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terça-feira, 10 de junho de 2008

Undercity Interviews: John Jackson Miller


John Jackson Miller é o nosso entrevistado nesta edição de Undercity Interviews.
Escritor, mais conhecido na comunidade de Star Wars pela autoria da célebre série Knights of the Old Republic, editada pela Dark Horse Comics.

Miller também tem o privilégio de colaborar no processo de produção da célebre estória que decorre nas comics da Dark Horse, "Star Wars: Vector" ao lado do nosso bem conhecido John Ostrander!

Mais uma vez, é um enorme privilégio conversar com uma personalidade tão importante para os fãs de comics de Star Wars, sobretudo de "KotOR" e "Vector". Mas também de Indiana Jones, já que Miller está a escrever as adaptações em banda desenhada das aventuras deste célebre arqueólogo.

Mais um privilégio para a Undercity, numa conversa descontraída!


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John Jackson Miller is our latest guest in this edition of Undercity Interviews.
A Writer, he is well know in the Star Wars community for his work in the comic series Knights of the Old Republic, published by Dark Horse Comics.

Miller also has the privilege of working in the production of the famous story-arc in the Dark Horse Comics, "Star Wars: Vector" right next to our friend John Ostrander!

Once again, it is our great privilege to talk to such an important personality for the Star Wars comics fans, especially of "KotOR" and "Vector". But also of Indiana Jones, since Miller is also writing the graphic novel adaptations of the famous archeologist.

Yet another privilege for Undercity, in another happy interview.

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Undercity - Mr. Miller, thank you for this opportunity. We all know you as the writer of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics. But we would like to know the man behind the pens. Tell us a bit about yourself. Were you a Star Wars fan when growing up?

John Jackson Miller - Oh, definitely. The movies were quite the biggest thing going back then. I had the comics, the novels, the action figures, the posters, and more—I keep finding the stuff around the house.

I started writing and drawing my own comics as a kid around the same time I started buying them—and some of my early science-fiction comics works were very clearly Star Wars inspired. I did humor comics and super-hero comics and other kinds, too. I continued to do my own comics as part of the small-press community through high school and college before realizing once and for all that I wasn't cut out to draw my own stuff. That time was helpful in teaching me layout and pacing for comics, but my time was definitely better spent writing!

U - We read you began as a magazine editor, how did you end up writing for one of the greatest eras in the Star Wars saga (KotOR)?

JJM - Working in comics I got to know a number of people in the business. I did two or three projects for a couple of smaller publishers that went defunct before they could get my issues out; later, I finally got into print atMarvel. Thereafter, I did a one-shot story for Empire—and later Randy Stradley and I got to discussing what could be done for the Old Republic. About a year later, the first issue hit the stands!

U - We often see you talk to fans, especially in the Dark Horse Forums. How do you feel they influence you in your writing?

JJM -
I've written in my Comics Buyer's Guide column that the Internet has sort of turned comics into "theater in the round," where the actors can very quickly see the expressions and views of those in the audience. Sometimes that can help you polish your later performances—and the fans have certainly been helpful in catching continuity things from time to time.

But in the end, it's not a true collaboration—we have our stories to tell, and while feedback is important it's not what drives the creation. (No two fans want exactly the same thing, anyway!) But it's a pleasure to talk to fans on the boards to get reactions all the same.

U - The writing process is very complex; how do you inspire yourself to build characters and stories? Do you have a reference or source of inspiration?

JJM - I think all writers are constantly observing life and their own and others' experiences, and figuring ways to craft those into the stories that we tell. I also read a lot of history, and will often try to create a similar kind of dilemma to confront characters with. History has a way of repeating itself—not just in real life, but in other times and contexts in fiction. Often, the lessons learned are the same—not always, but often.

U - How much do you research each time you sit down to write a new story?

JJM - It depends on the comic book. Crimson Dynamo at Marvel took a long time, as we were trying to simulate real-life Russia to the extent that we could. I had a character posing as a hockey scout so he could travel the country, spreading money around—and so I studied up on what kinds of teams were where, and what the spectators would eat in the stands. And some of that detail made it to the page—not all, but enough to give it a certain flavor.

Star Wars is another matter as you're looking at what's been done before, what real estate is available to you, and really tricky things like "has this species been discovered in this era?" Fortunately there is a healthy pool of knowledge out there!

