THIS WEEKS GUEST
This weekend I had the extreme pleasure of presenting writer Ales Kot with a few questions about comics, music, TV and movies, and awesome leather jackets. You here at NBC know I’ve been championing Kot for awhile now, ever since the iFanboy days I was posting up reviews that “this Ales guy is writing the hell out of Suicide Squad and actually making me give a shit about this book“. It’s always a risk approaching creators whose work you respect and love, because what if they turn out to be an asshole? It can put a sour taste in your mouth towards their art. Thankfully Ales was the personification of grace and acceptance and over all just cool as hell. He was a complete joy to work with in this little Question & Answer we concocted together with the help of Facebook and gmail – I am honored that he devoted a window of opportunity to talk to a fan.
ERIK: Ales, first things first I’ve been a huge fan of your work since I first discovered you via SUICIDE SQUAD and your all too short run on that title. After that I started actively seeking out your past work – WILD CHILDREN and CHANGE are both tremendous comic books and worthy of the all the praise they have received. Your new Image Comics series ZERO has been lauded on this site extensively and issue # 2 made our Comic of the Week – so thanks for keeping comics fresh and exciting. I also want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this little Q & A with me, I really appreciate it.
ALES: Thank you for the opportunity and for the kind words, Erik — it’s a pleasure.
ERIK: I get the impression that music plays a big part in your life. How much does it figure into your writing?
ALES: Everything is music. Everything is a vibration. Christian Wolff said that no matter what we do, it ends up by being melodic. Things are always melodic. Dissonance is also melody. I perceive writing as an act of listening first and then transcribing and therefore writing, so listening is a constant, whether it’s to “music” in a sense of listening to a song/album/set or in a sense of listening to anything else, be it voices in my head or the way the wind blows against the house and the leaves as they fall on the street as they do right now.
ERIK: I feel exactly the same way about music. John Lennon said, “When real music comes to me – the music of the spheres, the music that surpasses understanding – that has nothing do with me, cause I’m just the channel. The only joy for me is for it to be given to me, and to transcribe it like a medium… those moments are what I live for”. So true.
ALES: Yes, Lennon! I agree with that. Lennon’s writing, music, ideas certainly influenced me — and plenty of creators I am influenced by.
ERIK: Do you always listen to music while writing and if so, do you feel it influences directly or indirectly the “feel” of the story you are telling?
ALES: Music certainly influences the flow. Sometimes I know what the flow will be, mostly, so I build a playlist that supports that flow, and sometimes I want to jump in and let the flow be brought up by random tracks, bits, pieces, giving myself to the flow from the opposite direction. Usually it’s a combination of approaches.
ERIK: Speaking of music, what are your top five bands at the moment?
ALES: A few most rotated albums at the moment, probably: Pandatone/Julianna Barwick “Happy Together” – Kanye West “Yeezus” – Shigeto “No Better Time Than Now” – Moderat “II“- Kelela “Cut For Me” – Daniel Johnston’s “Casper the Friendly Ghost” from the Kids OST is a track I listened to probably 60x in the past few days. Today it’s “Propeller” by Mountains and the entire “Centralia” album.
ERIK: Funny, I was listening to the “KIDS” soundtrack the other day – forgot how much great music was on that.
ALES: KIDS ost is wonderful, also, yes. First chapter of CHANGE is named after Slint’s Good Morning Captain, the last song on the same soundtrack.
ERIK: You have quickly landed a place on the list of comic book writers that I follow on name alone. This list for me includes the likes of Grant Morrison, Jason Aaron, Jeff Lemire, and Scott Synder. Do you ever feel any pressure to be “part of the club” at all? Or does shit like that not weigh on you?
ALES: Thank you, that is nice to know and kind of you to say. I don’t feel negative pressure from being on that list. I feel positive pressure which is something I create myself by wanting to create the most true works possible. I love that pressure. It’s not even pressure — it’s a flow, a way of being that can turn into pressure if one doesn’t like themselves enough, I suppose, however I do love myself so I choose to have a great time with it.
ERIK: I think you hit the nail on the head, your books have the ring of “truth” about them and it shows in every panel – not a single beat is wasted and everything flows, as you said. Comics are the only medium other then television where a creator can bring the long game into play. Do you have aspirations to tap into other markets like TV or film?
ALES: I’m tapping it as we speak.
ERIK: Yeah? That is exciting news! Perhaps you’ll bring us the next Breaking Bad! Okay, well one final question – where did you get that excellent leather jacket you were wearing in the 2013 New York City Comic Con interviews? =)
ALES: All Saints.
ERIK: Again Ales, thank you for your elegant answers and your time. I can’t wait for your new Marvel series SECRET AVENGERS and IRON PATRIOT, and of course Image’s ZERO #3. Have a good weekend my friend.
ALES: And once again, thank you for the kindness and also for your interest! Have a great weekend as well — and a great life overall.