-I grew up in Memphis, TN, as bored as anyone human can be. I was tested with an IQ of 139 and it was crushingly dull there most of my childhood, so I had to make a more interesting world for myself. I wrote a terrible novel on 220 pages of notebook paper when I was eight, was drawing my own characters by age nine, and have been crafting stories ever since.
-As close as I get to role models are case studies. I followed George Lucas’ path very closely throughout my life. I was interested in Luke Skywalker, getting out of what was considered a podunk end of the galaxy and doing something more interesting. The wide variety of colorful personalities in Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe made me overlook the western imperialism at the core of the concept. I liked the stylings of the Colonial forces on Battlestar Galactica and Hawk on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was a big favorite. I likewise loved Paul Levitz’ Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t remember knowing the names of the people who made things until I was in college.
-The mechanisms of storytelling were apparent to me in the nightly news, in movies, in sitcoms, in comics be they books or strips. I was fascinated by it, the creation of characters and the possibilities of power. I still am. I found that, with my innate talents and inclinations, getting a creative writing degree at USC was the easiest way to get out of school, so I did that, I studied at the Anansi Writers Workshop in Los Angeles, which gave me a lot of the more practical skills I use in terms of brevity and impact.
-It’s a time of great chaos, between pandemics showcasing the weaknesses in the distribution model and social unrest throwing a spotlight on the abuses of power in the highest places. From a sales standpoint, most mainstream readers are dinosaurs waiting for the meteor to hit, stuck reading the same styles of stories out of habit more than enjoyment. As for import successes, I’m a big fan of everything coming out of YouNeek Studios, which is doing professional grade work that’s spectacular.
-By and large, no. For the mainstream, they posit a world much more stable and controllable than their own, between retcons and reboots to fit the narrative into the way they want it. For alternative readers or Black readers or readers of color, they’re invisible and unwanted, so they are forced to not get a seat at the table but build their own house.
-My greatest artistic achievement was to have a ten year old approach me at a mall and recite a line of poetry she heard me read four years before. To make that kind of impact on somebody is intense.
-Advice for newcomers? Make your own things. Finish what you start. Don’t take on more than you can do. Get paid when you can, but make your work good enough that people would pay you, even if they don’t. You’ll suck for a long time, and that’s a feature, not a bug. Keep going.
-I’m the writer for Time Corps from Wunderman Comics, which is work for hire but definitely has a strong sense of my voice there. April 2021 should see the release of MPLS Sound co-written by Joe Illidge from Humanoids Publishing. There will be another Wunderman Comics mini in 2021 that I can’t say too much about yet. I just wrapped up season five of the #wildfirewednesday web comic Project Wildfire: Smoke On The Water (on Tapas and WebToon) and I finished the script for season six, Project Wildfire: Fire In The Sky, which we hope to start this year. I also am the head comics reviewer at Bleeding Cool dot com, and you can hear my reviews syndicated on the iHeartRadio podcast Nerd-O-Rama with Mo and Tawala. Anything else will either pop up on social media (@hannibaltabu) and my website, hannibaltabu.com.