New comic book writer and storyteller AMA!

Matthew Basile-writer
Jul 17, 2018

My name is Matthew Basile.  I have been dreaming up stories all my life.  I tried making a go at it in filmmaking and TV for a while. Gave up writing for a little bit and worked in customer service. And am now back into writing. I just published a novella called Brandon's Fairy Tale on Amazon and will be launching a Kickstarter for my first comic book called Wolf's Howl in October.

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What demographic is Wolf's Howl created for? what is the premise of the comic?
Jul 19, 9:14PM EDT0

Wolf's Howl would be for teenagers and adults.  It's definitely got mature themes in it.  It has to do with believing in yourself and forgiving yourself and the connections we make in life.  The premise of the comic is that their has been an ancient war going on between vampires and werewolves for centuries.  This war is secret but has recently come to a head.  The werewolves are being exterminated by a  new myterious force that is also disturbing the balance of the life force on Earth.  The werewolves in desperation are forced to turn to a mortal woman living in modern day New York City, named Victoria.  She is prophesized to restore balance to the life forces of Earth and save the werewolves.  But she knows nothing of the ancient war or the ways of the wolf.  But the fate of Victoria and the werewolves are intertwined whether they like it or not.  I hope you will join "the pack" and follow along on this journey.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 20, 4:12PM EDT0
How does it feel to stray from your passion and then go back to it with a vengance?! Do you have advice for those of us who would love to do the same, but are maybe too afraid?
Jul 19, 8:40PM EDT0

Honestly I am still scared too but it also feels right.  Like I am playing the part I was meant to in life and not trying to be something I am not anymore.  My advice would be to find a way to make it work for you.  Much like that Will Smith video I posted in an earlier question the best things in life are on the other side of fear.  Here's the video again in case you want to watch it:  I think if you are meant to do it you will do it.  Just be flexible and don't give up.  Have faith and understand that maybe you got to be flexible with your dreams but that if you truly feel like there is a story inside of you that needs to be told or that if you feel like you have some talent to share with the world than go for it.  I think people sometimes get attached to an idea in their head and get frustrated when it doesn't work out as they thought it would.  I know that happened to me several times.  But you gotta trust and just keep looking for what works and what doesn't work and use your instincts and intution.  Try different things but keep pursuing what feels right in your heart.  I used the Philadelphia Eagles and Nick Foles as inspiration.  They said they just kept going for it and they never stopped believing.  They said it always had to be fun but they also believed in themselves no matter how things looked at the time.  I try to do the same.  

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 20, 4:03PM EDT0
What do you hope for your future with comics? Any new goals?
Jul 19, 4:42AM EDT0

My goals and hopes for the future are fairly straightforward I just want to tell stories and get them out into the world and become a better storyteller.  I want to touch people's hearts and inspire them with my characters and stories.  Whatever form that takes is fine with me.  I am ok staying an independent self-publisher if that's the best route for me and my stories.  But I am equally ok with other options such as signing with a publisher or having my comics adapted to Film or TV or Animation or Novels.  Whatever gets my stories to the audience that needs to hear them so my characters can have life is ok with me.  Obviously ideally I want to be able to have my stories sustain me financially so I can tell more stories but the end goal for me is my own personal growth as a person and storyteller and allowing my stories to find the people they are meant for.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 19, 4:22PM EDT0
Do you think Comic-Con has ruined comics? Or has it made them more accessible to the general public?
Jul 18, 4:36PM EDT0

Although I can certainly understand the desires some creators have just starting out to have more targeted cons so they don't compete against the latest blockbuster as they are trying to feel their way in the industry.  But I think Comic-con has become this huge gathering of creative people telling stories about fanciful worlds and creatures and heroes and I think the creative energy is wonderful at them.  I don't think we should be labeling each other or drawing lines in the sand.  I think storytelling is storytelling and no matter how we tell stories I think it's great to tell them.  And audiences will find their way to the stories that resonate with them.  I think we as creators and story lovers should be more open to others in the community no matter where we fall in the spectrum.  We are all in this storytelling community together to share our creativity and find stories that resonate with our souls.  So to sum up yea I think the evolution of the the scifi-fantasy-superhero world is great.  More and more people are opening their minds and hearts to wonderfully creative characters and worlds and I hope it continues.  

