We’re super-excited that Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl) is going to be doing two graphic novels for us! The first one will be illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks (Friends With Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong). EW just announced this project this morning.
Here they Q&A each other!
Rainbow Rowell: You’re such an amazing storyteller. I feel like you can do everything – draw and write – so well. Why collaborate with other writers?
Faith Erin Hicks: Working on my very own comics where I get to both write and draw is awesome, and that’s mostly what I want to do when I make comics. But there are other writers out there who are amazing, and sometimes they can bring me stories to draw that I would never in a million years write myself. That’s the fun of working with someone else: I get to explore different worlds, different characters, and different perspectives.
Rainbow: Is the collaboration experience different every time? Do you have to learn how to dance with each partner?
Faith: Hm, that depends on the collaboration. If it’s a job like when I drew Brain Camp (with Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan) or the Bigfoot Boy series (with J. Torres), I was just handed a script and went away for a few months and drew a comic. Not much interaction with the writers was necessary. Other jobs I’ve had more of a chance to interact with the writers, which I really appreciate. I like having story input, but it depends on whether or not I’ve been hired as a co-writer on the project (like when I drew and co-wrote The Last of Us: American Dreams for Dark Horse) or just as an artist. I’d really love to have a more balanced collaboration with someone, where together we can push and pull a story into shape. I haven’t yet had that, but . . . maybe soon. ;)
Was there a particular book or series (or anything, really — maybe a movie, or comic book) that really clicked with you and made you want to tell your own stories? Did you ever read or watch something that made you say “yeah, I want to do something like that!”
Rainbow: That’s a good question. Sometimes I feel like the opposite thing happens. Like I’m so content taking in other people’s stories that I’d rather read or watch than make anything of my own. (I still have to make myself write; I’d always rather read.)
I wrote my first book Attachments as a reaction against romantic comedies I was watching. I love romantic comedies, but felt like I’d seen a string of them that leaned hard on the same stupid tropes. I wanted to see if I could write a romantic comedy without cheating.
Hey, you know what? I just thought of something specific: Clerks really inspired me. I was like, “Wait a minute. You can write a whole movie that’s just talking and relationships and Star Wars jokes? I CAN DO THAT!”
One thing that I think is striking about your work is how expressive it is. Your characters say so much with their faces and posture. Do you think that comes from your background in animation?
Faith: Possibly! That’s the theory at least: as an animator it is your job to translate the emotion of the character on to the screen. I’ve heard some animators compare the job of animation to being an actor or a director. But I was kind of a terrible animator, so I’m not sure how much of that training actually sunk in. I’ve always been someone who likes observing people and who’s over-sensitive to emotion