Writer Chuck Dixon is probably best known for his work on Marvel’s The Punisher and DC’s Batman comics. Dixon co-created popular Batman villain Bane, along with artist Graham Nolan. Dixon started in comics in the early 80’s and has worked for many of the top comic companies including, Dark Horse, CrossGen, Dynamite, IDW, and Wildstorm. In addition to his comic book work, Dixon is a best selling author and his new book, Helldorado: Bad Times is now available on Amazon and wherever fine books are sold.
Anthony DiChiara: Thanks for much for taking the time to do this interview.
Chuck Dixon: Thanks for inviting me!
AD: Before we talk about your new book, let’s talk a little about your work in comics.
CD: Fire away.
AD: You got into the comic book industry in the early 80’s. What attracted you to the industry? Were you a comic reader as a kid?
CD: I was a huge comic book consumer. I read everything on the stands, every comic in every collection of friends and family. I was reading them before I could read.
AD: You have such a long career in comics. You’ve worked on such popular characters as the Punisher for Marvel and Batman for DC, among other titles. Were there any Marvel or DC titles you always wanted to write but for whatever reason you just didn’t get to do?
CD: I would have liked a shot at the Fantastic Four.
AD: There aren’t too many creators who have created a character that’s become iconic. You’re one of the hallowed few— You created Bane, a character that’s become part of Batman’s rouges gallery, and one of Batman’s all-time top villains. It must bother you that you don’t get any royalties for creating Bane— Although I have heard that due to all the creator law suits DC and Marvel have worked out some sort of compensation… True? Is that something you can comment on?
CD: I do get royalties for Bane through DC Comics. I have an equity agreement with them on almost two hundred characters I created. Marvel is a different animal. You have to either make a lot of noise or sue them to get a one-time compensation.
AD: The comics industry has changed quite over the years. Print media is dying. Newspaper and most magazine circulations are dropping. Even comics aren’t selling as much as they did in the 80’s and 90’s. In your opinion is there a way to bring the industry back, or is it just a fait accompli?
CD: Digital is proving much stronger than I ever expected it would be. My digital royalties are greater than my print royalties in recent years. A worldwide audience and the true democracy offered by the internet are major factors there. Print is still viable but only for trades and collections. Even before digital the benefits of defraying costs by printing the monthlies has been shrinking. We used to hope the pamphlets would make money. Then we hoped they’d break even. Now we just hope they cover coloring and lettering.
AD: Any advice to any fans out there who are interested in becoming a comic book writer?
CD: Write a hit movie or TV show. That’s the way into the bigs. Other than that, create your own comic and get it up for sale on the net. There are no gatekeepers and the once prohibitive costs of printed are no longer a factor.
AD: I guess the misconception is that comic book writers only write for comics, but that’s not always true— or at least it’s not true for you, right?
CD: I’ve been writing a lot of prose recently. I’m a comic book writer through and through and never had aspirations to be anything else. But the shrinking market and prohibitive costs of doing creator owned comics drove me to novels.
AD: Now you have a new novel out. Tell me a little about your new book… It’s part of a series, right?
CD: It’s the fourth book in my Bad Times series. It’s called Helldorado. The series is about a band of time-traveling former Army Rangers. It’s escapist action stuff with all the usual time paradoxes and complications. They’ve been to prehistoric Nevada, the ancient Aegean, ancient Judea, France in the 1870s and a brief trip to an alternate future. In the current one they return to prehistory for an extended adventure that brings them up against sabretooth tigers, cannibals and giant beavers!
AD: Sounds great. I can’t wait to read it. Are you doing any personal appearances or book signings?
CD: I’m doing an appearance this Saturday at Emerald City Comics in Clearwater, Florida. And in July I’ll be at the Pasco County Library in Land O Lakes, Florida.
AD: Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me.
CD: No problem! Thanks again for having me, Anthony!
For more info on Chuck and his projects visit his website at https://dixonverse.wordpress.com/