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Too Many Writers? Del Col And McCreery Interview Acker And Blacker

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  • Too Many Writers? Del Col And McCreery Interview Acker And Blacker

    Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, writers of Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #5, talk with writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker about KING: Flash Gordon #3, both on sale now. Art by Lee Ferguson.

    Layout 1ANTHONY DEL COL & CONOR McCREERY: You guys love your pulp classics (Yay, Thrilling Adventure Hour). What is it about this meta-genre that gets you all frisky and ready to write? And is wearing pants crucial to the process?

    BEN ACKER: First of all, hello and thank you for yaying Thrilling Adventure Hour.

    BEN BLACKER: As to the question of pulp classics, we grew up with the stuff that loved pulp classics. Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. So our love of the classics is due to the love of the classics the things we loved had.

    A&C: You talked about how Flash Gordonís Defenders of the Earth was a touchstone for you both. What was it about that that stuck with you? And where is the line, for you, between homage and mimicry?

    ACKER: The theme song for sure. Youtube that and see if itís not stuck in your head. Sound effects and backup singers and glam metal infusion? Itís amazing.

    BLACKER: Acker liked Defenders of the Earth more than I did.

    ACKER: I donít know if I liked it. But I sure absorbed it. It was a touchstone Ė Iím not backing away from a previous answer, I donít think Ė in that you simply couldnít be 10 and not know about the Defenders of the Earth. It simply wasnít done. Did you know that DotA took place in 2015 Ė the future!

    BLACKER: I didnít know that.

    Layout 1ACKER: Me neither, but I looked it up.

    BLACKER: As for mimicry vs. homage Ė we are pro-homage and anti-mimicry.

    ACKER: Homage is much more honest and loving and, most of all, way easier.

    BLACKER: A hundred times easier.

    A&C: From one writing duo to another, what are your secrets to bring the best out of each other and minimize time spent circling ideas?

    BLACKER: Itís not a secret Ė we share a sensibility that has developed in the very long time weíve worked together, but it was there in some form from the start. We like the same things and think in similar enough, if complimentary, ways.

    ACKER: We donít circle ideas very much. We tend to land on the broad strokes quickly and together. Itís the minutiae in the execution that can send us circling. But we tend not to be too precious about overthinking those.

    BLACKER: As for bringing out each otherís best, we tend to try not to let each other get away with stuff weíve already seen from each other.

    Layout 1A&C: Youíd mentioned before that your comic writing hasnít influenced your TV or radio-drama writing, but do you find you use a very different writerís hat for your comic work when compared to your other work?

    BLACKER: Absolutely. Having to write for an artist means getting in there and describing all of the stuff we never had to for a purely audio medium.

    ACKER: And the dialogue is the last and least of comics. Totally opposite hat.

    A&C: Youíve compared working with an artist to working with an actor. Be honest, which one is more likely to make you want to poison the doughnuts on the craft table?

    ACKER: Maybe weíve lucked out with both because we havenít wanted to poison any of our collaborators.

    BLACKER: Also it is important to remember that doughnuts are to be cherished and eaten. They are for good and not for evil. Please send us doughnuts.

    A&C: Alright, fine, you guys are NOT homicidal maniacs, braaavooo. But with actors you get a cast. If HE canít do X type of scene you write it for HER, etcÖ But you only get one artist and as good as they are many of them have their weak(er)-spots. How do you approach that?

    Layout 1ACKER: Iíd put the blame on us, not artists. If they canít execute what weíve written them, odds are itís because weíre new to the medium. And itís not that they canít, itís that they have a more visually dynamic way.

    BLACKER: So what we do is change the dialogue after weíve seen the art to make sure the story still gets told. There hasnít been anything too dramatic in terms of the difference in what weíve written and what we get back from the artists with whom weíve worked.

    A&C: So, uh, contradicting that last question: Lee Ferguson! (Continuing the trend of these things in making his name a shocked utterance of awe, and not a question.)

    ACKER: Exactly!

    BLACKER: Right? He is good at it!

    A&C: Oh, screw that. Is Lee an Art-God, or an Art Ur-God? Or is he rising to some other element of divinity that our feeble ape minds cannot comprehend?

    ACKER: Heís just a man. With a manís courage. Nothing but a man, who can never fail.

    A&C: And finally Ö Ming is the worst, right?

    BLACKER: Youíre nuts. Mingís the best. Who is more fun to write scenery-chewing dialogue for than a merciless guy?

    For more on King: Flash Gordon #3, click here.