because of course, I don’t know any, anything different, but it is very sometimes I go along and I don’t think about it at all. And other times I realized that most of what I’m offered is often writing women, which. Yeah, that makes sense in a certain way. And that was one reason.

It was kind of nice to co-write green lantern though, because it was a straight up superhero adventure. Very the main character was a man. And that was, I realized while working on that, how unusual that was, because I believe at the time we were working on the first volume, I was the [00:06:00] only woman at that time.

Working on a male superhero at DC comics. Oh, wow. And somebody brought that up in an interview. I didn’t realize it. Like I didn’t do that research myself. And they asked me about that and I went, what? Yeah,

Melissa: that’s, that’s shocking.

Corinna Bechko: So it’s it’s interesting, you know, every once in a while I’m just kind of brought up short or there was a time at a con where I was sitting under a banner with my name on it.

And it was when I was. Working on star, the star Wars, legacy books. And someone started arguing with me that I couldn’t be Corina Beko because we in a Beko wrote star Wars, a star Wars book, and everybody knows that women don’t write those. Oh, it’s on my name tag. It’s on my table. You are standing at my table.

So occasionally things like that come up where it’s still, you see the dichotomy, but the rest of the time when I’m just at home working on something, I don’t think about it at all.

Melissa: So yeah. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s interesting. [00:07:00] And I guess, you know, it’s good though, because the more you, you get out there and the more work you get, you know, it just paves the way for more women and it makes it more acceptable and people aren’t just, you know, reacting like that, like that person did, you know, for the star Wars thing, you know,

Corinna Bechko: To be fair.

That was that was years ago. And currently I just did a short, a little short thing for DC and I realized stride turned in the final edits that, Oh I believe everybody, except the colorist on the team, he was a woman. There was a woman. The artist was a woman. I wish I could say her name, but it hasn’t, I don’t believe it’s been announced.

Yeah. So I’ll keep that under wraps for now, but she’s amazing. Absolutely amazing. And it was just such a pleasure to realize, wow. What a difference a few years makes like even five years ago, I don’t think I would have ended up on a team

Melissa: like that. Yeah. No, that’s incredible. That’s awesome. Yeah, you have, you have people like, you know, just Tina Ireland and Delilah [00:08:00] you know, writing star Wars too now.

And so I love when I see these female names being attached to these iconic, you know, films and comic books.

Corinna Bechko: Absolutely. And yeah, I feel like my kind of, I don’t know, cohort, a lot of people that I used to see at cons There are a lot more women in sort of my, I, I we’re lucky, like we haven’t had to fight as hard for them.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Now, when you’re writing in an established, you know, a universe, how much research do you tend to do? Do you go back and read previous issues?

Corinna Bechko: Yes, absolutely. I really try to get in there and approach it from a meta view of getting the feeling of it. Correct. Like going into the star Wars universe when we were working on legacy.

We talked a lot about what made star Wars so special. I mean, it’s not special because it’s science fiction, right? There’s a ton of science fiction. But if you say the star Wars feeling, you know what [00:09:00] that is, as opposed to a, I don’t know, star Trek feeling star Trek, and it’s, it’s a very different it, you, you know the feeling, but it’s.

You have to capture it. So we talked a lot about what was intrinsic to that feeling. And in star Wars, I feel like a big, a big part of that is the bonds and the family feeling between friends. So we really leaned into that, like friends that believe that yes, we will succeed by holding each other up and making each other better.

It’s like, okay, that has a lot to do with star Wars. And it’s a little different in, in different properties. So usually going into something like, well, like like the expanse or something, I try to really get at what the feeling is within that even under the outside trappings. Okay. I hope that makes sense to answer that.

Melissa: Yeah. You’re trying to capture the [00:10:00] tone. And the, and the feeling because it to keep it consistent essentially too. So that way, when a fan picks that up, they’re not like, Oh, this is a different writer. You know what I mean? They can kind of just get back into the story.

Corinna Bechko: Exactly. Cause I feel like the most important thing about these franchises and the way people Interact with them is how they make them feel.

And you want to feel a certain way. You watch a certain thing, you know, you feel like a bad-ass you might want to watch fury road, or you might want to watch something different a different day, but it’s because of how it makes you feel. I think so. Yeah. Try to honor that when I’m working on a franchise.

Melissa: Oh, that’s, that’s awesome. Yeah. It’s like the whole install Jah of everything. Yes,

Corinna Bechko: exactly. Yeah.

