This week, 100% Super Show Approved’s Dave Dwonch sits with PKD Media’s Shawn Pryor to see what makes the “Mercury and the Murd” and “Wasted Wonderland” creator tick!
What was the first comic you ever read?
The first comic I truly read was Marvel Comics Star Wars, issue #47. I was with my Mom in a convenient store called United Dairy Farmers as a five year old and saw a spinner rack of comics. Nothing caught my eye until I saw the big Star Wars logo with C-3PO and R2-D2 running for their lives in the menacing “Droid World!” I loved Star Wars and I had no idea that a comic book existed for it. I begged my Mom to get it for me and I read it from front to back and took it with me everywhere for a good month. From that point on I asked my parents when the next issue was coming out; I couldn’t wait! I needed more comics, especially Star Wars. So I can honestly blame my mom for my comic’s addiction!
When did you decide to make the jump to creating comics?
My decision came after spending some time at the 2007 Pittsburgh Comicon. I had been reading comics again for two years, and I met you and the guys from Comic Geek Speak. After buying loads of comics from the bargain bins, I realized that I needed to turn my love for comics into a contribution to the comics medium. I enjoy telling stories, and I decided to put my fears away and give it a go. That and I promised you and a few other people that I would be returning to the Pittsburgh Comicon in 2008 with my creator-owned projects so I had to put up or shut-up.
If you had your choice, which mainstream character would you want to write and why?
Now that is a tough question. I almost chose Snake Eyes, but if I had my choice I would write stories for The Falcon. Even though Ed Brubaker has given Sam Wilson’s character depth and explained what his friendship meant to Captain America, I would like to prove to comic readers why he’s an important Avenger, fantastic superhero, and that he can have fantastic adventures.
Who has been your main influence as a writer?
I have four: Dwayne McDuffie, Denny O’Neil, Bob Layton and Gerry Conway. All four of these gentlemen have ether had great runs in comics or built great comic book universes that have a solid foundation of storytelling built underneath them. Bob Layton and Denny O’Neil both had solid runs on Iron Man and made Rhodey a kick-ass Armored Avenger, Gerry Conway actually made me care about Justice League Detroit, and Dwayne McDuffie has been able to balance himself between the world of animation and comics and translate both mediums for kids and adults. Their writing skills are off the chain and I’ve learned a ton from them.
You’ve been known to throw Comic Geek Speak hosts and other podcasters into your stories. Which “character” is your favorite to write?
Hands down, my favorite is “The Murd” from Mercury & the Murd. Basing a character off of Adam Murdough from Comic Geek Speak has been the quite the challenge, but it’s been a ton of fun making him into an eclectic police detective. I just hope the readers enjoy him as much as I do.
You’ve been creating so many memorable stories that people have been throwing around the nickname “Stan Leeroy.” What’s your take on the nickname?
I take that nickname as a badge of honor. Stan Lee was (and still is) a hustler of comics. All I’m trying to do is channel that hustling spirit as a creator, writer and publisher and prove to the masses that small press and indie comics are just as good as the stuff in the mainstream. It’s an uphill battle, but it’s one that Stan Leeroy loves to take on!
If you had to choose one of your creations to work on exclusively, which would it be and why?
That’s an easy one: Blacks Danger in Space. It’s my own Buck Rogers and it brings me joy every time I see Andrew Charipar take my script and create a beautiful story from it. I love it.
Explain your creative process. Do you work from outline to full script? How much leeway do you give your artists?
It varies with whom I’m working with and the project. Some projects are outlines with panel descriptions/layouts, but normally I like to give a full script.
As far as leeway goes, it again depends on who I’m working with. If the artist is new to the game of comics I’ll give them a little leeway, but once I build a rapport with an artist they can flex their artistic muscle without any issues. But if there’s an issue I make sure that we talk about it.
The whole goal is to build a solid line of communication between the artist and me in order to make the working relationship one where we can both grow and have fun with it, and at the same time respect the medium and get the work done in a timely manner.
I’m going to throw out the names of some of your recent collaborators. Give me the first word that comes to mind:
Chad Cicconi. Original. Andrew Charipar. Dynamic. Dave Wachter. Breathtaking. Daniel Logan. Consistent. Dave Dwonch. Red Bull. Flint Lockjaw. Boobies.
A lot of the artists you’ve worked with you found on the CGS Comic Forums. How long have you been a part of the community? How long have you been listening to their show?
I started listening to CGS when they released their Star Wars Episode III Movie Review back in early 2005, and at that time I wasn’t reading comics at all. I listened to a few more episodes and I was hooked afterwards. I was a lurker on the forums for awhile, got an account, posted a bit under the name Optimusblack, and then I went away for awhile, lost my password and came back as Optimusblack2007. Because of CGS I read (and create) comics. It’s a good thing. If it wasn’t for the CGS community I would’ve never met you, Mercury & the Murd and the million titles I write would not exist and I would have money in the bank. (LOL)
What are you looking forward to most about the Comic Geek Speak Super Show?
Just being able to see everybody again, hang out, and make new friends. The Super Show is where I met Andrew Charipar and now we collaborate on a few comics. The Super Show is the family reunion I want to go to. Everybody that’s there is there for the love of comics and art and it’s just a great time that no one should pass up on.
For more information on all of Shawn’s projects, visit www.pkdmedia.com, and be sure to pay him a visit at the Super Show!
And come back soon for another 100% Super Show Approved interview!