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 19, 4:17PM EDT0
How do you get that story to translate into animated pages?
Jul 18, 1:02PM EDT0

Honestly that's still something I am trying to get stronger in.  I see my stories as almost live action clips in my head as I am writing them.  So I can write down easily what's happening and what the characters are saying.  But then translating that to panels on a comic book page is tricky.  I usually sketch out a mock page(very roughly since I can't draw).  I try to use my background in editing to think about what the reader would want to see.  Or I try to imagine if I was standing in the room with these characters what would I be looking at.  Or sometimes I come at it from a story angel.  Who needs to be in this panel and what needs to be happening to move the story along.  Like I said I am still learning so I rely on my artist to help a lot.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 18, 4:19PM EDT0
Anonymous

Are you interested in with join a indie company?

Jul 18, 12:44PM EDT0

Yes I would definitely be interested in joining up with a publisher and/or distributor.  I would welcome any help in getting my stories out to the public and I think publishers and distributors definitely help get stories to the people.  I am really just trying to tell stories and give life to the characters in my head.  Whatever avenue allows that I welcome.  Right now self-publishing a comic book and a novella is what I am trying but if companies or other creators wish to partner up with me or sign me I am definitely open to that.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 18, 4:15PM EDT0
Do you have a favorite comic book character you’ve created or worked on?
Jul 18, 1:18AM EDT0

Not really actually.  They are all my friends and I love them all equally.  I feel differently about them in that they are individuals to me.  For instance there are ones like Willow that I just feel like I can learn so much from.  Others like Aaron who remind me so much of me in so many ways.  But each character feels like someone who I need to honor so I do not play favorites.

Jul 18, 8:13AM EDT0
For future reference do you have any other projects you can and are willing to mention?
Jul 17, 10:24PM EDT0

Well Brandon's Fairy Tale is currently only available on Amazon in digital format.  In the next couple months I will re-release it with both a digital option and a print option.  I will be launching a Kickstarter for Wolf's Howl in October 2018.  Besides that I am working on the first issue of a comic book series called Heart of Aurora.  It's about a young woman in New York City, named Rori, who unbeknownst to her is the next champion in line for the forces of light.  This champion is known as the Hunter or Huntress of Darkness.  But she wants nothing to do with hunting down demons and fighting the forces of darkness and her bodyguard she is paired up with isn't exactly someone she feels comfortable with nor is very sensitive to her plight.  I'm working on that with a friend of mine who is an artist, named Brittany Granahan as a fun project for us to collarborate on.  Hopefully it will be ready for release by early 2019.  

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 17, 10:41PM EDT0
In the world of comic books, what liberties and restrictions do you observe?
Jul 17, 5:49PM EDT0

I am assuming you mean from a creative stand point.  In my opinion the liberties of creating comic books are that there is a large demand out there for indie creators of comics and there are a lot of platforms and resources to help those creators create their stories and get them to an audience.  I think the world of comic books allows you to be very creative.  You can tell all kinds of stories with comics and you don't have to worry about blowing up the budget by including explosions or alien worlds or anything like that.  As you would have to consider with a TV or film storytelling medium.  So for someone like me who doesn't have a lot of money and tells visual stories comics are a good fit.  However the restrictions of comics are that you have to work within pages.  You have to balance art and words which can get tricky because both are telling the story and both are needed.  Unlike other storytelling mediums comics is very dynamic and it's a give and take between the writer, the artist, and the reader.  Unlike books where you simply read through words or TV where you sit watching images appear in front of you and listen to sounds, comics has a lot of moving parts.  It's a very active story consumption.  A reader has to follow the artwork and be immersed in it.  They are subconsciously taking things in from their peripheal.  They have to read the balloons with dialouge and the captions in the right order.  Because of all those moving parts you have to put a lot of trust in the reader and the artist and at the end of the day in the story itself.  The story is unique to the reader because everyone takes in visual information differently and fills in the gaps between panels slightly differently. So you present the story and the artist interprets it one way and then that is presented to the reader who intprets the story in their own unique way.  This restricts the control you have but in the end I think it makes for a beautiful sharing of stories.  And really lets the characters speak.

-Matthew Basile

 

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Jul 17, 7:01PM EDT0
What is the future plan for Wolf's Owl? Is this going to be an ongoing series, or will it have an end?
Jul 17, 4:44PM EDT0

Good question.  It's a limited series so it has an end.  The story will be resolved.  However there are opportunities for spin-off series.  Both with stuff happening after the conclusion of Wolf's Howl and stuff happening before the conclusion of Wolf's Howl.  Many of the characters in Wolf's Howl have been alive for centuries so there is a lot of life that they have lived and a lot of stories can be told about them from those rich lives.  But that being said if you read every issue of Wolf's Howl you would have a conclusion at the end and things would be resolved.  

