Writer B Clay Moore stops by the Spoiler Cave and chats with Melissa about his works, the craft, and Miles to Go!
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B Clay Moore- Interview
[00:00:00] Melissa: This is spoiler country and I'm Melissa searcher today. I'm excited to welcome comic book writer and co-creator of the new series miles to go. The super talented B Claymore. Welcome to the show.
B Clay Moore: Thanks Melissa.
Melissa: Thanks for being here. How are you doing
B Clay Moore: today? I'm all right, thanks. I'm in Kansas city and, watching snowfall,
Yeah. It's like hot every on the West coast where I'm here in California and it's just 70 degrees right now, which is so bizarre for October.
B Clay Moore: Yeah, no, it'll, it'll, I'm sure it'll be like, actually it's gonna be kind of nice for Halloween. So it'd be like in the sixties. So you never, you never know in the Midwest what the weather is going to do, so,
Well, I'm, I'm glad to have you on today. We're going to chat a lot about your, your new comic, but I would first love to know how you got started in comics.
B Clay Moore: well, so I grew up like a lot of people. I grew up reading comics and, I guess as a kid, I thought about making them, I was like a [00:01:00] lot of writers.
I was kind of a frustrated artist. I did a comic strip in college and had vague ideas about doing that. I was a journalism major and, got out of school. When the economy was a nightmare in the nineties and ended up in sales, he mainly doing like, plastic or something. It's like all ages kind of kid's stuff, but he was starting to break into the end of it a little bit.
And literally one day, just when I was kind of complaining about selling, he literally just said, well, why don't you. You know, like just dope and he get a slave labor. Well, he was gotten approval for this book that was called love and I was going to be an aunt of. Is that combined romance and superheroes.
anyway, long story, short, long story short, I, he asked if I wanted to, I think initially he might've even asked me if I wanted to do, but I was not [00:02:00] that wasn't gonna happen. And I. Anyway, I ended up editing co-editing the book with him and because we used a whole variety of sort of independent talent writers and artists.
I got to know a lot of people. I got to see how things were put together. This was right around 2000. yeah. And so it was like T technology was transforming around then. And I dunno, I just figured out the nuts and bolts and, started going to more cons as three ator and, and then Jay had a book approved at image.
And, like shortly after that, I decided that I was going to. Do my own thing, which became Hawaiian Dick, which artists, Stephen Griffin, and I put together, put together a pitch with the intention of pitching it really to some small black and white publishers and kind of on a whim. I handed it off to, Jim Valentino when he was the publisher at image and, Steven had done, like we were, we had no intention of doing a color book, but.
One of the publishers was doing these [00:03:00] online color comic strip. So we did some comic strips in color. And, anyway, Jim hated having pitches handed, gummy conventions and Eric Stevenson the time he's not a publisher. And, I said made him a partner, but at the time he, he was the sales and marketing coordinator.
And for whatever reason, he really. Loved the book. This was about 2002, 2003. And, I mean like a week later he emailed me and, so we ended up doing an image, which was kind of a step above what we thought we'd do it. Long story short, the book came out initially really well received. Good reviews.
Steven ended up with, multiple eyes and or nominations for best colorist. and, So we did, we did two initial series of that book, had all kinds of problems with delays. And from there, I ended up, Jeremy Han and I then did a book called battle him and image. And then publishers started, you know, asking me to do stuff.
First work for hire, I ever did was actually a Vampirella mini series years ago, but it was, it was the anime version of Ambarella vampy. [00:04:00] Okay. You know what I mean? It just, and it all kinds of feeds from there. I went to DC and then bounced around and then at 1.4, Prior. I was actually the PR and marketing coordinator for image once, once Eric Larsen became the publisher.
and, it wasn't, it, it was too hard to make it work. Cause I was still in Kansas city and they'd moved to Berkeley, but it was still a huge learning experience. And, You know, even over 10 years later, you know, I still have relationships with a lot of the retailers and people that I dealt with there.
So, and of course the creative everything. So then from there, I just, you know, I mean, I, my career has not been. I haven't piled up work at one publisher. I asked around a lot, worked for image work from our board for DC worked for yeah. only worked for, after Shaw, you know, Valley and on and on and on.
Melissa: That's awesome. Well, I know I was reading up on [00:05:00] Hawaiian Dick and I know it's been, like you were saying very successful. and it was named one of the top 100 graphic novels by wizard magazine. And is that series still going or are you planning to return to it?
B Clay Moore: Yeah, so, so it. We did the first series.
And, the third issue, the first series was very late with some personal, some, some issues with, Steven, that doesn't matter. Why. So then the second series ran into all kinds of trouble, same issues. The third series was drawn by an artist named Scott Chandler, Stephen colored it, the fourth series, was solicited, with an artist named Jacob Wyatt.
And then. It took five years to get it out the door. we got off of issues ship at the same time. Well then, then we ran a Kickstarter that, had way too many moving pieces and that book is way late too. So with Hawaiian that my, my, what I'm doing right now is, is wrapping up this long overdue Kickstarter, to the point where, like I had a [00:06:00] publisher recently asked me about doing a new Hawaiian X series.
That was an image of like painting. And I was like I said, I. I'd love to do it, but I really have to get this book done and out into people's hands and then I'm going to reset. So, so we're going to do that, get that out. probably in the spring. And then I do have plans initially, because it's been such.
People love the book and it's been well received, but because of all the issues we've had to sort through, and it was a point where I was kind of like, I'm just going to get this done and then kind of focus on the other stuff I'm doing. Yeah. But I, it's still kind of like the first, you know, it's my kind of my baby.
And so I am, I am kind of making plans to launch a new series, that would be friendly for new readers as well as long-time readers. And that wouldn't be. Probably for another year or at least. so I, I do think I'll get back, but I just need to kind of get all my ducks in a row and everything taken care of first.
Melissa: Right. And it was optioned, wasn't it for by, by a network for television? Is, [00:07:00] is that, any close to happening at this point?
B Clay Moore: Well, actually it was initially option by new line cinema way back when as film. Yeah. And then it was initially a Johnny Knoxville attached to it. there was this brief moment in the mid two thousands where the studios were convinced that he was going to turn into,
Melissa: actually that
B Clay Moore: I actually had a studio, a guy telling me a producer or an exact say, you know, we think that he could be the next Jack
B Clay Moore: but I, I, I wasn't going to go there, but, you know, if they were going to buy the option.
Sure. So. Anyway, it was, it was option. The option was renewed. So it was like over two years, it was kind of in development, a new line. and then the studio kind of fell apart around it. We pulled back. We sat on it then a couple of years ago. Yeah. we actually did to NBC to develop a new TV series. and then we spent a while.
I mean, and the people that were involved in it at that point were phenomenal. I mean, like just. Amazing creative [00:08:00] people. and we, we took it out and they, they pitched it to every streaming service and it, it, it, it was kind of the thing where it got a lot of positive responses where, but it, it didn't happen right then.
so, so kind of, again, we kind of just pulled it back in and, and actually lately I have been talking to some people who were involved a while ago with it, about exp w. At this point with Hawaiian Dick, I've got other things that I'm really focused on in terms of outside media, film, and TV, other projects that are sort of way more in play right now.
And, and, taking
Melissa: more of a front seat. Yeah,
B Clay Moore: yeah, yeah. Because they're likely to happen. So with wine tickets, it's turned into this kind of thing where people that have involved in it. I have no problem if. Something happens, you know? And so, so it's out there and it's actually, you know, people were kind of messing with it a little bit, but, but for me, it's, if something does happen to this point it's gravy.
Melissa: Yeah, of course. [00:09:00] Yeah.
