ROGUES PORTAL: The complete collection of AMELIA COLE was just recently released in one big omnibus, so congrats! How satisfying has it been to watch all 30 issues of the series come to life?
Adam P Knave: Thanks! It’s been a strange and wild ride. When we were working on the book the feeling that we got to tell this story kept hitting us, you know, the comic market of 2012 was very different than it is today. Every inch of the way we really had our head down just creating the work. To hold this one volume in my hands, this 560 page tome of all 30 issues – it brings home exactly how much work we did, how hard that work could be at times, and really how much fun we had. It’s not often you get to hold a thing that represents five years of your life. It’s cool as hell.
RP: When you first started working on AMELIA COLE, did you imagine that it would get to 30 issues? What were you expectations going into the book?
APK: When we first started we thought we would get six issues. The first arc. It’d be nice, you know, to get a second arc, but hey six issues and we were happy. So we planned for those six and left ourselves and ending that opened doors as well as closed them. It was important to us that the first arc ended in a way that if there were no more issues after, that was all right – readers got a complete story. So we just wanted to do that, tell a single story and enjoy ourselves and entertain some folk. When we realized we were getting issue 7, and the second story arc we started to plan to a big storyline, that took us to issue 30. Things adjusted and changed along the way but it was the start of arc 2 that really made us start pulling the threads tighter.
RP: Your characters grow and change in your mind as much as people do in real life. Did the story evolve in different ways than what you originally had in your head when you started?
APK: Of course! You can set a train in motion creating characters but as you write them they also become the sum of their experience, like anyone does. And that can change how they would deal with a situation. So where you once thought “Well we’ll go A to B” the character shows you, through what you’ve done and how that changes them, that they would never go to B. So you have to pay attention and be true to them. Hector, in Amelia, grew into a much different character than we initially thought he would be. All for the better and it all makes sense and the groundwork is in the story. But it wasn’t until we were plotting arc 2 that we realized “Oh hey wait, no he would go over here wouldn’t he?” It was great, seeing that what we initially built had deeper roots and could grow in new directions.
RP: You collaborate with DJ Kirkbride as well for THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN. What draws you to work together as opposed to working on projects solo?
APK: Well we do both. DJ has THE BIGGER BANG and its sequel THE BIGGEST BANG out solo from IDW. I do prose novels solo and have some solo comic pitches out there. But we co-write because, I mean for me, I got my start in comics co-writing with D.J. I love working with him. We end up in places I’d never end up in by myself and I learn new things about writing working with him. I’ve known D.J. for pretty much a decade, and a lot of that time has been spent working together either as editors or co-writers. He is family. We talk all the time, regardless of work stuff, just because we’re a big part of each other’s lives. Who wouldn’t want to create and play with one of their best friends?
RP: As a follow-up to that, how do you find working with a co-writer? How does it help your creative process? What are some of the pros and cons for you?
APK: I like co-writing comics. I can’t co-write prose, that’s never worked for me, but since I am in no way an artist, any comic I do will be nature be a collaboration, so at that point what’s one more voice? It isn’t easy at first, any specific co-writer has their ups and downs and processes that will differ from yours. You learn to merge them into a new hybrid thing – or you don’t. It doesn’t always work out. I won’t lie, the first year or so of co-writing with D.J. we would have the occasional big blowout fight. Normally about silly things. You get through that stuff and learn to communicate better or you just don’t. Sometimes someone else is incompatible writing-wise with another person, even if you really wish that weren’t the case.
But when you do get past the fights and all, and you can find that mid-ground and be on the same wavelength – co-writing is an amazing gift. It’s like having a second brain. Every writer has their strengths and weaknesses. So working with someone else gives you the chance to have those gaps filled in. I often, for example, go really big picture and wide in scope. That can run the risk of not being relatable. D.J. tends to be more grounded and precise, and that can lose some grandeur, if you aren’t careful. Now, working solo can we each work to fill those problem spots ourselves? Of course! But working together we can watch each other’s back and fill them in as a matter of course, and learn new ways to fill them in, for when we work solo.
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