One of the things that I strive to do as a part of my work with The Fantasy Shop is to be aware of up and coming creators in order to make sure readers are checking out work by the creators who will be making waves in the coming future. One of the more exciting creators that may have flown under your radar of late is Joe Harris. He's worked for all of the major publishers and has made some real impact with works like Spontaneous and Ghost Projekt from ONI as well taking over the writing chores on Fury of Firestorm after the departure of Gail Simone.
Fantasy Shop: Hey Joe, how's it going?
Joe Harris: It's going great! How are you guys doing?
FS: Doing quite well. I'm always curious what introduced someone to comics because I find that it often explains a little bit about their current tastes in comics. What was the first comic you remember reading?
JH: I believe it was Ghost Rider #69. The original Johnny Blaze series, I mean. It featured Ghost Rider on the cover going up against a "runaway earth mover" and had this moment inside where he twists a metal wrench like it was made of tissue paper in order to demonstrate "the power of vengeance." I think I own two or three copies of it, today.
FS: I think every reader finds themselves buying multiple copies of their early reading experiences at some time or another. Something about those early experiences that make us want to revisit them from time to time. Often times we don't even realize during those early reading experiences that there are writers and artists who work on those books. When did you decide you wanted to work in the comic inudstry?
JH: When I was about 15. I was a musician when I was in high school, but had begun to realize that writing was my calling. When I became exposed to comics in a big way, soon after, my life path sort of just clicked. A lot of different books made me want to do this. Titles like Nexus, Sandman, and creators like Alan Moore, Frank Miller as well as lots of J.M DeMatteis comics made me really want to do this when I was a kid.
FS: It's always interesting to hear which creators put the spark of desire into a future writer or artist. What was your first published comic work?
JH: X-Force #77
FS: No way! I actually have that comic. I remember it quite fondly as a matter of fact. Strange how that happens. What are you working on now?
JH: At this moment, late at night? I'm finishing up the scripts for Great Pacific #8 and The X-Files: Season 10 #3. I'm also pecking at some script and story element stuff for a new series I'm doing at Oni Press which we'll be announcing soon.
FS: Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate. I have to say that I'm really looking forward to The X-Files: Season 10 and have really been loving Great Pacific. Where did the inspiration for Great Pacific come from?
JH: From a combination of real world events and environmental phenomena like the physical Great Pacific Garbage Patch, along with my love of science fiction and survival movies like "The Naked Prey."
FS: Very interesting. The book has been getting a whole lot of positive buzz. Have you been pleased with the reaction fans and critics have had to Great Pacific?
JH: Very much so. Long before we launched, I imagined we'd be lucky to last six issues. That I'm able to plot this series out through year two and beyond right now is intensely gratifying.
FS: That's great. And it seems more and more that Image has had success giving creators a place to show off what they can do and give them enough room to grow. I'm glad that things have been working out for you and that you've managed to get on the radar of more readers. There are bound to be things that are flying under the radar for many readers these days. what're you reading these days that you think more people should be aware of?
JH: Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's, "The Sixth Gun" -- though I think the "more" is coming very soon with that book.
FS: I certainly hope you're right on that front, that book has been stellar since the beginning. Hopefully there will be good news about the NBC television series based on it soon. It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate these days. What do you have coming up that you'd like to make sure people keep their eyes open for?
JH: My new graphic novel, Wars In Toyland, with Adam Pollina on art, is coming out from Oni Press this July 10th.
FS: That's exciting, especially since he drew your first issue of professional work. It seems like the convention circuit never ends these days, aside from your forthcoming signings at the Fantasy Shops are there any appearances you'd like to make people aware of?
JH: I'm just putting my plans together now, but I know I'll be at HeroesCon in June, then San Diego in July. I'm going to be in New England for FCBD, splitting time at Larry's Comics and Jetpack Comics. I'll also be at Third Eye Comics down in Maryland that weekend "X-Files: Season 10" #1 comes out.
FS: Thank you for your time Joe, we look forward to having you in the stores
Cullen has been a friend of The Fantasy Shop for years and we've held signings for his work in the past. But, this is perhaps his most high profile run with either of The Big 2. So, we're insanely happy to have him at the South County store from 5pm-9pm signing books and talking about what it's like working with characters like Superman & Batman, and what we can expect from his sorcery driven time travel yarn over the next 4 issues of Superman/Batman!
So, come by, say hi, and talk with the man behind one of the hottest small press releases of last year (Sixth Gun ... what do you mean you aren't reading Sixth Gun yet? Get on it! NOW!!) and prepare to enjoy without hesitation "Sorceror Kings"!