The journey goes like this—born in PA, raised in CA with stops in OR, WA, WV and now MT. I was always writing something along the way, from the age of 8 or so. I was first published in 2008 in the pages of Image Comics’ POPGun, which featured a short I did with Ming Doyle.
How long have you been writing comics? What was the first piece of work you ever go paid for?
Well, after the POPGun short, I wrote both the POWERS Encyclopedia and The Walking Dead Survivor’s Guide. Both were paid gigs. My first original paid publication was ENORMOUS, which was a 64-page oversized treasury edition through Jim Valentino’s Shadowline-Image imprint released in July 2012.
Recently I just finished Enormous, which was a really interesting read, where did you come up with this idea? (Check out my review of Enormous)
The idea came from a 2010 plane ride with my then, very young daughter, Elle. We had exhausted all of our entertainment on the flight and we were idly looking at the window and as we made our descent into Los Angeles, I asked her what it would look like if there were a giant monster below. That started a conversation which led to me asking her where we would live if just such creatures took over the planet. When she answered, “Underground, like ants.” I immediately grabbed my notepad and furiously started writing notes…
The main character in Enormous is female, Ellen, why did you want to write a story with a female lead, much less a gay female lead. I think this certainly speaks to how far comics have come in terms of the problems and issues they tackle. What are your thoughts in this?
While I have had the benefit of many exceptional women in my life, some of whom are in fact lesbian, it never occurred to me until well into the writing process on the new series why Ellen had no love interest as of yet. Suddenly, very unexpectedly, the answer came to me—because Ellen’s partner, Megan, had died during the initiating event. I mean really, if we can create a world overrun by monsters, why can’t Ellen love whoever it is she chooses to love? I’ve answered the question about Ellen’s sexuality before and it bears repeating, she’ll tell me who she’ll love.
I have read that Enormous also was getting a TV show. Is there any truth to this and if so how did all that come about?
Yes, there’s truth to this and we are working on something rather extraordinary in that regard right as I type this. Enormous has long been championed by Prime Universe Films producer, Adrian Askarieh, who was at the Shadowline-Image booth on day one when Enormous debuted at SDCC 2012. He’s been staunch in his support of the property, garnering us a couple of options already—first with Machinima as a web short which debuted on their youtube channel in 2014, and later with New Regency/FOX Studios which did not move beyond development. Since that time, Adrian has teamed with Eva Cao (producer) and both of them have worked very hard with Mehdi and I to give Enormous a new home, and new life in a very interesting, maybe ground-breaking new way.
I have to be honest. I only came across Enormous by chance, and it seems to be somewhat of an underground success, which I think makes it that much cooler and intriguing. How does a book like this that is somewhat underground get a TV show? I partly think this is some of the allure, that it is not that overly popular, yet very mysterious, and the idea is really cool in and of itself. How were you able to pull off this sort of mysterious underground success that has also crossed over to the big time?
A lot of that is due to Adrian’s persistence. Otherwise, as a reader and viewer I can tell you, I really love discovery. That’s why comics like Saga, or television series like Stranger Things, really capture the general public’s attention—we love discovery as much, if not more than embracing the never-ending tales of 75 year-old characters. Related to this is something my wife and I talk about often, which is horizon. I try not to ever put a limit on my creative aspirations or the resulting creations. Why should I? Not when others will do it for me. I simply try to create a story, and let everyone else sort out what it means to be “successful” or not.
Along those same lines I am not sure if you are aware but Enormous Issue # 1 is selling for quite a bit of cheddar on Ebay, like $200 or more. How cool is it that something you created is now a collector’s item, not only that but an expensive collector’s item. And do you have any spare copies laying around that you could send my way – (elbow nudge, wink wink haha).
Definitely aware and really grateful to collectors and speculators that helped propel Enormous forward. It’s a segment of the comic book community of which I was never really aware of until Enormous broke. Many of the folks I’ve met through the CGC Fourm have become friends and big supporters of my work, which thankfully has carried over to titles like Curse and Burning Fields. They’ve taken a risk by investing in Enormous and I hope each and every one of them make money on their endeavor.
The artwork in Enormous is over the top in almost every aspect. It almost reminds me something similar to Alex Ross’s work. How did you find your artist? When you wrote the story was this the style you were looking for or that you had envisioned for the story?
I met Mehdi Cheggour via Facebook back in 2010, and he was out-of-the-box astounding then and has only grown as an artist since. He was the first and only collaborator I pitched the book to and we’ve stayed on this journey together ever since. Don’t see that changing at all since the look of the book is so integral to its appeal.
