Michael Moreci is a comic writer/editor who is best known for his graphic novel Quarantined, and his new ongoing series Hoax Hunters, published by Image Comics. Working on a monthly published series hasn’t slowed Michael down at all as he already has his newest project, Reincar(Nate), well underway. Reincar(Nate) is the edgy, crime noir story of Nate McCoy, a private investigator with the special ability to interact with past incarnations of himself. The Kickstarter campaign for the project will help with the printing of the 102 page full color graphic novel. I got the chance to chat with Michael about his experience in the comics industry, and about Reincar(Nate).
Ari: How were you first introduced into comics?
Michael: I think my first actual experience with a comic book came from a 7-11 spinning rack. I have it in my head that it was an issue of Spider-Man with Hobgoblin on the cover. Growing up, my mom worked at a toy store that would get remaindered comic bundles—packs of assorted comics that had no connection whatsoever. I would get a lot of these, and they hooked me in.
Ari: What is your favorite comic series, comic book character and why?
Michael: There are far too many good ones being published right now to choose just one. We’re in a golden age of comics, we truly are. Let’s see…there’s The Unwritten, The Sixth Gun, Hack/Slash, Morning Glories, Mark Waid’s Daredevil, anything from Phil Hester or Tom Scioli…too many to mention.
I’ve always had an affinity for the Fantastic Four, and right now Jonathan Hickman is absolutely killing on that book. So great.
Ari: Growing up, what writers and or books influenced you the most?
Michael: When I was a kid, I NEVER thought I’d be able to make comics. Never. My art is awful. For some reason, I had it in my head that comics were a one-person show, or that any writer was also an artist. So I got discouraged early from the idea of being a creator. But then Brian K. Vaughn came along. Reading what he did (does) instilled faith in me that, as a writer, I can tell the type of stories I had in my head: fun, cerebral, authentic. Y: The Last Man was a big turning point in my career, in my life.
Ari: With technology being such a growth industry, how do you see comics evolving to become a part of that?
Michael: Kicking and screaming. Seriously, comics is like any other industry in that it’s afraid of change. No one wants to tear off the Band-Aid and let the future happen. And I get that. Publishers, retailers, and creators have a lot to lose. It’s a gamble. But I don’t think one negates the other, that if we embrace digital that brick and mortar stores will vanish from the planet or that the artistry will somehow be cheapened. I’m for moving forward while retaining the past, and I hope it happens soon. I’d hate to see the comics industry end up like the music industry.
Ari: The comics industry is a male dominated field, and the number of female creators is small, but growing, why do you believe that is?
Michael: I think comics are evolving not just in technology, but creatively. The Machiavellian grip cape stories have on the market is beginning to dwindle; over the past year, we’ve seen serious weaknesses exposed from Marvel’s crossover fatigue to the unimpressive New 52 (and now the launch of Before Watchmen, which simply reeks of desperation). I think the end result is an inability to capture new audiences and, for the first time in a long time, a willingness for the superhero audience to try something new. You’re always going to have comic readers; what you’re seeing, in my opinion, is those readers looking for something different. And that comes from anywhere—women especially.
Ari: What was the inspiration behind Reincar(Nate) and the main character Nate McCoy?
Michael: Good question. I think the concept came first, this idea of someone being able to see and interact with past versions of themselves. But I didn’t want the story to take itself so seriously and becoming dreck like The Ghost Whisperer or something like that. So that’s where Nate comes from—I wanted a character who, sure, has some baggage and depth, but also is a lot of fun as well.
Ari: Are there any strong female characters in the story you can tell us a bit about?
Michael: Definitely. Autumn is a detective on the police force, and good friend to Nate. It’s weird, because I don’t see her as a strong female character—I see her as a strong character. That’s how I approach everything I write; I want it to be authentic. True, most women you see in comics are so incredibly inauthentic (and most men, for that matter). But those aren’t the comics I’m writing; no matter how far-fetched the concept of my work may be, I want to keep the characters and their struggles/triumphs as true as possible.
Ari: How long have you and your team been collaborating on Reincar(Nate)? And can you tell us a little about the creative process?
Michael: We’ve been working for over two years now, so this is certainly a labor of love for everyone involved. The process is great—Keith, Chris, Jim, and I are all friends, and we all believe in the book. But, circumstances are what they are and we’ve all been called on various work to pay the bills. Keith did Highland Laddie for Dynamite, Chris has done a good amount of DC work, and I was busy getting my Image series, Hoax Hunters, off the ground. But a few months ago we decided to dedicate the time needed to make Reincar(Nate) a reality, and that’s what we’re doing. The book is looking great.
Ari: What advice do you have for anyone (especially females) trying to break into the comics industry?
Michael: Know that whatever your role—writer, artist, letterer—a big part of what you need to do is network and be savvy. Being a hard-working craftsman is paramount, but you need to be able to sell your work, and yourself, as well. It’s tough to hear that, but it’s the truth. There’s so much competition out there, and so many avenues to encounter new work, that you have to make your voice somehow heard above the rest. Be prepared to hustle.
Ari: What other projects are you working on?
Michael: I’ve got Hoax Hunters with Image, which I write with Steve Seeley. It’s beginning an ongoing run July 5 with issue #1 (issue #0 came out March 21 and is available in comic shops and Comixology) which is very exciting. Steve and I are getting together a new series which we hope to launch early next year, and I’ve got some work for hire projects and couple other things I’m working to get off the ground. It’s a busy time, which is great.