One of my very favorite comics from this year was a Top Cow book called Echoes, a thrilling story about a man living with schizophrenia who inherited it from his abusive father. For me, Echoes was the kind of book that made me wonder who the writer is and how his mind works. As a result, the writer, Joshua Hale Fialkov, became one of the very few comic writers that I follow around. I started reading his other books and now I can’t get enough of his style.
When I heard he would be penning the new I, Vampire series under DC’s new 52, I knew I had to get some information out of him.
NL: Joshua, thanks for meeting with us. You write some pretty damn good stories. Do you offer sacrifices to the Gods for these ideas? KALI MA!
JHF: It really just comes down to putting in the time. I’ve got a stack of projects and ideas that I’m constantly working on and going back to and refining. Some things come out fully formed, but, a lot of the time it’s in pieces over time. I think, for me, anyways, as I get older, I’m finally getting to a place where I can tell these stories I’ve been itching to tell since I was a little kid. Especially the one about the Nazi Dolphins. Some day….
NL: One of my favorite things about your comics is that the art is always very impressionable. I can feel the way the characters feel through their expressions. Do you have a lengthy process of finding the right artist for your story or do you take what you can get?
JHF: The guys I gravitate towards are always in that more impressionistic/expressionistic mold, rather than photo real, because I love the style, mostly, and, because I think my stories are so personal and close to the chest that you need, as a reader, to feel a sense of identification with the characters, to really see yourself in them.
NL: You’ve written some big ones(Superman/Batman, Rampaging Wolverine), but it wasn’t till your creator-owned work came out that I noticed how good you are. Do you think that says something about the state of the bigger comic distributors?
JHF: Well, I’m a long form storyteller, and until I,Vampire, the big two haven’t given me a lot of opportunity to do that. I’d say that Superman/Batman was the first work for DC or Marvel that I’d done that felt like me, and my work. That’s sort of the ironic thing, I guess, that the proving ground with these companies is writing shorts and one shots, and the skill sets needed to do that kind of writing is almost diametrically opposed to long form storytelling.
NL: Some of those creator-owned works are actually in the process of being turned into feature length films. Do you have insight on any, and which do you think would lend themselves better to the screen than in comic pages?
JHF: My books are always books first. I write stories that I’m excited about, but, I have to spend time in the development process thinking about what the movie is going to be. I mean, look, I’ve made more money on options of my creator owned books than I’ve made actually writing them. It’s just a part of the equation, y’know? As of right now, ELK’S RUN is set up with the fine folk at Polsky Films (who made the Bad Lieutenant remake a couple years ago), and there’s a script being finished right now, directors being approached. TUMOR is set up with Josephson Entertainment, and we have Sam Bayer attached to direct. I wrote a book called ALIBI for Top Cow that’s now set up over at Summit Entertainment, and ECHOES which I’m writing the adaptation for, which is being talked about right now.
The other reality is that getting movies made is incredibly difficult and slow, so, y’know, hopefully there’ll be some movement in the not to distant future.
NL: You assisted in the writing of one of my favorite anime series: Afro Samurai. That’s a very different style for you. Was it a challenge to write that kind of story? Did you get to meet Sam Jackson?
JHF: I wish! I got to come on towards the end and really just did a dialogue pass. It was a great, great experience, because I got to really see the inside of animation, and get to play a part in something that I love, too. Plus, I’d worked on the manga prior to that, so, it was fun to get to see that come to life.
NL: I, Vampire – What’s the scoop? Is this the kind of book that people will kick themselves for missing?
JHF: YES. I,Vampire is me doing what I do on a much bigger scale. It’s about vampires, but, and this sounds funny, but, the part that really excited me was the word “I.” I wanted to tell a story from a very personal place, so we’re seeing this great big story on an epic scale, but told very much on the ground from the inside. I think that’s what comics do better than any other medium, and that’s been so much of my focus throughout all of my work.
But, i’m really focusing on telling a great, blood soaked, mean as hell love story. I can’t wait for people to check it out in a couple of weeks.
NL: The Last Of The Greats debuts this fall. Of course, it is already on my pull list. Care to share with us what direction this one will take?
JHF: Last of the Greats is about a family of superbeings who come to save the earth, right up until we systematically murder them for meddling in our affairs. Well, now, as the story starts, the earth is about to destroyed by a fleet of flying saucers, and the last of these beings is our only hope… Except… he completely hates us. It’s a grand adventure about everything that’s wrong with mankind… and everything that’s right, too.
NL: Are you a Doctor Who fan? Who’s your favorite doctor?
JHF: The biggest! I’m a second Doctor guy. Troughton is just everything that’s wonderful about the character in one insane tiny man. Getting to write a story in the Doctor Who Annual was a big thrill, and, I can say that’s not the last time I’ll be mucking around with the Doctor in the coming months.
NL: Lastly, can you tell us what your favorite movie, video game, and comic is?
JHF: Favorite movie is probably a tie between La Dolce Vita and, ahem, Back to School. Favorite game is probably the Portal series, and favorite comic of all time would be Concrete.
Well there you have it, folks. A coming of age writer who has been making waves at all three major players in comics. He’s a personal favorite of mine and is sure to be one of yours soon enough. Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews with amazing creators at the only place for your inner nerd, Nerdlocker.