B Clay Moore: Yeah. So that's
Melissa: cool. Well, yeah, I don't, if it happens, it'll happen organically and, you'll be ready for it
B Clay Moore: at this point. I'm fine. I mean, that's totally my attitude. It's not a liver die thing. so,
Melissa: so. When you are, when you get an idea for a story, what do you, what tends to come first for you?
Are you developing characters right away or are you world-building
B Clay Moore: first? that's a good question. well, For a long time, I kind of got sidetracked. So I, when I, when I broke it again with Hawaiian things like battle lamb and Jeremy Han, and I did a book called the leading man at Oni and book, I did a whole bunch of creator own books that were completely, You know, that were created from scratch by myself and a collaborator.
So we had a lot of control and could build the way we want to do what I kind of got sidetracked for a while after I did some stuff for DC, I did some things I create like Tony Harrison. I created a character that we brought to DC called [00:10:00] the whistling skull, but then we added some DC characters and it became, I don't wanna say compromised, but it wasn't really.
You know my vision, so to speak and then add value. In the past few years, I've created from scratch, a book called Savage and then took elements that existed at Valiant and created a book that was called killers. So like I'm still creating things, but there's a lot of editorial oversight and I'm always fully aware that I don't own the material.
So I bought a year ago. I kind of stepped back and decided that I needed to refocus on, My own original concepts with collaborative engineering fully create our own, which is what miles to go is. So I have been more focused on that. And what does normally happen? There is like the key to any, first of all, the key to getting somebody to publish your comic is that you have just a hook that makes, you know, people just like a film.
so generally I guess I w I I'll, I will, I love world building, like for me, [00:11:00] I mean, it sounds obvious, but I think some people miss, miss the point when they're creating something, is that if you, it doesn't matter what the world looks like or what rules are in play, as long as they're consistent and people, people believe that crazy stuff you've created.
So I usually have like an environment or an era that comes to mind and then, the character. I'll not kind of separately, really work on building a unique, interesting protagonist antagonist, lately I want every character that appears in a book to be fully flat. I mean, I don't care if it's, you know, a henchman who shows up for one page and get shot.
I want. a unique design and unique, even if they just drop in, you get the feeling that you're seeing the tip of an iceberg, if that makes any sense. Yeah.
Melissa: No, each character should have their own voice, their own motivation. Yeah.
B Clay Moore: Yeah. And, and miles ago, guest Steven Molnar is the artist and, and I mean, thank God he's, he's full.
[00:12:00] He loves drawing like character moments and acting and he, you find drawing people just sitting around talking, but he's also great at action, but. This book has really sort of become more and more involved with more and more characters and kind of smaller subplots spinning around. And, and, and I really first to two issues are out and I.
I really think it's been very well received, but, but reading through it, I'm really happy with the way that, we'll introduce a character for a page. And I think you get a really good sense of who that character is through the combination of dialogue and what Steven manages to do, because there's nothing worse than.
You know, stock characters in a comic book, just, they don't, if they don't impact the, you know, if they don't have an impact for the reader, then it's hard to believe that have an impact in the story.
Melissa: Right? Yeah. You don't want just filler people and filler things. Yeah. Well, with miles to go. So it's with the aftershock comics and you, you said you have two issues available.
I noticed there's a third one available [00:13:00] for pre-order. for those who aren't familiar with it, tell us a little bit about what it, what it's about.
B Clay Moore: Well it's. so it's kind of a combination of a couple of different, concepts that I've had floating around in my head for awhile. it, it originated the artist is a guy Steven Molinari, who I've known for years.
He, he did some star Trek comics and then. Not too long ago. He did a vertigo book with Tim Seeley called imaginary fiends. And he brought me a line and asked if I'd be interested in, trying to put a pitch to create something out of scratch. I, I think initially he had even mentioned like trying to pitch it to DC.
B Clay Moore: And I said, well, I'd love to do something, but I don't, but I'd rather do it at somewhere where we're going to have more. Well, we're not trying to tick off boxes. It's hard to explain, you know, some of the bigger publishers, they just, things won't get approved based on, not the material itself, but, you know, just [00:14:00] some of the reasons that books don't get approved just are hard to figure out.
So it's, it's hard to publish. It's hard to pitch to those guys, not knowing whether just like the basic concept, even if it's great, like that. To the setting or the genre, you know, they just don't want that. Okay. Like after Shaw or, you know, if we went to image or somewhere like that, they're open to a broader range of genres.
It's more about the execution and, you know, and, and, and the unique spin you put on it. So, so the story is about a single mother who is in her mid thirties. She has a daughter who is. Edging towards puberty, recently divorced or at least separated. And we, it's not a spoiler re we realized before we meet her that when she was a child, she was, like the sidekick to an assassin, but also very active in, in.
Well killing people. So [00:15:00] when we meet her on page two, she's, she's basically shooting a guy, tied to a chair on the face and blowing a bubble. so for me, I thought, well, that's in a lot of it like that in itself is a story, but it's, it's also kind of a trope, but there's, you know, I mean all the way back to the kids side kicks to superheroes or, beyond the professional.
Melissa: Yeah. That's what I was thinking of. Yeah. Right. Exactly.
B Clay Moore: So. So for me, it's more like, okay, let's use that kind of, sort of familiar, but still a little shocking element to build a story beyond that. So it's more like, okay, well, what if she was that kid? But she hasn't been involved in that scene since she was, you know, 13, but 20 years later, she has never been able to do anything as well as she did.
Shooting people in the face.
Melissa: That was her one, her gift.
B Clay Moore: Exactly. But that's part of the story is that there's a reason for that. okay. So, so the story is kind of about her being thrown back [00:16:00] into that element, but not knowing why. and then her, her mentor when she was a child is when we meet him.
He's, he's in a nursing home and he's terminally ill and. She clearly still has a connection with him. and maybe with nobody else. And then from there without giving too much away from there, she ends up sort of partnering up with one of his old colleagues. Who's also like an aging, former assassin.
and, they formed this sort of. Sort of highly dysfunctional, fake family unit as they try to figure out, are these, are these people coming after the assassins or are they coming after her name is Amara Bishop and her daughters, Aliyah. Are they coming after Amara and Aliyah? Are they, you know, and so like kind of initially they just sort of hit the road and then.
Amar. And then they kind of try to get their bearings just to figure out what's going on. And so the story follows, [00:17:00] It follows them and their closest family members and friends of which there aren't a lot. and in a weird way, it's, I mean, we're dealing with genre comics, so the hook has to be great.
The action has to be great. The genre has to be. Yeah at the forefront, but at the same time, I really wanted to try to kind of explore ideas about familial, familial relationships and the things people do to the people they love and how they respond to it. And then just, just also throw a lot of guns.
So I, it seems so far, I mean, it's, it's been extremely well received. It seems like that's working. I mean, it seems like people are invested in the characters as much as they are the. The plot, you know, the action plot plot. And so what have you, so, and that third issue is goes very deep into, the older Assassin's name is Moses.
It goes very deep into his backstory and, [00:18:00] how a relationship he had when he was younger is impacting things that are happening now. And it's, it's probably one of my favorite things I've ever written in Steven. Steven, it's kind of dense in terms of, interaction and relationships and stuff. And then of course there's the requisite action, but what Steven, like he sent me a separate email, just sort of thank you.
He was like, this reads like a book you wrote specifically for me to draw, which is great because I wrote it hoping that would be his response, but also it's very personal for me. And so for him to feel the same way about it, I just don't, you know, there's no way it can't. Can't work in my opinion. So I'm, I'm very, very happy about it.
Melissa: Yeah, no, it sounds like you two work really well together and had good, creative chemistry, which is super important. I saw a little bit of the artwork in the preview and it's really got a cool feel to it. It's, it's very visceral and it's obviously drawn really, really well. but yeah, just, it has almost a, An apocalyptic sort of wasteland vibe to it as [00:19:00] well.
