Posted - 07/02/2010 : 11:47:08 AM
Interview with: Brent Sprecher
Comic Book: Female Force: Meredith Vieira
Publication date: September 2010, Cost: 3.99
Publisher: Bluewater Productions
Interviewed by: Allen Klingelhoets
Allen: It is great to have you back at Jazma, Brent Sprecher. I really enjoyed interviewing you for some of your past projects at Bluewater Productions. I recall you worked as writer for non-fiction "Political Power: Ted Kennedy" and fictional "Spaced Out" comic books. Tell me how you became involved with writing "Female Force: Meredith Vieira" comic book.
Brent: Thanks, Allen, it's good to be back. It's great that you're offering Bluewater and I the chance to talk about these books that we worked so hard to produce. As for how I became involved with "Meredith Vieira," I was looking to do some more writing and contacted Darren, Bluewater's publisher, about doing another book after writing "Political Power: Ted Kennedy." The biography books were selling really well for Bluewater and he had a whole list of projects lined up and gave me a choice of several to choose from. I didn't know anything about Meredith Vieira at the time, so I thought she would make a good subject for me, being someone that I had no preconceived ideas about. Then, it was just a matter of doing the research and figuring out an interesting way to present her story.
Allen: How did the concept for the "Meredith Vieira" comic book come about?
Brent: After Bluewater's successful biography comics in the "Political Power" line, Darren was looking to branch out into other areas and "Female Force" became a platform for him to tell stories about important women in today's society who are not necessarily politicians.
Allen: How did you research Meredith's biography story? Did you have any insights personally from Meredith?
Brent: Well, like my previous book for Bluewater, "Political Power: Ted Kennedy," with "Meredith Vieira" I had to dig in and do a lot of reading. Thanks to the internet, there's a wealth of information online, but you still have to do your due diligence to make sure that the information is credible. Because Meredith was a newswoman for so many years, there were plenty of stories about her and by her online to draw from for inspiration, and she's given countless interviews about her life and her career choices.
No, I didn't try to contact her, though I hope she reads the book and enjoys it-email me, Meredith, and tell me what you think! I don't really ever want to contact the subjects of these pieces because I want to remain as unbiased as possible in telling their stories.
Allen: Meredith was on “The View”, “60 Minutes”, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, and “The Today Show”. When did you start becoming aware of Meredith?
Brent: I was aware of her for some time, just because she has been on TV for years. But, about her personal life and history, I was clueless until I began doing research for this book.
Allen: Whose viewpoint will the story be told through? How many pages will the story contain?
Brent: I told Meredith's story by telling a story about two young girls, Chance and Estelle, who are working on a school project together, the subject of which is Meredith Vieira. Both of the girls connect through their shared struggles with their own family issues and they both look up to Meredith as a good role model for working women and mothers. It's a 24-page story.
Allen: What impresses you most about Meredith Vieira?
Brent: You mean besides the fact that she is an award-winning journalist, popular TV personality, wife and mother? What impresses me most about Meredith is that she made a decision to always put her family before her career and she stuck to it no matter the consequences.
Allen: Why do you think she is worthy of her own "Female Force" issue?
Brent: I think that she deserves her own title because many people today only know her from "Millionaire" or "The Today Show," but she accomplished a great deal as a journalist before those shows. Through the book, I hope to educate readers about her contributions to journalism and about her struggle to balance a successful career with being a mother.
Allen: How long did it take you to write script?
Brent: I worked on the script on and off for about two months.
Allen: Do you find it more difficult to write non-fiction compared to fictional stories?
Brent: Absolutely. It's all in the details with non-fiction. I had to do a lot of research about Meredith's life, checking and double-checking dates, times, awards, etc., to be sure to present as accurate a picture of her life as possible.
Allen: What were some of challenges you had writing about Meredith?
Brent: Doing the research, gathering the facts, etc., is one thing, but how do you present them without boring the reader? That's the real challenge in doing a biography comic. Comic books rely as much on the artwork as on the writing, so I had to come up with interesting things for the artist, Alex Lopez, to draw.
