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 Interview with Jonathan Gilbert, Publisher Red Lion Publications

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Registration date : 2009-05-17

PostSubject: Interview with Jonathan Gilbert, Publisher Red Lion Publications   Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:46 pm

Interview with Jonathan Gilbert, Publisher of Red Lion Publications
By Mark Davis

You've recently started Red Lion Publications. Could you speak to that, as far as what you'll be publishing at Red Lion and what your future goals are for the company?

A) Lloyd Smith-my best friend and former publisher at Blue Moon Comics Group-and I started Red Lion Publications in part as a creative outlet for ourselves and our friends in the comic book industry. We also decided it would be a good way to take advantage of our combined experience in the comics industry so that we could actually produce comics that we wanted to see out there.
After much discussion Lloyd and I concluded that the best way to go about it was to begin slow with a quarterly anthology-which we have titled "Red Lion Spotlight"-and expand from there. Our reason for choosing this format-an anthology-was because it would enable us to produce a wide range of comics genres and test the waters as to what the public might be interested in. Issue number one for example-tentatively scheduled for late spring/early summer of 2010-will feature Steve Skeates' "Stateside Mouse", number two will reintroduce Lloyd's "Kragor The Savage" and the third issue will be a relaunching of my fave; "Captain Sentinel and the Lads of Liberty".
From there we plan to slowly expand our lineup over a five to six year period. I've already gotten together the scripts for the "Mystery Adventure Tales Special" I want to do and Lloyd and I are talking about doing a book or two which we may or may not publish under the Red Lion imprint. And of course I hope to within a couple of years finally get Seppo Makinen's and my "She is...Silkie" in print as a graphic novel.
All these plans of course are tentative and depend on how well "Red Lion Spotlight" does. I'm quite certain though with our current line up it should do extremely well. After all; you can't go wrong with Steve Skeates .

Q) You've had a career in writing, both in the field of comics and outside comics. Would you mind touching specifically on what your writing background consists of?

A) I decided to become a writer (or more accurately a comic book writer) when I was 8-years-old and from that point on every choice I made with regards to my life and education was towards that end. That wasn't as easy as it sounds, believe me. I was born in 1956 and comics were looked at differently back then; especially where I grew up in London Ontario Canada. Today people who want to write or draw comics have a wide range of venues to chose from to learn the craft. It was pretty much hit and miss and a lot of guess work as I was growing up and it really wasn't until the early 1970s when Charlton provided its guide on creating comics to whoever subscribed to one of their titles that I learned how the whole process worked. I had an idea of course but that publication definitely opened my eyes and from there I was off to the races as it were.
I did though of course learn how to do other forms of writing; articles, prose fiction, columns, etc.; not only in hopes of making some extra income but also too I have always believed that to be a good writer one has to explore all aspects of the craft. I've done it all over the years; including poetry. And I've taken courses on just about everything under the sun that is connected with writing and a few things that aren't but felt that it could be useful to me in the future. Caligrophy for example.
As for where I've worked as a writer; well, everywhere from fanzines to magazines to radio to television to newspapers to fanzines to online. I've been a reporter, columnist, publicist, done promos, you name it I've done it. Some work-such as the newspaper column I used to write for The Middlesex Banner out of Ailsa Craig Ontario Canada called "Did you know about...?"-were a lot of fun while other jobs were just a drag; plain and simple. But it all in the end helped me perfect my skills.

Q) What have been the highlights of your comic book writing career to date?

A) First I would have to say working with Lloyd Smith. We have collaborated on so much over the years-close to going on 21-years now if I remember correctly-and my most successful stuff has come out of that collaboration. Some of that includes "Young Immortals" (published eventually by Silver Griffin Comics), "Mister Chameleon" (published by New Voice Media and of course Blue Moon), "Captain Sentinel and the Lads of Liberty" (published by Abyss Comics), "Solomon Wyrd" (published by Blue Moon) and "Hooded Cobra" (developed for Blue Moon, appearing in a comic right now under the CE Publishing Group imprint of Mike Rickaby but eventually slated to return to me at Red Lion) and of course my "All-Smash Funnies" anthology. The title's under loan to Mike Rickaby at the moment but it will be coming back to me soon. I just have a few details to work out on that.
As for other accomplishments, I would have to say that the adaptation of the poem "The Main-Truck: Or a Leap For Life" that Seppo Makinen and I did for Nathan Massengill.
Nathan, who I had been my editor at Earth Prime Productions, contacted me and asked if Seppo and I could do an adaptation for a project he was working on for Caliber's Tome imprint called "Poets Prosper". The problem was, at least from Nathan's point of view, that the deadline seemed totally impossible to meet. Me loving a good challenge of course called Seppo, bounced a few ideas off him about it, then contacted Nathan again and said sure.
Now what Nathan didn't know at the time was that I was sick; like real sick. Plus my mother had just passed away. Plus a friend of mine at the time was staying with me who, shall we say, had some real serious issues.
Anyway; I had a fever of something like 99 and was dealing with a whole bunch of other stuff but somehow Seppo and I not only managed to pull the whole thing together but also got it to Nathan before the deadline. I'm really proud of that accomplishment. That was back in March of 1992, by the way.
Q) Who are your influences as a writer?