Melissa: Well, invisible Republic has a very chilling premise. I did read the first issue online. Really interesting, really cool art. What inspired the story?

Corinna Bechko: You know it’s funny. It actually comes out of [00:11:00] old folk song that was very political folk song about Arthur it’s called Arthur McBride, you know, like, so, okay.

Somebody on it, each trying to be recruited into an army and they’re basically like, hell no, I’m not going to go fight for you. For what reason? And we talked a lot about this particular folk song and how that was so universal, because even though it was written about one particular space and time and a particular war, anybody can tap in.

Well, again, anybody can tap into that feeling, especially if something is going on in your own. Time that’s an, a people and it feels like a I don’t know, an insurrection or approach to this. You can tap into that feeling and just the story kind of grew out of the conversations we had about that and what that would mean.

And in the. In the song, it goes me and my cousin went Arthur McBride and we thought, well, what if [00:12:00] the cousin is female? And then everything grew out of that. And I thought a lot of how women are actually often written out of history. That, that part of that story, how his cousin, the female cousin, that was so important to that story became sort of disappeared and what that means for how people remember history.

And those were the things we wanted to explore.

Melissa: Interesting. Yeah. And how many issues that’s that

Corinna Bechko: there are actually three volumes had a plan for it to go to six. It is very difficult to keep a. Creator owned project going on a regular schedule because you can stop and. Make money hit some

Melissa: kind of do other things.

Yeah.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah. And it it’s, it’s actually been very successful and we have you know, we’ve ended up selling it in other markets and other languages and talk to [00:13:00] other forms of media about it, but it just takes a long time for your initial investment to pay off. So. We also didn’t want to start another issue without being able to finish it.

So we wanted to make sure that another actually a whole volume would be done before we announced anything about it. So.

Melissa: Okay. Have you done Kickstarter with it?

Corinna Bechko: No, we’ve always, I’ve actually never for all the Kickstarters that I have, where they are Legion that I have. I have never tried one myself.

I’ve always been a little leery because I’m so I’ve, I’ve been burned myself with customers. I would hate to burn

Melissa: anyone, right? Yeah. Like not have it ready in time or something. Yeah.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, definitely. And, you know, life happens and fulfillment problems and. I just I I’m a little leery, but that is a possibility.

Yeah.

Melissa: That’s understanding definitely like understandable for sure, because it is a lot of work and commitment. And like you said, when you’re doing it yourself [00:14:00] too, with, with Nino printing, it literally printing everything yourself. It gets a little hectic. And then if you’re getting called to do things that are paying you more and you have to pay the bills,

Corinna Bechko: you got to pay the shipper you got to pick, and this year has just been.

So chaotic. Oh God. Yeah. Just, well, yeah, everything I don’t need to. Yeah.

Melissa: It’s I I’ve, I’ve heard mixed things from, you know, different artists, but has the, the last year of the pandemic affected your creativity in a good way or a negative way. You know, it’s

Corinna Bechko: been very up and down. I found it’s very, it’s been extremely distracting the last year.

I mean, my day I’m home from my day job right now because I’m in LA and we’re pretty locked down. So I’m working at home day job. So I don’t have a commute. So you think I’d have all this extra time? Yet, I think it gets eaten by doom scrolling. So

Melissa: yeah. Yes, definitely. It’s so hard to turn off, [00:15:00] you know, the social media and the news.

I finally started stopped watching CNN just because it was giving me anxiety.

Corinna Bechko: Right, right. It’s been very, I’ll get on a roll and I’ll be like, okay, I’m going to get all this work done. And I’ll. It’ll last for a little bit. And then some huge thing in the world will blow up and I’ll just be like, ah, well, there goes that week

Melissa: hard to get back into like that creative space.

You know, last week with everything that happened in the Capitol, I was literally in the middle of writing a book and I literally for 48 hours, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do anything, but watch the news. It

Corinna Bechko: was horrible. Yeah, exactly. It was as in a work meeting when that initially happened and about every five minutes, somebody on the zoom call would break in and, and say, I’m sorry, but I need to give this update.

It’s important. And it was just, eventually we all just went, forget it. I’ve called

Melissa: her. Yeah. It’s just part ways. Go open some wine and

Corinna Bechko: exactly, exactly. To settle in for the day.

Melissa: Yeah. [00:16:00] Well you know, as a writer I I’ve never written with someone else. So I’m curious. I know you’ve, you’ve, co-written especially invisible Republic.

