Thursday, 3 April 2014

Interview With Trevor Talbott and Scott Meier- Creators of Eclipse

Eclipse was a book that I backed on Kickstarter originally because I was supporting the colorist, Jessica Jimerson, who I had hired to provide colors and letters for own books.


I read through the pitch and thought it sounded interesting but never gave it much thought. Then art started coming in on their updates from Peter Raymond (the books artist) and I thought, “huh, looks kinda neat” but that was about it.

The Kickstarter got funded and I received my copy. I read it. And loved it. This wasn’t the generic punch’m up superhero book that you’ve come to expect, this was a book with HEART. You could tell that from get-go. This was a book where the character’s origin wasn’t going to be a one or two panel throwaway (here’s Uncle Ben, whoops he’s dead) this was going to really show how the character got from point A to point B.

I started following them on Twitter and they followed back (“they” because the book is written by not one but two people- Trevor Talbott and Scott Meier) and occasionally we’d talk about comics and the like. Then one day they asked if I’d be interested in taking a look at their scripts and maybe shooting my thoughts on them back.

One thing you need to know about me- I love behind-the-scenes/making of stuff. Especially comic books. It goes FAR beyond some guy draws something and someone else writes the words in those funny balloons. FAR FAR BEYOND. 

Trevor emailed me the scripts and, as of this writing, I’ve read through Eclipse #2 and #3. 


You know that thing I said about it being a book that has heart? I had no idea going in to these scripts just how much. I could FEEL the emotion behind some of these scenes. So powerful that even I could draw it and it’d be good. Luckily they have a talented art team and don’t have to rely on my terrible drawing skills. 

Why don’t we find out a little more about these guys and what they’re doing?

1. Trevor, Scott, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. How about you tell us some background in yourselves- who are you?

Trevor: I graduated from Central College in 2010 with a social sciences degree and was only a few credits away from receiving a minor in English. I’d say my greatest scholarly accomplishment came in my creative writing class when my professor told me a story I wrote was “a step in the right direction” and that I should continue writing. My professor, who appeared to be 140 years old, would grade our papers right in front of us, one on one in his office, and would verbally destroy our work when he felt it was appropriate. So, to receive any sort acknowledgement that was somewhat positive was totally satisfying.

Scott: I'm from Shellsburg, IA. That’s about 20 minutes outside of Cedar Rapids.  I went to college at Central College in Pella, IA.  There I studied Exercise Science, Business Management, and Theatre.  I started a fantasy book there but lost interest in it as I kept making it bigger and bigger.  I currently live in Des Moines, IA where I work at a Credit Union full time, at a comic book shop part time, and I own a 24/7 gym in my home town too.

2. How did you come about this story and this writing partnership? How do you divide the workload? As someone who’s never really worked with a co-writer, I’m very curious about this.

Trevor: I’ve always loved movies and growing up I always wanted to write a movie to say that I did. Ideas would pop into my head from time to time and I’d think, “Oh, that’d be a movie I’d pay to see” but nothing inspired me to attempt it. Then, in early 2013 I was lying in bed, my thoughts racing and this story came about involving a young boy who acted as a caretaker to his father who had autism. I based this relationship on my professional experience working with children with intellectual disabilities. A lot of the groundwork for their relationship is based on my real experiences and conversations with a teen boy who had autism. The next day I called Scott to talk out this idea. Scott and I got back into comics with the launch of the New 52 and talked about the books on a weekly basis. So, without hesitation I wanted his insight on the book and ways I could make the book better. Scott is the one that came up with the name Eclipse but don’t ask him how he came up with it because it’s as big a mystery to him as it is to everyone else.

Once we had these conversations about where we wanted the story to go, we then put together an outline for the book. Once we had the outline I would go through it and write a few pages before sending them to Scott for his input. This has been our writing process for the first 5 issues for Eclipse.

I still haven’t written that movie script but I think this is better.

It’s funny but I think one of the large reasons why I enjoy telling stories so much comes from playing out stories using action figures with my brother and sister. We had large, epic stories that would probably make billions of dollars if they ever graced the big screen one day! Universes would collide involving TMNT, Batman and other DC characters, Power Rangers, GI JOE’s, some Disney princesses (to play the love interests), Predators, Aliens, Sly Stallone (From Demolition Man), Arnold (from Last Action Hero), and the list goes on and on!