Was that something you were kind of trying to recreate?
B Clay Moore: Well, so, so, so Steven throughout his career, and as long as I've known him has always had a really tight, slick style. and it's great. I mean, it worked really well, but, when, when we started this book, I kind of encouraged him to loosen up a little bit, you know, be a little more rushy for lack of know, lack of a better term, little, just a little more free.
in my opinion, very often artists. I think, I think through evolution, yeah, some artists start, you know, they're worried about drawing everything perfectly and, and they, they can get really hung up on how perfect the line is and how slick everything is. But sometimes when really talented. Artists just kind of loosen up and do things with a little more flow and a little more feel and sort of move on from a panel that they might've overworked before creates more of that kinetic, expressive feeling.
And when we were putting the pitch together, he, he did some stuff with brush and ink. That was just. So, I mean, it was just fantastic and so expressive. [00:20:00] And so that it's a departure from his, from his normal style, but, he's really taken to it and you know, and one of the other things I did right away is, is we've got a group of creators that we.
You know, we have access to. And so I sort of show the pages and he's covering the book too. And then that's his first thing he's ever colored that he's drawn. so we've, we've leaned a little bit on some, some of the better colors we know. but the response from the creative community that people we know to the pitch pages was, was like, Oh, this is the best stuff you've ever done.
You know, you should color it yourself. It's so I think that encouraged him to just kind of keep moving forward, but yeah, it's, I'm super happy with the way it's turned out. It's a lot of work. I mean, he's, he's penciling and inking it, and coloring it. but, but like for instance, from an art standpoint, he's, he's doing, He's doing like looser layouts and then going straight to ink, you know, instead of really overworking pencils and then inking everything and, not, and just, yeah, [00:21:00] he's, he's a little stressed because of the work involved with.
He's really, we're both really invested into the book and I, and I just love how much he just wants to kind of keep telling the story of these characters.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, and when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, sometimes you come up with, you know, better quality, you know, you surprise yourself.
and so would you say the content, the storyline is as much, More like a heavier themes. I know you mentioned there's some, obviously it's an assassin book, so there's violence in it and Gore here and there. but are there any, how was it to balance that with the super quiet, intimate, emotional scenes versus the shoot them up, you know, type things.
B Clay Moore: That's. Yeah, that's actually, that's kind of specifically what I was trying to communicate. I was trying to communicate that when I, when I pitched it and also that's, the way she put it as almost exactly what I'm going for is it's sort of that. Yeah. It's, it's moments of, of character interaction in it.
First of all, there's always going to be this underlying tension behind everything, because [00:22:00] there's. You know, we're aware that some weird forces are after these people and, and right off the bat, we realize there they have no problem killing people or what. So, so hopefully that's always. You know, there's tension inherent and everything because of that.
But yeah, it's the, it's the, the quiet, the character moments, the I'm really trying to work to make those character moments feel genuine and real, and then punctuated by these sort of explosive moments of frankly, you know, over the top super violence, which. Which I, you know, you can do in a comic book.
and I, you know, you can do, you can get, you can take people out of the story because you're too cartoonish with it, but it is it's, it's, it's like a pacing thing, you know, it's like story, story, story, and then it's this boom, boom, boom, boom. And then you're back into the story. so yeah, that's. I'm not sure it's a challenge so much as it's.
the third issue [00:23:00] is kind of a challenge because there's not quite as much of that, of the, the violence.
Yeah. I mean, it's, it's more about the relationships, but there are flashbacks too. And then there, it's hard to explain.
Melissa: I think that's, that's pretty common as far as it's a good way to go about it.
You know, like when you take something like, like the walking dead, for example, where they have all these episodes that are super intense, All the time. And then they'll have one where it's just focused on one character's backstory. And I think the fan response, you know, or the reader response is always, it's like, yeah, this is a nice kind of insight into the story.
I get to kind of take a breath for a minute and not have all this, you know, intensity in my face. And then I can gear up for the next violent, you know, battle.
B Clay Moore: Well, I'll tell, I'll say this about the walking dead, which, Yeah, I was, and I was an image when we launched the walking dead and when it took off, it was fun to watch.
But what I like about the walking dead, which, you know, there's [00:24:00] no zombies or monsters in this book, but it's anybody who wants to think creatively or do their own stories or whatever. I hope they're watching things and figuring out how to apply things that work to whatever they're trying to do.
One of the things I love about the walking dead is that obviously it's clear. By now that the real villains and the stories are the other people. But I love the fact that, I mean like the zombies are just always, just, they're always, there's this obstacle. That's always there. As you know, while these characters are trying to get through every, you know, while they're trying to kill each other.
Oh, there's also these hoards of people that are eat humans, but the zombies are never. The key antagonist in the story, at any point it's, it's not a book about people running away from zombies. It's about people trying to co-exist with zombies, you know, so I like that element of it. And I like. [00:25:00] Kind of to the point of this book.
I liked the fact that this heavy shit is going on around him, but it doesn't completely overshadow the human relationships that are involved as this, as we get deeper and deeper into relations, because Amara is raised by a drunken father in trailer park. That's all she knows. He's the second generation Indian American.
And as far as she knows, her father was a drunk and failure who was basically disowned by the family. And so she's never known. Okay. Anything about her real identity culturally, or even her mother or the family or anything which, which, comes into play as the story goes, we begin to understand she may not be completely right about her father.
And, so it's just a way to explore. all these people's different identities and, and, you know, have them kind of learn about themselves as they, like, as she learned some things about herself and why she is the way she is. but through, through that [00:26:00] filter, we also get to examine the relationship with her ex-husband and the relationship with her mother she's never met.
and. The key point of it all is a layer. Her daughter, this, you know, Moses responds to Amar, but also this kid that he's sort of now protecting and. When Amar, his mother does show up, it's the fact that there is a granddaughter involved that sort of changes her feelings, things, you know, so,
Melissa: well connected and, and yeah, it's like a domino effect.
They're all gonna sort of affect each other with their past choices. And,
B Clay Moore: It's more like a windshield, like a cracked windshield, you know, a spider web, just go on all directions.
Melissa: Yeah. Now, do you have a lot of issues already planned or are you more about what we call in the book industry? A pantser where you just sort of write a, as you go,
B Clay Moore: I am 100% of pants are normally, but, what I, what I find, what I find is that I I'll do, I'll have a very, and of course when you're pitching something, they publishers.
[00:27:00] One thing. I always tell people when they're trying to pitch stuff is especially when I was an image, we get these pitches and. They would pitch to the people that were publishing the book with an open-ended question, Mark, you know, like what happens, you know? And, and I used to tell them, no, you can spoil it for the publisher.
They want to know that, you know, the story they were thinking in marketing terms. No, I want to hook them. I'm like, well, yeah, but they don't want to publish something that they don't know has, you know? So, so I try to get, I try to have that loose framework. some very specific relationships, but for me, if I was going to plot it with a complete hardcore outline, I don't think it would breed as well.
And it wouldn't lead me in different directions. I I'll tell you what I often on. I was trying to put a book together with someone for years and, and I'm not saying either way is right or wrong, but he had this need to have every. Everything buttoned up and sewed up. And every, you know, he wanted this concrete path.
[00:28:00] And for me it was more like, well, we can find the answers to those as we go along, but let's reach organically. And so that was kind of the ultimate stumbling block. It was like, I just can't, I can't really work that way. so with this, I've literally in, in the script of this book, like realized. Like while writing the finished script, I'm like, Oh wait, okay.
This character, like, I'm going to kill this character. Well, what if we wounded this character and send him off, off to the farm? And then when it comes back, he's, you know, damaged. Right. You know what I mean? Like
Melissa: it has a new story to tell.
B Clay Moore: Right? Exactly. So I'm trying to, I'm trying to create with the incidental characters, the potential for them to become larger down the road.