Allen: Tell me about artist Alex Lopez. Why do you think Alex is right fit as artist for "Female Force: Meredith Vieira" comic book?
Brent: Alex is fantastic! He has a clean, unique style that is perfectly suited for an intimate story like this one. He draws very natural people and surroundings. I can't say enough good things about his work on this book.
Allen: Have you worked with Alex on other comic book projects?
Brent: No, but I sure would love to team up with him again!
Allen: What do you think of the cover drawn by Vinnie Tartamella? Do you also know if there will be more than one cover image?
Brent: Vinnie has done several celebrity covers for Bluewater and his likenesses are always spot-on. I'm not sure if there will be a variant cover or not. You'll have to ask Darren about that.
Allen: What are some things you are most proud of in your career?
Brent: I'm just proud to be working in comics, period. I think it is one of the most dynamic, innovative art forms in America and I'm happy to be able to make my own contributions to it.
Allen: What was some of the best advice you got when starting out in the comic book industry?
Brent: Actually, all I received were words of discouragement whenever I would tell anyone that I wanted to work in comics in the early days. People outside of the industry have a hard time understanding how complex and diverse the comic book industry really is today. For many, their only experience with it dates back to "Archie" comics they read as a kid, so they have no idea that some of the best American writers working today are working in the comic book industry.
Allen: What motivated you to want to work in the comic book industry?
Brent: A lifelong love of the art form and the realization that anything is possible if you work really hard at it.
Allen: Who have been some of your favorite writers of comic book stories?
Brent: I love everything that Geoff Johns writes over at DC Comics. He's really rejuvenated the characters and titles that he has worked on. In the same way, guys like best Marvel books ever. I enjoy Mike Mignola, Kurt Busiek…there are so many great writers working today I couldn't begin to list them all.
Allen: What were some of the earliest titles you worked on?
Brent: I actually began in the business as a penciller, contributing artwork for Caliber Comics back in the '90s. I left the industry to work in video games and then for a casino consulting company. My return to comics began at Bluewater doing pin-ups for titles like "The Blackbeard Legacy" and "Insane Jane" before I started writing. I wrote a four-issue, all-ages comic book called "Spaced Out" for Bluewater back in 2008 that is still in the process of being illustrated. Hopefully, we'll see that some day.
Allen: Do you have others you would like to write biography stories about?
Brent: I enjoy writing the biographies, and would happily take on another assignment for one of Bluewater's biography lines, but my real interest lies in fiction.
Allen: Are you reading any comic book series at present time?
Brent: Oh, yeah, too many to mention. When I go to the comic book shop, they plunk down a stack of books from my pull list that is usually eight to ten inches high.
Allen: I am curious. Do you hold any jobs outside of the comic book industry?
Brent: My primary gig is as a freelance writer for Reelz Channel, the cable network. I provide online content about breaking movie news. I also run fansites over at ComicBookMovie.com and EarthsMightiest.com.
Allen: Do you have any convention appearances or comic book store signings planned?
Brent: No, I don't quite have the following for a signing (yet, wink), but I will be going to the San Diego Comic-Con as both a guest professional and as a press agent.
Allen: What upcoming projects do you have? Will they be at Bluewater or another company?
Brent: Actually, I'm working on a creator-owned project for Bluewater right now that I have to keep under wraps for the time being. I can say that it's a fun, genre-bending action-adventure story with strong female leads that will hopefully be finished by the fall for a spring release. Fingers crossed.
Allen: What is the best way to contact you?
Brent: I can be reached via email at: email@example.com.
Allen: What is best way to get copy of "Female Force: Meredith Vieira" comic book?
Brent: Go down to your local comic specialty shop and demand that they order a copy of it for you. Better yet, demand that they order ten copies!
Allen: Thank you, Brent, for the interview.
Brent: Always a pleasure, Allen.
my other interviews with Brent
Political Power: Ted Kennedy
Brent Sprecher, writer of Spaced Out comic book, Bluewater Productions
Jazma Field Marshal
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