Here at Multiversity Comics, we are looking into expanding the types of articles we write in many different directions – we want to be more than just a site that posts reviews and talks about cool news from the fans perspective. We want to give our readers a bit more insight into the world of comics and what it takes to make the books that we love.
That is why we are introducing a new feature that we’ll be calling Multiversity Comics Presents, in which we will interview creators across the industry about how they create what they do, what their inspirations are, what comics mean to them, and many other things.
We have an exciting list of creators upcoming in this feature, but up first is Tom Sniegoski. Known for his collaborative novels with Christopher Golden and the Fallen primarily, Tom also frequently works in the comic book world. His work includes BPRD: Hollow Earth and a prequel to Bone titled Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails, making him the only person besides Smith to write in that universe. That leads into the primary subject of today’s interview: Jeff Smith announcing that more Bone books would be released and that Sniegoski, not Smith, would be writing them.
It’s a very exciting time for Bone and Tom Sniegoski fans, so please read this interview and make sure to leave a comment if you enjoy this feature.
You frequently work with collaborators, as you’ve worked with Christopher Golden many, many times in your career, you’ve worked with Mike Mignola, Eric Powell and now you are going to put these books together with Jeff Smith. Why do you think you work so well with collaborators? What is it about working with others that brings out the best in your writing?
Tom Sniegoski: To put it simply, collaborating can be fun…especially when you’re talking about the amazing talent I’ve been blessed to work with over the years. Writing is often a very solitary, and lonely profession, and most of the time that’s just how it is. I sit down early in the morning, and I write. I spend WAY too much time in my own head…but when the opportunity comes about where I can work with somebody…interact and such, it’s a real fun change of pace. And then after collaborating, I get tired of that too and go back to being all alone and have no problems with it…that is until I get lonely again. Are you seeing pattern here? I’m psychotic…pure and simple.
Bone is one of the most well loved comics that has ever been made and has sold in the millions. How exactly did you start working with Jeff Smith with these characters?
TS: My memory is a little fuzzy, but I can remember being out to either breakfast or lunch with Jeff Smith, and we were just talking about stuff, and I came up with idea for a back-up story to run in BONE. This was the Riblet story that ended up being drawn by the amazing Stan Sakai. That turned out really well, and was an absolute blast, but I pretty much thought that would be it…until I got a call from Vijaya (Jeff’s wife) and she asked me if I’d be interested in writing the prequel to BONE that Jeff would draw. After I picked myself up the floor I said that I would need to think about it . . . no seriously, I sad yes on the spot and The Adventures of Big Johnson Bone was born soon after that.
TOM: Not sure how much Jeff and Scholastic wants me to give away, but we’ll most definitely being seeing some familiar faces from the Valley in the three Trilogy novels. I think we’ve already mentioned the two Stupid Rat Creatures, and Rock Jaw and Roderick…but there are some others too, that haven’t been mentioned yet that I want to keep as a surprise. Sorry.Continued below
For Bone: Quest for the Spark, how did you come up with the idea of expanding on this universe? Was it something you and Jeff had spoken about and you just decided to go for it, or did you take it on yourself and just jump right in?
TS: I’ve been after Jeff for quite some time to at least think about continuing the BONE story some how. He was pretty resistant, basically ‘yesing’ me to death, but I could tell that he really wasn’t all that interested. He’d always placate me with a promise to do more Big Johnson Bone tall tales…which was perfectly fine by me. We both just needed the time to work on them.
About a year ago, after BONE was being published by Scholastic, I had the big idea that maybe the BONE story could continue in novel form. It was a crazy idea, but I brought it to Jeff and he continued to ‘yes’ me to death again, and promised that we’d do more Big Johnson Bone stories. I was really persistent though, and eventually ended up having a long conversation with Vijaya at the 2008 Comic-Con, when things started to fall into place. So, to make a long story shorter, we decided that the novels would be an amazing idea, AND that we would do more Big Johnson Bone stories…which will end up being in the new Tall Tales From Boneville collection coming from Scholastic in 2010. Phew!