You co-wrote that, how, what is that process like to to write with someone else?

Corinna Bechko: You know, it’s interesting. I’ve written with a couple of different people. I’ve mostly co-written with, with Gabriel Hardman. I’ve also, co-written a nonfiction book about dinosaurs with Brenda Scott Royce, and And a couple other things with people, but usually how I approach it is sort of egalitarian, like throw around a whole lot of ideas, whittle them down, make notes, somebody will go around and try to hammer those notes into something that.

Almost looks like it could be a list of ideas and then talk about how those become a clot and then kind of separately talk about the feeling. Cause that’s always really important. Like what feeling and what tone will this convey and also about the characters, but to me, [00:17:00] the characters and the plot, or kind of the same thing in the.

The characters react in, however, they’re going to react because of who they are, and that kind of produces the plot. So it’s hard for me to talk about those things separately. Interesting. So, yeah, it’s, it’s a it’s I think that just must be how my mind works. I know other people do it different ways, but then like when we’re working on invisible Republic, say or Greenland turn, I’m just.

Talk it through talk through the beats of the story. And of course it’s different working with somebody. Who’s also an artist because they’re going to have a lot of ideas about the visual. Like I’m I understand how that stuff works, but I am primarily a wordsmith. I’m not a visual artist. So I usually back off, and even when I’m writing scripts for somebody else, I try to leave them.

The space to interpret [00:18:00] and tell the story is they’re going to tell it because that’s really important. So I try to leave enough space in whatever I’m doing. If I’m co-writing with somebody, who’s an artist for them to put in their visual ideas

Melissa: too. Yeah. Yeah. So do you go like back and forth with panels then, and sort of like, here’s what I’ve written and you know, now you can add to it or you can, you know, here’s the inspiration for the art.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, definitely. I mean, with, with invisible Republic, especially it was we go back and forth a lot of the action he would be in charge of because he’s, you know, he works on big movies too. So action is his thing. And the diary entries that are that are Maya’s most of that is we talk about what would go in them, but the actual wording on that is mostly me.

So it’s sort of like. Who has the better feel for which character, but then whoever thought that something really didn’t belong, that would be out [00:19:00] like we have veto power over anything. And a lot of It was two weeks ago decide, okay, you research this, you researched that, come back with the ideas. So it was really very collaborative in that way.

It wasn’t like I will write page one and you write page two or you write issue. Two was a lot more collaborative than that. That’s cool.

Melissa: That’s really cool. And eat it. You brought up another comic book that you did aliens Vampirella, which I just thought was so cute. Like it’s just very campy, which I love campy and it’s awesome.

It’s such a mashup of characters and genres whose concepts it’s like, whose idea is that a concept? And like, how did you prepare to, to write in that.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, that’s funny. That actually was an idea that came from from the editor and yeah. And he was just like, Hey, I we got this thing approved. Do you want to take a shot at it?

And I was like, well, hell yeah. Cause actually I adore alien. [00:20:00] Like that is one of my favorite movies. Yes, aliens as well. So the chance to put that together, I immediately thought, Oh my gosh, Vampirella vampy can live through a chest burster. And then I was like, Oh, Okay. Yes. So that made me really want to to write it.

So, but then of course, because it’s me and I tend to write really melancholy horror, because instead of like slash Erie horror, There ended up with a very, very melancholy vampires on Mars situation there that I’ve always been kind of like, gosh, I wish I could go back and write the whole story of the very sad vampires on.

Melissa: I love that actually makes me want to read it even more. I love that dark sort of, you know, loathing self-loathing vampire that’s like woe is me.

Corinna Bechko: I just couldn’t resist, you know? Yeah.

[00:21:00] Melissa: Well, and it makes you also wonder, like where else you can put vampires, you know what I mean? They kind of just fit into everything.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah. I was just sort of like at first I was, when he first told me the concept, I was sort of like, yeah, Okay. And then the more I thought about it, I was like, yes, I can go anywhere. So,

Melissa: yeah. That’s so awesome. Yeah, I’m definitely, that’s on my list now to read. I

Corinna Bechko: had so much fun writing that I have to tell you that was just such a blast.

Melissa: Yeah, I can just imagine like the stuff you could get away with, you know, and just the different just there’s no limits to creativity with something like that.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah. You get your Saifai and your horror, you get sort of a haunted house, which I love the haunted spaceship thing. Yeah. I love it.

