Learning From Late Comics: My Interview with Clay Moore & Jeremy Haun

At Heroes Con, I interviewed B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun about late comics and their upcoming projects. (This was originally posted in 2006 at the Pulse, which is now (2010) defunct with all links broken.)

Learning from Late Comics
An Interview with B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun

Writer B. Clay Moore is probably best known for two things: Hawaiian Dick, the story of an island private eye whose first series was optioned for film, and working on late comics. As a result, he’s gained some valuable experience.

Moore says he’s learned to have every issue done ahead of time in order to avoid future shipping delays. The current Hawaiian Dick miniseries, The Last Resort, has had its share of schedule trouble. The first issue came out in August of 2004, with #2 (drawn by fill-in artist Nick Derington) shipping in November. Original artist Steven Griffin returned for #3 in December 2005, and he concludes the miniseries with the final issue #4, due in stores July 12.

A collection will follow later this year before the series relaunches as an ongoing color Hawaiian Dick monthly in 2007. Scott Chantler (Northwest Passage) will illustrate the first four-issue story arc. Then the plan is for Jason Armstrong to draw a two-issue followup before Chantler returns for another four.

Moore’s other new project for 2007 is 76, an eight-issue shared miniseries. Each issue will have a chapter of Jackie Karma, a New York-based kung fu story written by Moore and illustrated by Ed Tadem, and one of Cool, set in LA and created by Seth Peck and Tigh Walker. Together, they provide “street-level action evocative of the 1970s.”

If Moore’s learned one thing from dealing with comic retailers, it’s to “get the whole thing done before you solicit.” If a book doesn’t ship on time, he feels, you can’t discuss any other reasons for failure or lower sales than you hoped for. If it does, then you can talk about other ways to improve the project. “Late shipping is why books lose steam, and retailers matter as the gatekeeper to the customer. You have to get their attention to get on the shelves.”

Recently, Moore launched The Leading Man, a five-issue miniseries from Oni Press illustrated by Jeremy Haun. Haun and Moore previously worked together on the Battle Hymn miniseries, and with this new project, Haun aims to “make it fun and have a good time.” He’s providing complete pencils which go straight to color.

Like Moore, Haun doesn’t like late comics. He agrees with waiting to solicit until the issues are ready, even though “it’s really, really hard to do. We’re writing or drawing into a void. As creators, we need an outlet for response.” Moore feels similarly, aiming to create an emotional reaction in the reader. He’d rather get praise or criticism than disinterest.

Haun and Moore wound up working together because they’re both located in Missouri, and they got to know each other when they drove to a Dallas convention together. After Haun finished up his work on Paradigm and the previous Battle Hymn artist had fallen through, he agreed to take over art on that title. He had a new baby due, and he was also working on Desperadoes at IDW for additional income.

The problems of fitting Battle Hymn into the extra time available between those two events taught him that he never wants to be late again. To make that happen, although Leading Man #1 is just out, he’s already working on issue #4.

Moore is also determined not to ship late books any more, but he knows that retailers won’t believe it until they see it. He can’t build momentum with late books, and “until the book is finished and at the printer, it doesn’t matter.” Haun’s philosophy is even more basic: “Do the work. It’s your job.”


9 Responses to “Learning From Late Comics: My Interview with Clay Moore & Jeremy Haun”

  1. Michael Denton Says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting both of them. They were the nicest guys, Jeremy especially. His artwork was just AMAZING. It is beautiful, beautiful stuff and wish I could afford to take home a piece of it. If he’s not the next hottest thing in comic art, I don’t know who should be.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I agree. I was surprised to find out that they went to the coloring stage from his pencils, they’re so complete. Very nice art.

  3. Ralf Haring Says:

    Hawaiian Dick + Battle Hymn + Expatriate = lesson learned. Avoid B. Clay Moore books as single issues.

  4. Michael Denton Says:

    Clay said that he hoped to have a Hawaiian Dick ongoing out next year – although his lateness on single issues has seemed consistent, I don’t think I would be able to hold out for a trade on a HD monthly.

  5. Johanna Says:

    I talked with him about the series in the interview at the link — he’s planning on getting big numbers of issues in the can before launching to avoid future problems.

  6. Ralf Haring Says:

    Everybody plans that. It’s all just talk until you show you can do it, though.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Of course. But I believe that lessons learned from experience are more valued than those that are solely theoretical knowledge, so I have faith in them.

  8. The Leading Man » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] creative team previously worked together on Battle Hymn: Farewell to the Golden Age, and I interviewed the two at Heroes Con 2006. Moore also wrote the retro adventure Hawaiian Dick. [...]

  9. Hawaiian Dick Ongoing Launches in November » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] year, I interviewed writer B. Clay Moore, who mentioned that he was bringing back his intriguing “tropical noir” Hawaiian Dick [...]




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