Writer Steve Horton
Steve Horton is an accomplished New York Times bestselling comic book writer and graphic novelist with credits at Image Comics, IDW, Dark Horse Comics, and Insight Comics. One of his most recognized works (Two Eisner Awards) was his collaboration with artists Michael and Laura Allred for Insight Comics Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, and Moonage Daydreams.
However, not being one to rest on his laurels, Steve has continued to push forward with new and exciting books. His latest is a collaboration with artist Chris Peterson called Nine Lives. Nine Lives is about nine incarnations of the same woman throughout history. Each one with different magic powers. and each one hunted by a reincarnated killer that targets them.
Recently, we sat down with Steve to discuss his career and his different collaborations and his newest one in Nine Lives which has just started its Zoop campaign. So, let’s welcome writer Steve Horton to GVN Talking Comics.
Out of College
GVN: Thank you very much for sharing a bit of your day with us Steve. As per usual when we are talking for the first time, I want to touch on a bit of your background. You graduated in 2002 from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing. With that degree under your belt, did you have an idea of what you wanted to write, or did you leave yourself open to wherever fate and your talent led you?
Steve: Actually, my degree led me into editorial roles at newspapers! Even my internship at Krause Publications in 2001, home of Comics Buyer’s Guide, was strictly journalism: I got to interview the Simonsons, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and more. I had no interest in writing comics of my own until years later, when Marvel relaunched their Epic Comics program. Funnily enough, my old boss at Krause, John Jackson Miller, started writing comics with an Epic submission as well, and he’s a NYT bestseller now too!
GVN: What transpired to make you decide to take up writing for comics and whose work inspired you to pursue that venue?
Steve: While reviewing comics for CBG, I read anything and everything mainstream and independent. Growing up my favorite comic was Fantastic Four, and I loved the Byrne run, the Simonson run, and in high school, collected the DeFalco/Ryan run obsessively.
Working for Different Publishers
GVN: I can relate. I was always a huge FF fan. Especially Ben Grimm. During your career, you have written for several different publishers including Image, Dark Horse, and IDW. As you developed your writing style, did you have to adapt to each of the different publishers or did you try to stay true to your own vision, regardless of whom you worked with?
Steve: What happened with each of these publishers was: I pitched each of them a ton of things in many different genres with many different artists before striking on something that me, the artist, and the publisher all liked. It wasn’t a matter of adapting to the publisher: it was more a matter of grinding out quality pitches over and over again until I happened to strike gold. After all, editors and tastes change at publishers all the time, and it’s impossible to predict what they will like on a day-to-day basis, except for one thing: the comics have to be as good or better than what the best publishers are putting on the stands.
Working with Different Artists
GVN: That alone seems like a huge challenge. You had mentioned the artists. As you said, you have worked with several different artists in your projects. David Ahn in Image Comics Strongarm, Stephen Thompson in IDW’s Satellite Falling, and Michael Dialynas in Dark Horse’s Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron. With each collaboration, what do you felt you learned in the way of working with the artist and bringing out the best in them and yourself?
Steve: The interesting thing here is that each artist likes their scripts to be a certain way, and each artist will either draw your script verbatim or add or subtract things to make the pages look better visually. And that’s fine! I like playing to an artist’s strengths, and I don’t mind at all if they change things around. Any big changes, though, and it’s a good idea to have a conversation with me about it first in case some plot point or MacGuffin gets lost in the process.
BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams
GVN: Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch upon your Eisner Award Winning title BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams. This was the culmination of a three-year project with Michael and Laura Allred. When you were working on it, did you have any idea it would be as well received as it would be and when did you get an inkling that it would be something special?
Steve: As the first cover and pages started coming in after we signed our publishing deal with Insight Comics, I began to realize that this project was going to turn out much greater than any of us had anticipated. It was then that I realized that Mike Allred was going to win the Eisner for art by a wide margin, and Laura Allred was going to win for coloring by a wide margin. And wouldn’t you know it: I was right!
‘Nine Lives’ with Chris Peterson
GVN: Now, you are working with the talented folks at Zoop to bring a new project to life with artist Chris Peterson, entitled Nine Lives. Can you give our readers a bit of the background of what the premise is for Nine Lives and how the story came about?
Steve: This story began about nine years ago for a pitch with Chris Peterson to numerous indie publishers. It was well received at a number of places, but ultimately it was turned down everywhere. It ended up in the drawer and both Chris and I moved on to other projects. I’ve avoided Kickstarter ever since because I know I’d be awful at fulfillment and mess the whole thing up somehow. Along comes boutique crowdfunding platform Zoop, run by some very savvy comics veterans, and with some highly successful funded projects under their belt. I had a conference call with them and brought back three comics pitches that didn’t land anyplace over the past decade. Nine Lives is just the first!
“Nine Lives” is about nine reincarnations of the same woman: Cleo. She’s been reborn nine times throughout history, and each time she’s born with different magic powers. At some point in each of her lives, she’s tracked down by a serial killer named Antony, who’s also the same person reincarnated. Each of her lives has to find a way to stop this person by any means necessary. Our story begins in the 1920s with a flapper named Cleo with a mysterious ability to turn water into alcohol!
Working with Zoop
GVN: That is a very cool premise. I can’t wait to check that out. So, I had mentioned your work with Zoop for the crowd funding of Nine Lives. What were the advantages that Jordan and Eric presented to you that made you decide to go this route? In addition, when a fan goes to your campaign, what might they find there in addition to a great book series?
Steve: Jordan and Eric are excellent at marketing, organization, production, and fulfillment. Their percentage for handling all that is very reasonable, and their comics tend to reach their goals, so it’s win-win for everyone. I’ve had a fantastic experience with them so far.
Other than a wonderful comic, we have a variant cover by popular cartoonist Lee “Moosopp” Tran, an art print, commissions by Chris Peterson, and even a chance to get yourself drawn into the story itself! Truly, something for everyone.
GVN: Thank you again for your time, Steve. Before I let you go, where can fans follow you on social media and the web?
Steve: Find me at https://www.twitter.com/tropicalsteve, subscribe to my newsletter at https://steve-horton.ghost.io/, and I just opened a new account at a wonderful new platform called Spoutible: https://www.spoutible.com/steve!
Nine Lives by Steve Horton and artist Chris Peterson debuts their Zoop campaign on February 7th. Be sure to check out their work here.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.