Interview: Comics writer Daniel Way on going indie again after superhero success | Arts

Interview: Comics writer Daniel Way on going indie again after superhero success


Comic book writer Daniel Way and filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska - PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIEL WAY
  • photo courtesy of Daniel Way
  • Comic book writer Daniel Way and filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska
After getting his start in self-publishing, comics writer Daniel Way made his name in the mainstream superhero world, especially with a long run scripting the irreverent Marvel Comics character Deadpool, who is to be played by Ryan Reynolds in a feature film next year.

But these days, Way is focused on his own, even more off-center creations—and living in Morrisville, to which he moved from Georgia about 18 months ago. He chose to bypass the big publishers and their distribution systems for his upcoming title, returning to his independent roots with the kind of sex-and-violence satire the mainstream usually avoids.

Way has raised more than $34,000 and counting on Kickstarter, exceeding his goal with weeks to spare (though you can still donate through May 8) for the “VERY graphic novel” Kill-Crazy Nymphos ATTACK!, which is already upgraded from softcover to hardcover thanks to the additional funding. He co-created and co-wrote the book with Vancouver's Jen and Sylvia Soska, who create horror films as Twisted Twins Productions. Rob Dumo will draw the interior art.

The book is an homage to grindhouse-style action, with a side order of social and religious satire, about a virus that turns housewives into … well, the title says it all. It’s safe to say it won’t be for everyone—which is to say, it’s the kind of book crowd-funding was made for. We spoke with Way about the unique challenges and rewards of going indie again and find out how he wound up in Morrisville.

INDY: You had a previous [unsuccessful] Kickstarter for your book Gun Theory, what did you learn from that?

DANIEL WAY: The main thing was to ask for less than we really needed at first—once a project hits its funding goal, it tends to speed up; I don’t know the psychology behind it. Some people want to wait to see if it will go anywhere. We also learned a lot about promoting, we’re doing a big fundraiser in Vancouver at the end of the month, before Free Comic Book Day.

I started out in self-publishing, so I knew a lot about fulfillment already. And Kickstarter has new tools that let you figure out shipping rates easily. A lot of us are used to doing the work and just handing it off to an editor. I worked at Marvel for 13 years, so I know all about that. But I also know what’s required to get a book out the door independently, and so do my collaborators. 

How does it feel to have met your initial funding?

Good, but the amount we asked for was just the bare minimum to do the book. I wrote the book for free, Jen and Sylvia worked on it for free. We’re really hoping to push it quite a bit further, because that’s going to allow us to do a hell of a lot more with it. But it’s a relief!

You have some unique rewards.

You can be a character in the book, drawn in as a background character. And there’s one where you can have a Skype date with the [Soska] twins.

You’re clearly going outside of the mainstream with a title like yours.

You want your title to be provocative. But if you read it, you’ll see that it’s, on one level, a grindhouse flick, but on another, a social commentary. Dawn of the Dead was a commentary on consumerist society, for example. A lot of things we want to talk about in the book, we don’t do so overtly, but we get to sneak it in there. If someone picks this up just thinking they’re going to see a lot of tits, they’re going to be shocked. [Laughs]

Why do you make your base in Morrisville now?

My fiancée worked at [Cary-based video-game company] Red Storm, and we really liked having a home base here. The airport’s right here; there’s local culture right here. It’s just so cool, with so many things well represented. I had studio space in Durham for a while, and you can’t help but notice how many people are working in the arts. It’s great when you have that in the area—I feed into it, but I also feed from it.

Do you see yourself doing more Kickstarter stuff in the future?

I only do creator-owned stuff now, and I definitely see myself doing more with Kickstarter. You are able to speak and sell directly to your audience without all the machinery that’s usually placed between you. It’s sometimes crushing to realize that out of everyone who’s getting a piece of your work, you’re getting one of the smallest pieces.

And it also feels more pure somehow—you can call a book Kill-Crazy Nymphos ATTACK! and not have to tone it down, or try to sell it through a comic shop that is mainly superhero books, where people might regard it as a niche within a niche within a niche. So stuff like this rarely makes it to the market, and Kickstarter’s just been awesome to work with.

Do you have any connection with the Deadpool film?

I can confirm no official involvement with the film. But I can say we’re doing our fundraising party in Vancouver in a few weeks, where they’re filming that, so you’ll probably see some pictures of me on set in my Twitter account.

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