Why did you decide to write a full trilogy of novels instead of the script for a new comic book?
TS: Jeff was (is) pretty busy with a whole bunch of new ideas (Rasl) being one of them, and didn’t feel that he could dedicate the kind of time he would need to a brand new epic…and also, we wanted to try something completely different, and present the next Bone stories in a brand new way. And since novels are pretty much my bread and butter these days, we thought this way might be really cool.
Do you feel a lot of pressure in creating new stories in such a beloved series?
TS: Oh yeah, massive heart attack time when I turned in the first book (yes, the first draft of Book One is done!). The Bone universe is so special, and the voices of the characters so specific, it was really nerve wracking trying to get all the details just right. But I guess I did fine because Jeff, and David Saylor (the Art Director over at Scholastic Grafix) really loved the book. And believe me, if they didn’t like it, I’m positive I would have heard about it.
How has the fan response been so far on someone besides Smith writing new Bone material?
TS: There seems to be a little caution, but from what I’ve seen, most of these people aren’t familiar with me, or the fact that I’ve written in the Bone universe before. Most of these folks haven’t even seen the original Stupid-Stupid Rat Tails. Guess they’ll just have to give the new material a try and see if it works for them. All I can say is, if Jeff is happy, then the fans should be pretty pleased as well. I hope.
Do you have any tasty story tidbits on what the fans can expect from Bone: Quest for the Spark?
TS: All I can say is to expect pretty much the same amount of humor, action and adventure that you got from the original Bone series, with some old, familiar faces and some really cool new ones that I hope fans will want to see again (yep, more stories being brewed even as we speak!).
TS: Recently the first Lobster Johnson novel was released from Dark Horse Books. That’s a spin off book from the Hellboy universe featuring Mike Mignola’s 1930’s pulp adventurer. That was an absolute blast to work on, and I hope the fan response is good so that I can write a few more.Continued below
I also write a paranormal (Urban Fantasy) mystery series about an angel private eye in Boston for Ace Books, and I’m currently writing the third book, with a fourth right behind it. The first is called A Kiss Before the Apocalypse, and the second, Dancing on the Head of a Pin. I’m really proud of these.
And in October of this year (2009) my novel LEGACY comes out from Delacorte Books. The book pretty much asks the question, what if the father you never knew was Batman (or somebody pretty darn close) and that he’s come into your life to get you to join the family business. It’s a pretty dark take on the whole idea of being a hero and super hero.
You’ve worked with a lot of industry giants in the past. Who have you not worked with that you would like to?
TS: There are lots (too many really) of new guys out there that are just fantastic, and I would love to do work with all of them. There’s this guy named Tom Brown who’s absolutely amazing. I’ve got something in the early stages of cooking with him right now. The guy is just amazingly talented. I would really like to do some more stuff with Eric Powell–he’s just amazing to work with, and I’d like to do something with Bernie Wrightson again as well.
Who I’d really love to do something with would be Mike Mignola. He’s let me play in his toy box with Hellboy, the BPRD and Lobster Johnson, but we’ve never really worked together on anything…yet. Right now there’s something that’s brewing, but it’s still too early to talk about. Mike and I need to make some time in our schedules to work it out.
What are you currently reading in the world of comics?
TS: The question should be…what aren’t you reading? I read a ton of books every month, too many really. The stuff gets away from me. There are certain titles that I let pile up for a year, and then sit down and go through them over the course of a few days. I really don’t like reading my comics this way, but sometimes it’s the only way.
Let’s see, what am I reading that’s standing out…LOVE the Blackest Night stuff (Geoff Johns is the master!) The Dark Reign stuff is really fun too…The Goon is always a pleasure, as is anything Mignola/Hellboy related. Atomic Robo is a great book that everyone should be reading, the stuff from BOOM! Studios is always impressive. Dynamite Comics is doing some real fun stuff as well. As you can see I’m all over the place with my comics, but I really do love the stuff.
If you enjoyed Tom Sniegoski’s comments and are interested in any of his other works, links to where you can purchase those are directly below: