Today, we have a very special interview with Lela Gwenn. Lela is the author of Bad Luck Chuck, a brand new comic coming from Dark Horse Comics! Welcome to On Comics Ground, Lela!
Kai Kiriyama: I absolutely loved the first issue of Bad Luck Chuck! Congratulations on a stellar debut. What inspired you to write about a character with bad luck?
Lela Gwenn: You know how if you have any kind of hobby or skill, people are like “SELL IT ON ETSY!” Well, I started thinking that it would be better if we could sell the crap things in our lives instead? Like bad luck, for instance!
KK: The idea of bad luck as a, for lack of a better description, superpower, is intriguing, do you have rules for how far she can extend the bad luck? Or are there rules to the world in how she can manipulate the luck around her?
LG: Yes! Rule 1) Something Bad is going to happen! 2) The longer it takes for Something Bad to happen, the worse it will be. 3) Bad Luck can be mitigated by good luck charms 4) Bad Luck can be made worse by bad luck charms.
KK: As a follow up to that, what are her counter-measures? We see her carrying around various good luck charms, is there a hierarchy to the power levels of good luck charms? Is a rabbit’s foot more lucky than a found penny?
LG: The “luckiest” thing she has is the prayer wheel she carries with her. It doesn’t really come up in the comic, but it belonged to her mom. Other than that, it’s mostly about quantity, not quality.
KK: So far, we’ve seen Chuck take on a few very street level kinds of villains. Is she staying on the street level? Or will we see her moving up the ranks of bad guys as it were to fight something more super-villain level?
LG: Issue 1 sets up her three main foes. I can promise at least 1 knock down, drag out fight in the series.
KK : I really enjoyed the fast-paced introduction to the story, you didn’t waste a beat or a panel. Is this the same pace we’re going to see throughout the story?
LG: Pretty much. There isn’t much time to sit around when sitting around can mean the whole place burning down around your head.
KK: If readers of Bad Luck Chuck were to take away one message from the series, what would you hope that would be?
LG: Even if you think you’re no good to be around, find people to be your people and let them.
KK: How does this story, and your process for writing this one, differ from your process on Raconteuse, or on your shorts in the All We Ever Wanted and Where We Live anthologies?
LG: Chuck started YEARS ago as a small thing I wrote for MDS as a possible back up story. I wrote ten pages and I thought it was done. We got an opportunity to expand that and ran with it. With the shorts- especially the charity ones- it’s all about “I have a message and four pages. GO!”
With Chuck, I had a character and kinda an idea for how that character responds to things and it just takes time to figure out what happens.
KK: Do you have any words of advice or inspiration for aspiring comics creators still in the trenches of the daily grind?
LG: Make friends. Go to consumer and get on Twitter and be genuinely interested in what people are doing. Be kind. Promote comics. I literally only got the chance to do this because over the last ten years I’ve made enough friends that I could ask the GENIUSES that brought this book alive (Matthew Dow Smith, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Frank Cvetkovic) to take a chance on me.
KK: You must be excited with this book coming out – how do you unwind or de-stress when the nerves get to you?
LG: There’s a game called Slidey where you slide little blocks to try to make whole rows and they have a mode that changes the blocks into cute kitties and I love it.
KK: Is there anything else you’d like to impart on our readers before you go? I usually tell everyone to get a glass of water. It’s not a very popular sign off.
LG: Be kind. Stretch regularly. Question things you hear on the internet.
Thank you so much for taking the time to come chat with me. Congratulations again on the awesome first issue of Bad Luck Chuck.
Bad Luck Chuck will be available from Dark Horse on March 27.
You can find Lela on Twitter @LGwenn and her website www.lelagwenn.com