Sunday, July 29, 2012

Indie Spotlight - Magnus von Tesla

Our current indie spotlight is on Magnus von Tesla, author of the webcomic My Life Without a Jetpack. More questions after the jump.

1. When did you start reading comics?

Let's see... when I started reading, basically... and even before that, I was looking at comics and "reading" the action. I come from a family where reading is something that's second nature, I grew up surrounded by books, and being the youngest of six siblings, when I was born I had two teenaged brothers who read comics, and they shared them with me.

So I was reading at age 5-6, and "reading the action" from age 2. 
2. What are your favorite comics/characters?

That's a long list! Green Lantern (Jordan), The Legion Of Super-Heroes, X-Men, Superman, Atomic Robo, Action Philosophers, Gypsy, Hellblazer, Hark! A Vagrant, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Doktor Sleepless, etc, etc. 

3. Who are your favorite writers/artists?

God, another long list. Jack Kirby, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Bill Sienkiewicz, Brian Michael Bendis, John Ostrander, Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen, Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, Kate Beaton, etc, etc. 
4. Why did you decide to do an autobiographical webcomic?

I thought I had some fun stories to tell; plus it seemed like a good source to draw from while I flexed my scripting and lettering muscles to tell other stories. It's also great excercise in keeping deadlines, and keeping a regular publishing schedule. 
5. How did the idea to do the "My Life WITH A Jetpack" stories come along?

Those happened by chance, to tell the truth. One of my countries veteran comic book writer/artists, Enrique Ardito, who I've had the pleasure to become friends with, did one of the pre-launch guest pin-ups for My Life Without a Jetpack; and he had so much fun, that he just popped out the first With A Jetpack strip, with balloons but no dialogues... and that's where it struck me. I scripted & lettered over that strip, and once it was published,

I invited other artists to join in and keep the plot going, they plot on the art, and I script dialogues. It's like the game, "exquisite corpse", where a collaborative story is told more or less improvising as we go. The alternate strip also helps to fill a week here or there where my regular artist, Taibox, can't make the deadline (we do have day jobs and some paid comics work); or we were busy getting another project ready.

6. Are you currently working on any other projects?

Oh, always. I recently put out the third issue of a fanzine with a small publisher I run with some friends, in print; and we also put out short stories on the website. We're working on some larger stuff that, if it works out, will see daylight sometime next year. In the mean time, I'm always posting new short stories here and there; although most of it is Spanish, and only later it's translated into English... and sometimes, I take too long to do so; but keep an eye out for the first issue for issue #1 of my new historical humor series, "Herodotus' Underwear"; which'll be translated and posted online soon.

I also do lettering for other comic creators, on a freelance basis, and I write articles for magazines, websites, and flavor text for videogames; as well as producing and hosting a couple of nerdy radio shows (100% in Spanish).
7. What is your personal favorite part of the creation process?

I love all of the creative process; it's the editorial stuff I loathe, the numbers, the business aspect.. but it's a necessary evil. Of the creative process in particular, I love writing dialogues. You see, I prefer using an enhanced form of the "Marvel Method"; where I plot a page by page beat for the artist to sketch page layouts, and then I write dialogue over those layouts, lettering over them and fitting in what works.

I mean, I know basically what is going to be said in the story, but the exact words, I write them when I have at least a rough layout of the page in front of me. Sometimes I'll thumbnail the pages with stick figures, or ask for a specific shot in a certain page because the story requires it; but I prefer to leave the visuals mostly to the artist; and then script the words over it as I see the scene before me, slowly giving a voice to the characters. I love that part.

And then, there's sharing it with the readers! That's still part of the creative process, since I gather feedback and grow as a storyteller for my next tale.
8. Any artists or writers you are dying to work with?

Please see my list of favorite writers and artists; I'd love to work with any of them, as well as with many other very talented guys in the industry. I'm also lucky to work with some amazing indy artists here in my country and in some other countries.
9. What can we expect out of future installments of "My Life Without a Jetpack?"

You can expect me to keep baring my soul to my readers; and going back and forth between different times of my life. You'll see more of me as a kid, as a teen, as a father; and as husband. That's what My Life Without A Jetpack is all about: ME. :) 

My Life Without a Jetpack 
Magnus von Tesla's Bio 
Magnus' Portfolio 
Spanish Language Comics 

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