Mandy McMurray is a up and coming writer who has done work for Marvel, DC and Indie companies. I came across her Namor short story in Marvel Comics Presents #7 and was curious as to who this unknown writer was. I googled her name and found her website:
I sent her an email to let her know how much I enjoyed the story and she was kind enough to let me send some questions her way. Kacangpool, a member from my site, came up with the questions so he deserves a lot of the credit for this interview. Enjoy.
When did you start writing? And why?
I began writing at a very young age. It started with music, then operetta and theatre, moved onto short stories and also played around with online roleplaying game design and world creation, etc...I just love to create and write!
What got you into doing comics?
Kismet, Fate, Karma...I met Tyler Kirkham (Ultimate Fantastic Four, Pheonix) through a friend of his. They needed some help writing a project t and once I learned how a comic book script was laid out, it was so much fun, I just kept going! The rest, as they say...was fate.
Did you read comics as a kid? If you did, what were your favorite titles?
I think mostly, I grew up on the TV shows like Superfriends, and Spiderman, and of course...the movies. Then, I had a friend who was totally into comics and through pure osmosis, I started to pick up all the information I would later need to turn myself into a true "comic book geek". (I would never go back now!)
My favorite titles, huh? Let's see...Well Captain America used to be my favorite but I'm so traumatized that they killed him, I haven't picked one up since. sniff On the same note...I'm so mad at Iron Man, that I haven't been able to touch anything he's in either. It's gonna take some SERIOUS begging for him to get back on my good side! grin (Watch, now that I said that, I'll get a phone call telling me that's my next story. Guess I'll be looking for some barbeque sauce for that crow I'll be eating!)
What are you writing right now?
Just got done with Teen Titans and am currently working on a series by Angel Comics called COTA: Children of the Apocalypse. The art on it is SO spectacular that when I found out the guy (Rod Thornton) is completely undiscovered, I sent his stuff to my editor at DC. I can't wait to see the fan's reactions to it. He's phenomenal!
Tell us more about the Teen Titans that you are doing ...
sigh Soon...I promise. You guys will be the first to know!
I saw on a forum that you were credited for some coloring work as well at Overcast studios? How did you get into that?
I'm not a colorist. The colorist at Overcast Studios is this rockin' design guy named Josh Bush. He's actually the one who introduced me to Ty. No one has seen his new stuff either, but he's gotten so good lately that he's blowing me away!
For those unfamiliar with Dragonswitch, can you tell us more about the comic?
LAUGH DID YOU HEAR THAT STEVE??? I think all of you should write the Overcast website and tell them that. It's an awesome story by an artist named Steve Bush...actually the brother of Josh. You should send him a message that you want to see it. grin
Can you tell us about the Ashen and Jalila?
Absolutely. The Ashen is a graphic novel that I've been working on for a year. Artist David Miller is penciling it. I'll attach the Introduction of it for you above. It really rocks! =)
What would you like to write about? What's your central theme?
I really like to get into the psyche of a character and mess around with what makes them tick. I like to put them in situations that evoke their emotions so we can see what they're made of and bring the readers a better understanding of what makes them...them. The Namor piece was all about that. Here's this guy who comes across as the "jerk". He's arrogant and self-righteous sometimes, but we never saw what was motivating him. Sure, we've seen him protecting his kingdom, but all we saw was anger. No one ever talked about why he's angry. Why he is the way he is, and that's what I wanted to do. So I crafted a "short" about who he is when he's alone, that exposed the side of him that NO ONE is allowed to see and tried to reach into the depths of his character a little bit.
Then, to contradict that...I really love gritty, edgy, action as well with snappy, verbal banter. That's a lot of fun to write and I have a rhythm I get into when I'm doing that kind of story.
Any special technique that you employ in your writing?
I tend to do things backwards. grin I see the big picture when I write, so I go straight for the whole story, front to back, then go back and refine and hone, adding insight, or depth to the narration and dialogue.
Having done stuff for Marvel and now DC, how does it compare with working in Indie companies?
Best experience of my life! I loved working with Andy and John Barber at Marvel but it was a super short gig so I don't know them all that well. Now, I'm working with Eddie Berganza at DC and he's awesome to work with. He pushes me in my writing and gives me permission to do what I do best...write the heck out of the emotional impact of the story. I also love writing for iconic characters, so writing for Marvel and DC is like a dream come true for me. You get a sense of history and mythology when you're dealing with a character that has impacted the "real world" as well as a fictional one. Everyone knows who Superman is and you're now a part of that. It gives me goosebumps!
Which artist(s) would you like to work with?
Off the top of my head...Easy- Michael Turner, Jim Lee, and Ty...I haven't gotten to do much with him because he's under contract with Top Cow, but we both really want to do something together! There are so many phenomenal artists out there as well. I would kill for an ounce of artistic ability so I could bring to life the stories in my head and every time I watch them sketch, or see their portfolios, I could just stand in awe for hours. They're all so amazing!
What excites you most about the comic industry?
Like I said earlier- the sense of history when you write a character that has become a legend. To be able to use your talent to be part of something so much bigger than you. To think you actually impacted the next generation of readers by adding to the myth of a hero. It's way cool!
There are few females in the industry, is it tough getting in? do you think that would change?
I didn't have a ton of trouble. I'm very outgoing and persistent (Andy, if you're reading this...you can laugh wink). I'm confident in my ability to write so the "girl" thing never really was a factor. If anybody thought it...they never said it, and when they read my scripts, I think they realize that it's not a factor. Do I think the "females in the industry" thing will change? Absolutely. The world is much more diverse now, and people's interests are just as diverse. More women are reading comics and pursuing careers that they want, so I think it's inevitable that more females will end up in the industry.
Who are your inspirations?
There are tons. Bendis, Johns, Millar, Marz, Claremont, Jeph Loeb, Simonson & Simonson, Peter David...there are so many great ones!
Which Marvel / DC character(s) would you like to try your hand at, should you be given the choice?
laugh No fear, right? Totally Batman, Superman, & Captain America.
Can we expect to see you do more stories for the big two in future?
I sure hope so!
How do you see yourself in future in regards to your craft?
I'm going to enjoy writing comics for a long time. I also have some future aspirations in "other" script writing, but for now, I want to focus on "perfecting" this craft before moving onto another one. I have a lot to learn and each time I produce one script, I learn so much about what I can do better next time. To tell you the truth, I was really worried about the Namor script...being my first one to see an artist draw completely. I'm glad you guys liked it. It made me appreciate the character a lot, so you can add him to my list of characters that I'd like to write in the future. grin
Any advice for budding writers on how get into writing comics?
Absolutely. There's this feeling you get the minute you set your foot on the path you KNOW you should be on...If you get that feeling, and you know that you were meant to do this, then don't let anything stop you. Be persistant and NEVER give up. Show up for conventions and meet people. Just socialize with them and get to know the people in the industry. Get cards from people, but don't be pushy, then follow up with a fun email and keep on emailing about once a month. Practice with indie projects that you don't get paid for and make sure you have samples ready so that when they do call you so that you can say, "Oh, I have a sample right here for you." Then knock them dead with your talent. Use your gut instinct...don't run off of the fear that you won't make it, because you'll do or say something you'll regret. Just relax and try to remember that you were meant to do this and everything will work out. Slow and steady.
Closer view of picture click here
Thanks again to Mandy McMurray for taking the time to answer these questions.