Brendan McGinley's Hannibal Goes to Rome is one of the first Webcomics to have been a part of the ShadowlineOnline stable. And McGinley himself has been immersed in comics and writing for most of his life, working with almost every single publisher that a fanboy/girl could care to dream. He took a few moments from conquering the world to answer 10 Questions for ShadowlineOnline.
1. What got you into doing an historical-based webcomic such as Hannibal Goes to Rome?
I loved Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe as a kid and still do. I was doing alternate history for Citizen X and trying to stay away from Hannibal but he's most of what we know about their history so I couldn't help falling for him as a personality. His story is a true epic, and loaded with so many great images I guess I wanted to see a comic before anyone beat me to it. Plus I wanted to find more work for (artist) Mauro (Vargas) since he was so great on Dose and he can do anything -- gritty, textured Cartoons, high-energy action, perfect caricatures.
Plus I was submitting to Zuda and wanted to hedge my bet on how much claim they could lay to my characters if I won.
2. Who’s the toughest Hannibal: Hannbal from the A-Team, Hannibal Lecter or legendary general Hanniba Barca?
Neither! Hannibal Monomachus -- the real-life Hannibal the Cannibal! (Editor's Note: And friend to Hannibal Barca)
3. What are some of the benefits to working on webcomics as opposed to a standard print comic?
Plenty -- no print costs, typos can be corrected, color costs the same as black & white, and one good tweet can bring me a few thousand readers while I'm cooking dinner. (Thanks, Aisha Tyler!)
That said, it's a broader ocean to swim in and I think all the comics I originally put together for print and then distributed online would be seen as more legitimate by editors if they were concrete. Triply so if they were Concrete by Paul Chadwick. It doesn't matter that you put the project together and reached a larger audience, there's a sense of professionalism conferred more on ink than pixels. This industry...it doesn't always have its eyes on the horizon, you know? I'm really grateful to Shadowline for giving me a place to do what I do.
4. If you could live in another era (even including the distant future), which would you choose and why?
I'm pretty happy with now. The past has healthier oceans but the future is getting leaner and cleaner. When I was a kid our TV was black & white with no cable. Now there's just data everywhere.
Wait, that's boring. I'd try my hand in a tribe of techno-anarchistic crime-fighters hated and feared by a world that doesn't understand their strange powers!
5. What drew you into creating comics?
I think it was enough love for the awesome parts of this medium awash in the acidic disgust for the awful parts. Most writers I know has at least some sense of "I can do that better." All I ever do with my comic writer friends is take that Hulk vs. Superman kind of chatter and dissect why Kingdom Come worked but Identity Crisis didn't.
6. You seem to be quite the foodie. What’s the greatest food you ever ate?
Oh, man. That's like picking only one Stones song. Whatever it was it had cilantro in it. Lately, though, I've been making a lot of kinds of tacos, some Japanese hotpots, and sublime sandwiches. I'm going back to simple and quick because it can't always be an elaborate barbecue or a roast. I'm learning to bake, because it's really, really hard to get right, and also because bread is terrific. If you get a chance, though, find yourself a nice Albanian joint that will make you some burek. Now that's comfort food.
7. You write, draw, ink and color. You’ve worked at or been published by Marvel, DC, Wizard, Cracked, Maxim, National Lampoon, Moviefone, The Gutters, MTV Clutch and of course Image Comics. Do you feel like a modern day version on Hannibal conquering the world?
Jeez, when you put it that way, it sounds impressive, rather than me scrabbling 17 hours a day locked in my room for lunch money. No, the biggest difference is Hannibal knew what he was doing.
8. Would you consider yourself a geek, a nerd or neither?
I'm not sure. Which one is the angry one?
9. What is your theme song?
Appropriately to my imprint, "Bankshot" by Operation Ivy.
10. Do you have any favorite genre in comics as a writer and does that differ from what you like to draw?
I really love superhero books when they're not soap opera. Wildstorm made the best cape titles of the 21st Century, thanks especially to Warren Ellis and Joe Casey. That's what I like, that stuff that dares to answer the questions raised by the concept. One reason Neil Gaiman was the only one who could follow Alan Moore on Miracleman is because Moore is a game-ender. He takes the idea of the character all the way to its conclusion, but Gaiman can examine the minutiae of a world and daily life under odd circumstances and still make it meaningful.
I mean, I love to draw that stuff, I just realized long ago that I'm better at writing than drawing despite a longer trail behind my pencil than my pen. I usually draw hands and faces, eyes in particular, so I guess I focus on the emotive character of the thing. I notice I'm usually directing artists in my scripts towards precisely the facial expression I want. I have terrible handwriting and it shows in my linework as well as my layout/blocking. I try to carve the page with the pencil and bully it into what I want it to be. By the time I unlock the secret warp zone to my right brain it's usually 4 in the morning and time for a break, if not bed.
I like comedy, I especially like meaningful comedy, something like Kyle Baker's King David or what Barry Ween grew into. I fell in love with the Giffen / DeMatteiss Justice League right around 8th grade, the way they were all such dysfunctional people but so, so much more human. You know, you earn those scenes, where Guy Gardner lets Ice (and only Ice) see that he's not a jerk at Mr. Miracle's funeral, or my first and still favorite comic, GrimJack, where John Gaunt is an impenetrable survivor, but he'll still cry when something gets through the armor, and they really validate the other 90% of the time that those characters are wearing different parts of their personality to the world.
Yeah, it probably comes out to the same thing. I just want to feel something.
Hannibal Goes to Rome is updated every Wednesday on ShadowlineOnline.com. So when you get your comics from the shop, come home and read the newest page from Hannibal Goes to Rome. Or read it on your iPad if you're fancy enough!