Bill Nichols’ Prescription: Comics 10ccs of Mike Luoma
What inspires you to create and keeps you going?
I don’t know how not to. It’s such a part of who I am, and always has been. I’m just happy other people seem to enjoy what I make.
Do you have a set routine?
Not per se, but I think you need to try to do something every day, and be aware time is a finite quantity, so there is some deliberate need to sacrifice some things. I would have loved to have gotten into video games, but decided writing would come first. Sacrificed them early on. I do have a routine with my podcast, in that I try to get that out every weekend, ideally on Saturday.
What kind of output do you try to achieve?
When I get an idea, I want to see it through in a timely fashion, but I don’t put an output goal in place, say, “make a comic and write a novel each year,” or something like that. I do try to get a podcast episode out each week, which keeps me on track in many ways. But the idea dictates everything – even whether something should be a story, a comic, or a novel.
What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence?
It has changed over time. I used to like noise – writing in a busy bar, or with music playing. Now? I’m old, I guess – I love silence. Or a fan. Or a Theta drone (Meditation Sounds).
Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this?
Wow. That’s a tough answer. Chris Claremont would probably be my writerly answer. But it was Bill Sienkiewicz coming in on art on New Mutants who really blew my little mind and opened up my idea of comics. That said, I was writing and drawing my own comics as a kid, so… it goes back before I can remember.
When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?
I made my own comics as a kid, until I didn’t anymore. I kept drawing, and writing, but writing was my real strength, and the idea of putting them together kind of went away… for a while. Reading Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud in 2005 got me back into creating them. Inspired by McCloud’s ideas of using comics to tell non-fiction stories, I wrote, lettered and drew Holy Shit: Or… Pat Robertson Is The Anti-Christ and released it in early 2006. It got reviewed in a bunch of places, nice accolades for the writing, not so great on the art. I was invited to join some comic creators forums, and people kind of expected something new, the next thing. That all kind of happened in mid 2006.
What do you find to be a challenge in creating?
Creating comics? Getting other people to follow through on a schedule. And feeling, if we’re all working for free, or for some hopeful back-end, like I cannot legitimately “crack the whip”, even though I want to keep the project moving. So I don’t say anything, and then I feel bad for not saying something, and… well, making art can be a challenge. I have gotten in trouble in the past by pursuing too many ideas simultaneously, so sometimes the challenge can also be narrowing down which idea to work on next.
What else do you have to learn?
Everything. I feel like, sure, I’ve figured out my way to make comics, but I’m not going to tell you it’s the right way. There’s always more I can learn. I’m tempted to try coloring. That looks impossible, but so did lettering. Now, my lettering is pretty darn good, if I do say so. And critics have, so, toot toot, there’s my horn.
What keeps you motivated to get better?
Never being entirely satisfied with the work I put out. There’s always something I’d improve on. Knowing I can always do better, I have to try.
Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)?
Boy, wouldn’t that be nice? No. Simple answer.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Don’t wait for permission or for someone to say “go”. If you have an idea, try to make it real, that’s all there is.
Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?
No. I do worry about running out of GOOD ideas.
How do you handle the slow times?
There’s always something to work on – comics, novels, stories, podcast, audio books… There are no slow times.
How do you feel about the industry?
I think it’s broken and sad. But there are many people fighting the good fight and making awesome comics despite the industry. But it’s in spite of, not because of. The industry isn’t even sure what it is anymore.
And do you have a website you would want to direct folks to?
http://glowinthedarkradio.com – please.
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