Scott: Trevor and I met at college.  We've both always liked comics and their characters.  After college we went to a Comic Convention in Des Moines where we met Kyle Higgins.  After talking with him for awhile and a few months later we got the idea that it would be cool to write our own story.  Trevor had a relationship with one of the kids he worked with and we wanted to build off of that.  In comics today its a lot of action and we forget a lot of times why the action is even happening.  We wanted to bring the emotion and connection back to the comics.  We wanted to write something that we wanted to read and I think we've done a great job of doing that.

The workload of this first arch was broken up pretty well.  I wrote the rough drafts for the back stories of our comic that give the story of our villain, Raze.  Then Trevor and I went over them to clean them up.  The main story was done mainly by Trevor but again myself and Trevor went through them to clean them up.  The characters were created together.  We both had similar ideas right from the get go and we were able to come up with names and backgrounds that foreshadow this arch.

3. Peter Raymond provides the pencil and inks and Jessica Jimerson is handling coloring and lettering duties, correct? How did you find them and what made you decide to work with them? 

Trevor: That’s correct. We put a posting on the website with a very brief description of our story and we received a ton of responses from artists and colorists but Peter and Jess stood out above all the other “applicants.” With Peter, he sent a few of his commissions but when I saw his Red Lantern piece I was immediately sold that he was our guy. We then sent Peter the full script so he could read up on the story so he could decide if this was something he could get behind and thankfully he agreed to hop on board. Once we had our artist we started contacting colorists and asked to have them color one of Peter’s commission pieces which was a Tim Drake Robin. Again, once we got Jessica’s submission we knew immediately she was the one. And honestly, Jessica has helped us out in countless areas of this project and I have no doubt that everything would be a mess without her. She’s brought so much knowledge and experience that there’s no way we could have picked a better person to join our team.

Scott: We found both Peter and Jessica on an artist blog.  We have lucked out very much so in finding these two.  We both fell in love with Pete's artwork and rendition of Eclipse right away and after seeing some of the work that Jess has worked on we were so excited.  Both our writing and Pete's work have gotten better as we've worked on this project and Jess has been an invaluable partner in all her experience that she's able to share with us.  With these two working on the project we can’t help but think that Eclipse has a great future ahead of us.

4. Where do you see Eclipse going? Story-wise what sort of things do you have in mind?  

Trevor: We already have the next story arc somewhat planned. We have issues 6 and 7 completed with issue 8 in the works. I’m really excited about our next villain. For the first arc we focused on one on one relationships and this next arc focuses on conventional and unconventional families. There’s so much I want to do with the character of Eclipse and so many other characters I want to explore that are already in the fabric of the first issue.

In some of the reviews we’ve received the one thing that keeps popping up is that there’s so much heart. And that’s the one constant I want for this series. If you look at all the superhero movies out there, they focus a lot on the characters with just enough action to leave you satisfied. So, in our comics, it’s not just action in every page. We want the readers to know Eclipse and care what happens to him. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, all these heroes that have been around for decades have this history that resonate with readers. They can pick up a book tomorrow without reading one for years and they’d know the basic foundation of who that character is. And for Eclipse, I think that’s a huge positive but then again it could be viewed as a huge disadvantage.

Scott: From the get go Trevor and I have said that we were only going to write stories for Eclipse as long as there were stories to write.  We weren't just going to write nowhere stories that dont do the character or our readers justice.  That being said after this first arch Trevor and I, mainly Trevor, have been putting some great world building ideas together for the city of Stoneview.  We can’t really say too much but if the first story arch goes as well as we'd like it to let’s just say that Eclipse is going to see a new relationship start as well as a sports team whos behind a lot more than just giving back to the community.

5. How are you getting the books out to people- both selling and making them aware of it?

Trevor: As of right now we are selling them as PDF’s ourselves. We are currently in the process of getting them on other digital stores and will be printing issues 1 and 2 together this fall upon the completion of issue 2. We then plan on getting them in the hands of local retailers as well as taking them to cons. We’ve only gone to a local con in Des Moines, IA and we received quite a bit of interest in the book solely on the art by Peter Raymond and Jessica Jimerson. Unfortunately we didn’t have hard copies of the book or have digital copies available at that time but once we have them printed we’ll try to venture out to more cons to spread the good word.

