Today's question comes from some familiars…
G-Man: Where do you get your ideas for comic books?
And then, an addendum on that…
Tonis: Have events from your life ever influenced your stories?
I always liked Robert E. Howard’s explanation for the creation of Conan. Basically, he said that he felt the Cimmerian’s dark presence materialize behind him one night while he was at his typewriter. Conan commanded him to chronicle his story, lest he chop his head off, and Howard wrote until collapsing at dawn. Thus, the first Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword," was written.I suppose my methodology is a little less intense...
The best analogy I can use for finding ideas it that it's like me grabbing a honeycomb from somewhere and dipping it into a series of hives and nests until it's covered with a menagerie of bugs. A story can start with a dream, an experience, an article or somewhere I wish another story had gone... but the end product is always a mix of all of that. The seed for HYBRID BASTARDS! was planted in my high school Latin class. I got the idea for my first comic, RUIN, because I was frustrated with most post-Apocalyptic stories never really taking their premises far enough.
But those are simplifications. Here's a more complex example... == TEASER ==
My next comic, UNIMAGINABLE, is coming out from Arcana Studio in December (and, PLUG PLUG, it's listed on page 225 of the latest PREVIEWS. Ordering code OCT100764. PLUG PLUG.) The idea started from a very vivid nightmare I had when I was 11. Around that time, I wrote a short story for creative writing assignment about a city of monsters that was inspired by DARK CITY. Both ideas cooled and mutated over with time. Eventually, they'd fuse together and pull in other influences I had over the years with their combined gravity - - stuff like LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND, the Morrison/Case run on DOOM PATROL and THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. The clincher for the story was based on conclusions I came to about how ludicrous fear can be after I re-visited a wax museum that'd scarred the hell out of me a kid (oddly enough, around the time I had that nightmare.)So do you get the idea?
So I'd say it's crucial to take inspiration from a variety of sources, not just one - - and especially not just from other stories you've read. I'd honestly be careful about drawing too heavily from your own life, as well. That "write what you know" aphorism is certainly true - - there's an episode in HYBRID BASTARDS! drawn from the weirdest Grayhound bus trip I've been on - - but I'm always leery of making characters or situations cut too closely from my own life. I saw more than enough student films in college where the kids obviously were just making shorts about themselves with the names changed. Disregarding how eyeroll inducing and all-too-often narcissistic this can be, I think the greater danger of doing that kind of thing is that it clouds your objectivity. Story should be king, not the details of your life.
Anyway, keep the questions coming everybody. Send me a PM and I’ll eventually answer it here.