We recently were able to sit down and chat with writer Landry Q. Walker after randomly “meeting” him on Reddit.
We spoke about his long career in the comic book industry; the idea of being, perhaps mistakenly, known as a “children’s” writer, his work with DC, Disney , Slave Labor Graphics and touched on topics such as madness, misconception, business, collaboration, Dick Grayson and She-Hulk.
CA: How long have you been in the Comics game?
LQW: My first mini-comic was released in January of 1993. The first work I actually got paid for was probably 1995.
CA: How did you “break in” and how long did that arduous process take you?
LQW: It depends on what you count as “breaking in”. My first work for DC wasn’t until 2008. But before that I spent years working on Disney Adventures Magazine and before that had a very successful series with SLG and before that some well reviewed mini-comics.
In a way, I’d say there is no such thing as breaking in…. especially these days. You have an idea, you do it. I published my own comics in the early 90’s and that qualified me as a professional. Because people with money saw my work, I became a paid professional. Some day, they’ll stop paying me for work – and then what will I be? The arduous process never ends.
CA: Most of your work is done under the auspice of being “kids” comic books, has that stigma been something that has dogged you in a negative way through your career? Do you feel relegated, as though you sometimes aren’t taken seriously in the industry because of some of the genres you write in? Does your past body of work make it difficult for you to write more, generally, “adult” books?
LQW: My earliest work was extremely adult, and I met a fair bit of skepticism that I could write kids stuff. Then I started writing Little Gloomy and people immediately associated me with kids stuff. You are whatever your last project is. So in a way, the answer is yes. I know for a fact that some major editors have expressed extreme skepticism over my ability to produce serious work. I’ve also received a lot of work because of my all-ages writing. No matter what you do, someone will doubt your ability to do something even slightly different.
Thing is, my goal has never been to do good all-ages comics or good adult comics, but instead to do good comics. The basics of storytelling are the same no matter what age group you attempt to reach. And often times the difference between all-ages and adult is much slimmer than most people believe.
CA: Do you even want to write “adult” comics or are you happy writing for the younger set?
LQW: I don’t think I’d ever be happy doing only one kind of story or aiming for one audience. The all-ages work I have produced has always had a true “all-ages” audience in mind. But then you look at my issue of the Joker’s Asylum series… very adult. Not what people seemed to expect of me.
CA: Ah! I actually have that book in my collection- and I must admit, embarrassingly, that I didn’t even recall that you had written it! But I love that story; I still think it is one of the best modern Mad Hatter stories out there. Very dark. You managed to capture an alarmingly authentic feeling of utter madness there; Jervis was just unnerving in that story. Apologies, but I have to gush a bit and just tell you, great work! Now why the hell has DC never hired you to write another “adult” Batman story?