While attending this year’s Comic-Con International I was able to sit down with an outstanding comic book writer, Chris Sebela.
UTF: The character of Elisa Cameron, Ghost, has been around for over a decade. When you go onto a property like that how do you approach it in this its fourth volume?
Chris Sebela: Well the nice thing about all the superhero stuff is that we got a pretty pre-license to start from a fresh slate, so it takes a lot of the pressure off of having to make sure that everything fits into the old cannon. We haven’t completely rebooted her, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a clean slate. It leaves a lot of avenues open for what we can do and how to develop her into a multifaceted character.
UTF: She is a part of Project Black Sky, a cadre of superhero books from Dark Horse, and I’m wondering: what’s it like working with the other creators within this connected universe?
Chris Sebela: It’s been awesome. I was a fan of before I started on it, so the fact that I get to talk with Tim Seeley and Josh Williamson about this stuff is like icing on an already pretty good cake. It’s cool to see what they’re doing with they’re parts, as we figure out how to mesh all our stuff together without being super obvious about it.
UTF: The current volume had an issue that resonated with me. It dealt with Elisa as a child and I wanted to know, what was the genesis for that?
Chris Sebela: That was the first arc I co-wrote with Kelly Sue DeConnick. We had planned to do a three issue run and then the fourth issue would be sort of a coda before she’d leave the book. But we decided that she would just write that one and it was just an interesting way to go, because Elisa had lost her memories and is trying to rebuild who she was. So going back to these childhood games and seeing how they resonate into who she’s become worked. I went back once Kelly Sue decided what her issue was going to be, and in issue two she runs into an old friend and he bursts out of his skin and, basically,wears it as a cape around his neck.
So it’s cool. You don’t really get a lot of that jumping back to childhood stuff, where it’s not some huge event but a small thing for them. We could have never had that issue and it would have been fine, but now that you have it, Elisa‘s got more “oomph” and I think that’s the most important part of any sort of writing. Focusing in on the character and making sure that they feel real. Avoid the, “here’s a stereotype in a cape and stuff happens to them.”
UTF: Do you have a notion of where you want to go and would you want to tease it a little bit?
Chris Sebela: I’ve written my first full arc and we’re two issues into that. If the first two were about her trying to figure out who she is, then the third one is about being careful for what you wish for. She starts to remember who she was and how that necessarily isn’t a good thing. Taking a break from some of the overtly occult and demon stuff and just getting her on a ground level. She’s figuring out who she is and who she was and reconciling both with superheroes running around beating up supervillians. It’s all character stuff and how her relationships change with her friends and how it all affects her.
UTF: There are lots of fanboys and fangirls that come to our site. They read the articles, dive into the comics and they want to be writers.Do you have any words of advice or suggestions for them?
Chris Sebela: I always tell everybody to manage your expectations. I put out my first book from Image [Comics] back in 2011 and I was like, “I’m set. I have a book out. It’s from image. All I have to do is give this to editors and I’m good to go.” I had some people who read it and liked it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to call you and offer you work. It wasn’t until I put out my book, High Crimes, that people actually started returning my calls.
You just have to keep making stuff. Eventually, as long as you’re doing what’s true to who you are and what you want to do, somebody’s going to respond to it. And it might take you four books, it might take you only one. Nobody’s going to call you up because you made a comic. You have to prove to them that you want it and that you want to do this whether you ever get paid or not.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Chris Sebela for chatting with me. It was a great pleasure to talk Ghost and I know I speak for the whole UTF staff when I say: we can’t wait to see what comes next for this engaging Dark Horse franchise!
So what did you think of the interview my fellow fanboys and fangirls?
Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!