Nancy A. Collins, author of the Sonja Blue book series and current writer of Vampirella and co-writer of Red Sonja: Vulture Circle did a r/comicbooks AMA the other day and we have some of the highlights that pertain to her work at Dynamite.
1) Do you have a separate process when writing novels, graphic novels, and serialized comics? 2) When you're working on an ongoing, do you like to have an outline with how the arc will go? 3) Are you always inspired to write? Or does it end up being more of a discipline? Thanks again for visiting us and answering our questions! Big fan of your work!
Thank you for being a fan. 1. I do have slightly different creative processes between novel & comics, although they are largely the same–I outline the action point-by-point. Writing a comics script is closer to writing a short story and/or screenplay, though. And I structure it more by pages than chapter breaks. 2. Yes, I do have outlines for the story arc–in fact, my editors at Dynamite require one for approval. 3. No, I'm not always touched by the muse. Sometimes I have to force myself to get in there and shovel. Usually, when that happens, I focus on the formatting or the action descriptions for the artists, then go back and handle the dialog when I'm feeling more 'inspired'.
Thanks for the detailed response!!
There has been a lot of controversy regarding female presence in the comic book industry, whether it be the way females are depicted or how female creators are treated at publishers, do you think overall the industry is improving as a whole? Are there any comic publishers you think that are better at portraying females than others?
Compared to Ye Olde Days, things are far different/better for female creators. We've always been here, but now we're starting to be viewed as part of the landscape as opposed to unicorn-like anomalies.
I couldn't really say which publishers are better or worse at portraying women in their product because it seems to differ depending on the creative teams. Dynamite gets a lot of grief for their covers being big ol' slices of cheesecake, but the actual writing depicts the characters as empowered, badass women as opposed to a pair of balloons tied to a stick–Gail Simone's run on Red Sonja is a prime example of what I'm talking about.
Which comic artist you've never worked with would you most like to be paired with on a project?
I'd love to do something with Mike Mignola. Although we've been friends for years, we've never truly collaborated on anything.
Been a fan since i was 16 and i saw an ad in a white wolf catalogue for MIDNIGHT BLUE. My question is: Who would you cast as the perfect Sonja Blue in your movie?
That's hard to say. Over the years the character has been optioned for development several times and numerous actresses have been approached for the role–including Reese Witherspoon, Angelina Jolie, and Asia Argento. Our most recent near-miss was Scarlett Johansson. I, personally, have no physical ideal for Sonja Blue–The perfect actress for the role is whoever can pull off her attitude, more than her appearance.
Give me an elevator pitch why I should get your newest book
VAMPIRELLA: FEARY TALES is a love note to the original Warren horror-anthology mags and features stories from some of the finest creators in both comics and horror/suspense prose.
I'm a (admittedly recent) fan of Vampirella, and think she's a great character. What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing for Vampirella? Biggest challenge of writing comic book horror generally?
The biggest challenge I have writing for Vampirella is her history of being less than a character and more of a pin-up. That really hasn't been true of the character for some time, but it is still how she's viewed by a lot of people. It's my job to write stories that make that aspect of her history irrelevant.
Hi Nancy! What's the pitch of the Vulture's circle? I love Red Sonja but haven't yet read anything from the Dynamite run…
The 'pitch' on Red Sonja: Vulture's Circle is that it depicts her as a woman in her late 40s/early 50s. She has, effectively, retired from the sword-for-hire business and is running an academy teaching young girls how to become battle maidens. Of course, just like Michael in the Godfather, just when she thought she was out, events conspire to draw her back in.