U - We all heard that writing for comics is somehow like building a script for a film. Do you agree with this? Is there cinematographer touch in your works?

JJM - I think that often we're looking at point-of-view in a similar way—what will our reader be seeing in a panel, what angle will be most dramatic, etc. Writers can make suggestions, but there is obviously a lot that is left to the artist's interpretation. Some of my favorite panels are ones where the artist really surprised me, producing scenes from angles I never imagined and wouldn't have dared try to ask of them.

U - Where did you inspire yourself to create the personality of Zayne Carrick?

JJM - With Zayne I wanted to create a character who, on paper, was simply not up to the challenges we had in store for him—but who in practice would find a way. He would help people, and be somebody that other people would want to help. And so he might be in the wrong place in the wrong time, but he was the right person for that, after all—and he had the right friends.

I think I go back to the original trilogy and all that was said about Luke and his feelings for his friends. If anything, Zayne would be even more dependent on the help of others to be able to survive and thrive—he's had to learn self-reliance in a lot of situations, but against the odds he's facing, that's not always enough. You've got to be a friend to deserve a friend—and he's been that guy.

U - There is a reference in Wookieepedia that the helmsman aboard the starship Courageous in one of the KotOR magazines is actually you, is this true?

JJM - That came about in a rather backwards fashion. I had intended in the beginning for Carth Onasi to be aboard Saul Karath's ship in "Flashpoint," but I never wrote him into a scene. When Dustin Weaver drew a character with a goatee, people asked if that was Carth, and I said it was open to that interpretation. Why not? And then Dustin revealed that guy was intended to be me. So I have a Carth connection there, I guess.

I don't do costumes, but one FanForce group has threatened to make me a Carth costume from the comics. As long as I get to keep the trenchcoat!

U -Can you tell us what more to expect of your part of the new story arc, "Vector"?

JJM - We've said that “Vector” has a major impact on the series it touches—and that definitely is the case here as we move toward the final KotOR installment of “Vector.” We'll clearly see how Zayne's encounters with Celeste, Pulsipher, and the Muur Talisman have set a lot of forces in motion—it's going to be a wild ride!

U - We would like to congratulate you for being appointed to write the new Indiana Jones comics. What do you expect from this whole new saga with such a large legion of fans?

JJM - Writing the movie adaptation was great fun. I was a huge fan of the earlier films, including some of the spin offs like the comics and the TSR role-playing game, and it was a big thrill to be involved with it. After all these years, it's a welcome return!

U - Do you have any other future Star Wars projects?

JJM - There's a number of Star Wars things on the way. On the gaming side, I co-wrote the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide with Rodney Thompson, Sterling Hershey, and Abel Pena; that's due out around Gen Con in August. I think the KotOR miniatures line is out at the same time—I consulted on the stats for those as well. I also have one of the Dawn of Defiance modules appearing very late in that campaign.

I have some prose fiction appearing on Hyperspace on StarWars.com—a piece called "Labor Pains," telling an untold story of Zayne and Gryph from earlier in the series. We'd been intending to do that one for a long time, and it was really fun to write—a whole story told from Gryph's point of view and using his peculiar vocabulary!

I have a variety of other projects going as well—check www.farawaypress.com for updates.

U - We asked this to Mr. Ostrander, your fellow Star Wars writer, and we ask you, now. Is there an advice you would like to give to young writers in their career beginning?

JJM - Write something—anything—particularly for places where there are others involved to help you polish your work. I'm glad that the Internet is around so that people can find audiences with their writing much easier than I did when growing up—but I'm just as glad that I worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist where there were editors there to help me become a better communicator. It works the same way with fiction—everyone's there to help put out a better story.

So I would look beyond simply writing for self-publishing—even if you're just writing up high school baseball games for the local paper, it's all experience writing for an audience.

U - Finally, would you like to send a message to all the Portuguese KotOR readers, especially the Fan Force Portugal members?

JJM - Thanks for your support—and keep reading! “Vector” is just the startof a huge year not just for KotOR, but for all the Star Wars comics!

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Exclusive - Undercity Portugal, May 2008

1 Mensagens:

Admiral Tina disse...

Muito bom! Thank you, Mr. Miller!

:D