Here at WorldofBlackHeroes we like to make sure we cover all our basis when it comes to comics. Having said that, we want to introduce to our fans the hard-working individuals that publish some outstanding and exciting work that you won’t find coming from the mainstream companies. These individuals share the same passion, drive, and dedication to fans that you come to expect from every comic publisher, and are true to themselves and their fans when it comes to putting out books that their fans love.
We are taking the time to introduce some of these dedicated people who work hard to bring you quality books. We have asked a few questions of them so our fans can get to know a little more about them and give them the opportunity to share a part of themselves with the fans.
First up we have Jerome Walford! Jerome is 2014 Glyph Award winner for Best Male Character along with nominations for Best Cover and Best Artist for his Character, Jack Maguire. We caught up with Jerome and got some awesome insight on him and his series, “Nowhere Man”.
- How did you get started in the comic industry?
I started an advertising studio called the Blue Griffin in 2004, and was doing great. When the economy tanked in 2008 I found myself asking some really tough questions. Publishing as a whole wasn’t doing too well either but I thought to myself, “If I’m going to struggle to make a buck, I want to spend that time doing something that I felt really passionate about.” I love developing stories, particularly for comics. For me entering comics, was less about making money, although I do hope to achieve commercial success. For me it’s more about cultivating something new, a new way of telling a superhero narrative, a new way of representing minorities and women in comics, as well as planting something new into our pop culture.
- Who were your early influences?
My early influences would be Jim Lee, Dave Gibbons and Todd Mcfarlane, they have such fantastic detailed and dynamic art. I could get lost on page in the beautiful line work and disciplined use of proportion. I continue to draw from a wide range of artists and styles. When it comes to writing, I am influenced by a lot of different writers as well, however Allen Moore and Neil Gaiman have had the most significant impact on me in how I approach developing a complex psychological profile for figures that wield supernatural power.
- What project are you currently working on?
My main project at the moment is “Nowhere Man”, a detective drama with a sci-fi twist. The series is published by Forward Comix, three 50-page issues were published in 2013. The fourth issue comes out in July 2014, with two more scheduled before the end of 2014. The story follows Detective Jack Maguire, in exchange for powers granted by advanced technology, Jack becomes the unwilling host to a mysterious assassin targeting weapons traffickers hiding out out in New York City.Jack Maguire won the 2014 Glyph Comics Award for Best Male character. The series was also nominated for Best Artist and Best Cover. This was extremely exciting. I have been developing the character, Jack Maguire, for over eight years. Just to see the warm reception from fans and critics alike, reflected in winning the Glyph Award, has been a tremendous honor. The award gives me great hope that Jack Maguire and the “Nowhere Man” series will find a long-term home in the hearts of comic book fans everywhere.
- What books did you collect or read growing up?
I read a lot of X-Men comics growing up, as well as issues of Rom The Space Knight, Batman and Spider-Man. As I got older I sought to broaden my horizons, reading a indie titles, then drifting into literary novels and anime. The great thing about comics is that it can be bridge to many forms of storytelling, then you come back to comics with a more complete understanding of what makes a good story.
- If you could rewrite any character which one would it be and why?
I’m not trying to be weird or anything but for right now I’m to be really disciplined about not daydreaming of working on an iconic IP. If the right opportunity comes along I’ll jump on it, particularly if it is opportunity to work with someone I admire. Most writers / creators will understand this, once you start daydreaming about a particular IP, it takes over a large part of your imagination, potentially drowning out something you are actually working on.I believe having this kind of discipline is helpful whether working on a particular IP at the moment or working on one’s own material.
- Given the success of books like Watson and Holmes and Midnight Tiger, what other books do you see having mainstream appeal?
Watson and Holmes is a great series and the guys working on it are among the hardest working and nicest guys you’ll meet in the industry. I had the pleasure ofsittingclosetoBrandonPerlow and N Steven Harris, as well as Robert Garrett (co-creatorofAjala), during the 2014 Glyph Awards. You could tell they were happy and humbled by what they have accomplished thus far.Isense there are more accolades coming their way in the near future. N StevenHarrisactuallydrewapinup that will appear in the next issue of “Nowhere Man” I’m so appreciative of this brother offering words of encouragement and also taking the time to do a piece for my series.I’m hopeful that “Nowhere Man” will also see a measure of mainstream appeal. Of course it’s lead by a complex, relatable African-American Male character. I’ll never forget my first face-to-face interview at New York Comic Con 2010, I explained to a blogger what the story is about and what I’m trying to achieve, Jack’s struggles to conquer his inner demons as the duty son of a fallen 9/11 first responder. He broke down in tears. That is the kind of emotion I want to elicit from my readers.Volume two, which starts July 2014 and has already gotten very strong, positive reviews from guys and women. As “Nowhere Man” progresses, it shows a great balance of cultural diversity with male and female characters playing strong roles.
- If there were anything you would say to someone looking to get into the comic industry; especially a person of color; what would it be?
First piece of advice I would give: Work hard. Work your butt off. If you want to break into the comics industry you have to be willing to put in the time and hone your craft. Yes there are cultural challenges, but at the end of the day only three things really matter: 1. Does your work reflect a high level of skill? 2. Are you fairly easy to work with professionally? and 3. Do you meet your deadlines?Secondly, be decisive: Determine early on what is your goal and be as dogged as you can in pursuing your path. I suspect the path is slightly different for those wanting to establish an indie brand vs. wanting work within one of the two leading brands.Thirdly, maintain balance: A creative career path can easily take over your entire life. Work hard but keep in place certain non-negotiables. This could be family, ideals, sense of self, etc. Be willing to sacrifice your time and energy, but not the core of your identity.
- Is there anyone in particular you would like to work with on a book?
Honestly, I would love to work with Dave Gibbons on a comic, a short or something. Even just to meet Mr. Gibbons would be really cool. He has influenced work greatly over the past five years. I’m also ahugefanofNeilGaiman, I would probably pay for the privilege of working both those guys on literally anything. A Saturday afternoon withDaveGibbonsandNeilGaiman, assembling IKEA furniture and sipping orange soda, would possibly be the highlight of my career.
- Name three independent books that you would like to see as movies.
I have a soft spot for all ages material. I’m seriously considering producing content for kids and the all-ages market. We need a lot more true all-ages content, not just mature content, dressed in a kiddish exterior. “reMind” by Jason Brubaker, “Gladstone’s School for World Conquers” by Mark Andrew Smith and “Smorgasbord Squad” by Jacques Nyemb are all really great and would make awesome episodic shows or feature-length movies.Within the teen plus market, I do hope that one day my “Nowhere Man” series would see the big screen. For myself and long-time fans, being able to look Jack Maguire in the eye, as it were, would make this long arduous journey worthwhile.Thanks for the time and the interview. Folks can learn more about my “Nowhere Man” series at www.forwardcomix.com
Check back next week as we continue to MEET THE INDEPENDENTS!
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