You may have noticed our extended feature of the series No West to Cross over the past month. To cap that off we wanted fans to get to know David Pinckney, the man behind it all! This budding talent first got the bug to fully explore comic book writing after reading a good portion of Bendis‘ run on Ultimate Spider-Man. Now he is dealing with the success of self-published work, which includes both No West to Cross and Laluelle!
Pinckney is one of the more personable talents that I have gotten to know, seriously. He started this gig by being an über comic book fan, and then decided to try his hand at creating his own stories, with superior results! David spent time flexing his writing muscle doing articles for comic shops and sites such as ComicRelated.com and ComicMonsters.com. Now he’s given us a few moments of his time to provide further insight into his career and life. Check out the exclusive interview below!
SMC: So, you’ve been working on No West to Cross for some time now. When did you first spark the idea for the series? What prompted you to do a western comic out of all the genres?
DP: Awhile back, maybe two years ago or so, I wanted to make sure that I really wanted to do comic book as well as work on some of my skills. So, I came up with the idea of doing five pages a day for a month or so and end with three or four comic scripts, each of genres I’ve never tried before. One of which was a western. The western idea came from my obsession with Firefly. In fact, every single time I sat down to write issue one of No West to Cross, I put on an episode of Firefly in the background.
DP: That’s a lot to live up to! It’s really flattering to hear my character be related to the likes of Jonah Hex. Is it an accurate description? I’d say in some aspects. Becky is a very strong, take-no-crap sort of character and has a lot of confidence. I think Jonah in that regard is the same. Clearly there are differences in the characters but, yeah, I can see some similarities.
I went with a female lead because for me, it’s more fun to write female characters. I also loved the idea of doing something were the main character is completely upsetting the norm, knows it, but sticks to his or her values without compromise. When you think of a western you think of cowboys and people running from “the law.” It’s a very male heavy environment. I thought it’d be perfect if she was the first and only cowgirl in all of the wild west. I wanted to know how people in the story would react to her. More importantly, I wanted to play with the idea of how she would handle all the criticism. As it turns out, she handles it pretty well!
SMC: What has been the response to No West to Cross so far?
DP: Surprisingly well! Reviews have been good and the people who have read it seem to take a noticeable liking to the series.
SMC: The world that Becky lives in, although in the Wild West, almost feels mystical. Are those elements that we’ll eventually see, or are we stretching things?
DP: Okay. So. This is the thing with No West to Cross. There is sort of this unsung tagline which is “Treads the line between impossible and improbable.” When I decided to write this as a series and not just as an exercise, I wanted to do a classic western themed comic, but I needed to stand out somehow. Why read No West to Cross over Jonah Hex, was basically what I was asking myself. I did not want vampires or anything mystical, I wanted everything to be possible. That said, possible in my eyes includes improbable. So when I outline an arc, I start by outlining a very classic themed western story. I want the comic to feel like a western first and foremost. That is the absolute goal of all of my outlines. Once it’s outlined, I twist some things. You will never see aliens, or werewolves, or vampires or any of that. What you will see though is people with extraordinary abilities that are 100% possible but very unlikely as well as the creation of things that are unlikely as well. For example, in issue three of volume one of No West to Cross, Heavy has an eight barreled gun! That’s ridiculous! Impossible? No. Improbable? Yes. We can even see a little of this improbability from issue one. Lucy, Becky’s horse, is a bit too well trained. Becky trusts her fully and it’s amazing to see how a horse can interact with Becky with just a few commands. Again it’s not impossible for that level of training to happen, but improbable.
The second arc is going to require an amazing amount of trust from the readers. I’m asking you to suspend your suspension of disbelief a lot in the second arc. But, it will all make sense and it will all be explained and it will all be possible. Not every arc will be as crazy or whatnot as the last, but you will get some fun characters.
DP: My plans for No West are pretty simple: tell all the stories I want to tell. I do have several arcs planned and I know how I want the story to end. Soon you’ll see a mythos starting to build in the series the will have impact later on down the line. I want to take Becky very far. You will know Becky inside and out by the time this series is done. I want to explore every aspect that makes a person, a person and spill all of Becky’s persona on the page for the world to see.
SMC: If you could write yourself into the world of your comic, what kind of character would you be?
DP: Not gonna lie. I’d love to be a superhero.