So, but yeah, in generally speaking, there is sort of a. Sort of a, a roadmap for the characters relationship and also the first arc is, is five issues. So, you know, we're, we're working towards a point where we can kind of conclude one beat and then open the story [00:29:00] up after that, you know, for, for a longer run.
Melissa: keep it going, if that makes sense. Yeah, and I would totally add, like, what is your ideal timeframe as far as, can we expect, you know, an issue once a month, once every two months.
B Clay Moore: No, it's, it's, it's pretty much monthly. The third issue should be out at the end of, or the end of November. and, yeah, December.
So the first five issues will be monthly and then there'll probably be a short break for the new arc, which will again, and, and it's, it's very common in, in complex, especially, Well, I don't know, third, not Marvel or DC, you know, smaller, independent creator on comics. You'll do the arc and then take a breather or else, you know, like I'm telling you one story with separate arcs, but I also kind of model everything after I'm like, I love it.
The model of British television, which has these shortened seasons, like six say six [00:30:00] episodes are an hour long, but you've got six. Six stories within the larger story. And then at the end of the sixth episode, you've got some concluding beats, but also a springboard into the next one. And then the next series shows up.
I think that's kind of how I model what I do in comics. and so, So, yeah, and it's very much the way I'm working on this one as well.
Melissa: Okay. Well, you know, that's pretty, interesting. I like the British model too. I think you get more out of it that way. And, and you're not, you know, hooked into this, you know, 22 episodes, a series.
but yeah, so
B Clay Moore: we're also seeing that reflected, I mean, in fairness, it's, you know, HBO kind of picked that up and then streaming services kind of the same thing and,
Melissa: Yeah, it has been picking up everywhere else too. I've noticed that. Yeah. Well, they'll do just eight or nine episodes now, whereas, well, different networks too.
Cause I know like shows on the CW network still put out like 22, 23 episodes. They'll cut their season in half and do part one, part, two kind of a thing.
B Clay Moore: But it [00:31:00] also, but, but the thing about that is as it changes. You know, your, your, your, your goals are completely different at that point. you're trying to make sure the series continues.
And then with 22 episodes, you're not telling one story generally, you know, it's throwing it all over the place.
Sorry, my dog is,
Melissa: Oh, no problem.
B Clay Moore: And I think comics, I mean, I think old school serial comics can follow that model where they're coming out month after month after month. And there's not a drastic change, 22 issues or whatever, but to really get the most out of the medium with comics, I do think that sort of shorter bursts of stories
Yeah. Do you, do you feel any pressure to put out a comic, you know, every month? Like I I'm a fantasy author and I, when I signed a contract with my publisher, it's I know I have, you know, at least a year, so I can kind of like, let it ruminate for a while. But working on something where, you know, you have it coming out, often, is that [00:32:00] clouds your creativity at all?
Or do you ever have like a moment where you're like, crap? I can't, you know, get this out in time because it's not exactly how I want
B Clay Moore: it. it hasn't been a problem for me for a while, just because it's been a while since I've been working on multiple books at the same time, you know, like there was a period where I was doing maybe a couple things at DC and a couple of creator on books and also trying to build something and, You know, and I like deadlines because I do tend to kind of wander off.
I don't have one, but, but then I would also be aware that like, Oh, I really want to be working on this, but I have to get this done by Thursday at three o'clock to get paid in two weeks. You know what I mean? So then it would be, an apparent as most everything I write, I write in bursts, I'll write an entire issue.
In a day and a half or overnight, and then kind of, but, but by that point, like you say, I'm sure it's, I shouldn't say I'm sure, but by the point that I sit down and write the concrete script, I will have been. Noodling around in a, in a [00:33:00] journal and thinking it through and I'll have a pretty good idea where I want to go in my head and also having written comics long enough, you kind of internalize that 20 page model.
So yeah, it's just, I'm not, I'm not, Like, I'm not a nuts and bolts, outline, you know, break it all down kind of guy. I just, which I kind of wish I was, because I think it might be easier, but I'm more, I kind of internalize the rise and fall and the pacing and everything and, and it it's, it's more by field than some kind of formula.
so, so it's, it's, I can spit out an issue. And just trust that. I mean, there have been times where I'll realize, Holy did like eight pages, 20 pages. I'll be like, wow. I spent like five pages on this, throws everything. It's like a Seesaw and throws everything out of balance. So I will sometimes, you know, I had to, I had to learn, I had to learn, and this is again, you know, this and everybody who writes, it's a cliche, [00:34:00] but that, that expression about don't be afraid to kill your darlings or kill your babies where.
I always have to tell myself nobody's going to miss something they never saw, you know, so, you know, so, that helps a lot when you're.
Melissa: Oh, yeah. And I actually have a deleted scene folder in my computer, so I don't. Yeah,
B Clay Moore: yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. Because you never know if you, I just don't like throwing stuff away, just it just in case, you could use it for something in the future or even like a new project, you know, if it's just like a character that you think, Oh, it's not going to work in this series.
I could build another series around it. Right. Have you ever done that? Taken other characters?
B Clay Moore: Oh God. Yeah. Yeah, it's funny too. There's a, like, there's an action sequence I've had in my head for a long time. And I wrote a book for a publisher for work prior so that they have an editor who has actually, I think they had, they at the time they had several people editing like committee and I can't stand it when you've got committees, [00:35:00] looking over stories.
but. So I wrote this action sequence and like, I'm not even gonna talk about it. I'm not going to explain what it is because it got scrubbed from the book because they had concerns about it, that were in my opinion. Ridiculous. and, and the, anyway, it's, it's a seam of a woman and she's in a fight.
And, I have this particular moment that I it's like been in my head for a long time. I thought it would be a cool sort of hor horrific action sequence that also shows the strength of the character. And, without, without throwing anybody under the bus, the editor that I was dealing with, who didn't, even who only edited a couple issues, the book, gave me the finished.
I think he gave me the finished art and I was like, where's the, or he showed it to me. And I was like, Whoa, that scene is gone. And he was like, Oh yeah, I edited the, you know, they, they thought that it was this or that. And I'm like, well, if I can give you a script with a scene in it, come back to me when they say that and either give me a chance to defend it or.
Rework it all of a sudden, but he cut the centerpiece of this really cool action sequence out. And all of a sudden, it's just [00:36:00] a boring action scene because it's missing this one moment. Right. So yeah, very much so that's in my, my mental folder of all right. Well, at some point I'm going to pull that back out.
It's really just like a, a one page, you know, physically violent moment that I think would be really cool, but, but no, yeah. Everything at this point, I have had so many things I've tried to put together that didn't quite work or stuff. Maybe I did pitch in one form and I put them aside. Yeah, I have these.
Through multiple well, multiple journals and multiple laptops and folders. I will dig around to try to find a pitch from eight years ago, somewhere, you know, I'd have to go through different, hard drives and stuff to do it. and then, yeah, I'm sure it's the same for you. You'll find like you'll find just a spin on it that you were missing or.
Melissa: yeah, I mean, I have, you know, in notebooks, paper notebooks and electronic, notes where, you know, story ideas, character [00:37:00] ideas that you just don't want to forget about. So you write them down, you know, that you can keep them on the back burner for future projects. Yeah.
B Clay Moore: Well with miles to go. It's funny because that was, that's how I had this loose notion of I had two different ideas.
I had this idea about, cause I was thinking about the young assassin and that specifically on the professional and my initial springboard was, well, what would happen to that girl if she grew up and had a normal life and you know, in her thirties, Had to go back into action or whatever. And then separately, I had this idea about, an assassination network that was basically like contracted by the government to do stuff called ice house.
