Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Interview with Josh Elder

Hello everyone out there in the Land of Blog, it is I once again. The scariest Sith that will be trick or treating at your house this year, Darth Bill (just don't put any rocks into my trick or treat bag, man I hate when that happens)!!!!!!!!!!

From the classic Television Special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

Well I have a special treat for all you guys out there who love comics and graphic novels. Josh Elder
author of such great graphic novels as "Mail Order Ninja" and various comic books has given me this very exclusive interview. Josh was here this summer at ImaginOn for the highly successful "Kids Love Comics! Workshop for Aspiring Artists & Young Fans" and more recently here in Charlotte for the Library System's "Novello Festival" earlier this October.

Mr. Elder on the left with Michele Gorman from the "Kids Love Comics Event"

I don't believe, to my utter dismay, that I have not reviewed the totally awesome Mail Order Ninja Volume 1 on our blog (dooooooohhhhhhh!!!!!). So before the interview check this out:

Mail Order Ninja Volume 1 by Josh Elder and Erich Owen - Every bullies dream, Timmy McAllister, spends the majority of his days in school getting picked on and pushed around, until one fateful day he sees an advertisement for "The Great Ninja Warrior Gunshyo Giveaway." Figuring that he has nothing to lose, he enters this contest. A few weeks later a rather large box is delivered to his house containing a ninja named Yoshida Jiro. At first Timmy's parents are not sure if he is ready to own a ninja, after all it is a big responsibility. But after begging and pleading, Timmy's parents relent. Things in Timmy's life are about to change in a big way thanks to his new personal ninja and friend, Yoshida Jiro. This Graphic Novel has lots of laughs and high ninja adventure. Very, very cool indeed!!!!!!!!

My review of Mail Order Ninja Volume 2 can be found on this blog by clicking: Here.

Now without further commercial interruptions is the "Boys Rule, Boys Read" highly exclusive interview with the one, the only Josh Elder:

1) What was/or were the first book and/or books you read as a kid that made you think “wow?”

Pretty much all of 'em. Books and comics have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I can't imagine my life without them. Here a few that totally changed my life, though:

The Oz books by L. Frank Baum

Hatchet by Gary Paulson

Anything by Mark Twain

Anything by Robert L. Heinlein

Any comic I could get my hands on. Especially GI Joe, Transformers, Spider-Man, Calvin & Hobbes and my number one hero of all time... Superman.

2) What gave you the idea for “Mail Order Ninja” and some of the very cool characters in the books?

I had purchased a number of old comics off of ebay and in these old comics were ads for outrageously fraudulent items like X-ray glasses and weight-lifting programs that promised to add 20 lbs of muscle in as many days. So I thought it would be awesome if you could order your very own ninja through the mail. My friend said "Dude, that's the best idea you've ever had." He was right, and that afternoon I developed pretty much the entire premise of "Mail Order Ninja."

3) Who do you consider some of your biggest influences as a comic/graphic novel creator?

My biggest influences -- especially on my work aimed at younger readers -- are the Looney Tunes and comic strips like Calvin & Hobbes. Those are works that are aimed at children yet are enjoyable for audiences of any age. And the older you get, the smarter and funnier they actually become.

Aside from Bill Waterson and Chuck Jones, my biggest influences as a comic writer would have to be Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. They're constantly evolving, constantly taking risks and exploring new territory -- they're never content to stick with a formula or emulate a past success. Every story I write should be different and/or better than anything I've done before or else why do it?

4) Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

Because reading is cool. It's the only way you get to really be a part of the story -- even playing a videogame you're just another character. When you read you're a part of the story in every way and the story can't get told without you.

5) Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?

Of course it is! Writers and artists are the people who truly shape the world. Plus it's fun!

6) Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?

That one's easy: Superman. He's the first and greatest superhero of them all -- the wellspring from which all other superheroes came. I've been a fan of the character for literally longer than I can remember (I had a pair of Superman pajamas as a little boy that I wore to bed pretty much every night without fail) and today I have a Superman tattoo on my right bicep of which I'm quite proud.

I've actually gotten to write Superman stories for DC Comics over the past few years and that has been a real dream come true for me.

7) What is your favorite sport?

Football, no doubt. I played it in high school and it remains the only sport I really follow today. Anything can happen on any given play in any game -- it's what makes football so incredibly unpredictable and exciting. That and I'm a big fan of watching big dudes hit each other really hard.

8) What do you like to do for fun?

I like to read and I like to write (I certainly chose the right career then, didn't I?). I enjoy my football and am a big movie buff. In fact, every week or so I get a group of friends together for "Bad Movie Night" and we all watch really terrible movies with the goal being to have the best joke of the night at the movie's expense. I like to visit museums whenever I can and I also do a lot of biking here in Chicago during the summer months.

9) What is your favorite book you have written?

Probably "Mail Order Ninja." It's easily my best-written work and is the one that I still find funny each time I read it. Though I am working on a story called "Dear Superman" that is very near and dear to my heart that will most likely take the top spot if and when it's published.

10) Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

Why do I have to choose? I'll going to use a bit of lateral problem solving and just have a cheeseburger pizza instead!

Thank you very much Mr. Elder!!!!!! What a cool guy!!!!!! I hope the "Dear Superman" that he is working on comes out sometime soon. If you have not read The Mail Order Ninja Books, Volumes 1 and 2, do yourself a favor and check them out ASAP!!!!!!

Until next time - Up, Up and Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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