Landry Q. Walker is a writer who likes pop-tarts and has been in jail twice and on the New York Times bestsellers list once. He spends his days punching the keyboard until words appear on the magic screen. Books include: The Last Siege, Danger Club, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Project: Terra, and more.
What’s the last thing you read/watched you thought was incredibly well-written?
The last thing I watched that I felt was incredibly well written… I’m going to go with movies on this one. The film Get Out is the first thing that comes to mind. I came to that one a bit late, and a lot of plot points had been spoiled. But it didn’t matter because the execution was so solid.
How’d you get into writing comics?
I got into writing comics after noticing that a lot of my friends who could draw weren’t doing much with their talents. I was about 18-19 at this time. My friends had talked about making comics for years, and I had always thought there wasn’t a place for me in the process. Then I decided to write – though writing had been at the back of my head since I was a young child (I had written Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings fanfic).
A lot of people hear the term “comic book writer”, but don’t really know what the job entails. How would you describe it?
Writing comics requires thinking visually – much more so than other types of writing. You need to be able to see the action on the page with your minds eye, and work from their. that means understanding how much dialogue can fit in a word balloon, when to let the art tell the story, how the eye scans across a page of art. You can also write with a method where you plot the story, and the storytelling exclusively. But I’m not a huge fan of working that way.
You’ve written for established characters and created your own. Do you have a preference of working with either, or are they two totally different worlds?
Totally different worlds. With established characters you have an easier path as the world building has been done for you, but you also have to stay within certain parameters. As example, a proper Batman story leaves Batman in the same place at the end of the book, so that the next writer can pick up the story and run with it. You’re really just taking turns writing chapters.
Follow-up: is there an established character you haven’t written for, but would jump at the chance to?
Probably? To be honest, it all depends on the restrictions. Some jobs look like dream jobs because of the character you’re working with, but then you get the job and the restrictions are so fierce, you don’t really get to explore what drives you at all.
A key component of writing (and not just for comics) is to make the stories and characters relatable. What sort of approaches do you take to accomplish that?
I honestly don’t think much about whether my stories are relatable to other people. I think that if you stop to consider the “rules” of writing, you’re generally not writing. I tend to work off of gut instinct on whether a story feels right to me.
What are your thoughts on writers who want to self-publish their own comics?
Do it. Everyone who wants to make comics should start by making their own. Experience every aspect of making a comic. Deal with distribution, promotion, balancing schedules. Do all of it. And don’t wait for your work to be good enough. If you do that, it will never happen. Just start now.
What are some of your favorite comics and webcomics?
Favorite comics: Lately, I mostly have been digging into old stuff. Charlton comics mainly. Old Blue Beetle and Captain Atom. A lot of the horror stuff from the 60’s and 70’s too. For webcomics, not many. I follow Dumbing of Age and Questionable Content. I’m behind on it, but I really like YAFGC (Yet Another Fantasy Gaming Comic).
What’s some writing advice you would give your just-starting-out younger self?
Play less Mario Kart.
How can people find out more about your work?
I’m terrible at self-promotion, but you can usually find my latest work by checking out my Twitter feed. I’m currently working on a series of all-ages graphic novels called Pepper Page Saves the Universe – these are published by First Second Books and are available in pretty much all major bookstores. I recently completed the first volume of my medieval war epic The Last Siege (published by Image Comics). I previously wrote a series called Danger Club about a group of teen heroes fighting against their own reboots, and an all ages Supergirl series called Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. Did a book with Dean Koontz once and also adapted the sequel to G.R.R.M’s A Game of the Thrones (A Clash of Kings) into comics format. Lots of other stuff too. Check out my Amazon author page.
Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?
Apple. From Hostess.