Born in Melbourne, Australia, Tom Taylor is an
award-winning writer of theatre, television, radio, musicals,
film, magazines, satirical news, sketch comedy and comic
books. He is the author of several Star Wars comic
stories from Dark Horse Comics including the ongoing Invasion
series (set during the devastating Yuuzhan Vong invasion of The
New Jedi Order) as well as the graphic novella Star
Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the
Dragonsnakes. Tom is also the author of the recently
announced Jango and Boba Fett four-part comic book series, Blood
Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett
Wars Adventures: The Will of Darth Vader graphic novella,
both due in August this year.
|Star Wars Books are pleased that Tom
has taken time out of his busy schedule to participate in this
welcome to Star Wars Books.
If you like, could we begin with a
short description of your work to date?
Sure. In the comics world I'm currently the writer of Star
Wars: Invasion for Dark Horse Comics which is illustrated
by all-round genius, Colin Wilson, and I'm also the writer of the DC
Comics / Wildstorm title, The Authority.
In no real order, my other published works include, Star
Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnakes,
The Example, Rombies and Flinch.
The Example and Rombies will actually be
solicited through Diamond for the first time in August or September.
Other announced works include Star
Wars Adventures: The Will of Darth Vader - set to rock your
world in August, A Rombies series (Roman zombies), Brief
Cases and The Deep (a creator-owned series
about a multicultural family of aquanauts who live in a
As a playwright, my plays have been produced across four continents
(it's hard to get a gig in Antarctica). I've written for a bit of
TV, radio and Film too.
did you get involved in comic book writing and what have been your
I've always wanted to be a comic book writer. Seriously, it doesn't
get any better than this. I made my break into comics when Colin
Wilson helped me adapt my play 'The Example' into a
comic book, I've never looked back.
My major comics-writing influences are probably Garth Ennis, Warren
Ellis, Alan Moore, Mark Millar, Neil Gaiman, Bendis… actually this
list keeps going. There are a number of theatre, film, novel and TV
writers who have also had a big influence on me.
would Tom Taylor's advice be to budding comic book story writers?
Write. Write always. If you can't write something, write something
else. Don't write what you hope other people will like, write what
you like. The chances are other people will like what you like…
unless you're a true freak. Don't be too stressed about finding an
artist. Write a great story, draw it with stick figures and stick it
on the internet. The internet will be big one day (you heard it here
is a typical day for Tom Taylor like?
My day generally begins when I am kneed in the chest by the full
force of a four-year-old jumping on me while screaming 'time to hop
up, dad!'. I wrestle with him for a while and then I wander down my
hallway and press the power button on my computer. I keep walking to
the coffee maker. Sometimes my wife will already have it on, because
she's wonderful. I take my coffee back to my computer where I check
my emails, Facebook, new comic pages and other art, internet forum
chatter about my work, Skype messages from editors and I generally
update my website if there's something worth mentioning. Then, once
all of that is done, and if I'm heading out of the house to work or
heading to Colin Wilson's house for coffee, I will put on
I often work from a friend's house when they're at work (Hi Kym).
Kym is a very close friend and also my 'reader'. She looks at almost
everything I write and has stopped some very bad ideas appearing in
my work while also inputting some very good ideas of her own. She is
a champion. She doesn't get enough credit.
I will spend a few hours writing at Kym's house, or at home if my
family is out and about (in which case I won't put on pants), I'll
then do regular family things - go to the park, watch TV, eat dinner
and hunt neighbor's cats. Once the family is all tucked up, I go to
work again. I generally write until quite late, when there are fewer
distractions in the world, although I'm often still up when the
questions begin from editors across the other side of the world and
I do end up doing a lot of correspondence in the wee hours. Then I
fall into bed and I am kneed in the chest by the full force of a
four-year-old jumping on me while screaming 'time to hop up, dad!'.
is it like playing in George Lucas's sandpit and what is the appeal
of it to you as a writer?
I've raved about how amazing it is to get this gig all over the
internet but I will say it again, this is incredible. Do you
remember playing with your Star Wars toys? Do you remember
the scenarios you created in your head and in your hands? Do you
remember the adventures you had in your bedroom or your
The appeal is obvious.
I get to do that all over again.
a contributor, what would you say is the enduring popularity of the Star
Just look at what it's made up of - Adventure, big emotions and
black and white characters, good versus evil, peace versus war,
people versus power, swords, spaceships, humour, love, and lying
over all of it… magic! How could it not endure?
on achieving #5 in February's 'Top Ten' selling graphic novels for Luke
Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnakes and #9 last month
for the collated trade paperback of your first Invasion
story arc, Volume 1: Refugees.
How pleased are you with these sales numbers?
It's not really the sales that please me, although they hopefully
make Dark Horse happy. What makes me happy is that this, more
than reviews or forums, tells me that people like the work enough to
invest in it. I used to be a professional juggler, so I have a weird
need to know my audience are happy… probably because, once upon a
time, an unhappy audience meant no coins in my hat.
maintain a constant online presence through your website www.tomtaylormade.com
and you contribute to Dark Horse Comics' own Message Boards. How
important to you as a writer, is this 'instant' contact with fans?