SMC: Do you plan to continue self publishing or will you eventually hook up with a publisher? Why did you part ways with 215 Ink?
DP: Well, I’d love to find another publisher, but self-publishing is my goal until then. The decision to leave 215 Ink was pretty hard, but it came down to how I wanted to handle and distribute the comic. That said, in no way shape or form did 215 Ink try to sway the comic’s direction. I just felt that given how the book was going, I’d like to branch out a bit and really take ownership of the comic until I knew what I was actually doing. This is really my first time getting any real recognition for my comic. It was my first publisher and at the time 215 Ink was very new. I’ll be honest I had NO idea what I was doing. This is very hard stuff. Anyone who tells you making comics or breaking in isn’t hard is extremely ill informed.
I think it’s important to note that myself and Andrew (president of 215 Ink) still talk every once in awhile and maintain our friendship.
SMC: Aside from 215 Ink, have you pitched No West to Cross to other publishers? Any feedback?
DP: Yeah, I’ve pitched to a few places recently. Nothing’s come up yet, but again it’s very hard. Very, very hard. Now I feel like I can handle having a publisher and know how this works and all that. I’ll be submitting to companies while doing the self-publishing route until something picks up.
DP: Money. I know it’s not unique but, yeah, money. It costs a lot to self publish. That said, I’m not rich. I am most definitely a just out of college kid who wants to make it in comics. To that point, comic art is a lot of work, so can you imagine how hard it is to say to a total stranger “Hey, yeah, so you don’t know me and I’m not well known in the industry, but you should totally do the art for this comic for a several issues for like, you know…no money?” It’s really hard to get someone to commit to that, let alone a full art team. I got really lucky with the first volume of No West to Cross and I’m hoping for the same luck with the second arc and beyond.
Also what’s challenging is learning different programs in order to actually get your comic to be a comic. It has to get put together somehow right? Has to be sized and all that. So that’s been fun to learn. I’ve learned very quickly that me and Photoshop just can’t be friends. It’s a shame really.
SMC: Any opinions on the crowd funding “revolution” going on right now? Is there any chance you would consider using this form of publishing in the future? What website would you use?
DP: Crowd funding is not only great but needed. This is a big thing for indie creators. I’d love to use Kickstarter in the future. I just need to make sure I got all my ducks in a row first.
SMC: Are there other projects in the works or is No West to Cross taking up all of your time at the moment?
DP: I have a graphic novel that I’ve been writing for awhile called, Fight Like a Girl, that I’d love to have come out next year. I still need an art team and I’m only about half way through, but that’s something that I really want to come out. It’s a fun comic, but not gonna go into too much detail on what it’s about. I’ve had a ridiculously fun time writing that one. It’s my inner nerd getting to take the reigns of my creative process.
DP: I read…a lot of stuff. Or at least I think I do. My “to read” pile is like 100 comics or so right now, yet I still go to the comic shop every single Wednesday! My favorites are Amazing and Ultimate Spider-Man, Invincible, Morning Glories, Mind the Gap, The Dancer, Buffy, Angel and Faith, Batman… lots of things.
What would I suggest? Well, all my friends know I have a strange obsession with the Umbrella Academy and I Kill Giants. If you haven’t read those you should stop reading this (not really because this is taking me a while to write) and go buy those. They are awesome. I recommend them to everyone who reads or wants to read comics.
Two comics of recent memory have really impressed me. Snyder’s run on Batman and Nick Spencer’s Infinite Vacation. Those are both phenomenal.
SMC: Rumor has it you’ll be throwing a giveaway here at StashMyComics! Can you tell our members what you’ll be putting up?
DP: Yup! I’m gonna be giving away 10 signed copies of issue one of No West to Cross! Hope you like them! And, I hope you don’t mind me scribbling all over the cover.
SMC: Tell us something people might be shocked to know about you… don’t be shy!
DP: I’m Batman. That or I’m a web developer who makes websites (go figure) for mobile devices. Uh. I’m also near-sighted. I have an unhealthy obsession with all things Joss Whedon, and I’ve used the word “obsession” three times in this interview. Well, four times now.
If you’d like to learn more about David Pinckney or find out how to get copies of his work visit his website! You can also stay updated on what David’s doing by following him on Twitter @HelixandMeteors.