Hello everyone, a while ago, let’s say about three months ago I had communicated with Blake Northcott, the author of the Arena Mode series as well as the author of the Aspen Comics project All-New Fathom to be on my show. I believe that my comic book followers and comic book podcasters can appreciate this post rather than my soundtrack followers. I believe this fits into my niche since I did get a chance to interview Phil Hester recently and I am very excited to share this special interview with Blake Northcott!
Interview with Blake Northcott
It would be great to ask you some questions about your career and projects.
First of all, How did you begin writing as a career and when did you go into the realm of comics?
Blake: I began writing full time after my career in the insurance industry came to an end. It was a risky move at the time, because I had a mortgage and bills just like everyone else, and there were no guarantees it was going to work out. But I decided that it was ‘now or never’ and I really wanted to start a full time writing career.
Following my dream was risky, but there’s no reward without taking a risk. So I went for it.
What fandom do you gravitate toward the most?
Blake: Wow, that’s a massive question! I’ve always been a Buffy nerd, and I’ve spent the last several years waiting for a Blu-Ray edition of the series. If you’re reading this, Joss Whedon, get on that!
But I’m always looking to expand my horizons: in recent years I’ve delved deeper into STAR WARS, LORD OF THE RINGS, and of course Marvel, both in the films and the comics. I don’t discriminate! Whatever looks fun, I jump into.
When writing is there any music that you enjoy listening to for inspiration?
Blake: I mostly listen to acoustic music or nature sounds when I’m writing. it helps to focus my creativity and tune out the world around me. Staying in that creative headspace is so essential to being productive. The fewer distractions, the better.
Who is your favorite character in comics and who is your least favorite? I know that is a loaded question.
Blake: So many characters that are close to my heart, it’s really difficult to say. I’ve enjoyed THE FLASH from the TV show, and Thor from the movies, THE PUNISHER from Netflix and I really loved reading DOCTOR STRANGE in the comics. But at the moment, I’m really getting into BOOSTER GOLD. He’s the most underused and undervalued character in all of comics. I think he could be the next DEADPOOL.
I don’t know about having a least favorite. Probably Megatron from TRANSFORMERS because he’s always yelling at Starscream. Give a guy some positive reinforcement for once! Stop being so negative.
With writing your Kickstarter funded trilogy of Arena Mode, did that develop your thoughts toward writing comics?
Blake: When I was writing ARENA MODE I was very focused on prose since it’s a three-hundred-page novel –but I collaborated with artists that I hired to work on different character designs as an added bonus for my backers.
I really enjoyed being able to see my characters come to life with so many talented artists like Dave Johnson, David Nakayama, and Steve McNiven doing the designs.
Who has been your greatest influence when creating?
Blake: I am influenced by many great authors and different types of writing, but I would say Joss Whedon was a huge influence on me growing up. His sense of humor, style, and witty dialogue really captivated my imagination. I feel like he solidified the Marvel style in 2012 with The Avengers, and captured the tone of comic books like no one had ever done before.
How did you feel when you had the chance to write for Michael Turner’s Fathom Comic?
Blake: Being able to write FATHOM for Aspen was a dream come true! She’s such an iconic figure in comics, and she is so well loved, so of course, I was excited to be a part of that.
Michael Turner’s legacy is overwhelming and he has such a huge fan base, so being just a little part of that was incredible.
What influences did you use when writing that comic?
Blake: I don’t know if I was influenced by anything, at least not consciously. I did a lot of research about marine life though, and the type of work that marine biologists do. It’s a rabbit hole of fascinating information that’s so easy to get stuck in—sometimes it’s tough to stop researching and start the writing process!
Did Aspen Comics approach you about writing for them?
Blake: Yes, they did. I was lucky enough to have the support of Vince Hernandez, the Editor-in-Chief at Aspen. He really went the extra mile to get me on board, He’s wonderful to work with and is such an amazing editor.
Do you think you’ll go back to writing for Fathom at some point?
Blake: I definitely hope to be able to write a volume of FATHOM again. I think it would be a wonderful opportunity to revisit those characters. I actually introduced a few different elements that are canon now, so I feel like I added a couple bricks to the house that Michael built.
For now, I’m looking forward to reading the 20-year anniversary volume, being written by Ron Marz, and illustrated by my friend Siya Oum. It’s definitely a dream team working on that book now and I wish them all the best.
With the exciting news about writing for Executive Assistant: Iris, what are you most excited about this character and subject matter?
Blake: The title is celebrating a 10 year anniversary and it’s such an honor to be a part of its history.
I have a lot of the same fears and excitement that I did with Fathom: I love that I’m getting to take part in such a loved and established character’s new journey, but I have big shoes to fill. Longtime fans will be reading this and I want to make sure they’re taken care of.
Do you have any exciting changes you’ll be bringing into the Executive Assistant Iris Comic that you can tell me about?
Blake: This Volume of Iris will focus on the idea of an assassin that has to face up to the fact that she is not invincible. She’s not a super-powered being. After a nasty altercation throws her for a loop, it leaves her questioning her own mortality.
I think showing that type of vulnerability, someone wrestling with their station in life, her traditional training vs. the modern technology being introduced into the world—it’s all very exciting.
Do you have any other projects you’re currently working on?
Blake: I am going to be co-writing with Scott Lobdell on the next volume of NO WORLD for Aspen. He is such an amazing writer, and I’ve loved everything he has done from X-MEN, IRON MAN, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, and especially his latest work the screenplay for HAPPY DEATHDAY.
There will be much more news to come, and I’ll be posting it all soon.
Do you have any future projects or events you can tell me about?
Blake: Next up I will be attending MEGACON in Orlando from May 24 -27 with the Aspen team.
I have also just completed work on my latest novel, where I’m tackling magic realism for the first time. I am not sure if I’ll be going with an agent and traditional publishing route or doing a self-published campaign through Kickstarter. Stay tuned to all my social media channels and website for updates!
Thanks so much for this interview, you are a wonderful creator and a great friend!
Blake: Thank you for having me!
It is always a wonderful opportunity to interview publishers. I encourage all my comic book friends such as Darrin and Ruth Sutherland of Trekker Talk, Xenoxoic Xenophiles, Warlord Worlds, Sensational Sleuths, Fantastic Fantasies and more; Gerry Green and Chris Karnes of Batbooks for Beginners; John Holloway, Jerry McMullen, and Cullen Stapleton of The Worst Comic Podcast Ever; Tim Benson of Omaha Bound Entertainment; Tim Mayer artist of works such as A Passage in Black; Phil Hester of Green Arrow, Shipwreck, The Wretch, and several other projects, Cullen Bunn author of The Sixth Gun, A Passage in Black, X-Men Gold, and more. These are just a few of the many creators I feel should check out Blake’s work.
All the links will be found here:
So that is all for this special Text Interview Post! I hope you all will enjoy reading the excellent interview with Blake Northcott, she is a treasure and has an amazing sense of humor, you should all follow her through social media! Until Friday Happy Listening!