Melissa: I definitely want to talk about your newest project too.

Of course. Which you mentioned the expanse, which is based on the television so that I have still not finished. I’m like in early, [00:22:00] early episodes of the first season. Cause everyone was like, you have to watch this show. It’s this hidden cult gem, you know, essentially.

Corinna Bechko: Yes, absolutely.

Melissa: Yeah. So were you familiar with this show before you started writing?

Oh,

Corinna Bechko: yeah. Actually I really was because it’s a funny thing. All the time it comes people that really liked the support Republic would come up to us and go, you’ve got to watch the show. I know it doesn’t people don’t talk about it, but you would love the expanse. And we were just like, huh, interesting.

And they’re like, it’s not like invisible Republic and yet it is. And then when I finally watched it, I was like, Oh, I see. Because it’s so full of. Politics and just the sorry, I have to take a drink of water. Okay. We’re having some Santa Ana winds here and it always upsets my allergies a little

Melissa: bit, so, Oh yeah.

I’m in, I’m central California as the, we get that here too. It’s

Corinna Bechko: horrible. You know exactly what I’m talking about. All that, that [00:23:00] dust. So, yeah. So yeah, so I finally watched it and I was just, I was blown away. I just, how. Intercut, this, this world was they’d set up.

Melissa: So that’s awesome. And so what the comics are based on what part of this show, if at all, or they continuation?

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, it’s actually it was a really interesting challenge because they’re just now airing the fifth season. So the comic was supposed to be a bridge between the fourth and fifth season. And. It’s really interesting because they wanted specific characters and what they were doing between the seasons.

And I think a lot of shows this would maybe be difficult, but on the expanse, the characters are so realized and you really believe they have lives that continue after. Like after they’re not on screens, I thought it was a really interesting

Melissa: challenge. Cool. And are you going to do more for the show, do you think after these, I know this is just a four, a four [00:24:00] issue.

Mini-series but do you have any plans to do anything further down the road with them?

Corinna Bechko: Gosh, not that I, that I know of, but if they offered, I would be thrilled because I love working in there, their universe there, it was, I love the characters and I got to write my two favorite characters for the show, which was fantastic.

They, the team they put together for the art and colors, all hundred are gone. And it was just, it was amazing to work with

Melissa: everybody. Awesome. And that is, is that out now that. Yeah,

Corinna Bechko: actually the second the second issue is coming out on, Oh my gosh. On inauguration day. So I know no one will pay much attention to it right then, but maybe the day after people like to pick it up.

Melissa: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s so cool. Oh, so January 20th. Yeah. Yeah, of course.

Corinna Bechko: Yup. Yup. And the first issue was that in December.

Melissa: Okay. Awesome. So then can get the first issue now and then by the second issue [00:25:00] and put it next to your bed, you know, essentially then when you’re done watching the news, you can have something to escape

Corinna Bechko: to, right?

Exactly. Yeah. It’s the timing. I’m just like, wow. If anybody notices that any books I’m working on are out right now. Thank you.

Melissa: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s funny last year I. Was putting one of my books together and I was going to release it and I picked the day and everything, and I thought it was a great day.

And then I just dawned on me. I was like, this is election day. No, one’s going to buy my book. They’re going to be at the polls.

Corinna Bechko: Right, exactly. It’s so, and you know, it’s not like, Hey, pay attention to me. You bet. Yeah, but I feel like eventually when you get around to it, we all worked really hard on this book, so

Melissa: yeah, absolutely.

Yeah. And that’s, well, that’s a great thing about books too, is that, you know, they don’t expire.

Corinna Bechko: Exactly. Exactly.

Melissa: Another thing I wanted to ask you about it was just, I thought it was really cool that you worked on his court of the dead.

Corinna Bechko: Oh, yes. That was an amazing experience. Oh, that was so

Melissa: much fun. [00:26:00] I had not heard of it.

And so I looked it up because I do like that genre and I like tabletop games and things like that. So, and it is a tabletop game. Right. Cause I was trying to figure out, is this just a book or is it a companionship for a game?

Corinna Bechko: It was funny when we were working on it, it was a concept. And it was just the, the Y worked on it with, I should mention, I worked at co-wrote it with Landry Walker, who was, I love him.

He’s so great. He’s just has the greatest ideas and he’s just such a generous collaborator. That I just can’t say enough good things about him. So by all of his books, but yeah. Yeah. When we were first working on it, it was just a concept and sideshow, collectibles, you know, they do all of those amazing statues of other things, and this was their IP.

