First of all, I want to say thank you to Bluewater Productions President Darren G. David, writers Michael Lent & Brian McCarthy, and artist Kent Hulbert for offering this exclusive interview for the upcoming Orbit: Stephen King biographic comic book. Michael Lent and Brian McCarthy share their witty thoughts about working on the new comic due out in May 2011. Retail $3.99 32 pages.
Q. What makes this book different or the same as other biographic comics that you have done in the past?
A. “The Stephen King biography was a crazy challenge for us because he has a huge body of work spanning so many different mediums AND his work is so well known. There’s Stephen King the man and there’s Stephen King the body of work in literature, film, television and comics. Not only do you have to find a way to fit it all in, but you have to get the details right because his fans will know and they will call you out.” – Brian McCarthy
A. “For sure, this was the only assignment we’ve ever had where there was a real risk that if we got some facts wrong, we might be run over by a combine in one of Mr. King’s novels. We’re kidding, sort of, but, for example, we originally conceived King’s near-fatal accident in 1999 in a certain way from the media reports of the time; however, we soon discovered that based on Stephen’s own recounting and the police reports, the event was a lot more complicated. So we had to go back in and recreate everything as it happened – or risk a ride under the combine.” – Michael Lent
Q. What was the main reason for choosing Stephen King for this issue besides the fact that he is an icon?
A. “This was a really great opportunity to bring King to a new audience and new generation. On a personal note, as writers who work in multiple mediums, too, King is a hero of ours. We grew up on him and his work. Being old enough to see The Shining was a rite of passage. Luckily, the movie more than lived up to our expectations and still scares the “wit” out of us.” – Michael Lent
A. “When you’re old enough to read adult fiction King is who you reach for. The other thing is that King is prolific – he’s sold more than 350 million copies worldwide, translated into dozens of languages -- and many of them are masterpieces. Everybody has their personal favorites but we think that books like The Stand, Carrie, Delores Claibourne , It and Misery will stand the test of time. Same goes for movies like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Misery. We really respect that about King’s work. Did I mention Delores Claiborne? Seriously, that writing baked my noodle.” – Brian McCarthy
Q. How did you get Mr. King involved in this project and what was it like working with him?
A. “We contacted Stephen King through his longtime personal assistant Marsha DeFilippo who has been with him since 1986. To King fans, Marsha is something of a legend in her own right. She was amazingly helpful. Mr. King has an incredibly busy schedule so we emailed our questions and then patiently waited for answers. We had done our homework so we kept our questions short and to the point and mainly we just needed clarification of events.” – Michael Lent
A. “There’s so much misinformation out there so this kind of help was invaluable. Stephen and Marsha are air mobile when it comes to getting factual information out so the responses came quickly and we were able to make our deadline.” – Brian McCarthy
A. “One story we were helped with concerned Stephen as a small child witnessing a friend's accident involving a train. They were playing on the tracks and King literally witnessed him get hit. Until now, the event was largely apocryphal and wasn't mentioned in King's autobiography.” – Michael Lent
A. “We were able to get confirmation on the story. It's a great feeling when you can resolve something once and for all.” – Brian McCarthy
A. “Yeah, we exchanged High-5s that day!” – Michael Lent
Q. What was the artists/writers reaction when they were told they would get to do a comic on Stephen King?
A. “See our answer above.”
A. “I was excited when Darren asked me to do the Stephen King comic book. I have read a lot of his books so it was an honor to illustrate him.” –Kent Hulbert
Q. How much of Stephen King's life is covered in this book? Was there anything you had to leave out that you wish you could have included?
A. “We definitely got the highs and lows in terms of King’s personal life. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to focus as much as we would have liked on certain books, his Richard Bachman works, and the various television and comic book series. We would have loved double the pages to cover all of that. That said, we tried to come up with a mix of original and iconic images that would both welcome fans and maybe get them to reconsider the man and his work in a new light. Hopefully, readers will get that and appreciate our effort.” – Brian McCarthy
Q. What did you and your staff find most interesting about Stephen King's biography? Did you have to pick and choose which topics you would include, if so how daunting was it to choose?
A. “We focused on key books and key moments in King’s life and career. It was fantastic when the two coincided or collided like meteors in spectacular fashion. For example, after The Tommyknockers was published, King's family and friends had to stage a drug intervention. They were dumping all the evidence of his addictions taken from the trash and all of his hiding places on the rug in front of him. There were beer cans, mounds of cigarette butts, cocaine, weed, drugs like Xanax, Valium and all kinds of cough medicines that King was downing day and night to stay high. Stephen’s wife Tabitha had stood by him through the lean early years but now she said, “It’s either this junk or me.” Fortunately, King was able to get help and by the late 1980s, he was off all forms of drugs and alcohol for good. Afterwards, King said that there were some books he doesn’t even remember writing during that drug hazed period.” – Michael Lent
Q. Has Stephen King seen this comic yet, if so, what did he say about the amazing likeness of himself and what was his reaction in general?
A. “We sent the cover to him a week or two ago but haven’t heard back. We assume he’ll be bemused. If not, he can always fire up the combine.” – Brian McCarthy
Q. Comic-Con and Wonder Con are coming up soon, will you or any of your staff be there promoting this comic?
A. “We will not be at Wonder Con this year. We will have a presence at Comic con in which I am excited about.” –Darren Davis
ATSK: Comic-Con July 21-24
Q. If this comic sells well, how soon after the release of this one could we expect a sequel?
A. “That would be awesome but something that’s up to Darren and the readers. We are thrilled to be along for the ride.” – Michael Lent
Thank you so much for your time.
ATSK: To ensure that future Orbit: Stephen King comics will follow, click the link below, “Like” on Facebook, share the link on Twitter and/or buy it of course, maybe even a couple!!! (I had to special order 2 of my own copies through my local comic book store.)
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