Greg Rucka’s novel Alpha has just come out, and it’s the debut of a whole new thriller series for him. To promote it, he’s doing the rounds, including a chat with Brian Michael Bendis for publisher Mulholland Books. You really need to read the whole thing. It’s quite a relaxed and candid conversation:
BMB: Or just the entitlement. I’m here now. Congratulations to you—I’m here. We’ve now been in it long enough now to where we see people come and go. We’ve seen the crash and burn, and you can see the crash and burn coming down the street. The only thing shocking thing about it now is that it used to take a two year solid arc of crash and burn, right? Now it’s eight months and you’re out. With all this entitlement, sometimes our names are brought up in it. Why do they get this? Without any self-awareness of how obnoxious it is and stuff like that. But it’s fascinating to see. Whatever road we’re on is littered with the corpses of entitlement.
GR: That entitlement factor I think—you and I work very differently. I think one of the things that we recognize in each other, really from the first time we met—I remember when you came to Portland—you and I have always taken the craft very seriously. I sometimes feel in my more darker and self-aware moments, I wonder if I put too much stock in that faith in craft. But at the end of the day, it’s all I got because it’s the only thing you can control.
BRB: How do you monetize it?
GR: I have no idea. It’s totally unfamiliar territory to me, and honestly, as a writer, I’ve always been sort of dangerously uninformed about the business side of things. I understand contracting and I understand the sales. But I don’t tend to follow it and I don’t tend to track it on my own work, certainly, and, in this instance, we’re all sort of figuring this out as we go. How are we going to do this? What’s it going to look like? How are we going to fund the trade? How are we going to sell the trade? Do we go to a publisher and say, hey, would you like to publish this trade? Or do we sell it on a website first, sell it by hand at shows? There’s a piece of me that wants to do that, just wants to let it be what it is. I don’t want to try to turn it into something else, if that makes sense. Right now it’s our indie-Webcomic-pulp-serial-let’s-have-some-fun-with-it thing, and I don’t want to try to make it into something that it’s not. It should be a form of entertainment and pretty and joyful and fun. And in the main it’s free. If people would turn around and give us some money for ancillary things, that would be great. We launched in July of last year. I’m hoping by July of this year we’ll be able to offer things that people will buy that we’ll be able to return to the investment that we put into it. But nobody’s looking to get rich off this.
BMB: I’m curious of the business model of it myself, you know. Is there any way to make it worth your while on every level? I think of it like the Facebook movie—we don’t know what it is yet, we just know it’s cool. You don’t have to start selling it out in any way, and that’s some of the stuff that Warren [Ellis] does. There’s seemingly no intent to do anything but just do it, and that’s that. That’s completely doable as well, so. I’m always flattered and at the same time horrified when someone asks a question about a long defunct project that never saw the light of day. But you know which one you were going to do, that I was all excited about, that just sort of flittered away.
Among the other things discussed, Bendis’s desire not to do conventions, the status of the third WHITEOUT book, and more. Like we said, go read the whole thing…
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.