A) As a comics creator and writer my two main influences are Roy Thomas and Steve Skeates. There are others of course ranging from Bob Haney to John Broome to Tony Isabella to Simon & Kirby. Steve and Roy though are my main influences.

Q) You mentioned your Captain Sentinel and the Lads of Liberty as scheduled to see print in Red Lion Publications and also She Is...Silkie as a strong possibility to see print as well. Could you speak to any other of your creations that might appear in a forthcoming Red Lion Publications comic? I'd certainly like to see Mister Chameleon and Oddball, for example.

A) Well if I live long enough eventually all my former Blue Moon creations will show up at Red Lion. Mister Chameleon hopefully will get at least a one shot special and Oddball-which I loved working on-will at least get a shot in Red Lion Spotlight at some point. I also plan to use some of my creations in projects I am developing to submit to other companies. Mister Chameleon is going to play a roll in something I am working on right now for example as is Meteor and Skyhawk. Oddball; well, you never know where he might turn up next.

Q) What's it like to work with Seppo Makinen? I've always enjoyed his work.

A) Seppo was and is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with and also one of the nicest. He gives you what you want and more and is 100% professional in every way. He's also just one heck of a great guy. I'd jump at a chance to work with him in a second; even for free. He is tops in my book.

Q) Could you tell us a bit about which other comic book creators you've worked with, and enlighten us in regards to their work?

You know, I have been darn lucky when it comes to working with great people. I think I can only count on one hand the bad ones. All the people I have done comics with have been top notch. I have worked so far with the likes of Susan Dorne, Ed Quinby, Steve Skeates, Dick Ayers, Dave Owens, Seppo, Lloyd, TW Montgomery, Bill Holloway, Dave Law, David Jonson Jr., Nathan Massengill, the late Hector Diaz, Scott Chantler, Rob Hicks, Charles Dougherty, Dan Parsons, Sandoval, R. Humble, Laurie Wright, Gary Carlson at Big Bang, I could go on for hours. It would be easier to list the bad ones actually.
Except for maybe two or three, maybe four people in this business everyone that I have worked with has been a total pro and great people. Paul Dale Roberts definitely deserves a tip of the hat, too. Him and I have worked on tons of stuff over the years.
Then there are my buddies who worked at the gone but hopefully not forgotten Chimera Arts. I could go on and on. Great people all. And wonderful friends.

Q) Any estimate on how many comic book characters you've created to date?

Holy Smokes, Mark!! That's a tough one.
Thousands but I will try to keep it down to published series that I own the rights to. There is Mister Chameleon, She is...Silkie, The Aquanauts, Captain Sentinel and the Lads of Liberty, Young Immortals, The Meteor, Oddball, Hooded Cobra, Tales of this Magic Earth, Demi-God Chronicles, Solomon Wyrd, I am sure there are others, too.
Then there are the single stories I wrote such as Myths of Time, Man Under the Microscope, the story Steve Skeates and I wrote for CE Publishing (with art by Dick Ayers) and the sf stories that Seppo Makinen and I worked on that were published in Science Fiction Darkside. Then of course you have Dave Owens' and my Id the Gorilla Ghost with Honcho the Head Cheese Dog comic panels that used to appear in Mystery Adventure Tales. I am positive I have forgotten stuff. Lots and lots. Any help?

Q) Where do you hope to go from here?

A) Health permitting of course first off I want to get Red Lion Publications up and running. While I am doing that though I am working on other things. I am in the process of writing an intro to an art book by a friend of mine, I am working on some horror comics stories, developing something with StarVerse Comics, working on a project that involves the real life exploits of a paranormal investigative team and a few other things that I am not yet at liberty to discuss with the general public. How my peripheral neuropathy behaves of course will play a major role in how soon I get this stuff all done. Luckily the folks I work with are very understanding and patient.

Thanks for doing this interview with me, friend!

Mark Davis

Interview distributed by Paul Dale Roberts, President
Jazma Online!
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