So they were like, well, we, we, we have these concepts, but we want to build a whole world around it. And then it became games and, and other things. So. [00:27:00] And comic and this beautiful book, but the book was basically laying out the world of this, these characters in this concept. So what we got to do is really dig in and just work with the creators and.

Make this kind of come to life with all of these amazing artists

Melissa: sounds like such a fun project to work on. It just creating a whole new world from scratch, essentially. I mean, with you know, with the guidelines I’m sure, but still, I mean, it must’ve just been so much fun for you to like kind of unleash your creativity.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, it was, it was fantastic. We would go actually we’d have these day long. And sometimes multi-day long just con fabs at the sideshow offices, which are amazing because they have these well, if you’ve ever seen the like at San Diego or one of the other giant cons, sometimes they have a. Set up and they have these huge life-size like they have a life-size of whoever like Oh, they had a giant like alien and they, I have just things sitting in their [00:28:00] hallways that are so cool in my house, giant dinosaurs and just all sorts of things.

So going to their offices was so much fun. And I’m lucky that they’re here in Southern California and we would just have these Epic. Just periods where they would show art and say, okay, well, this is what we think that this character will look like, and here’s how she’ll be dressed. And here’s what she carries.

And. Here’s our ideas for unless flush this out. And it was just so much fun to be able to, like you said, just kind of let yourself go from there and go, okay, this is probably her backstory and what she said.

Melissa: Well, yeah, now the art was beautiful too. I mean, just the. The book. And I was reading some of the reviews on online and like literally every review is just in awe of the quality of the book, you know, and just the story and then the artwork as well.

Yeah. I

Corinna Bechko: pick up that book and I can’t even believe that, like I see my name on it and I go really, because it’s just such [00:29:00] a beautiful coffee table book. Like I’m so lucky that I got to work on that.

Melissa: Yeah, no, exactly. It was like, okay. Another thing I’m adding to my list that I need to get.

Corinna Bechko: So I, I majored just thank you as to the folks at sideshow for hiring me for that project.

Because often I feel like just going back to what we were talking about originally often women don’t get hired for things where a lot of the characters are male and especially in the horror. Genre, and this is very dark and it features death. And, you know, I got to write all of these warriors who were these big, tough men and also a lot of tough women.

And it was just great that they didn’t at all be like, okay, Landry, you work on the dudes and gray on the gals. And it was totally that Andrea and I both worked on everybody. So that was, I thought just such a. Experience that I don’t often get to have. So

[00:30:00] Melissa: that’s really cool to hear actually makes me want to support them more, you know, and support their books more.

Yeah. Yeah.

Corinna Bechko: I was, I was actually, cause I didn’t know what to expect going into this, but it was a really positive experience.

Melissa: That’s awesome. Well, hopefully, maybe you could. Do something with them again in the future. I

Corinna Bechko: actually recently wrapped in another project with them, but it hasn’t been announced yet.

Melissa: Okay. All right. Well, we’ll, we’ll keep it on the hush hush for now. You’ll have to come back and talk about it then.

Corinna Bechko: Do you really like to work with them though? So yeah, so anytime they want me back, I’m more than happy.

Melissa: That’s awesome. Now you were nominated for a Hugo. Yes. Yes. Awesome. What was the nomination for?

I know it was like Was that

Corinna Bechko: invisible Republic. Oh, awesome. That was a huge thing for me and something I never thought would happen. And it was funny though, because it seems like people either know what a Hugo is or isn’t. And I called my mom. I was like, I was, I was, [00:31:00] you know, our book was nominated for and she was like, that’s great.

Melissa: Yeah. A lot of people are that are not. You know, in the world or the industry, like, yeah. They don’t know what it is, but whenever I’m trying to explain it to someone like so-and-so want to Hugo, I always say it’s like the Oscars for, you know, comics or books or video games or,

Corinna Bechko: yeah, I was, that was boy was, I was, that was a huge surprise.

I had no idea that was going to happen. That’s

Melissa: so awesome. Yeah. I bet that also helped. Put your name out there more, you know, just to be able to, to attract more attention to your work. Well,

Corinna Bechko: definitely. Yeah, that was a big boost. That was, that was very helpful.

Melissa: Awesome. And you also rate pros, which you mentioned too.

Do you, do you plan on ever writing like a prose novel, full length, novel, or, and publishing it.

