Carla Speed McNeil
Over on the CBR mothership, Pam Auditore has a report on Finder writer/artist Carla Speed McNeil’s spotlight panel. McNeil talks about her move to Dark Horse, her long history of self-publishing, and a variety of other topics, but it was the following passage that struck me:
One fan was interested in how much “science” was in her science fiction, stating, “I guess I’m sort of interested in where the line between science and science fiction breaks with rules of science and reality.”
Laughing, McNeil answered, “Most of us don’t know the rules of science. Most of us are not actual scientists, I hate to burst the bubble.”
The young man persisted, responding, “But I know you’re breaking rules. We know people can’t fly. Do you say to yourself, ‘Well, I know that can’t happen in the real world, but I need it to happen to fit the story’? What do you do?”
In reply McNeil said, “Well, I generally follow the rule of cool – if something is exciting to you as a story element, it doesn’t matter if its about a person’s relationship or their job prospects. It’s not different. Whether or not a layered dome city, which is what I have in ‘Finder,’ is impractical [doesn't matter]. It’s whether or not it seems like it makes for something cool in the story. Something that gives you an emotional aspect to the environment that people are living in. It took me a quite a long time to realize that super-heroes are not actually science fiction. From the time I was eeny-weeny, I thought they were, because they used ‘sciencey’ sort of terms. It wasn’t until I saw the first Spider-Man movie and having come back out having had a good time and never having liked Spider-Man to begin with, but I enjoyed it and it occurred to me, “It’s a personal fantasy narrative that’s been smacked on the head with a science stick till it sounds ‘sciencey,’ but in fact isn’t.
“Basically, almost all stories that are not hard SF have that core in them that you are taking, well one hopes, the emotional realities of a situation, and you’re sort of embroidering them with scientific fact,” McNeil continued.
The news and announcements flowed freely on the first day of the brand new C2E2 convention, as well as at the Diamond retailer’s summit on Thursday. Here’s a quick summary, in case you missed anything …
- At the Diamond retailer’s summit, Diamond polled retailers on the possibility of moving from a Wednesday to a Tuesday ship date for comics. This would put them in line with DVDs, music and books.
- Marvel kicked off the con with a lot of announcements, not the least of which was two different Captain America mini-series. First up, Steve Rogers jumps into action in Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier, a four-issue miniseries by Ed Brubaker and artist Dale Eaglesham that kicks off in July. Eaglesham will no longer be drawing Fantastic Four as a result.
- That same month brings Captain America: Patriot, by Karl Kesel and Mitch Breitweiser. The four-issue series stars Jeff Mace, the former Patriot who took on the uniform while Rogers was frozen in a block of ice.
- Marvel also discussed the long-talked about Shadowland, a five-issue series by Andy Diggle and Billy Tan during their Mondo Marvel panel and their retailer presentation on Thursday. “You’re going to see a ton of heroes from Spider-Man and Wolverine to Luke Cage…some are fighting to keep New York safe, and some are fighting to keep it unsafe due to Daredevil’s takeover of the ninja organization The Hand,” said Editor Steve Wacker.
Carla Speed McNeil was at the Haven Distributors booth for the opening of C2E2, and she had big news: She has just signed a multi-book contract with Dark Horse. McNeil, who won a Best Webcomic Eisner last year, has been self-publishing her Finder series for years, so Dark Horse will begin by republishing those earlier comics in two volumes, followed by Torch, which has appeared online, in February. “Also, they are reviving the venerable Dark Horse Presents, in which I will producing eight-page color stories,” McNeil added. “That will be the first time Finder is presented in color.”
The contract covers Torch, Voice, and McNeil’s next three books, as well as the Dark Horse presents material. McNeil says she is happy she self-published her earlier books, because she got to learn how the industry works, but now she wants to move on. “I have got a lot of interesting friends that I want to do projects with,” she said, “and if someone else handles the back end of things, I can do them.”