Thursday, September 27, 2007

Occasional Interviews Presents: Scott O. Brown, "Man Of Comics"

Scott O. Brown is a man of many hats -- a great comic book letterer, an award-winning publisher through his imprint Cyberosia, and the writer of Platinum Comics' "Atlantis Rising."

Scott currently has the graphic novel "Nightfall" out from Platinum, about a tough Texas prison which is secretly run by vampires using the inmates to feed on.

OS: You refer to yourself as Scott O. Brown: "Man of Comics." What does that mean?

SB: I got a papercut from a radioactive copy of Watchmen purchased at a flea market for $3.00, transforming me into a Man of Comics, with the ability to write, edit, letter, pencil, ink, color, publish, and design comics and graphic novels.

OS: Your new graphic novel "Nightfall" is about vampires in a prison setting. What inspired you to write such a unique story about bloodsuckers?

SB: I was actually inspired by Joss Whedon's Buffy and Angel TV shows. I always thought the idea was so obvious it would inevitably show up on either show. When it didn't, I took the matter into my own hands and wrote a spec script for Buffy. Despite interest from agents, my complete lack of desire to move to LA at the time stopped me from pursuing a TV writing career, so in the end, to get the story out there, I retooled it into what became the graphic novel.

OS: Did you do any research about prison life for this book? Watch a few seasons of "Oz," perhaps?

SB: Just enough to hit the story beats. At 62 pages, there is a cost/benefit ratio to the realism. Trick with research is to do just enough to make sure a story like this has enough credibility to suspend disbelief. To make the story work, I actually had to do more research on UV lighting than prison life.

And I've never seen "Oz."

OS: Have you always had an interest in writing horror comics?

SB: I love horror comics. My latest, They Do Not Die!, with my long time collaborator Horacio Lalia is being serialized at Ambrosia Publishing:

But the truth is, I just love writing comics. Doesn't matter if I'm playing in the horror genre or not. My first book, Second Soul, is a cyberpunk thriller. My second, Death Valley, is a western with slasher overtones. I have both a superhero and a high school comedy in development, as well as a political thriller. Horror is nothing more than a tool to explore whatever theme I feel the need to sink my teeth into.

OS: "Nightfall" has been previously available as a webcomic at Drunk Duck. What has been your experience with the webcomic format? Do you see it as in competition with print media or something that might compliment it?

SB: The thing with Nightfall is that it is written for the Euro-sized graphic album format. When I first wrote it, there was no immediate intent to publish it online. As Platinum's business model grew, then so did the opportunity to present Nightfall on the web.

I think using the Internet to compliment print comics is a great idea, though I don't believe it's really being used to its full potential. Zuda might be a step in the right direction, but I think something even bigger needs to be done to really make webcomics a cultural, creative, and financial force to be reckoned with.

OS: You were the founder of the acclaimed Cyberosia publishing imprint and are now working with Platinum Studios. Exactly how long have you been in the publishing side of the comic book industry? And how long have you been writing comics professionally?

SB: I actively published through Cyberosia for five years, but I've been writing professionally ever since 2000. My involvement with both overlapped a bit. With Cyberosia laying dormant for the most part, I've focused my energies on writing and lettering. In one form or another, I've been working professionally in comics for almost eight years.

OS: "Nightfall" seems like the perfect story and property for a Hollywood treatment. Have you considered that at all?

SB: That was the whole point of pitching it to Platinum. Just getting my foot out the gate at the time as a writer, they seemed like the perfect publisher to take advantage of it. It moves forward in fits and starts, and I suspect it'll get made eventually.

OS: You also have another series coming out from Platinum called "Atlantis Rising" -- can you tell us something about that?

SB: It's a sci-fi war epic about a Clash of Civilizations. A separate species of humans and their entire society have developed in parallel to ours beneath the ocean, and they launch a terror campaign against perceived injustices committed against them by surface nations. Reporter Angelica Danielson gets caught up in the middle, and learns firsthand more than she ever wanted to know about crimes on both sides of the surface.

The art is by talented newcomer Tim Irwin, with colors by Andy Elder. It's a gorgeous book, but don't take my word for it, it's being serialized online at, so you can see for yourself!

Or you can order the first issue for twenty-five cents from Diamond: AUG073922

OS: Thanks for the interview, Scott!

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