There seems to be quite a long time between releases of the next issues of Enormous. What is the hold up when it comes to getting the newest issue out there? What are the biggest problems you have come across when publishing?
We are slated to publish six issues per year with a Trade Paperback and Field Guide that encapsulates each volume by spotlighting characters, creatures and process. It also features COLOSSAL our world-expanding spinoff with artist Jason Copland (Kill All Monsters, Daredevil, The Tomorrows) and colorist Matt Battaglia (Indoctrination/Roche Limit). The opening and closing issue of each arc is 30 pages, so we’re hopefully offering a lot of material each Season. Since Mehdi both draws and colors each issue, our schedule is realistic. Overall, I think we need to come to terms with the fact that the monthly publishing schedule is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all books.
I have also seen where you wrote Curse. I read where this story may also be getting a TV show. Can you talk more about that if this is true? And again this book has also become somewhat of a collector’s item selling quite a bit above its retail price. (No need to send me a copy, I already bought one.)
I did indeed co-create Curse with Michael Moreci, Colin Lorimer, and Riley Rossmo for BOOM! It has subsequently been optioned for the screen by Blumhouse. Given their track-record with horror properties, we’re all very excited by the prospect. Good to hear it’s seen a bump in collectability and aftermarket sales. I would encourage everyone interested in a taught family drama which happens to include werewolves to buy the trade collection.
I would love to model my career, or lack thereof, after yours. As far as I can tell you have only worked on your own books and characters, which are very successful. Do you have any desire to work for one of the big studios on major characters? I know a lot of writers usually do this throughout their career. Is this something you would like to do as well? If so who is a character that you would love to write a story for?
At this point in my career, I have no desire to create valuable things for other people to own. Nor do I have any desire to further the value of creations already owned by others, unless it means doing production and design for creator-owned comics. I definitely subscribe to the Kirkman manifesto of ownership which I found truly inspiring.
Work for myself and my collaborators, and own our creations. Writing happens only when I feel it and I never force it because it’s shit and will ring false with readers. Write only what I yearn to read and typically that has meant things currently underserved by the medium. Only two things have ever driven me forward – the desire to create and my family.
No one individual is responsible, I have admired comic book creators since the age of 12 when I first discovered the X-Men. So that gamut ranges from Chris Claremont to Curt Pires and scores of writers and artists in-between. Novels and film have also had a major impact on my desire to create which dates back to George Lucas and Star Wars in 1977 and Stephen King…like forever.
Can you talk about any new projects you are working on? What does the rest of 2016 hold for Tim Daniel?
Currently, I’m preparing 4 titles which will be announced and released over the course of 2016 and 2017 in addition to Enormous which shall continue with news on that very soon. The first title announced thus far is FISSURE from Vault Comics. The book debuted and sold out in preview form at SDCC 2016.
“Deep in the southwestern edge of Texas in the shadow of the Great U.S. Homeland Security Barrier, withers the border town of El Sueño. Something incomprehensibly large—an organism of untold scale, has moved beneath the town and in its wake, the creature has left behind a cavernous subterranean tunnel. A fissure emerges in the asphalt along the entire length of El Sueño’s main street. Within hours, the barely perceptible crack quickly grows, devouring telephone poles, engulfing vehicles, even crumbling entire buildings. The defenseless town is plunged into darkness and chaos. But something else lurks in the chasm, an unseen force powerful enough to lure nearly every unsuspecting citizen down into the fissure in the dead of night. El Sueño is being swallowed whole. A lone young couple, Avery Lee Olmos and Hark Wright, fight to escape the mysterious sinkhole and the malevolent force that beckons from its depths.”
The book features the art, colors and letters of Argentinian Artist and co-creator, Patricio Delpeche. Fissure should arrive in stores, February 2017.
As an aspiring writer, can you offer any advice to me or anyone else out there? What do you attribute your success or perhaps failures to along your journey? What has helped you the most to become successful?
So, I’ll go with the Matt Foley, motivational speaker option. Look, do it—whatever it is you want to do. Don’t ask permission. Fail. Learn. Do it again. Fail. Learn. Do it again. Listen. Ask questions. Experiment. Develop your own processes building on the knowledge of others. Do it until you stop saying “someday” or “I wish” or “maybe if”. You want it? Sacrifice. Work. Steady your resolve, remain convicted. Fucking fight your ass off for it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Come visit me on the web!
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Vault Comics: http://vaultcomics.com/