August 13-15, 2004 Wizard World strolled into town and presented me with my first legitimate opportunity to interview some of the creators, the first person I tracked down was David A. Rodriguez, creator and writer for the new Arcana series “Starkweather”, which had it’s premiere at Wizard World and he was sold out of his advance copies early in the day Sunday. Being a novice at the whole on the spot interviewing thing I thought I would be able to write both my questions and answers down as quickly as they occurred (lesson for the kids- bring a stenographer- it’s easier). Luckily I had my tape recorder with me so I could recount our conversation with some degree of accuracy. You thankfully won’t find any tales of Rabid Ninja Samurai Monkeys here (unless the tape is garbled-then I make no promises).

Kevin: How long did it take you to come up with “Starkweather”?

David: I started with the idea in 1996, and the current version took me three years to develop.

Kevin: How long did it take you to find a publisher to put this out? How many tries did it take?

David: I originally went to three publishers and got feedback from one company who said “Yeah we do want to do it, but we don’t want to do it in color”. They wanted me to change inkers but then they never sent me the contracts. After contacting once they never got back, so I said forget it. Then there was a second company that we were going to go through and it had almost gotten to the point where we were going to start putting the time in, and they stopped, decided they weren’t going to print anymore and their partnership dissolved. Not too long after Sean (Sean Patrick O’Reilly- Arcana Studio Publisher and EIC) contacted me and asked me who my artist was and I told him it was this person ans he found out it was available and picked it up right away. That took a while, it took like 8 or nine months of going back and forth with people, before I was finally picked up.

Kevin: How long did it take you to assemble your art team?

David: My art team, that didn’t take too long. Actually, they work out of a place called Studio 3 in Brazil, and I went on the internet, contacted their agent and got things all set up. They did some samples and I picked them right away and we fit together real well.

Kevin: So how is it working long distance like that?

David: You’d think it would be a pain but it’s really easy with the internet. I send them a script, they send me thumbnails, and then I send them approvals back and forth. It’s really smooth. I’ve never had a problem with timing, they are always on time- they’re great.

Kevin: You guys were in San Diego a couple of weeks ago, how did that go for you?

David: San Diego was mostly talking to people. The book wasn’t out yet so I just got to meet a lot of people and talk to them about the book. I had a lot of fun; it was the first time I was in San Diego.

Kevin: The book comes out, you said…the 25th of August?

David: The 25th it officially comes out and it will have two covers- this one (indicating the Jon Malin cover he had advance copies of) and an alternate cover that will have a gold foil stamp- that’s going to be the alternate cover.

Kevin: You’ll have the books on hand when you come to the store for the signing (August 28th 2004).

David: I’ll be bringing enough for the signing.

Kevin: Now granted, it’s the first day, how do you think people have taken to it.

David: Today’s been great. People like the shirts, they like the book a lot. Most people have stopped and paged through the book and I think that’s a good sign. They stop and look at it, there’s been some buzz on the internet and some people have heard about it, but the people who haven’t heard about it, they’ll look through it and decide to pick it up. I think it’s going really well.

Kevin: I’ve seen a bunch of stuff on like, and a couple of other sites have mentioned it. Now this is the first issue, the second issue comes???

David: October, its bimonthly with 5 issues.

Kevin: So it’s a mini-series? Any thoughts of making it longer or a series of mini-series?

David: I think if the series does well, and there are plans to collect it in a trade at the end of the series and if that does well, then I think we’ll go on to another mini-series. I want to make sure it’s not something I over commit to, so I’m comfortable doing…almost like movies; this is this version, this is the story. We don’t want to try and do something every month that may or may not be as good as if we take our time with that kind of thing.

Kevin: How long does it take you to put together a script?

David: Just a script?

Kevin: Yeah, your layout for the book.

David: I can usually write a script in two weeks. The final script maybe a little longer, maybe three and a half to four weeks. I like to let it sit for a bit and go back to make sure I didn’t do anything terrible. I try to write ahead, I’m writing number 5 right now. I try to go back and make sure that everything I meant to be in there is in there now.

At this point I let David get back to the people surrounding the booth. I checked back in with him throughout the weekend and by the time I found him on Sunday; he had sold out of all but one of his advanced copies which left right as we were talking, and he told us that the warehouse only had about 200 copies left for re-orders.

Al stopped by to see David in advance of their autograph session at the store on August 28th. I’ll follow up with David and see how the initial mass response to his book goes. It should be a great time.

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