It was like a name I liked, but I never, but it just never felt like either of them were complete. And so when Steven asked me about doing something, I, I threw both of those into the same mixer. And then, and then Steven suggested, well, what if he showed me he did some concept sketches and he had drawn this, you know, character, the [00:38:00] ethnicity of the character.
She was, she was clearly like Indian and also kind of short and stocky, like built like a, He said like an MMA fighter. I was like, well, that's interesting. and he said, I just thought, you know, B, give us a little more, more to work with and you know, just another, you know, we're a couple of boring white guys, you know, I get tired of that, but I was like, okay, not in any way, was that what I would have pictured, but saw her and thought about it.
It definitely added elements that. Broadened the story and widen the universe and everything. So. Yeah. So from a couple of ideas that are, have formed, it all ended up.
Melissa: Yeah. And I think the way that she looks, you know, cause like I said, I did see some of that. the, the illustrations, she it's very authentic, you know, as to what an assassin you would think an assassin would look like, because oftentimes as we know, and the industry, they pick these female assassins.
We were like, really. She's wearing high heels. but I like that it's more authentic [00:39:00] to, you know, she's muscular, she's physically fit. I feel like that's what you would think goodness often
B Clay Moore: would look like. Yeah, no it's yeah, that was no, that definitely. And like I said, it, it's and again, it's another thing.
I try to tell people when they're trying to figure out how to get their stuff going, it's people get so locked into. Comics are by nature and by necessity of collaborative meeting medium and any writer who is looking for someone who could just translate their vision to the page is going to is I don't think they're ever going to get the best results from the artist or just from the creative process.
So you've got to open yourself up to, you've got to find somebody who buys into the concept and owns it with you and allow them ownership of it. Then let there. Ideas. I mean, some doesn't work, you can talk about it, but really be open to things that you didn't see when you originated it. And then it just becomes true collaboration where you're both invested in it.
And, [00:40:00] and that happened definitely with, just with kind of his character designs and, and, you know, a lot of times too, I'll have, I have what I think is a great world, like you're talking about and, and, and, and a hook. Or close to a hook. It's like, I know there's a hook in there. You know, having faith that I'll figure it out.
And it all, it all, it almost always works. And it's, I mean, it's literally like an aha moment sometimes, you know, it's with this book, there's a, there's a twist that we don't really explore it till the end of it. It kind of explains a lot of it that that's where. That's where it all, like I opened myself up to this craziest stuff and ideas and, and when, when that kind of came to me, it was like, Oh, okay.
You know, it was like, now it all. And it's to the point where, like, I got to send an email to people, I know, you know, this thing, you don't know anything about it. I just figured it out. You know, they're, they're gracious enough to listen to me ramble. So
Melissa: yeah, no, I wouldn't want to see that light bulb goes off.
It seems like the flood Gates are open and then all of a sudden you're like, [00:41:00] can't stop coming up with the ideas and stop writing. It's just, it comes out of you almost like in a weird spiritual way, in a, in a sense, you know?
B Clay Moore: Yeah. You got to have faith that it's going to happen. I mean, you w I mean, obviously you hope that you've exposed yourself to enough.
Influences and you know, different, things that, that somewhere in the back of your mind, something will trip forward. I don't know if you, do you always work kind of in the same world, do you have a.
Melissa: I started, I was very rigid. Like you were saying about some of the people, you know, where I had to outline, I couldn't start anything without a detailed outline.
but you know, in the past five years it's just changed so much. I can actually just free write and, and kind of have a general idea of what I mean, no, my worlds are usually really dark. I write on the darker side, heavier themes, you know, in the paranormal urban fantasy realm. So yeah, I mean, I think.
I get like you, I get like an idea or [00:42:00] a sense of like what time era I want to, or, you know, genre, whether it be, Epic fantasy or more urban, and then kinda just ruminate on it for awhile and like, let it simmer. And, and then you get that aha moment. And you're like, okay, perfect. I can actually sit and write a first draft now.
B Clay Moore: for sure. Hawaiian Dick. and it's the first thing I really pitched on my own and, and I. it's fifties detective with kind of leans on Tiki culture, but it's not cliche. It's set in Hawaiian, but it's not, I never wanted it to be cliched and hula girls and stuff. And my thinking was, The fifties were this decade where there was this dark undercurrent that was hidden by the pop culture of the day and, you know, leave it to be Pan-Am flights and all this.
And I thought, well, I thought Hawaii would be a good analogy for that because in the fifties it was becoming this travel destination and it was bright, sunny, but there had to be a dark undercurrent to it. And then I decided, I think I probably decided on this just to. Because I was like, well, it needs an [00:43:00] extra element of oomph.
So I added a supernatural element to it. So I kind of investigated some, Hawaiian myths and legends. Although I used a zombie in the first book, which was not Hawaiian. And I had to kind of explain that, but, but like kind of what I was saying about the walking dead earlier, very quickly, that became just a thing that got in the way all the time of this kind of Rockford files style down on was what private investigator, as he was trying to solve crime.
So. And a longtime friend that I was, I saw at a party after convention and he just read the first series and he said, the lead characters names, bird, and he said, ah, well, I read your book. And I said, I like to cheerlead lead character. Wasn't very proactive when I say. I said, yeah, that's it. I mean, that's, that's the point.
It's like, he starts in one direction and all this shit gets in the way. And then he is by the end of it, he's just trying to survive whatever mess he's gotten into, you know, but I say that because you mentioned the kind of urban, and so, figuring out it's like, it's like when I started thinking of Hawaiian Dick stuff, I'm like, Oh, I've also got to throw a ghost in.
[00:44:00] Melissa: why not?
B Clay Moore: Like there's a, there's in one in the second series, there's a scene where, Purchase time. I mean, this is like a deuce ex mock in a moment that I. Nobody really called me on, but he's tied to a chair that these mobsters have tied them to. And a ghost appeared like a female ghost appears and tells him to be quiet and on ties in beautifully, you well-drawn scene when it doesn't really make any sense.
So my answer to that was to have bird, not be able to figure it out either. You know, I was like, Oh, there's a mystery here. And I'm like, maybe the reader will forget about that.
Melissa: Yeah. I mean, sometimes it's just, there's no reason you don't need to have a reason. I need, if you
B Clay Moore: created a world, if you've created a world where that shit happens, then
When people will accept it and go, what's going to happen, you know, in the next issue, is there going to be a, you know, a band sheet coming out or yeah,
B Clay Moore: in fact there was so
B Clay Moore: Actually that scene actually led me to the larger conclusion and I realized, Oh, there must be spirits here for some [00:45:00] reason. So I did get a little crazy with, you know, ghosts flying around and stuff.
Melissa: That sounds fun. I'm gonna have to check that out then. well, speaking of supernatural stuff, I do have to ask you, cause it's one of my favorite shows you did some vampire diaries, graphic novels. Yeah. How did you, how did you get wrapped up in that.
B Clay Moore: Well, it's interesting. so I had never loves, well, the truth.
I'd never seen the show. and, so DC had, they still kind of do, but at the time DC had a, there was a company called wild storm. That was a part of DC on the West coast when DC was on the East coast, that company. Folded basically. And they trans transitioned it into a digital, it's kind of like their digital wing was on the West coast.
And so they started doing, they were doing digital first comics. Like I did a Batman thing and a Superman that were digital, and then they printed them afterwards. Somehow they picked up the license to the vampire diaries and we're going to do. These digital [00:46:00] vampire diary comics, but an anthology series, not, not, you know, not a straight forward story.
And that was just kind of poking around. Cause I had a better relationship with those guys on the West coast. and I was talking to. I don't know the vice president out there, or somebody, an editor or somebody. And they were like, are you a fan of vampire diaries? And of course I was like, Oh yeah, campfire diaries, you know?
