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Welcome to the very first edition of Robot Roulette, a new interview feature where creators spin the virtual roulette wheel to find out what questions they’ll be answering. With a little help from my friends, I’ve come up with 36 possible questions that any creator could answer, on topics ranging from their careers to their personal lives to their tastes in music. Each week I will randomly select which of those questions they get to tackle.
The first pro to step up to the wheel is Joe Keatinge. Formerly Image Comics’ publicity guy and co-editor of the award-winning Popgun anthology, Joe’s now the writer of Glory and Hell Yeah from Image, and the upcoming Morbius ongoing series for Marvel. He talks about all of these things (and more) regularly on his Tumblr, and Comic Book Resources recently posted a lengthy interview with him on Glory, Hell Yeah and lots more. But nowhere did they address his pet peeves or what instrument he wished he could play. But don’t worry; I’ve got your back.
Joe was one of several pros I sent an email about this wacky feature idea before it existed, and I appreciate his willingness to be one of my first
victims guinea pigs. Now on with the show …
3. If someone gave you $10,000 a week for life, no strings attached, what would you spend it on?
You know that bit in Office Space where he answers a variation of this question and Peter says he would ‘do nothing’? That would be my first week after I finish my existing deadlines. I think I’d just do nothing for a few days. Then I imagine I’d get bored, because I love writing, so I think I’d just get back to work as normal for a while, until I could buy some giant Victorian house in Portland. After that? I would go. Everywhere. I would go to every single place on Earth I have ever wanted to go, bringing a laptop with me so I could write no matter where I was. I’d only stop traveling until I got homesick, stick around Portland for a while, then pack up again to travel some more. I’d probably be picking up a lot of rare books and original art along the way.
Also, I’d buy the latest X-Men pinball machine. That thing is awesome.
6. If you weren’t working in comics, what would you be doing?
There’s an alternate reality version of me that decided to not pursue comics and stayed in school, eventually becoming an English professor. In this reality, there’s no plan B for me. I’m very grateful to be in a position where I can write full time and there is absolutely nothing else I want to do with my life. So, I guess my answer is “be dead.”
That sounds grimmer than I mean it, but being able to write full-time is all I want out of life. It would be cool to work in other mediums — film, prose, video games, and so on — but comics is Love #1. Other mediums I work in will alternate, but I always want to be writing comics.
16. What’s the best part of being a creator?
I love collaborating. I love the process of people with different backgrounds, views, etc., joining together in different aspects to create a new whole. Glory wouldn’t be the same book without Ross Campbell. Morbius wouldn’t be the same without Rich Elson as well as my editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker. Of course, the same goes to Andre Szymanowicz and Ron Richards on Hell Yeah. I do have interest in writing and drawing something on my own someday, but I love being surprised by what comes out of working with other people. It’s endlessly exciting.
17. Name one of your pet peeves. Why is it a pet peeve?
Rampant negativity on public display. Listen, I get you don’t like [insert comic/movie/television show/etc. title here]. That’s wonderful. Why are you spending hours/days/weeks/months whining about it online?
You are going to die someday. It might not be for a while, but it’s coming. Your ever high level of snark isn’t doing anything for your mortality. Why are you wasting time on stuff you loathe? I personally don’t give a crap about the stuff I don’t like. I don’t like it. There is so much amazing stuff on our planet (and most likely well beyond) that I want to learn more about, discuss, listen to, see. I do think it’s important to expose yourself to work you find offensive or not all that great, but the people who proceed to endlessly tear it all apart – especially in a public forum – confound me. It just seems like a poor way to live out your limited days.
29. Can you play an instrument, and if not, what instrument do you wish you could play?
I’ve never been musically inclined. A couple of my buddies — namely local musicians Mayhaw Hoons and Alex Arrowsmith — are the type of guys who can pick up any instrument and play it like it’s nothing. I don’t have that gene. However, if I did, I’d want to play piano.
32. Is there a particular song, band or style of music you listen to when you work?
Every project I work on — heck, every issue, really — gets inspired by a different band, song or style of music. Sometimes it’s film scores, sometimes it’s the Dandy Warhols, sometimes it’s Wu Tang Clan, sometimes it’s WWE theme songs, sometimes it’s anything else. I can’t really give any reasoning. I just go with what feels right.
When I just want something to listen to I put on a lot of music from the 1920-30s. Imagine a typical Woody Allen movie soundtrack and that’s basically what’s going through my brain at any given time. I think it has something to do with watching a huge amount of cartoons from that era when I was a kid. It’s the music I feel I relate to the most — what makes me the most comfortable.
Next week: Jeff Parker!