Today on the blog we have a very special interview with Josh Trujillo. Josh is known for writing issue 5 of Dream Daddy, and most recently had a story featured in Marvel’s War of the Realms. Josh, it is fantastic to have you here, thank you for taking the time to chat with me! Let’s get into it!
Kai Kiriyama: You have a pretty varied and interesting resume. You’ve written for Rolled & Told, which is a fantastic supplemental for D&D and roleplaying games in general, as well as for video games, and now comics! What are some of the differences you face as a writer, when switching between something like game writing to something like comics?
Josh Trujillo: Every medium where you create something has different rules and expectations. But in all of them you need to tell a coherent story that connects with people in some way. In tabletop gaming, that often means creating a living, breathing world that they can inhabit. In video games, it’s about making the player feel like every choice, every button press pushes the player’s story further.
Games are also much more collaborative than even comics are: some video games requires hundreds and hundreds of people to bring to life, so as a writer you have less direct control over things. In comics, it’s often just a small handful of creators and editors involved. Being able to collaborate is probably the most important skill in writing for the stuff I do.
KK: You’ve done some work with Rolled & Told, and then you wrote a D&D-inspired event for the Dream Daddy comic. What is your draw to tabletop RPGS? Why do you think there is so much of a new fascination, and a massive influx of new players with D&D?
JT: I’ve been playing D&D (and other games) for pretty much my whole life, so it’s crazy that it’s suddenly become so popular again! For me, the appeal has always been pushing my creativity, taking players to new worlds, and only being limited by my imagination. I didn’t have any money growing up, so tabletop RPGs are a great way to hang out with friends without going broke. These games can also be very personal to players. I know people who have run the same campaign setting for decades!
KK: You’ve done some amazingly powerful work, like with Love is Love. Why is representation and acceptance of traditionally underrepresented individuals, so important to you?
JT: People want stories and characters that reflect who they are, and for so long that simply wasn’t an option. A big goal of my work, whether it be stuff like Love is Love or Dodge City or whatever, is to be more inclusive with who I tell my stories about. As a kid there was pretty much no queer content for people my age; now queer kids have so many amazing options for comics, tv shows — even movie.
KK: You just had your first Marvel story published! Congratulations! That is an amazing achievement, and well deserved. Without spoiling anything, what message are you hoping that your readers will take away from that War of the Realms story?
JT: Thank you! My goal was pretty straightforward with my story: The War of the Realms event is all about Asgardian villains coming to Earth, so I wanted to take a moment to spotlight my favorite Asgardians: The Warriors Three! They are some of those amazing supporting cast members who rarely get a chance to shine, so hopefully we did right by them. I also wanted to say a little bit about heroism, and how it’s viewed in the Marvel Universe (and our universe.) Helping others, caring for them in their time of need… that’s probably the most heroic thing a person can do, and it doesn’t always involve facing a Frost Giant in battle.
KK: I really love the idea of Love Machines – the collected stories of romance with and in regards to technology. What was your inspiration behind this one? Is there a specific piece of technology that you may have fallen in love with?
JT: Too many to list off. I’d say the thing I find most interesting about Love Machines is how technology has always been a huge constant in our emotional and romantic lives. Smartphones have totally transformed the way people date and interact, just like telephones did a hundred years before. Things like transportation or entertainment are constantly evolving, and our love lives are often dependent on our ability to keep up with the changing times.
KK: What is one thing that you would tell your readers, whether they’re coming from Dream Daddy, or War of the Realms?
JT: I like to think I’m very, uh, humanist? Everyone has a unique point of view, personal struggles, and things they aspire to be. I want my stories to reflect that, even if it’s not always flattering. Most comics are essentially power fantasies, and I think those are cool, too. But I guess my power fantasies are about giving different types of people the power to be in the spotlight for a change.
Thank you again for joining me here today. It has been an immense pleasure. You can find Josh’s work on joshtrujillo.com and be sure to check out War of The Realms from Marvel to see his newest piece!