And, they were like, okay, well we're doing this. And maybe you could pitch some ideas. So literally like my wife and I sat down on Friday and like shotgunned the first three seasons of the vampire diaries, which by the way, we completely fell in love with, I mean, Was not what happened was I like it. I was like, Oh, the vampire diaries.
Cause in my head I'm like CW teenage romance, blah, blah, blah. You don't think Twilight. And I happened to like the first episode I happened to, tune into was like, I dunno, season two or three, there's the scene where they're. During this dilapidated house on the edge of town or something, it's this complete, like over the top [00:47:00] bloodbath.
I mean, like you're a fan of the show or something.
Melissa: Oh yeah. Yeah. And I've, I've seen it probably more than once to been to the convention.
B Clay Moore: The guy like pinned to a wall and they're throwing darts at him in a bar. Oh yeah. And the dark board. I think that was like one of the first things I saw and I'm like, Whoa, I'm like, this is awesome.
Melissa: Oh yeah. Yeah. Damon and Stephan, I think were yeah.
B Clay Moore: Watching any of my wife's there. And of course you've got, you know, David is this, these are beautiful guys and beautiful women who also have a lot of charisma. And, I mean, I just, I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the show and how many characters they had introduced that you could.
You know, in a, in a, in a short story, you know? So, so yeah, immediately I, jumped onto that and I think I did. I think I might've done a couple extended stories and then a couple shorter stories. I might've done maybe three. I don't know that then. So they didn't digitally, then they're released in a single issues and then [00:48:00] they collected them all into a really fat trade paperback that had, I think all the stories in it.
I'm not sure, I'm not sure all of the stories got printed in single issues, but like, I, I know I did have like the second issue had a story of mine and then, but, but no, and actually I was. I was really happy with a couple of those stories in terms of how I thought I was able to work within the tone of the show and mythology of the show.
Like I did, I did a story where Stephan was, like set in the nineties in Seattle and, Like that's one of the fun things about that show is they've got this they're like eternal 20 year olds or whatever you put it in any setting and time period. And so like Stephan was like hanging out with a bunch of grunge slackers in the nineties in Seattle.
And, And Damon slaughtered, you know, the girl hanging out with her, whatever. Yeah, exactly. And, and I it's weird cause I didn't get much feedback from comic fans, but vampire diaries, fans love. Yeah. They just love seeing it. So it was [00:49:00] hard for me to tell. Am I succeeding because are they just so excited to see these stories?
But, but that, like that story specifically, I remember writing and being like, this could be an episode somebody needs to, you know?
Melissa: Yeah. I think, you know, vampire diaries fans are very, adamant, like, you know, an avid and I'm very vocal. So I think, you know, if they liked it, then, I mean, they would be the first ones to say, Oh, this isn't right or something.
B Clay Moore: yeah. I know some convention I was at with Coleen Dora and who, who did. S wrote and drew some as well. We did an interview. We sat down for an interview with the vampire diaries fan site, which, which, we had a lot of, I mean, it was, had a lot of, fans attached to it or whatever. And, and th the, the, the, the girl who I say girl, she was young.
I mean, I'm not, she, She was such an enthusiastic fan of that. And also in comics, fans can be so bitchy and Jade and stuff. It was kind of fun to sit down with somebody who was just so thrilled that her, you know, her passion had been translated into another medium. And, there was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that.
[00:50:00] Yeah, and I really, we, we had fun watching the show too, so
Melissa: awesome. Yeah. I'm actually, I'm on the hunt for them. They're hard to find. I don't know if they're
B Clay Moore: the books
Melissa: like the graphic, the ones you did. Yeah. I've been
B Clay Moore: looking. Yeah, I have no idea what, I would've thought they would've my guess is they probably did a books.
They probably didn't focus on comic shops. So they probably did a run specifically with bookstores in mind and then even in print. So,
Melissa: I know, checking eBay. Right.
B Clay Moore: And send it to you. I had one giant copy that I sold at a convention.
Melissa: I probably made some I'm very happy
B Clay Moore: if I find it. Let me know if you like this, that story, if you don't like it.
Melissa: No, actually, because I saw it, it was, it was being displayed on some website that I found. So you could actually see a couple of the pages and so immediately it was some. Little shot of, you know, of David. And I thought, Oh, the dialogue, that really sounds just like something he would say. So,
B Clay Moore: I I've always thought my, sometimes I think I would, hide [00:51:00] ms.
I would hide my shortcomings in plotting with dialogue and character. So, yeah. I think as I've gotten older, like right now, I think I've this. I don't even like talking about this kind of stuff. Cause nobody cares. It sounds pretentious, but I honestly feel like I've kind of taken a couple steps forward as a writer recently.
And part of that is having enough competence in, taking less space to tell. More story and, and trust that I can communicate through the character and dialogue what I want to do. but so I've always thought like that was a strength. So they're they're so well-written on the show and, and the actors are so, I mean, they're just.
Melissa: there's no mistake,
B Clay Moore: just the rhythm and the analysts. So it was really easy to kind of tune into that and for all the characters, even the supporting characters. so I'm glad to hear you say that because, that was, that was what was kind of fun was, was what comic book characters. there'll be a shift, totally writers treat them different ways, but when you've got the same actors in the same general, [00:52:00] writing room, putting something together, It's so consistent that it's a lot of fun trying to find the right little phrase and you know, the little dig that Damon would get Steph and definitely humorless response to everything
Melissa: usually involving his hair.
B Clay Moore: Right? Yeah. Can't I don't mean, look, he's an attractive guy, but I can't imagine anybody watching, like any woman or man who was attracted to watching that show and thinking. My Stephan's the one I'd like to hang out here.
Melissa: What's interesting is I went to a, like a vampire diaries con and this was a long time ago.
The show was still on the air and I met, so I met both him and, the guy who plays David in person and the, and the one that plays stuff. And he he's literally like that in real life.
B Clay Moore: Really. So just, he was nice.
Melissa: We just kind of quiet and reserved and not, you know, overly. Wobbly or anything, you know? So, I mean, who knows?
Maybe he was just nervous or I don't know, but I thought it was funny. It [00:53:00] was like, Oh, you're really taking your character seriously.
B Clay Moore: That's good casting. I guess it's, I'm always surprised with, I did, So I, I pitched something once that I hadn't even written into. It ended up being optioned by Warner brothers and, they attach Matthew Fox to it last year.
And literally I hadn't written this thing. I mean, it was just a pitch that happened to CLU. So I had to write it after it was option, but anyway, they flew Matthew Fox out to San Diego. Comic-Con that year in, flew me out to sign. Posters. This is during the heyday of lost. And of course we hadn't written it.
There was no art or things. We had like makeup posts and everything. But, but when I got to the booth, Matthew Fox was there, it was one of those things where I was like, I, I, I thought you, people were supposed to be less attractive and short. I was like, this is ridiculous. Where did these movements come from?
You know, it's like, he's charming and super cool and good luck
Melissa: there made an allowance.
B Clay Moore: Yeah. We probably signed 800 posters before anybody noticed I was sitting next to him. Yeah.
Melissa: Especially [00:54:00] during that era, because that was such a huge show at the time.
B Clay Moore: And that was it. We had like a line around the convention and people didn't even ask what.
We were signing half the time, but he started, he was really cool, but he was like, Oh, this writer has created this great story. And of course. I literally had nothing but an outline at that point,
Melissa: he was a good sport. Then
B Clay Moore: he was great. He was so into it at the time. It's too bad. It never really happened.
But, yeah, it was super cool. And actually I'll say real quickly, you mentioned vampires, I'm actually working on something now that's vampire themes. So, it's, we don't even have a publisher for it, but an artist named Mack shader and I are doing a book that we've been kind of slowly building that, We envision it being like a long range.
Multi-issue it's a whole world we've created that. I'm super enthused about it. I think it's, we're not a publisher. We haven't even pitched it to anybody, but I have complete faith that it's. It's going to be pretty cool.