Corinna Bechko: Gosh, I sure hope so. I have two actually that are, Ooh, just a [00:32:00] hair below being finished. And I just need to get the wherewithal to. To get them out there. It’s so hard to let go of, of pros. I find because when, when I’m hired to write something, there’s a deadline and you have to let it go, right?

Yes. But I do have two different ones, a historical horror novel, and the other one’s a more contemporary. Kind of melancholy, scifi horror thing. So yeah, some someday I hope so. I sure enjoy writing them. I just need to learn to let them go into the world.

Melissa: I know the fearing. Yeah. It’s the want to kind of work on them and work on him.

So, you know, I have to finally push myself away and say like, I can’t edit this book anymore. Like, it’s done. Like you have to set it out there into the world, set it free.

Corinna Bechko: So admire people that actually finished their novels. Like even, even folks that are like, well, I did it and I [00:33:00] knew it didn’t do anything with it.

Like, Oh my gosh, you’ve finished it. Like that is a huge accomplishment and to actually write them and put them out there and allow them to be in the world is such a huge accomplishment. Who

Melissa: knows. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. It’s, it’s a lot of work and it’s super challenging, but it’s also very rewarding too.

Yeah. Once you, once you do it, you’re like, yes, I did it now. I can do it again. You know, it’s always the first, one’s always the hardest.

Corinna Bechko: Well, yeah, it’s I’m sure that’s, I’m sure that’s true. I just got to let that thing go. I just got it. Yeah,

Melissa: definitely. You said, have you had anyone like beta read for you?

Like get other eyes on it at all?

Corinna Bechko: Just my little writing group. I have a very intimate circle of some friends and it’s a little bit of a cheat because mostly we all are great admirers of each other. So we pretty much say. Yay. You’re awesome. And I know that the [00:34:00] other two in my group are super awesome and I am not lying when I say their work is completely wonderful and they need to immediately publish.

But when they say it to me, I’m like, yeah. But you’re my friend. So I really let somebody who I know doesn’t like me read it and see what they have to say or something

Melissa: it’s like, you’re your own worst critic. Right? Like,

Corinna Bechko: exactly, exactly. So

Melissa: interesting. Like for you, I think just based on what I’ve read and seen your work so far, I think you’d be like great for the DC icons theories.

Corinna Bechko: Oh, I would not say no. Yeah.

Melissa: Let’s put that out into the universe for you.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, I appreciate that.

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’d be really cool. And I think they’re mostly except for one, I think they’re all been written by, by female authors.

Corinna Bechko: I think you’re right.

Melissa: Actually. Yeah. I think one was, [00:35:00] I think it was Spider-Man maybe, or no, I’m not psychiatrist and Superman.

Yeah,

Corinna Bechko: without having a list in front of me, but I think he might be right. Yeah. Gosh, it has changed so much over the last, like, I just think it’s amazing how much change has come to the industry in the last, just several years. Yeah.

Melissa: Yeah. It’s, it’s really nice. You know, you notice that when you go to cons, like you were saying, and, and just in, you know, the, the interviews now, and it’s like there’s female editors and artists and writers, and it’s just awesome that, you know, there’s.

Not just getting a seat at the table, but actually like streamlining series and headlining them, you know?

Corinna Bechko: Exactly, exactly. And I’ve been so encouraged that often when I’ve been teamed up with somebody lately, it’s not just like, Oh, it’s another white lady. Like me, it’ll be somebody of color or you know, somebody that in the past, like even when I started in comics, Like, gosh, how many black women were there hardly any, and obviously it’s not because they didn’t want to be [00:36:00] there.

Melissa: Right? Exactly. Yeah. And it just, and you know, like LGBTQ and trans that’s starting to the doors are opening more for that as well, which, you know, we never saw at all, even just three years ago, four years ago, Exactly.

Corinna Bechko: And now I can name off, I don’t know, three or four people that I know personally that fill that bill.

So that is fantastic to see. So I’m, I’m so encouraged

Melissa: by that, right. That’s awesome. Me too. Yeah, it makes well, it, it, it’s nice because, you know, I, I was Raised, you know, in the eighties and nineties, not to age myself.

Corinna Bechko: I understand exactly where you’re coming

Melissa: from. Know, we weren’t really encouraged as, you know, little girls too, to read comics or play video games or anything like that.

So I didn’t really start reading them until I was in my twenties. And And now, you know, I’m, I love them. And I can’t imagine not ever reading them before, but it’s nice that we now have that kind of society set up to where [00:37:00] girls that are growing up, it’s accessible for them to read it, you know, it’s encouraged.

Corinna Bechko: Absolutely. And I’m really pleased that there’s so much you know, the weight, they outsell the other stuff, the graphic novels that are for young adults. And so much of that readership are young women. And and you know, teens and tweens and depending on the books, of course I don’t, unless maybe I just couldn’t find them.

Although I was an avid reader of pretty much everything been available, I would have read them, but yeah, as a kid, that there was nothing like that.

Melissa: So really was that, I mean, I remember just like, there was the typical superheroes, you know, the Batman Spiderman you know, when a wonder woman was around too, but.

You know, you just, you didn’t really know about it. I mean, you just, weren’t really encouraged and you’d see the cartoons and things like that. But but as far as reading the comic books, you know, that’s not what my parents were, were getting for me. No. And

Corinna Bechko: I think the closest thing to that, it was actually the first comics I really followed were loving rockets [00:38:00] when I was a teenager, a friend got some of those, like I think she bought them in a record shop or something, you know, Like a liberal record shop where you would wipe vinyl, like some off, you know, like weird stuff is in this shops.

And I was like, Oh, well, is that what comics can be? Because it was such a surprise, you know, it didn’t look like other comics. So,

Melissa: yeah. And it’s just, there’s so many different genres now like that you can, you know, if you, if you don’t want to do superhero comics, there’s. Like you said the horror and you know, there’s romance and there’s just a young adult and the very dark stuff vampires.

I mean, really anything you can find now in a graphic novel.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s great because I think people are finally figuring out that, Oh, comics are a medium, not a genre. There are cameras in this medium. Yes,

Melissa: exactly. 100%. That’s a great way to say it. And what other genres do you think you’ll, you [00:39:00] know, possibly want to get into in your career?

Corinna Bechko: It’s interesting. I, I really, really enjoy Oh, I really like Spotify and I feel like there’s a lot you can do with, with science fiction. And I don’t know if that’s because I have a background in science, so it kind of comes naturally. Yeah. But I really enjoyed that and I just enjoy sort of. I don’t know what, how you would categorize it, but just sort of weird tales, like stuff that’s sort of off the

Melissa: beam.

Okay. Like speculative fiction.

Corinna Bechko: Exactly. Secular. Yeah. I’ve actually, you know, what’s funny is you would think that would be applied more to comics. Like you’d think a lot of Charles Burns stuff. It would have fiction and I never hear anyone calling it that

Melissa: I don’t either. Yeah. I hear it a lot in, in pros, in the book world.

But yeah, I don’t hear a lot of that. I hear a lot about meta fiction. That’s like the newest thing that I keep hearing about lately. Have you ever tried that?

Corinna Bechko: Not yet. Not really. I, [00:40:00] I need to get out of my bubble more.

Melissa: I didn’t even know what it was till about two months ago.

Corinna Bechko: I’ve read about it, but I need to like.

I need to get it there.

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I just got my first one, my first comic that has, you know, written in that style with Matt evictions. You know how it goes back. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, speaking of your science background, I did read that you’re a zoologist.

Corinna Bechko: Yeah. That’s what my degree is in my day job is I’m actually a fossil preparer.

Melissa: So what does that entail?

Corinna Bechko: Oh, it’s the best job in the whole world. I mean, writing too, but yeah, it’s actually, I work well when I can go to work. I work at the natural history museum and we sometimes go into the fields and we actually dig up dinosaurs and other assorted. Prehistoric creatures and in the lab depending on how big they are, like one of the jackets I’m working on now is a couple of thousand pounds and it’s got a big old [00:41:00] Diplodocus neck in it.

So it’s when you collect these things in the field, they’re dirty and full of, you know, you in case them in plaster. And they’re not maybe. Completely that broken and my job is to put them back together. So researchers and the public and wherever they’re meant to go can actually look at them and appreciate them and study them.

Uh it’s it’s just a fantastic job. It involves a little bit of artistry in that. Sometimes you need to figure out ways to reinforce this things so that it. Is stable. And sometimes it involves a microscope if it’s something 80 bitty and it’s just, it’s great. And it uses a lot of chemistry, which I almost minored it.

I was one class shy, shy of minoring in chemistry.

Melissa: Wow. That’s awesome. You’re very smart.

Corinna Bechko: I don’t know about that. If I was really smart, I would have stayed an extra semester and gotten that. [00:42:00] Correct. He wasn’t smart enough at the time to go, Oh my gosh. Please just let me out of school. Yeah. Or like

Melissa: I’ve had enough.

Corinna Bechko: I’m done. Okay. I’m done so interesting.

Melissa: Had you. Like when you were a kid, did you always want to be like in that field?

Corinna Bechko: Yes. I have taken a very circular route to get here when I was a little, little kid. I told everybody I want to be a paleontologist, but that’s whatever that’s right. That’s maybe that’s not what every girl said when I was growing up, but yeah, that’s what I wanted to do.

And then I got older and I got into like, Oh, I’m a girl. I can’t do science. I probably can’t do a little bit of still just Lexia. How am I going to conquer this? And so I started doing anthropology and then I realized I really like animals more. Yeah.

Melissa: More than people.

Corinna Bechko: No offense, people listening, but cats are better.

But anyways, [00:43:00] I agreed. I love my car. So, yeah, eventually I, you know, I didn’t have a lot of money when I was first going to go to school. So I ended up working for a while and I ended up working. I was really lucky. I ended up working at the LSU in the research division and then I put, kind of put myself through school and got finally got my psychology degree.

And then, and just, just like, you know, maybe I can do this. Yeah. It took a long time that, yeah,

Melissa: that’s really cool story. And have you ever thought about putting in. Some of that into like your characters or into like a feature story about a zoologist, you know, on, on Mars,

Corinna Bechko: maybe know it’s funny. It’s I do have a story about a generation ship, which I’m dying to find a home for.

Eventually that incorporates a lot of How that kind of thing would really work. I know everybody has a story about a generation shit. Yeah, no, that’s really cool. And an invisible [00:44:00] Republic too. I mean, I really, really enjoyed fleshing out the exoplanets and being able to play with how different worlds would evolve depending on what they had on them and how, how that stuff would go.

And in a lot of the issues, I wrote little things in the back that were. Essay is about the science that went into the issues.

Melissa: That’s like a really important skill to have when worlds building, you know, if you have that background already it makes, I think it would just make the world building so much easier.

Corinna Bechko: If nothing else, it makes it easier to know where to find the information that you don’t know. That’s the most beautiful thing I found about it. It’s, there’s so much, I don’t know, but I kind of know where the gaps in my knowledge are. So I feel like that makes it a little easier.

Melissa: Yeah. So when you’re doing your research or kind of like, okay, this is.

I’m on the right path, kind of a thing. And I can, yeah.

Corinna Bechko: And I kind of know who to ask, which that’s [00:45:00] really important. I feel like if you, if you want to be the kind of writer that does a lot of research, it’s important to know. Who you should make friends with so you can ask the most questions.

Melissa: Good advice.

And speaking of advice, before we go, I wanted to ask you I asked everybody this, if I can for our listeners, you know, we do have a lot of listeners that are writers and aspiring to be comic book writers. I’m sure. So what advice would you, would you give to aspiring comic book writers?

Corinna Bechko: Oh, gosh. I think, well for writing comics in particular, I think the most important thing is to find some artists and be really nice to them because nobody wants to just read a script.

Well, somebody probably does, but most people want to see a finished. Piece of work. So it’s really important. I think, as a writer to just read as much as you possibly can and then absorb just [00:46:00] so that you absorb the nuts and bolts of it, and then talk to two writers and find out how to act or talk to artists.

Rather if you’re a writer, talk to artists and figure out how to approach it because the comics are such a different medium than even like. I guess the closest thing would be like a screenplay, but it’s not exactly like that either. So I feel like it’s its own thing. And you do yourself a disservice if you don’t really take into account the

Melissa: art.

Yeah, absolutely. And study the craft. Of course,

Corinna Bechko: exactly. And other than that, Just right. And if it’s bad rewrite it, but getting that first draft down is the hardest thing

Melissa: it really is. Yeah. No, that’s great advice. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on today and talking to me, I’ve had so much fun chatting with you and getting to know you.

Corinna Bechko: Oh, this was a delight. Thank you so much for having me on. I really, really

Melissa: appreciate it. Yeah, absolutely. Everyone listening make sure to check out the expanse. Second issue’s coming out. January [00:47:00] 20th. And and all of our other great works that you can find online and at your local comic book shops, invisible Republic, Greenland turn.

Once upon a time, the list goes on and on and on. There’s so much great stuff there. So yeah, check it out and thank you again for coming on tonight. Thank you.

 

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