Talking Comics with Bryan Edward Hill
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
If you guys have been sleeping on Bryan Edward Hill, it's time to wake up. He's quickly becoming, in my opinion, one of the hottest name in comics. He wrote a stellar series for Top Cow (Postal) that had great reviews. He's currently writing two books for DC, Detective Comics and Wildstorm: Michael Cray. His short stint on Detective Comics has been great so far. DC if you're reading this, give this man an Outsiders book already. His re-imaginings of popular DC heroes in Michael Cray have been weird, but in a good way. He's got an upcoming book coming out from Vertigo, American Carnage, that looks like another hit in the making. So do yourself a favor and pick up these books you won't be disappointed. I reached out to Bryan to ask him a little bit more about his work, hope you guys enjoy.
1. How did you first get into comics?
As a kid, I was a pretty voracious reader. Growing up in Missouri, you have a lot of space, but there's not a lot of stimulus. I chased experiences in fiction and comics were a huge part of that. Back then, you could by them with not much money at all, so they were some of the first things I bought with my own money. My first memories of purchasing something on my own are of walking into a comic shop. That creates a special relationship between a person and a medium.
2. You're about to finish a small stint on Detective Comics, which I think has been outstanding by the way, what is your favorite part about writing Batman?
That I get to be a SMALL part of the Batman legacy. Writing can lead to a kind of immortality. Your work endures and will endure after you're gone. It's amazing knowing that my work will be carried along with the Batman mythos, even if I'm just a tiny little patch in an infinite quilt.
I just saw a YouTube review where someone didn't like my work at all, but I couldn't get upset about it because I was SHOCKED that someone took the time to read and review the book, hahaha. For a kid from Saint Louis, being in a place where strangers take the time from their lives to criticize my work is an amazing feeling. This whole experience has been a wild ride.
3. The villain of the story, Karma, has been really interesting. Where did the idea for him come up?
I haven't been serious about my martial arts training for a while, but when I was, I remembered sparring someone that seemed to read every single thing I was going to throw. It felt like sparring against someone that could read your mind. When I realized I wanted to create my own villain, I remembered that experience. To that, I added some aesthetics I like and the concept of Batman's past coming to haunt him and a villain that was obsessed with his OWN place in Batman's legend. A drink of Johnnie Walker Black later, I had a sense of Karma.
4. Do you have any plans to write Batman again after this arc?
That's a definite maybe...but beyond that, The Hill Administration has no comment at this time, LOL.
5. What other characters, from any publisher, would you like to write in the future?
A James Bond story came to me a few weeks ago. That's something I would have a lot of fun doing. As for other superheroes? I don't know, honestly. I don't really carry a lot of eagerness to work on other people's characters, but sometimes people bring interesting things my way and I love being interested and appreciate being considered. The Shadow would be interesting. Dr. Fate. Constantine. I might have a Daredevil story in me. I don't know, really. I just go where the wind takes me, hahaha.
6. You're also about to finish up on Michael Cray, what was you're favorite part about writing that character and do you have any plans to work with the Wildstorm characters again?
Warren (Ellis) gave me a lot of freedom, especially in the second half of that 12 issue story to push the narrative and test my own ability. In issue 11 (which is being finished as I type this) artist Nelson Blake II is drawing a scene with our version of Diana Prince and another character I don't want to give away right now. I've seen the art to that and it's AMAZING. Really something else. N. Steven Harris, the regular artist on the series has been doing great work, but that scene brings in a different element to the story and Nelson just nailed it.
7. Are there any books you're currently working on that you can talk about without giving to much away?
AMERICAN CARNAGE, that's my DC/Vertigo book. It's like BLACK KLANSMAN meets HEAT, LOL. APHRODITE V is running now, single issues every month for three more months. CYBERFORCE is monthly. I have some original, new projects in production now, but I can't reveal too much. Those will be exciting. They're stories very close to my heart. 2019 will be a big year for me.
8. Lastly, if you could give an aspiring writer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Glad you asked!
The most important thing is believing in your future and seeing your present as just a step towards it. Invest into that vision of yourself and write as if you already have an audience. Create. Create. Create. Everything you create is taking you towards your goal and if you continually push yourself, you'll get the skill and finished work that will change your life.
And read. Reading is such an important part of being a storyteller. Read novels. Short stories. Newspapers. Comics. Read as much as you can. Reading makes you better almost as much as writing does.