Last Update: 1/10/2016
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Q: Greg, how did you break into comics?
GREG: Well, I didn't break into comics. I came from 8 years in journalism. I worked for the Gannett News Service, same company that puts out USA Today. I did tons of cartoons, sports, lifestyle, maps, graphics for them and then just up and published my own comic. It was just when the old black and white independent boom of the 80's hit. Lots of comic companies sprung up and put out any shlock they could. People told me I was crazy because nothing was selling but I did it anyway. I sold 12,000 copies in less than 5 days. From there I just chilled out and people kept calling me and inviting me to do comics. I didn't want to work in mainstream comics because the stuff was too chintzy. So I spent several years having fun working independently, meeting other comics people, studying comics etc. I would spend the time creating new characters and experimenting with them. I had the best of both worlds as I do now. I make money doing comics and stay away from the mainstream shlock.
Q: Monster Posse looks fun! Could you talk a bit about that?
GREG: Monster Posse is based on the stories of 'aliens' who've visited Earth over the course of human history. In my story these aliens are juvenile delinquents find the Earth 'the hang' for their mischevious doings. It's top secret stuff so the government relies on the adult aliens who use 'truant' robots to apprehend the kids and send them back to school. In my story 4 of these kids arrive accidentally and team up with other aliens and humans to rid the world of 'naughty' aliens and defend humanity from other outworldly menaces. At present, Platinum Studios has acquired the rights to develop it into tv/film.
Q: Who are some of the most talented creators you've worked with, and why?
GREG: Oh I've met an army of talented people. Grey, my best pal in comics stands above the rest. He's a great man of awesome talent and integrity. He never turns a person away who needs help. He's one of the top 3 illustrators in American history for my money. I've also met/worked with childhood favorites like Steve Ditko, Dave Cockrum, Alan Weiss, Mike Chen, Brad Vancatta, Lou Small Jr., David Lapham, Adam Pollina, Don Perlin, Bob Layton. Those are the artists to name a few.
Q: I always liked "The Good Guys." Did you?
GREG: The "Good Guys" was a real challenge. I wasn't supposed to be working on it. I got involved with DEFIANT when my friend Grey and several DEFIANT staff called me in to help out when the company was launching. The staff there were facing many challenges and because I knew Grey, the original penciller, I figured it would be a great excuse to hang out in Manhatten and hit the restaurants. I got to meet Jim Shooter, Janet 'Jay Jay' Jackson and see the development of the DEFIANT universe which wasn't a bad universe at all as comics go. The Good Guys, however was an anchor book for DEFIANT. It had 8 kids who were all 'real' kids who had won the contest to portray superheroes. So not only was it a 'group' book, with umpteen characters and props and costumes to keep track of, but I had to be a portrait artist as well. Very demanding and I was the only fool,fool enough to take on the assignment. Nobody wants that kind of worst-case-scenario but I live for a challenge and believe you me it was and fun 100% of the way. I was able to take comics in a classical direction instead of the 'big guns' nonsense of that era. Real heartwarming and intrinsic storytelling to great stories. I liked that Jim Shooter and Jay Jay could see what I was doing and appreciated it. One story was for Good Guys #5 that Jay Jay came up with. A very, very powerful story about bullies and women's self defense. It had a fight scene in it that other artists shamelessly copied so many times it was pathetic. Funny how the rip-off artists got more famous than me for ripping off my fight scenes!
Q: What are you currently working on?
GREG: I'm back to doing comic books again after stepping away in '97. My last series was for Tekno Comic's " Neil Gaimen's Lady Justice." Did 3 issues of that. Comics got so lame by that time and the companies in such trouble it wasn't worth wasting my time with constantly failing endeavors by these people. The business model of comics from then til now was so entrenched in backwards thinking that I had to look for alternative methods of producing. I saw the value of the internet wayyyy back. Even before it became the big monster it is now and every year it gets better for me as a book publisher. If one studies the various computer graphics programs, the online marketing techniques, one's overhead is so low with just a few advertisers one can launch a series already in the black. No need for comic distributors or hands-tied retailers worried if the book will be worth it. So for me, I have a series from a friend, a former Marvel exec, I've been busy with this past year but had to put on hold due to 3 family tragedies I had over the past 6 months, but that series is gonna be a major winner when I'm done with it. I've also got 3 graphic novels, one featuring my most popular character "Evol Baby" which got it's start in 'Thrasher Magazine' over 14 years ago. I have so many people who loved 'Evol Baby' growing up, it's a sure bet. So I'll be bringing him and "Monster Posse" and several other projects to the plate. Matter of fact, 'Evol Baby' and another one of my old skateboard comics 'RADREX' were also picked up for film/tv development by Danny Simmons of 'Def Comedy Jam/Def Poetry' shows on HBO. So I've got 3 properties sewed up and more on the way. I also have online comics.
Greg, thanks for doing our first interview!