We are excited to welcome Bobby Nash to The Book Tavern. An award-winning author, Bobby Nash writes novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a variety of publishers. He is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers. On occasion, Bobby appears in movies and TV shows.
We’re excited to be able to speak with someone who knows comics! With the return of old school comics and superhero stories over the last decade, it’s crazy to see the people who were once picked on and called “nerds” now recognized as the cool kids. At what point did you step foot into writing comics? Was it an immediate success or did people seem to steer towards the comics they knew from early on?
I love comics and am thrilled to see these stories and characters getting the attention they so rightly deserve. Sadly, the comics still struggle month to month on sales compared to their big screen counterparts. The movie successes have not translated, in many cases, to the paper comics. I hope fans of the movies will start picking up the books the movies are based on.
I started creating my own comics as a kid, like so many others did, I’m sure. I also worked on school papers in high school and college where I had some work published. In 1992, my first semi-pro comic went on sale. It was a great thrill. That same year, I also started doing a one panel comic strip for a local monthly kid’s magazine called KEEPING UP WITH KIDS. That gig ran for twelve years. It would not be until 2000 when my next professional comic book happened when I became the scripter on a comic book called DEMONSLAYER for Avatar Press.
As we all know, things change in every industry, but has this been the case with the comic scene? Are the stories and characters more reminiscent of the early days of comics? What is the biggest difference between comics then and now?
Stories today are told differently than they used to be for several different reasons. We don’t read the same way for one, but the most notable difference is in length. Most stories today are told in arcs that are written to fit in a trade paperback collection seamlessly. That means one issue of the monthly comics simply stops and picks right back up the next issue. In the trade, it reads really well, but monthly, it’s a bit jarring. Personally, I miss cliffhangers.
The way comics tell a story has changed a little, but the tools have also certainly improved. Computer coloring has added new dimensions to comic book art as have drawing tablets for the artists to draw on. Reading comics digitally has also impacted how comics are drawn in some cases.
The biggest differences between comics then and now, as I see it, is that comics aren’t as widely distributed as they used to be. They are harder to find. I no longer see them in grocery stores, gas stations, etc. as I did as a kid. The second difference is price. Inflation and rising material costs have pushed the cost of a single monthly comic up to $3.99 or $4.99. This causes some readers to not buy the comic, but wait until the trade paperback comes out collecting the comics.
What do you hope to see from comics in the next ten years?
I hope that comics are still telling great stories and entertaining millions and I hope I am still part of the comic book industry. I would love to see sales improve across the board. There are many comic book publishers out there ranging from huge corporations to small press publishers. I would love to see more readers picking up their books.
Of course, even comic writers jump onto different projects. What are you currently working on? What can you tell us about it?
I’m always juggling a few projects as deadlines bounce ever closer. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on SNOW TRAPPED, the 4th book in my SNOW novella series for BEN Books. I also recently released the SNOW Series 1, Vol. 1 collection of the first 3 stories. I’m also working on HUNTER HOUSTON: HORROR HUNTER, a 4 novella series that spins off from John Hartness’ wildly popular BUBBA THE MONSTER HUNTER series for Falstaff Books. That one’s a nice mix of horror and comedy. After that, I have more Snow, more Houston, a SECRET AGENT X novel to write for Pro Se Productions, and books nearing completion like LANCE STAR: SKY RANGER “COLD SNAP” for Airship 27 Productions and EVIL INTENT for BEN Books, plus a few other odds and ends. It’s going to be a busy summer.
Wow! There is a lot coming down the pike! I love that! You have recently been published in The Joy of Joe: Memories of America’s Moveable Man from Today’s Grown-up Kids. From what I can tell, you are touched by a bit of nostalgia (I feel you, man). What do you hope to see make a successful come-back from the eighties or nineties?
I would love to see the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series make a comeback. I love those characters. Once upon a time I would have suggested Magnum p.i., but it looks like we’re getting a reboot of that on TV soon.
When Jim Beard approached me to write something for The Joy of Joe, I couldn’t resist. In fact, I had told the story that appears in the book on a panel at Toylanta con a year or so back as part of Dave West’s Toy Stories panel. When I told Jim about it, he wanted that story in the book. Those little toys were an inspiration for me as a writer without my even realizing it at the time.
Do you have any advice to pass on to any writers aspiring to get into comics?
Comics is a tough business. You have to learn to work as part of a team. Unless you can write, pencil, ink, color, and letter and do them all exceptionally well, you will have to work with other creative people. That means you have to sometimes compromise, you have to trust your partner. When it all comes together, though, man oh man. There’s a certain magic that happens when creative teams really come together well. That produces great comics.
If writing or drawing comics is your career of choice, treat it like a job if that’s what you want it to be. The first thing you need to understand is deadlines. Professionals live and die by deadlines. Know them and meet them. If you can’t meet them, let your editor know. Things happen. It’s better to tell them and adjust than avoid them and hope it all gets better. Deadlines are important. Sometimes that means long, sleepless nights or missing out on social events to finish your work.
Your editor is your ally, not your enemy. Editors get a bad rap sometimes because they are the one pushing you to meet deadlines, making you change things, and telling you when something doesn’t work. They aren’t doing this out of spite. The editor’s job is to make sure the comic is the best it can be. They have to service the creators, but also the publisher’s guidelines and the marketplace. Your editor wants you to succeed. He or she is your partner, not your enemy.
Have fun with it. Creating comics can be a lot of fun.
With so much already accomplished, what can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I have a few comic projects in the pipeline. The DOMINO LADY: THREESOME trade is coming soon from Moonstone Books.
On the non-comic front: BEN Books is releasing SNOW TRAPPED in July (probably next week). Moonstone is releasing THE AVENGER DOUBLE FEATURE, a book containing novellas by me and Chuck Miller. That is in stores September 23rd. I have stories in two anthologies scheduled to release in July from Pro Se Productions: AYM GERONIMO AND THE POSTMODERN PIONEERS: TALL TALES and PRIVATE EYES, SPIES, AND TOUGH GUYS. In November, the NIGHTVEIL
“CRISIS AT THE CROSSROADS OF INFINITY” novel is scheduled to release. Plus, a few other odds ‘n ends in the fire.
Thank you for chatting, Bobby! You’re so busy, it seems no fan will ever go a long while without something new! Please tell us where fans can find you this year for book signings and other events.
The easiest way to keep up with me and my insane schedule is www.bobbynash.com. I am also all over social media. Here’s a few places you can find me:
among other places across the web.
Check out our interview with Brian Rathbone as well!