I often get asked how I managed to put the Postcards team together. I’m going to start doing a weekly feature that tells the story behind building Postcards, one creator at a time.
I’m not shy about voicing my opinions when it comes to Phil Hester – he is one of the greatest writers working in comics today. I put him up there with Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Grant Morrison – and if we’re talking writer/illustrator, he’s number one. I can go on for hours listing and debating the reasons why you (yes, you, and I don’t care who you are or what your tastes are) don’t share this opinion but I won’t. Not here. This weekly feature is about networking and celebration, after all.
Phil Hester was the first guy I got in touch with after securing a couple of good friends, before New York Comic Con. Other creators love Phil; he was certainly a good name to throw out with any pitch.
Phil wrote a five page short for Western Tales of Terror #2. I wasn’t really editing the book at that point, when we first started with issue two I was doing submissions and Greg Matiasevich was editing the book. As a result, I missed my opportunity to work with Phil. I didn’t even see his story until Stakal’s art came in and I needed to make a lettering script for Jaco.
I was a fan of Phil’s work before reading this story – the Coffin and the Wretch were both fantastic pieces of literature and his artwork on Green Arrow was still fresh in my mind. But that story made me fall in love with Phil – it made me track down anything else he’s worked on. I realized something – Phil Hester is a great writer, that’s true, but he’s the master of short sequential stories. It’s almost as if he finds a different level of confidence with shorts – where he can be as poetic as he wants to be without feeling like he needs to write specifically for the direct market crowd. What he produces is magical; the best five pages you’ll read in any anthology, and because of that, Phil Hester had to be in Postcards.
When I was organizing the signing schedule for San Diego last year, Phil was the first one to respond to my group email. Despite all my talk of being professional and trying to keep a level head - I turned into a bumbling idiot – the gushing fan. I just saw an opportunity to tell Phil how much I love and appreciate his work and I took that opportunity. Maybe used too many words to do it but, you know - we all have our moments of weakness.
He humbly replied, “thank you.”
He sat at the table for San Diego – I saw him sketch. He’s a gentleman, fans of his were coming to his table to see him and on several occasions he already knew their names, as if he’s seen them at other shows and kept in contact with them.
I really didn’t exchange many emails with him between San Diego and late January when I pitched him Postcards. I wrote him, told him what the book was about, and told him a couple of people who were in it. He responded within minutes saying the project sounds great and, if his schedule permits, he’s in.
I did a jig like you wouldn’t believe. Jigged some more when I realized he’ll be illustrating his own story. I wrote him to tell him how I’d like to structure the business end of the book to which he told me not to worry about that now – the story comes first. I’ve adopted that philosophy ever since.
I got his story in – James and I flipped for it.
Got some pages in – we flipped again.
Recently I sent out an email talking about options and plans and best case scenarios. I was saying how I want the best for this book – that everyone involved is putting in such amazing work and how proud I am and how I want this book to receive all the accolades, press, and sales that it rightfully deserves.
Phil’s response? “It’s a strong project regardless…Never forget that.”
Next week, Tom Beland…