Q and A with Josh Jerez and Jaclyn Weber

Cover by Jaclyn Weber
Cover by Jaclyn Weber

“Crime & Terror” is the comic book debut from the very promising team of writer Josh Jerez and artist Jaclyn Weber. This comic is a crime/mystery story that focuses on the events surrounding Frank and Hannah.  Take a look and enjoy the interview we had with the pair..

BS: What got you into writing comic books?

JJ: Writing comics was something I scratched the surface with when I was in high school. A couple friends and I thought it would be really rad to write our own superhero comic, so that’s exactly what we did. We all took turns handwriting a script on a legal pad, and over time we perfected it with edits and rewrites. Luckily at the time I was writing for my school news publication, so it was a broad extension of what I learned while being a journalist. It helped a lot, and it still helps me to this day. A lot of the comic books I read are creator-owned or are from independent publishers like Image Comics or IDW, so they aren’t like the books that Marvel or DC put out with generations of fans. These are books that have been around for less than 20 years and in most cases less then 10.

Ultimately, I started writing comics because I loved comic books. I love reading them, and it was always in the back of my mind that “what if I could write comics for a living?”

JW: I’ve always loved writing and telling stories. I suppose it comes from my parents; they’re both very artistic and avid storytellers. When I really started to hone my drawing skills, it seemed only natural that comics would be the best marriage for my artwork and want of telling stories.

BS: What comics or writers have inspired your style of writing?

JJ: One of the most influential comics I have read would have to be Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”, it’s a real eye turner, I think. It’s not your traditional cape and cowl superhero book. It has a deeper subject than that and I think the depth of the story is something that can make any book powerful. Look at some other independent books, books that Image Comics are putting out, they are doing really well for themselves and I think it’s because they’re putting out products that are as riveting and are intelligent.

Steve Niles is by far my biggest inspiration for my writing. This guy can put out scripts like there’s no tomorrow and each book is just as fun as the next. There is no deterioration in every book he puts out. He is one of the few guys, that when I see a book of his on the shelves, I HAVE to pick it up. “30 Days of Night” remains as one of my all time favorite comic book mini-series. Steve has even helped me with some advice, probably unbeknownst to him. I’ll tweet at him a question or two and he usually does me the pleasure of tweeting back some really good stuff.

Joshua Dysart has been another person who has inspired me. I once asked him for advice and he wrote me basically a entire book of how to get into the comic industry. He was just a comic lover and he wrote, wrote, and wrote some more and he eventually wrote some books for Mignola’s “Hellboy“, and now he’s the current writer for Valiant’s “Harbinger“. (Great series by the way). I like to look at Dysart as a success story to drive me further into my writing career.

BS: What are you currently reading?

JJ: It’s really hard to say; I am always reading. Whether it be comics or not. At any given moment I can be reading one thing, and the next day it could be something else. As far as comics go I’m reading; “The Walking Dead”, “TMNT”, “Invincible”, “Lot 13”, “Detective Comics”, “Nightwing”, “Swamp Thing”, “Thief of Thieves”, the ongoing “30 Days of Night series”, “Frankenstein! Alive, Alive!”,

I am also reading the trades of “Fatale” and I really want to read “Saga”. I hear so much about “Saga”, and I think that I am going to really regret not getting into it when it first hit shelves. I have also been reading the trades for Joe Hill’s “Locke & Key”, I’ve finished the first three books and I am captivated. The story and characters make this series so wonderful, I recommend it. It ranks as one of my favorite series.

JW: I haven’t actually read a proper comic book in some time, but right now I’m reading several webcomics. My favorite being “The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal”.

BS: For people that have not read comics before, but have wanted to.  What is your advice on getting into it, but not ending up in the middle of an arc?

JJ: There really isn’t a right or wrong way to get into comic books. I just suggest to pick one up, go and find the back issues you need to get caught up on a story arch. One of the best ways is to buy the trades of your favorite titles, or a title you’re interested in, and just get caught up that way. Trades will usually collect five, sometimes up to seven issues, at a time of a given a series. Go out to your local comic shop, I know I live at mine, and ask for some advice, they’ll be glad to help you find something for you to get into.

I find it a little harder to keep up with a lot of Marvel’s or DC’s flagship titles, maybe not so much now with the Marvel NOW and The New 52 relaunches.

BS: You are currently working on a new comic, is that correct?  What type of comic is it?

JJ: Yes! I’m actually working on a few different projects! Some of them are a little more solid than others. The only thing that exists for one project, is literally just an outline. Hahah! I’m always looking for new people to work with. But any who, one of the more “solid” comics I’m working on is “Crime & Terror”. C&T is going to be a series of mini-series. Like “Locke & Key” and much of the “30 Days of Night”. We’ll tell different stories with the same character building a universe of people, villains, and sidekicks. Our first arch is simple titled “Crime & Terror”. It’s a meld of noir and horror, but I really think that it has more elements of horror and suspense.

JW: I have several projects in the works, but Crime & Terror is getting most of my attention at the moment. As the title suggests, it’s a detective/crime story

BS: What information can you give us about it?

