Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Kevin Given0
Interview with Blake Northcott: talking about Fathom, Aspen Comics and more…
Alright fellow geeks, it’s time for another Given to Me column and I am so excited that one of the greatest upcoming authors (who happens to be drop dead gorgeous as well!) has taken time out of her busy schedule to grace this comic book reviewer with an interview. Blake Northcott, who is currently writing the Fathom title for Aspen comics (reviews here and here), shares with us the long road to success in the world of comic books and novels:
I was born in Bramalea, Ontario, and lived here in southern Ontario for most of my life, except for the year I was in Japan before high school. My mother is English/Canadian and my Dad was born in Slovakia. I went to McMaster University and have a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. I really love Canada and it’s been a great place to grow up, and to live!
2) Who were your influences growing up? Who inspired you to write, both in the world of comics and novels?
I had so many influences it’s hard to name just a few, but I have always been drawn to writing that has action, but also in-depth characters and lots of fun dialogue. Watching my favorite TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias definitely influenced me. Both JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon are such amazing writers I think I try to emulate a bit of their style when I’m writing. For novels, I love Laini Taylor, Lev Grossman, Stephen King … there are too many to list! In comics, I love writers like Mark Millar, Matt Fraction, Mark Waid, Bendis, Morrison … again, a long list!
3) How long did it take to get your first novel published and what kind of uphill battle did you face as an aspiring writer?
The decision to quit my full time job and become a writer was the scariest thing I’ve ever done! I knew it was time to do what I loved full time, so making that leap of faith was definitely a life changer. I’ve been really lucky to have such a loyal social media and online following. I decided to self-publish and all my books have been funded through social media & crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter so far. Those types of projects take a huge amount of organization as you’re responsible for everything from writing and editing the book, to the printing, dealing with other artists, the marketing and also mailing the product! It was a great experience, and I learned a lot. I’ve just recently completed my first book that I’m hoping to have published with an agency, so I’m excited to see what happens with that!
4) What are your favorite comics? Which company do you think does the best job creating comics, excluding the ones you’ve worked for?
I’ve always been drawn to smaller labels, even though I enjoy comics from the big 2 as well. Some of my favorite comics recently are Sex Criminals, Chew, Fables, and Saga. All time? Kick-Ass might be my favorite series! I love Marvel and DC, but at the moment I think Image is absolutely killing it.
5) Tell us about your time at Millar world.
Being an Ambassador at Millarworld was so much fun. People are so passionate about Mark’s work, and being able to coordinate the Editorial features for his comics was a great experience. He’s another writer that I have looked up to for a long time, and having him as a mentor really meant a lot to me as I’m such a fan of his work!
Arena Mode was my first novel that really got a lot of attention online. The crowdfunding experience was great for me, as I was able to network with a lot of big name artists in the comic book industry. Working alongside people like Dave Johnson, Steve McNiven, Mark McKenna, Natasha Allegri and more was a fantastic experience, both to grow as a creator and just to geek out at their work. Having it reach the #1 spot of highest grossing Sci-Fi book on Kickstarter is something I’m always going to feel proud of.
7) I just reviewed your first issue for Fathom and it was a fun read. Tell us about that title and how you came to work for Aspen.
The editor at Aspen was a fan of my novel Arena Mode, and we were also connected on Facebook. He reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in writing for them, and of course I jumped at the chance. I’ve been a fan of Aspen and Michael Turner for such a long time, so this was a real dream come true.
8) Tell us about some of the novels you’ve written.
The novels I first wrote were a trilogy called “Vs Reality“. After that I started the “Arena Mode” Saga, which was a trilogy that was funded all through Kickstarter. I really enjoyed working on them and collaborating with many well-known artists to include with the book. Now you can find all my novels online at Amazon. com.