Welcome to the series , Breaking Indie, where we’ll be spotlighting industry creators, professionals, and more. Make sure you are following this series to for a cumulative look at what it takes to produce successful indie comics. With out further ado, on with the show. – Paul Drabick
PD : Greetings Shawn, Thank you for doing this with us. I know you have been busy with your new book Black Betty (On shelves 2/14) , touring conventions, as well as your regular duties at Action Lab Comics. Additionally our readers may recognize you from your writing on the Puppet Master, Fracture, and Snowed In. Anything else I might be missing?
SG: Always happy to talk comics! Other than some random anthologies and self-published work, I think you’ve pretty much got everything listed above!
PD : We know that Black Betty takes place in the Zombie Tramp universe and we can tell from the cover art it’s going to follow a strong female character, what else can you tell us to expect?
SG: Well, since Betty is monster bounty hunter, you can expect to see some crazy monsters! I’m trying to avoid the usual suspects like vampires and werewolves in favor of things like the enenra, penanggalan, and dryads. I’m sure I’ll get to the classic monsters, but for now I’m having fun with the more obscure and lesser-used creatures.
PD : From Angry Gnome to Puppet Master to now Black Betty, It looks like you’ve really found a home in the horror comic scene. When did you feel like “This is it, this is where I’m setting up”?
SG: Horror is where I’ve always wanted to be. Growing up, I’d be doodling monsters in every notebook I had. My school notes all had dragons and crazy creatures surrounding them. I remember being a kid, not old enough to read, and just hearing my parent and brother recount Stephen King stories… I was fascinated. So when I was old enough to start renting my own movies, I’d usually pick the horror flicks, and would dissect them as I watched… “I liked this. That would’ve been better if they did it this way.” By the time I started writing, horror was already ingrained in my mind as the genre that felt like home.
PD : You just spent , what? 3 years writing dialogue and stories for established characters in Puppet Master it’s got to be a big change going from that to something like Black Betty, has that been a challenge? Were there any hiccups changing gears? Or you just flow into it?
SG: It certainly is a different experience to write for a licensed property where you have certain rules to follow and writing my own book, like Black Betty, where I’m setting the rules… but I was still writing other things while writing Puppet Master, so my brain wasn’t locked into one way of writing. That being said, getting to have my own book shift into that “main focus” spot is pretty nice!
PD : the way I see it, writing is a lot like working out. The more you do it, the easier it is to keep going. Do you have any writing exercises you do to keep on your game? Or do you just never stop?
SG: I never stop! A lot of my writing is done in my head before I even put pen to paper (and yes, handwriting is my second step, after all the mental work). I’m always fine tuning ideas, developing dialogue, or building scenes in my head. I have notebooks scattered around the house so that I can grab whatever I need if something really hits me as an idea I need to get down right away. So yeah, always writing in one form or another!
PD : Fan-fiction can get a bad name, but I like to think of it as a good way get the creative juices flowing, what do you find helpful?
SG: I have a few triggers that help me. If I’m stuck, I’ll put on some Zeppelin, or read a little bit of Locke & Key or Preacher… and that’ll usually get me right back in the swing of things.
PD : Sometimes working the convention scene I’ve felt inspired just talking to certain people in the industry. Of all the people you’ve met since starting Action Lab is there anyone you want to collaborate with that you haven’t arranged?
SG: Oh there are plenty!! There are so many talented creators out there, I know I’d miss too many names if I started listing them. I’m fortunate that I get to work with so many at least in an editorial setting.
PD : Anything you have arranged that we should keep an eye out for?
SG: I’ve got a few things in the works… but they are all just shy of being far enough to talk about. Just know there is more coming!
PD : Aside from your own books, what was the last comic you read?
SG: I’m a little behind, but Paper Girls and Babyteeth were the two most recent I read. I’m halfway through Maxwell’s Demons #1 right now, and it’s a great start!
PD : Lastly, do you have any advice to for current or aspiring writers that want to go full time with their work?
SG: Just keep doing it! The truth of writing is simple: You will always have an audience. Whether you’re a good writer or a great writer, mainstream or obscure topics, there will always be someone out there who digs your style and wants to read what you are writing. The hard part is finding them. The only way to do that is to keep giving them content! Put yourself out there, the audience will find it, and that will cycle back to encourage more writing.
To keep up with Shawn and his works, you can follow him here :
Facebook : Shawn Gabborin
Twitter : @ShawnGabborin
WWW : Angry Gnome