Sean Taylor is my type of guy. I know this because his answer to “Question 10” below — the one about the most important “big idea” you’ve learned about life — comes from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Laugh if you must, but Bill and Ted belong in the great hall of philosophers in my reckoning.
Sean’s the writer behind Gene Simmons Dominatrix (IDW), Gene Simmons House of Horrors #1, Shooting Star Comics Anthology #1-6, and Fishnet Angel: Jane Doe #1-2. He’s currently working on Jesse James in the Mayan Underworld (Arcana Comics), and The Tantalizing Ti-Girl, a new manga from Mini-Komix.
Question 1: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics for a living?
Back in the early 2000, I hooked up with the other creators who were creating the Shooting Star Comics Anthology, and the bug bit me pretty strongly. I stuck around and enjoyed the experience enough to help some of the others launch the indy company Shooting Star Comics.
Question 2: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
Probably the odd couple type combination of Ernest Hemmingway and C.S. Lewis. Lewis helped me realize I wanted to write and reading Hemmingway taught me how to cut to the chase with words. Also, it was the blending of Lewis’ Christianity and Hemmingway’s existentialism that helped to form my own warped view of the world.
Question 3: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
Chuck Dixon, hands down, is my biggest influence as a comic book writer. He’s the single most consistent writer working in the business today, I think. After him, I’m a huge fan of Steve Seagle’s ability to create memorable characters, Gaiman’s ability to weave fantasy and reality together in eye-opening ways and Dwayne McDuffie’s ability to tell a straightfoward action story and still keep the characters fun and personable. It’s because of these guys that I can even write at all, at least for comics.
A good movie or a good book is usually all it takes. Or, a really depressing book of the Bible like Ecclesiastes, Hosea or Job. For some reason, I can’t get enough of those. Or, a phone call from a friend. Those are like good drugs for the writing soul.
Question 5: Describe your typical work routine.
Typical? What’s that mean? Heh. I usually write at Starbucks. That’s why I can simulate the “office” experience and stop every now and then to talk to the folks at the counter. For editing though, I have to lock myself at my kitchen table and turn off everything in the house that makes noise except the XM Chill station really low. Then I just work until I hear my kids’ buses drive by the house.
Question 6: What writing, drawing, or other tools do you use?
I use Microsoft Word or Open Office for writing, and a standard legal pad for plotting and jotting down ideas and making strange drawings that make sense only to me in order to put a story in order. For lettering, I’m a huge fan of Illustrator and fonts from Blambot.
Reading a completed story, hands down. Seeing the idea become fully realized is like finding a new kid that doesn’t increase the cost of your monthly grocery bill.
Question 8: What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?
Probably Gene Simmons Dominatrix. It gave me the confidence that I could indeed take a risk with content and still tell a compelling story and win the attention of readers who were initially dismissive of the idea.
Question 9: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
Learn how to network. Period. If you can’t do that, you are severely limiting your ability to work in this business.
Question 10: Time to get philosophical: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?
It came out of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – “Be excellent to each other” and “party on, dudes!” In fact, I’m pretty sure, that’s religious talk right out of Ecclesiastes, if you look hard enough.
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