Green Wake scribe Kurtis J. Wiebe took a few moments out of his hectic schedule to provide ShadowlineOnline readers some insight into a mind that has created a critically acclaimed comic compared by many to Twin Peaks. What resulted is an interview that's as tasty as the finest cherry pie.
1. Considering that it feels like you've somehow found a direct doorway into the minds of Raymond Chandler and David Lynch, how did you come about the story for your series Green Wake?
KW: I’m a pretty big fan of the Cthulhu mythos. I love the idea of an ancient power corrupting the minds of men and the corruption often leading to physical change. Aesthetically, that’s the inspiration, but the story was an amalgamation of my personal struggles mixed with lessons I’d learned about the nature of guilt and regret.
I started putting the concept together when Riley asked me to write an unrelated backup story for his series Proof. He’d wanted a chance to try something new, and so I obliged him with a story about a small town that was taken over by a group of strange cultists. From there, we found a larger story and decided to make it something bigger. Obviously it has changed significantly since that time, but some of those early concepts still hold true.
2. How has your Shadowline experience been so far and how has it differed from you other comic book work?
KW: Shadowline is a much more personal experience. Jim Valentino is very hands on and one of the major things I appreciate about him is his commitment to me as a creator. He’s given me some solid advice and even called me to talk about what is coming up for me and potential hazards I can avoid by playing my cards right.
Also, it’s been rewarding to get personal, instant feedback on the pages as they come in from both Jade (my editor) and Jim. It feels like we’re doing something special when both the fans and the publisher are excited by your work.
3. What was your most life-affecting Saturday Morning cartoon while you were growing up?
KW: That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that. Great question! I’d have to say that the original Warner Brothers Batman: The Animated Series. It’s universally acclaimed, and with good reason. The writers dealt with real human struggles and didn’t lighten the tone for the sake of ratings. I think that honesty made it so successful, and I still go back and watch The Mask of the Phantasm at least once a year. It’s that good.
4. What are your interests outside of writing comic books?
KW: Comics takes up a huge amount of my time, but I try to make room in my life for music. I’ve played guitar since I was a kid and recently picked up the drums which has been a real fun escape for me. If I’m ever stuck or frustrated with a script, I strap on my Ipod and smash my drum kit for an hour and, for whatever reason, it clears my head and helps me focus.
I also write short stories, screenplays, and recently had a novel picked up by a publisher. Truthfully it’s been a few years since I’ve touched my prose work, but it’s still enjoyable when I find the time for it.
5. If you had to be stuck writing one genre for the rest of your life between Superheroes or Mystery/Noir, what would you choose and why?
KW: I hope that’s never a decision I have to make, because I love experimenting with all kinds of genre and theme.Intrepids is so far removed from Green Wake that it’s a refreshing change to go from one series to another when scriptwriting. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with mystery/noir for the simple fact that I can easily infuse a lot of my emotion into a story where I’ve created the characters who are often a small fraction of myself. I love that aspect of creator owned work, my only limit is myself.
Still, I’d be happy to write anything, I want to stay busy at this for a long time.
6. You've worked with artists of varying styles. Are there any dream artists with whom you'd like to collaborate?
KW: There are a few, for sure. I’d love to sit down and talk with Ben Templesmith, he’s become so popular which is great considering his work is so drastically opposite of the status quo. His work in Fell was what got me into comics (and Ellis’s writing, of course). I’d also have a lot of fun doing a Conan story with Cary Nord, which was also an early series I picked up and enjoyed the hell out of. I think I could write a pretty decent barbarian epic.
7. You were born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Do you find that this experience provided you with the ability to rock a fuzzy hat with earflaps?
KW: I think the only thing about being raised in a place like Saskatchewan can provide you with is the ability to endure any weather. That’s not entirely true, my roots are in this place and family and friends make it home. I’m proud to come from Saskatoon, and it’s been my experiences here that have shaped many of my stories, whether they were positive or painful.
8. Are there any past ideas you've had published that you wish you could resurrect?
KW: I’d love to do a fuller, more complete version of Beautiful Creatures that came out from Red 5 in 2009. It’d be a lot of fun to take that concept, which was a light hearted action comedy (Buffy style) about four girls who discovered they had reborn mythological creatures inside them and turn it into a horror series.
Hmmm. Not a bad idea.
9. You have two creator-owned books out at the same time (Green Wake and The Intrepids). Do you feel like you're competing against yourself for sales?
KW: No, not at all. Both series are getting positive attention and that can only serve them well. I think because they are so different, as well, that there are no comparisons people can draw and can treat them as two separate entities. I’ve also put hundreds of hours into promotion for both books and to be able to announce that they are both my projects allowed for synergy, I think.
10. Do you have any nicknames?
KW: Riley’s recently started calling me Wiener Dog, which he has shortened to W.D. I have no answer as to why.
Green Wake #3 was released this past Wednesday, and that's plenty to bark about!