Melissa: vampires, you know, as they say in the publishing world right now, which I don't think they were really went [00:55:00] away, but they're saying they're making a comeback.
because after the Twilight stuff that happened and the people got really burnt out and didn't want to touch anything with vampires. but I think now that they are, you know, they're coming back, I right. About vampires, and other things too, and I know desc or Stoker, Bram Stoker's, great, great nephew.
He's took taken over the state and doing a bunch of Dracula stuff and yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, I think it's cool. I've ever working on something with vampires. I think it will be well received right now, especially, or even in the future.
B Clay Moore: Yeah. Well, that's good to hear. I actually didn't. Didn't I did I do.
I do know where they kind of burned out on the, after the, especially the way, you know, people, if they hated Twilight, I didn't want to have any to do with them. But, that was why that was my perception of vampire diaries. Cause I Twilight was omnipresent and I was like, it's just going to be Twilight with it's really not.
so yeah, we're hopefully we're, we're kind of like, we've kind of ramped up. Working on putting it together in the past couple of weeks. That's why it's kind of on my mind. [00:56:00] But, yeah, it's, it's great. We've built a really cool world and it's kind of, it's kind of nice to not know where we're doing it or what we're doing with it, but, anyway,
Melissa: it's just to work on it.
Yeah. Okay. Now, cause I was gonna actually ask you what that, what were your future future projects that you're working on? So that answers that that's awesome.
B Clay Moore: there's that? And then I've actually got, I've got a few things that, like I said, when I stepped back about a year ago and put together several different ideas and concepts miles to ago was the first one that I pitched and the first one he picked up.
So it's kind of, it's been gratifying. I haven't really paid attention to sales, but it's been really gratifying to see so many people really enthusiastic about it. like before the second, like when the second issue got sent to comic shops, before it even dropped, I had a, a retailer. Reach out to me on Facebook and tell me that, you know, Oh man, the second issue was even better than the first.
We reordered it, really trying to keep the numbers up. We're pushing it. because reviews are what they are. But when people are enthusiastic and the stuff they. They respond to stuff you hope people [00:57:00] respond to. I'm sure you've been there where you see a good review and realize they didn't understand, you know, I mean, I'll quote your review, but I'm not, you know, I'm a little disappointed, but with this one it's been, it's been really it's, it's kind of redo, it's giving me kind of new juice.
So, but so yeah, I've, I've, I I'm a Twitter, you know, people want to people just follow me on Twitter. I'm always. You know, I'll, I'll mention a drop, whatever. In fact, today I retweeted. Matt Tjader did some, he posted like sketches that he's doing for this thing. We're building, he didn't allude to what it was or anything, but I was like, what the heck?
You know, I was like, Hey, this is, we're doing this, you know,
Melissa: put it out there. Yeah. What's your, what's your Twitter, Twitter handle. So
B Clay Moore: be clear, more
Melissa: easy to, for people to find you on there and stuff. and then I wanted to ask you to just briefly, I noticed I went onto your, You're a WordPress site.
You list that you offer pitch services to [00:58:00] people. And is that something you still do?
B Clay Moore: Yeah. yeah, I didn't for awhile. cause I've been, I've
B Clay Moore: working with stuff, but, but, but if people, yeah, and yeah, the WordPress side, I I've been kind of trying to go back to an update a little bit, but it's literal again, if you just Google be Claymore WordPress, it's used to be, but I let it expire, but, there is a link there to the pitch, service, and if you're.
If you're trying to get a comic book pitched and you have most of the elements in place and you want that guidance. yeah. Don't hesitate to reach out. I may. if I can, I don't, I don't really charge a lot. It may seem like a lot. It's not a lot, but I mean, it's, it's time. I ended up investing a lot more time.
In it, then it's a good value if I'll do it as well as you may have to be patient, you know, as I work through it with you. But, yeah, the first thing I did was with somebody who, another editor, an editor at hand over to me that he had been [00:59:00] working with him and, you know, they were receptive and it was really good idea with a good team.
And I think, you know, and we. Kind of shaped it up into something that was really good, but having a lot of experience pitching my own concepts and having an option or whatever, and having worked for image ware, which is the main company people want to go to with their own stuff. Right. and because I've also for a long time, helped friends and peers kind of find the, the it's very easy when you're doing your own thing to lose sight of what is going to sell it.
Melissa: Absolutely. Yeah. You need those people to bounce it off of,
B Clay Moore: right? Like I've got somebody I've been dealing with, just a young, she's a young writer. Who, when I met her, didn't want to be a writer and, you know, but I knew she kind of, that was who she was going to be. And she like, she very much, like she wants me to she'll want me to read six scripts of this thing she's trying to pitch.
And I'm like, it's different pitching is different from editing. I'm like, I don't, I don't need to. It's like, it doesn't even matter what the right. That's not, what's going to get your book picked up. What you gotta do is get your book picked up and then, [01:00:00] you know, you've got to go step by step. And so
Melissa: the concept has to be there first.
And the editors they provide you, you know, if you do get picked up. Yeah.
B Clay Moore: Who knows, if you don't know what form it's, you're going to have to bend a little bit. So, you know, so, so yeah, my goal with that is to help people find the hook and sell it and the format, you know, I've got a very specific kind of format I use, which is what, similar to what most people use just based on some journalism principles and cut away the fat, you know, Yeah.
Don't yeah. Don't, you know, I mean,
Melissa: blurbs, you know, where we do blurb writing or, you know, when you query an agent and they want it, they want to see the blurb. So yeah. You have to get to the point, you know, identify the stakes right away and have a hook. Lakey said hook is super important and, yeah, that's, that's how you're going to get noticed and get, someone asking to read more pages, essentially.
B Clay Moore: Right. Yeah, absolutely. It's it's it's well that [01:01:00] the, the format I use is, is based on, so in journalism, you've got the pyramid, the inverted pyramid, which is where the meat is right upfront. And then it. The like a newspaper article will tell you all the pertinent information up front. So if you only read the first paragraph of an article, you've got the basics of the story, but if you're more interested, you'll keep reading and reading and reading and the information that goes down like, you know, there's not the most important stuff is never the bottom.
So with a pitch. You gotta do, you know, you gotta provide all that meet briefly up front, and then if they are intrigued, they'll keep reading and get more into the details. So, you know, I might have character characters fleshed out or future story arcs at the very bottom of it. which, yeah, which the only read if they're already invested in what I wrote up top.
So that's kinda the key to it is, you know, cause people will, people will try to pitch their story and tell their story, you know, like that's the pitch, right? There's no hook. It's like, well, I gotta read the whole, you gotta tell me the whole story for me to get what it's about. I just know it's the elevator pitch.
[01:02:00] Tell me in 30 seconds what it's about. And if I like it, I'll get deep.
Melissa: Exactly. Yeah. There's the pitch. And then there's the synopsis two different things,
B Clay Moore: right?
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely.
B Clay Moore: So, yeah. I mean, I would still be willing to talk to people about, about that. Yeah.
Melissa: Okay. And so w what advice would you give for anyone who's listening to this episode when it airs?
that is, you know, aspiring to be in the comic book industry, but doesn't know kind of where to start, or, you know, maybe they don't have any connections or, you know, friends or anything like that that are in the industry. What would be like the first, you know, step that they should take?
B Clay Moore: if you, well, I mean, there's.
Make a comic really? I mean, I'm presupposing the pretty supposing that you actually have the capability to, you know, that you understand what you're trying to do and you can tell a story or what have you. if you think you've got, there's two things, if you think you've got an idea that you, people that want to break into the industry and write Superman, Batman, X-Men, I don't have advice for, [01:03:00] except don't do that except start with your own ideas.