I do post occasionally in forums but I'm a little wary of them to
tell you the truth. I'm always worried something I'll say will be
taken out of context or used against me. I do think it's important
to keep up a dialogue though, and a fair few fans email me or
comment on my website. The website is very important to me. It makes
it easy for people to find me and to know what I'm doing, and it
also acts as a kind of journal for me to go back and say "Oh
yeah, I did that."
recent times, both John Jackson Miller's Knights
of the Old Republic and John Ostrander's Legacy
comic book series have each concluded with fifty published issues,
can we expect a similar number for Invasion? Or to put it
another way, how much of Invasion's story has been planned
It's planned a looooooongg way. But, in comics, you never know how
far you'll get.
Invasion story is set during The
New Jedi Order era, how much has your choice of stories or
events been restricted by the foretold events of the published
nineteen novels of The New Jedi Order?
I don't think I have been restricted. Sure, we can't use the core
characters too often but, by realizing this early on, we've found a
way to tell our own story that won't be hampered by anything that's
come before. Knowing this has forced us another way and, in so
doing, has probably freed us creatively.
Galfridian family, Caled, Nina, Finn and Kaye are your own creation,
but as with any post-Return of the Jedi story it must
include, or at least acknowledge for some form of story grounding,
some of the established characters (any one or all of the 'Big
Three') and/or characters from the Expanded Universe, such as the
Solo siblings. As such, do you find it easier writing for your own
original creations or for those characters with pre-established
Strangely enough, despite identifying with Luke the most, Han was
the most natural established character to write. I think his speech
and his mannerisms were burned into my brain from a very young age
so, when it came time to write him, it just flowed out. However, my
characters, as they've developed as characters, have really
developed their own voices. Kaye, especially, just smacks me around
and tells me how to write her.
many fans have focused their attention on Finn, his Jedi training
and possible future role as a Jedi Knight, it is at this early point
in Invasion's story that Finn's sister, Kaye, is arguably the
stronger of the two siblings, even of the whole family. There are
also distinct parallels between Kaye, Princess Leia (in A New
Hope) and Queen Amidala (in The Phantom Menace), was
there a conscious effort on your part to create Kaye as another
royal heroine and if so, why?
Strong women have been a theme of Star Wars from the
beginning and also a theme of my life - I was raised by a single
mother. I also have the toughest Grandma in the world. Kaye is the
stronger character and the stronger person. She would kick Finn's
ass in a fight. I don't know why everybody assumes Finn is the main
character, for me, this is a book with two main characters. Kaye's
role will grow a lot in Rescues.
New Jedi Order novels document the schism created within Luke
Skywalker's Jedi Order by the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, will we be
witness to the consequences of the schism in Finn's story?
Yes… but maybe not in the way you think.
far, Invasion's characters have shown great fortitude and
resilience in the face of enduring hardship and danger, but is there
scope for some lesser will in these characters or even weaker
characters in this story?
Absolutely. I don't think Finn is the strongest of characters but he
will grow. Nina has already been shown to be quite flawed. Kaye will
really be put through the ringer by the events of Rescues.
Caled has a traitor in his midst… who knows if he'll even survive
comics returned at the end of May with Invasion:
Rescues issue #1, the start of the second story arc, what
tidbits can you offer the fans?
The books can't tell the whole story. The Galaxy is huge. The
Invasion is huge. Something big can occur without Luke Skywalker
even knowing about it…
well as Invasion, you are also busy writing at least four
stand-alone graphic novella stories as part of Dark Horse's Star
Wars Adventures series (your first, Luke
Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnakes is available now;
the second, The
Will of Darth Vader, will be released in August; while the third
and fourth have yet to be announced), is there any other Star
Wars stories/series that you would like to be involved in?
I'm writing four? Okay… cool.
I seriously love writing Star Wars. No matter what I'm doing
or how busy I get, if Dark Horse will have me, I will always
be happy writing something in this universe.
And speaking of which… just announced is the miniseries Blood
Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett - which will feature
fully painted art by Chris Scalf. I'm really having a fantastic time
writing this and the story has a lot more layers to it than you
would expect from a standard four part series. Issue one ends with a
hell of a cliffhanger.
if you could meet face-to-face with any fictional person and could
only ask them one question, who would that person be and what would
you ask them?
Wow. That's a really good question… but I'm tired and it's getting
close to that time when I get kneed in the chest.
So, I'll just say Superman. And I wouldn't ask a question. I'd be
lost for words.
you Tom for your time, it has been a pleasure and wish you every
success in the future. Our thanks go to Tom Taylor for participating
in this interview and to Jim Gibbons at Dark Horse Comics for
Volume 1: Refugees, the graphic novel collating the first Invasion
story arc, is available now from Dark Horse Books in the US and
Titan Books in the UK (you can read Star Wars Books' review
of it here), while
the second story arc, Rescues,
has just begun its comic book release with issue #1 available now
and issue #2 out on June 30th.
You can also follow Tom's writings on his website at www.tomtaylormade.com.
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