Corinna Bechko is a really fascinating individual. I mean, look at that picture of her with the bird – not everyone can be so brave. Besides being an animal lover, she writes comic books. Plus, she loves coffee.
If I was having coffee with Corinna, I think our conversation would be something like this . . .
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?
CSB: Sadly, I can barely draw a box. Working in comics would be much easier if I could draw as well as write, but I’m stuck with language as my only means of expression.
What are you working on now?
CSB: I’ve got a few projects going: Co-writing INVISIBLE REPUBLIC with Gabriel Hardman for Image Comics, writing LORDS OF THE JUNGLE for Dynamite, writing COURT OF THE DEAD – RISE for Sideshow/Heavy Metal, and a couple of other things that haven’t been announced yet.
Who has influenced you the most as a writer?
CSB: That’s a tough one to answer. A lot of stuff inspires me, but I’m not sure who influences me the most. I think that in the unlikely event that I’m ever famous enough to have a biography written about me I’ll leave that to the biographer to figure out. I’m sure it’s someone who I wouldn’t even think of since so much influence is unintentional.
Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
CSB: I don’t follow too many superhero books regularly, tending to follow creators more than characters, so I guess my answer will have to be a little more ambiguous than someone falling neatly into superhero/super villain. I fell in love with Zan Jensen, the troubled protagonist of Sebela and Moustafa’s HIGH CRIMES, and I also have a soft spot for Forever Carlyle of Rucka and Lark’s LAZARUS. There are many, many more, including pretty much everyone I’ve written, but those ladies don’t seem fair to list since of course I love all of them.
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
CSB: Not really, but I think that’s because it’s always been pretty apparent that my favorite things to write are horror and sci-fi. My first published comic, HEATHENTOWN (with Gabriel Hardman, from Image/Shadowline) was atmospheric horror, so people knew what they were getting. I do tend to be offered female characters to write, but they are usually horror or action, like Vampirella or Lara Croft. I’ve never made a secret of my love for these types of stories, and it’s paid off in being offered characters and arcs I’m suited to writing.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
CSB: It depends, really. I usually attend at least four a year, but sometimes more and sometimes less. It has to do with my workload, mostly. I do enjoy them, but they are incredibly exhausting. I work from home so it’s nice to get out and meet new people and reconnect with old friends, but the extra work before and after can be a killer. Conventions themselves are hard work too, especially since most of the rest of my job is so quiet and focused and cons can be the opposite of that.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
CSB: Definitely an introvert
Where do you find your inspiration?
CSB: I read a lot, as much as I possibly can. I read comics, prose, fiction, nonfiction… Whatever catches my interest. I also try to travel as much as I can. Getting out in nature is important too. And so are music and film.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
CSB: It’s a funny thing, but I’ve found that you can’t make a living as a writer and also deal with writers block. So I just ignore it. If I can’t write, I STILL write. That’s what rewriting is for: if you’ve written a bunch of garbage, well, you can always improve it. If I’m seriously burned out I give myself tiny goals and rewards, like a cup of tea if the page gets finished, or an M&M after a certain number of words. The promise of a fancy cocktail waiting at the end of a script is a great motivator.
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
CSB: Oh, sure. People have weird ideas about the life of a writer. But previous to this job I worked as a zookeeper, so I’m no stranger to fielding weird questions. The most consistently awkward thing that happens now is when I meet new people and tell them I write comics for a living. Often they will “correct me” with “oh, I’m sure YOU write GRAPHIC NOVELS, not comics.” And then I have to tell them that I’m not ashamed to write comics, I think comics are great! Graphic novels are just a format, not a genre, just as comics are a medium, not a genre. That can be kind of difficult.
Beverage of choice?
CSB: Coffee, tea, more coffee.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
CSB: Hmm, it’s been a while since I wore a costume, but last year I dressed up fancy to see a live orchestra preform THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS at the Hollywood Bowl. And I dressed up my dog as a dinosaur, and one of my cats as a raven. I love Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday.
What do you want people to know about you?
CSB: That I co-write INVISIBLE REPUBLIC with Gabriel Hardman for Image Comics and that the second volume will be out this summer. I also write MISS FURY and LORDS OF THE JUNGLE for DYNAMITE, In addition, I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on the COURT OF THE DEAD line for Sideshow/Heavy Metal. I’d also like people to know that you can find me on Twitter and Facebook. I’m Corinna Bechko in both places. If you look me up on social media you’ll see a lot of animal and conservation related content. I’m very passionate about rhino and tapir conservation.