And once. Once you've gotten your own stuff out there and establish that you have a voice, those people will either open the door for you or come looking for you. That's how it always works. You know, people only time people just jump right into. writing those books for, for the rates and whatever, which some people aspire to that, it's fine.
The only, the only people that get right into it are people that are like in another meeting that are handpicked by publishers to, you know, give it a joke. So it's very rare that you're going to just walk right in the door. but if your goal is to tell the stories you want to tell, then do look at.
You look at pitches and, and, and, you know, there's stuff you can find online that kind of tell how to, how to put things together and then research all the publishers that are out there. And almost every publisher makes it easy to figure out if they are open to unsolicited submissions. generally you're going to have to create some comics though.
So [01:04:00] like if you're a writer, find an artist that buys into the idea like I was talking about earlier and, and. And put together the five pages, you know, or whatever, just to show that you can tell the story and then, follow the guidelines. Image. Comics has a submission guidelines that I would recommend no matter who you're pitching to it, nothing is concrete because if they like what you're doing, they're not going to turn you down because you didn't follow their pitch format.
Exactly. But you know, it's basically like do five pages. Okay, maybe do a cover, a logo or what have you. But anyway, the point is find a collaborator that if, if you're a writer do not just work with, whoever's willing to work with you. If they're not doing justice to your idea. Right? So don't, you know, cause there are a lot of bad artists who just are, want to get their foot in the door.
And there's way more bad writers trust me. But, you know, and that's going to, if you can't find anybody to collaborate with you and you've really got to conventions and [01:05:00] talk to artists or talk to people or been online, then maybe the, the problem is is you, you know, you're it, you know, I mean, people get really better.
It's a hard industry to break.
Melissa: Oh, I bet. Yeah. But
B Clay Moore: especially with crowdfunding and stuff, you can always. Do something, I mean, you can always self-publish or, you know, that's what it takes, do that and put it in people's hands and, and create, you know, relationships. And, you know, I'm not, I'm not wide open to talk to everybody who wants to make comics, but if somebody approaches me at a convention or somewhere and, you know, if they want an idea of, I mean, I was in Wichita a couple years ago in a college professor ran this idea by me.
And it was a great idea. And I'll tell you right now, a lot of writers will tell you not to do that. You know, because it puts me in trouble. I'm gonna, you know, I'm not going to steal your idea, but if you don't want to run it by me, don't, But, but it's, it's hard to give somebody advice if you don't know that they have a hook or, you know yeah.
The ability to figure that stuff out. [01:06:00] So yeah. But I, I very often over the years, it's kind of, one of the reasons I decided to kind of offer to help people with pitches is that there are a lot of guys and women, mainly guys in the industry who I knew when they were just trying to break in and they were eager and reached out and ask questions because I had been at image and had this reputation of somebody to create our own stuff.
And I didn't always follow my own advice, but I could tell them what I thought they should take. And it's really gratifying to see these guys. At the top of the industry doing fly right by me. But, but it's nice. Cause I I'm like, Oh, I was right. I didn't do it the way they did it, but you know, they did take that path.
B Clay Moore: the point I'm trying to make is there's always room in the industry for new voices and new perspectives and varsity and, and you know, so, and most of us want to see that. So we're not, it's not a closed off. It's not a closed room that nobody's going to let you into. [01:07:00] you can't get in no matter how hard you try then.
Melissa: not for you.
B Clay Moore: Yeah. Good Lord. How many bad fantasy writers are in there?
Melissa: Oh my goodness. Yeah. And it's, and it's tough, you know, to break in. Yeah. To, to publish as well. I mean, you get lots of rejections and you gotta have a thick skin. And, but I think, you know, the main thing too is you have to know your craft and you have to keep practicing.
I mean, you can't be a writer if you're not writing. Right, right.
B Clay Moore: But yeah, absolutely. And don't do not just, again, it's a cliche, but you still see people who, the sum total of their ideas are based on other comics they've read or
Melissa: whatever. Right.
B Clay Moore: There's never been a day where my primary inspiration were comic books and the comics I create, even though I've read, I've read enough of them to understand them and internalize the rhythms and what have you.
But for me, it's always, film or even music, or. Yeah. Or, I don't know, books I've read. I, [01:08:00] I, I guess because for me, it's about taking those elements and figuring out how to make them work in this medium. So if I was just trying to read, read stuff, I'd read in comics, you know, people have already been there.
So anyway, but, but yeah, the, the, the broader, your. The broader you, the broader range of things you expose yourself to, the more interesting, you know, the, the, the big, your, what am I trying to say? The more you have to draw from when you
Melissa: right. More ideas. Yeah. The idea. Well,
B Clay Moore: exactly. Yeah,
Melissa: yeah, absolutely.
B Clay Moore: That's why, that's why in comics. It's funny. Like my neck is nothing revolutionary when it came out in other mediums, it would have been, Oh, okay. But in context, there was a whole lot of, wow, that's really different. I mean, it's a privatized story with supernatural elements. You can see that in other mediums, but, but, but pulling that stuff into the comic industry, a lot of people even here wrote are like, man, that was really one of the books that made me real.
Well, I can do whatever I want to do, you know, I can take, you know, I don't [01:09:00] have to, you know, reach stuff. So
Melissa: yeah know the comic book industry has definitely changed. I, you know, I'm 41 and I remember, you know, when I was a kid, it was like Archie comics and superheros and stuff. And now there's just this whole huge, pool to choose.
From, like you were saying, there's something for everyone, whether they are a boy or a girl, or no matter how old you are, there's this stuff there that you can, that will interest
B Clay Moore: you. Right. And that's definitely industry was out of the gate. until it, it, it narrow, you know, until it kind of started to collapse, but it's a lot like music, people complain about music and there's no rock and roll.
There's no fault. There's no pro it's all out there. It's just in smaller. It's it's no, it's a partitioning. You know what I mean? But, but, but there are small niches. it doesn't have the same cultural impact, but it can something like the walking dead obviously
B Clay Moore: emerge, but you don't, you can succeed in comics without having [01:10:00] a hundred thousand people reading your comic.
You know, I mean, you can appeal to. Five to 10,000 people and be fine, you know, if you're, if you're on the right publishing model with everything. So yeah, my thinking is my thinking is like, if I like this, then there's gotta be enough. If I can just find them, there's enough people that are going to respond to whatever I'm doing.
Melissa: Oh yeah. I guess just getting it out there. Really? Yeah. Yep. Finding your tribe.
B Clay Moore: Exactly.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, I mean, I could talk to you all night. This has been really fun.
B Clay Moore: I'm sorry. I'm rambling,
Melissa: but no, no. I could just pick your brain all night. It's been, it's been great, but I know you're probably got to go eat dinner or something.
Oh, yeah, there you go. so yeah, I just want to let everybody know, that yeah. Issues one and two have miles to go are available now. you can get them on Amazon, your local comic book shop if it's, if it's open, and online, that caused the ecology as well.
B Clay Moore: Comics comics,
[01:11:00] Melissa: comics, comics. Thank you.
yeah. And, also, check him out on Twitter. This is B Claymore. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I've had a lot of learned a lot. it's been fun chatting with you about writing.
B Clay Moore: I appreciate, I appreciate the invitation it's been. Yeah, it's been great. I, it's, it's nice to bounce ideas back and forth, so,
Melissa: so cool.
Awesome. We'll come back anytime too. Because I want to, I want to hear about the, the vampire stuff when you get that going.
B Clay Moore: Yeah. I'll yeah, like I said, I'll put it on Twitter whenever, but yeah, if you do track down those vampire diaries books, let me know.
Melissa: I'll be, I'll be on the hunt for them.
Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much.
B Clay Moore: Thanks Melissa.
Melissa: Alrighty. Have a good night.
B Clay Moore: Oh, you too.
Melissa: Thank you. Bye. Bye. .