I'm back (one day late from my usual Thursday posting) with another installment of "I Thought You'd Never Ask." The skinny is this: Every week, I ask 5 questions of one of my comic creator pals, questions which your average reporter would never think to ask. Hopefully, it's a mix of entertaining and informative for you, dear reader. Check out these archival interviews with Phil Hester, Ron Marz, and Rick Loverd.
This week's victim is Rob Levin. If that name isn't familiar to you yet, it will be soon. Rob is one of the smartest, savviest, and funny guys I know in the business. Rob is currently a freelance writer and editor, but I got to know him as the youngest Vice President of Editorial over at Top Cow. He rose to that position because of his keen critical eye for the art of comics. Listening to Rob give notes, you can't help but wonder if he's actually like Benjamin Button. It's pretty common for pros meeting him to assume he's much older than he actually is. As a writer, he's only just now breaking on the scene with stories like The Darkness: Butcher, a Ragman story in the DC Comics Holiday Special, The Darkness: Shadows & Flame, and the upcoming Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box with co-conspirator & renaissance man Bryan Edward Hill. He also recently edited the critically acclaimed Days Missing limited series for Archaia and the upcoming The Crazies comic prequels from American Original. It's just the tip of the iceberg of what Levin has in store for the comics industry so get on board this train early. You an find him blogging at Authentic Imposter as well as here at Geekweek or sharing his random insight on Twitter @roblevin. Finally, you should know I call Rob "Dusty" and he calls me "Frutti," the reasons are a thing of comic book urban legend.
Filip Sablik: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? You originally studied
film in college, did you always want to write comics? Or did it just
come out of a desire to write in general and this is the medium you've
found some opportunity in?
I should also mention that the aforementioned Se7en and Ron Marz's first Kyle Rayner story in Green Lantern had a pretty profound effect on me. I got really into revenge stories about (spoiler alert) dead girls and men bent on avenging them, and that's continued to this day.
FS: You're relatively new to the writing game, so tell me off the top of your head - what's the one character or title you'd give your left hand to write right now?
And if I were a better writer I'd love to write for either The Office or Californication.
FS: Hear that Marvel? Put Rob Levin on Darkhawk. Sure, he said Daredevil, but Darkhawk sounds like a platinum idea. Where do you start with a story? Are you an inside-out guy or an outside-in guy? Do you start with a scene or set piece and then build around it or start with the character and see where they take you? Or start with a plot idea and work from there?
My "training" if you can call it that is more about structure and narrative than process itself. Everyone has different tweaks or formulas they use, include the legions of people that follow Robert McKee's advice (and one day, I will finish that damn book). I just sit down and work until it comes out the way I want. And sometimes it's even good, but I don't have a specific workflow that I follow with any regularity.
FS: Alright eough with the dull writing questions, let's get to what these people really came here to hear about - dodgeball. You are a dodgeball enthusiast. Why dodgeball?
FS: Wow, now I have a whole new reason to make fun of recreational kickball players. Awesome! What's the one question you've always wanted an interviewer to ask, but you've never been asked?
Honestly, and I'll regret this as soon as I say it, but I would be thrilled to get the question, "Prolapsed rectum. Your thoughts?" To which I would respond, "Rectum? Damn near killed 'im!" Or any question involving a flattering prelude to it such as, "Despite your prowess as a dodgeballer, fantastic ability to grow an afro, and my jealousy over not being you, why isn't this project any good?"
So yeah, I'm open for anything. I think the best interviews are the ones that go on tangents about dodgeball or the Atlanta Hawks, skinny pirates (the drink, not the seafaring hoodlums) or burritos. Future interviewers take note. Filip just put a bullseye on your tired questions, and my words are weapons.
FS: Damn, skippy, Rob. Damn, skippy.
Filip Sablik is the Publisher of Top Cow Productions, Inc. He’s
been in the business for nine years and just officially entered his
thirties. Occasionally, he does a bit of writing and drawing. He loves
Top Cow Productions, Inc. was founded by Marc Silvestri, co-founder of Image Comics. Top Cow currently publishes its line of comic books in 21 languages in over 55 different countries. The company has launched 20 franchises (18 original and two licensed) in the industry’s Top 10, seven at #1, a feat accomplished by no other publisher in the last two decades.