Friday, March 30, 2012

Chuck Dixon: The Best Damn Comic Book Writer Ever

I first met Chuck Dixon not in Chicago at my first Wizard World Chicago Convention, but in the pages of all of my favorite comic books. You see, I may be slow on the uptake, but eventually I started to notice something they all tended to have one thing in common. It was this name in the "written by" part of the credits. Chuck Dixon.

Then my friend Scott McCullar, who was doing Chuck's website (www.dixonverse.net) at the time, offered to introduce me to him if I wanted to make the trek from Atlanta to Chicago one summer. Thankfully, I had the cash on hand for a flight.

What can I say about Chuck that hasn't been said already? Precious little, I'm sure, but I will say this. His work is the textbook definition of how to write an enjoyable, action-oriented comic book that never lets a reader down. Call his style a formula or a knack, it doesn't matter -- because it rarely (and by rarely I really mean never) makes you feel as though you've wasted your money on one of his books.

But enough of my gushing. It's time for Chuck to speak on his own behalf.


Tell us a bit about your latest work.

I’m kind of all over the place at the moment. I just wrapped up a script for an issue of the Simpsons. I’m working on my third novel about the Navy SEALs and I started the first issue of a Lone Ranger limited series. I’m also helping out on some dialogue for a computer game. That’s coming in piecemeal so I work on it when it arrives.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I don’t really tie myself to any one theme or genre. I take what comes be it action adventure to SpongeBob. It’s the comic book medium that’s always fascinated me. Within that realm I feel free to create anything. 

What would be your dream project?

 An unlikely one; a long run (a year or more) on the Fantastic Four.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

There was a long arc at the end of my run on Airboy that I felt at the time could have been presented better. The conclusion (with art by Adam and Andy Kubert) worked out great, but the lead-up to it didn’t come out the way I’d envisioned it.

What inspires you to write?

Everything. I’m a compulsive writer. I read recently where David Mamet said, “All prolific writers are lazy.” I think the fear of having to do actual manual labor drives me to write.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Archie Goodwin would be number one. Then Larry Hama, Harvey Kurtzman. Carl Barks, John Stanley and Frank Robbins.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

It’s a craft. It can be art but not if you set out to make art. You learn what works and what doesn’t and spend your life (if you’re serious about it) trying to warp the rules to come up with something new. Even if you fail, the endeavor is what it’s all about.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Well, I’m still on GI Joe and Snake Eyes over at IDW. I do a half dozen stories a year for Simpsons and Spongebob. In addition to that I’m adapting Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time cycle to comics. And I’d like everyone to go see Dark Knight Rises a dozen times.

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For more information about Chuck Dixon, step inside a comic book shop and ask for the best damn story ever. If you need more info than that, go to his website.