Joey: Well, Footprints definitely taught me a lot. About producing an independent project, about marketing yourself, about the technicalities of physical production, about Kickstarter, all of that stuff. Footprints was a very, very expensive lesson, basically, that I’m still paying for. So in that respect, I’ve learned the hard way how to budget better. In terms of the creative process, I’ve found my groove more or less, at least in terms of how I like to work.Footprints was done mostly on the computer, with notes in one giant master document that was constantly updated and then broken out into scripts. The way I’ve done every project post-Footprints including Pawn Shop is with a pen and paper first in a rough draft (which you can see in the Pawn Shop Script Book we’re offering to backers) and then a typed first draft with subsequent edits done on the computer. Handwriting allows not only greater mobility—I can write by the pool!—but it’s easier for me to just get thoughts and ideas down and sort through them and organize them later. It’s an approach that works for me, at least right now.
Josh: You talk and write about comics for a living. That has to make creating your own a bit more of a daunting proposition, since you probably have a pretty good idea of what the critiques will be. How do you find the right balance between the desire for perfection and the need to simply complete the project?
Joey: I mean, I don’t approach my creative projects with a critical eye. You can’t, otherwise nothing would ever get done. So to that end, I don’t worry much about bad reviews or anything like that. Obviously it feels great when you get something positive said about you, and it’s equally disappointing when someone hates what you do, but that comes with the territory. If anything, I think covering comics as my day job has allowed me to distance myself from reviews, just because I wholeheartedly understand that it’s someone’s opinion and they’re entitled to it. At the end of the day, all that matters to me is that it’s a work that I’m happy with and that my collaborators are happy with. And that should go for all creators, I think—I know I’ve given some bad reviews in my time, but really, what does it matter? If the creator is proud of the work, that’s all they should care about, my review be damned.
Josh: With two independent projects now under your belt, what are you hoping to do next? Do you have any brilliant ideas you hope to have a chance to do at one of the “Big Two”?
Joey: Oh, I have plenty of “brilliant” ideas for obscure characters at the Big Two that would never have a chance, haha. But sure, I’d obviously love to write for them, but it’s not what I’m focused on. My real focus is on creator-owned work and telling the best stories I can with characters I’ve created. As much as I love superheroes and such, I think you’re starting to see that the future of comics as an art is in creator-owned IP, not these corporate characters. Superheroes, by requirement, often remain stagnant for decades. But with original works, literally anything goes, and that’s awesome and freeing. But I do have some freelance work at the moment—I’m writing a mini-series for Zenescope called Grimm Fairy Tales: Bad Girls, which is my first real experience in dealing with company-owned characters, and that’s been a lot of fun. It’s creatively rewarding in a whole different way. I’ve got another project elsewhere that I unfortunately can’t talk about yet, but it’s in a similar vein. Other than that, I’ve got a bunch of short stories coming up in various comic anthologies, and I’ve got a few pitches in the works that will hopefully see the light of day somewhere.