Right now to spread the word we are just getting ahold of blogs and reviewers so that they’ll review are comic and post about it on their sites so people are aware of Eclipse. We also use Twitter quite a bit as well as Facebook to update followers and in hopes people will stumble upon us that way too.
Scott: We've done most of our marketing through Kickstarter to our backers, on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a couple local Des Moines Comic Conventions.  We've also done a lot of talking with our local Comic book stores to see what their suggestions are too.  We are currently selling the 1st issue via our email address,  Once we have our 1st two issues printed we will be selling our books at our local shops and at area comic conventions.  We also hope to sell our comic through've had a few reviews so far too that we're hoping will build interest in our hero, Eclipse.

6. Is Eclipse the beginning of a comic book universe full of characters or are you just going to stick with the one character for now?

Trevor: Right now we want to focus on Eclipse and continue to develop the secondary characters in the book. We have some really cool ideas for current and future characters that would make readers want to see them get their own titles so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Once we get the Eclipse title to 20 some issues maybe we can start thinking other titles! 

Scott: We are currently planning on staying with just Eclipse.  We want to build the universe around him, give him a good background and then build out from there.  Both Trevor and I have had different ideas for characters but right now we want to give our attention to Eclipse to make him the best that he can be.
7. When you aren’t making comics what do you like to do for fun? 

Trevor: I love movies and TV shows. It’s funny that we still call them TV shows when the majority watches them online or on their Netflix/Amazon subscriptions. I obviously love the Nolan Batman trilogy and the new Man of Steel flick (If you couldn’t tell I’m a DC guy at heart). My other favorites would have to be Se7en, Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, Inception, and countless others. I also enjoy playing multi-player on Call Of Duty on the ps3! Hit me up sometime at PrinceOfGotham (Yeah, that’s right, I’m Batman!) And if it’s summer time there’s a good chance I’m watching my St. Louis Cardinals beat up on the rest of the league, especially Scott’s Chicago Cubs.

Scott: We are currently planning on staying with just Eclipse.  We want to build the universe around him, give him a good background and then build out from there.  Both Trevor and I have had different ideas for characters but right now we want to give our attention to Eclipse to make him the best that he can be.  

I do lots of different things to stay busy.  Having an Exercise Science degree, I try to work out 3-4 times a week.  As for fun, I work at a comic book store most weekends, what could be more fun than that?  I've also got plans to attend a handful of bigger comic conventions over the next couple months.  I do a lot of reading trying to stay ahead of comics so we dont come up with similar ideas to other writers.  I also have put together 2 or 3 different comic book stories that in the itch hits me I try to put pen to paper to help bring to life.

8. What are some of the comic books that you enjoy? Are you a fan of any of the superhero movies that have been made?

Trevor: Comic wise my current “Pull List” is Scott Snyder’s Batman, Detective Comics, The Flash, Justice League, Nightwing, Batman/Superman, Superman Unchained, The Wake, East of West, and The Walking Dead. I’m currently going back through and reading Locke & Key and American Vampire. Another older comic I suggest picking up is Scott Snyder’s Severed book (Sooo good and creepy.) Again, I’m a DC guy at heart so I hold those films near and dear over the Marvel films even though I do enjoy the Marvel films. When I go to see a Marvel movie everything is so fresh and new because I know very little about these characters (But evenI hated the Mandarin). And I cannot wait until we see Ben Affleck in the new Batsuit and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Ben Affleck is going to be great and once we get to the solo films, which he’ll most likely DIRECT!!! Batfans will be in good hands. Look at his last three projects: Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo (OSCAR nominated.) AND he’s starring in a David Fincher film called Gone Girl that’s already getting Oscar Buzz. Ok, enough. *Drops the mic*

Scott: I read mainly DC books but have started branching out in to books by publishers outside of the big two.  My favorite books right now happen to be Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2, World's Finest, Samurai Jack, and Harbinger.  I've really liked all the new Superhero movies that have been coming out.  With technology where it is now they can bring to life anyone.  Its awesome.  We're in a great time of Comicbook movies.  With that said Christopher Reeves will always be my Superman but the reboot looks to be very promising

9. Who’s taller, Trevor or Scott?

Trevor: I believe I am but I’m sure Scott and I will have to add that to our already long list on what we can fight about.


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