JJ: If I told you too much you wouldn’t have the incentive to buy something I put so much effort (and money) into making. I can tell you that I really think it will be a great story and I think you’ll be asking for more when you finish the first issue. This particular arch revolves around a middle-aged private investigator and his client, a young college student. This college student, Hannah, hires Frank to work a case that turns out to be the murder of Hannah brother. The case quickly escalates into a violent street war and deadly and life-altering secrets are uncovered. Everything will be in question for Frank and Hannah. Who will they be able to trust? Their lives begin to turn upside down and it is all because of the murder of Hannah’s brother. Trust me, this arch will leave you flabbergasted.

BS: How did you and your illustrator start working on it together?

JJ: Jaclyn is a superb artist! Shortly after I finished a few outlines for a few comics, I immediately started looking for an artist, particularly a comic penciler. I went to the one place I knew, DeviantArt.com. I surfed through a couple categories, and I came across this really intricate piece of work, it was a full page of a comic, and I loved the work and the shading. I knew I wanted this detective story to be in black and white, and here I was looking at one of the most unique pieces of gray-scale art. I had to contact her about doing a collaboration. I went to the profile of the artist who’d uploaded this piece that I was looking at, hoping to find an email address, but I didn’t. So I created an account with Deviant Art just so I could contact her. We exchanged a few emails and after we worked out some stuff she was on board to publish a comic. It’s worked out really well for us thus far, and I really look forward to working with her in the future on other projects.

BS: What is it like drawing for comics?  Does it differ from other work you’ve done?

JW: Drawing comics is just like any other artistic creative project; you think about the concept, composition, and draw it. I’ve done several comic projects in the past, so I’m used to it now—though I’m always working to improve my techniques.

JJ: To make a comic, it takes at least two people. A creative team for a comic usually consists of the writer, the penciler, the inker, the letterer, and the colorist. Jaclyn is actually tripling (for a lack of better word) as the penciler, inker, and letterer. So she’s putting in well above her fair share and I owe her a lot and I am so thankful for her. Pencilers will draw out each scene (panel) as per the script’s description. The inker will go over the pencilers drawing with a marker or a tool on some computer program, to add definition to the drawing and the inker will also provide shading, and then the colorist will finally add color. Letterers are the people that make all the word bubbles fit so you don’t get confused when reading. Imagine a work with out letterers. Spooky. They’re the unsung heroes of the comic book world.

We’ve had to do some rewrites for the first issue so that the artwork doesn’t get confused with the script but it doesn’t really dictate that the artwork is bad or the script is bad. Sometimes you’ve just got to change things up.

BS: How does it come together?  Are the drawings done to the words or vice versa?

JW: The first thing I do is put down the words and balloons, then I put down quick sketches of characters and compositions to make sure they can all fit onto the page in a pleasing way. I add in the rest of the details.

BS: What are you most excited about for people to see in this comic?

JJ: I’m really excited to see it hit the shelves, and for people to read a story that will hopefully captivate them. This will be the first time that either Jaclyn or me have had any of our work published so this project really has been my gateway into publishing. I want readers to love the characters that we’ve created.

JW: I’ve never done a dark crime story before, so it’s been a lot of fun playing with a darker tone in my drawings. I do hope the readers enjoy it as much as I have!

BS: Is this going to be a single comic or is it going to be a series?  How many in the series?

JJ: This arch will be four issues long but I do plan to do sequel arches with different plots. I might even turn “Crime & Terror” into a anthology title so that I can do different arches with different characters and depending on how well we do, bring in different creative teams to tell their own stories. I’ve got big plans in the future for C&T and other projects.

BS: When do you think it’ll be available for order?

JJ: I initially wanted to release issue one sometime in February but do to some copyright entanglements I will have to push back the date. I don’t want to rush this project, so I am just going to let everything play itself out. I’ll essentially be sitting on my coach watching TV eating Cheetos. Haha! I kid, I’m just going to be trying to make things work with C&T, and work on other projects, and really try to reach out to the comic book community. It’s been a lot of work, and it continues to be a lot of work, it’s almost a 24/7 job.

You can expect to see it on shelves before next winter. We’re hoping for a summer release, August.

It will be available in store exclusively at BuyMeToys.Com and it will also be available directly from me as well, via the Internet. As an incentive any thing you buy from my website (which is in construction) will directly support Jacyln and I. Also all book purchased through my website will also be signed by me. Just keep your eyes peeled, the twitterverse is always first to know of the endeavors and updates concerning my comics so you can follow my account (@ThatJoshJerez) for the most up-to-date information if you’re really concerned. Haha!

BS: Anything else you would like to tell our readers?

JJ: Go support your local comic shop. If you don’t know where that is, call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK. Also, you can do anything; you just got to work for it. If you have the passion and the drive, you can do it.

JW: I hope you all enjoy the “Crime & Terror” comic!

You can see the preview of this exciting comic Here

Bryan Swann

My name is Bryan Swann and I run this entertainment site, BareBones Entertainment. Based out of Dallas, TX we focus solely on the music, art, and other area of entertainment, and none of the gossip or fluff. That is why our motto is "All Entertainment, No Fluff." Any bands or artists that may be interested in doing an interview please follow us on Twitter @barebonesent, or like our Facebook page and message us.

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