So I am concentrating on this story arc first and hope to build a following and get enough financing through kickstarters and sales to continue funding the publication of this story till it's end.  Once it's concluded if fans want to see more of a certain character or know more about a past event I would certainly be willing to write those stories. 

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 17, 6:51PM EDT0
How much work went into coming up with the designs, covers and comic style?
Jul 17, 3:04PM EDT0

Honestly that all flowed really easily.  I spent a lot of time with the characters before hiring Sergio Drumond to be my artist.  I described to him a general synopsis of the story and the feel I wanted it to have.  I sent him character bios and the script.  I picture stories in my head as live action so I kind of knew on some level what I wanted the comic book to be but couldn't picture it.  Sergio sent me the first page off the script I sent him and as soon as I saw it I knew that was what I was looking for.  I knew Sergio understood what I what I was going for and could deliver.  We went back and forth over the next week or two fine tuning and hammering out the style and feel of the comic and the characters with some back and forth artwork.  I give Sergio credit for bearing with me as I tried to convey what I kind of knew in my heart but hadn't quite formulated in my head.  Like I said I knew this world and the characters well but conveying that to a comic book artist was something new for me and took some working out.  After that things just flowed and the designs for the characters and the pages for the most part were spot on aside from a few minor tweaks here and there.  And actually Sergio just sent me a mock-up of the cover today and with me giving him very little guidance he came up with a dynamic and exciting cover design.  

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 17, 6:03PM EDT0
Why did you give up on writing once?
Jul 17, 12:26PM EDT0

Thank you for asking that.  There were a lot of factors but I will try to sum them up.  Basically I always had story ideas just come to me for as long as I can remember.  I never really sat down to try and think stuff up.  They would just pop in my head and I felt a desire to get them out into the world.  But not many people listened to my ideas and it was always drilled into me that writing was a risky career path and should be done on the side while I worked a more a stable job to earn money.  I went to college for filmmaking but I was never able to get very far breaking into the industry.  Some scripts I wrote and sent to a production company were rejected.  Then I suffered several personal tragedies including the death of my father.  I had been laid off three times since graduating college and I just didn't feel like writing anymore and decided to try and find a stable office job.  I think all those things just led me to not feel very confident in my writing and that I needed to grow up and get my head out of the clouds. Years later I  found a notebook I scribbled a story in right before I gave up writing.  As I read the story I felt compelled to finish it.  I just began writing with no goal in mind.  There was no pressure on me I just wrote the stories for me and my characters.  More stories and notebooks followed.  It felt good to write again with no agenda to break into Hollywood or to make money.  Around this time I went to my first comic con and decided to combine my life long love of writing stories with my life long love of comics and write my own comics.  And after many false starts as well trials and tribulations here I am today launching my first comic book Wolf's Howl. Which coincendentially Wolf's Howl was that story I found in the notebook that I decided to finish and got me back into writing.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 17, 5:55PM EDT0
What was your favorite part of this comic to work on?
Jul 17, 9:45AM EDT0

Aside from writing the story of the characters and getting to know them my favorite part of the comic book process was working with Sergio Drumond, the artist.  I loved going back and forth with him and seeing his interpretation of stuff that I had written and working stuff out to a comprimise between both our visions.  I went to school for filmmaking and my favorite part of any collarborative storytelling process has always been sitting around a room with several other people and just bouncing ideas off each other and talking things through.  I love that process and it was nice doing it with Sergio(even if it was over the computer).  It helped the story come alive more and be more real if that makes sense.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 17, 5:41PM EDT0
Are there any mistakes that you realized you made as a writer in your comic book? If so, what are those mistakes and how do you think they can be avoided?
Jul 17, 8:59AM EDT0

Well I think your always learning from the creative process and always expanding out of your comfort zone.  I am sure there are more things I will learn from Wolf's Howl as things progress but one of the things I will do differently for future comics is be more descriptive with the artist about what the story is entailing.  I wrote the script as the issue would appear.  But as Sergio and I went back and forth over the art for the pages I realized I should share more of the story with him.  There was  a need to expand upon what the characters were thinking and where the story was going so that he knew how to draw the expressions.  Everything is explained by the end of the story but at the beginning Sergio definitely needed to know more and I needed to better convey what was going on in my head and who the characters were and their histories.  I also am still getting the hang of panel layout in comics and balancing the words and artwork.  I am assuming that will come in time and practice.  But I definitely know there is room for me to improve with that as well.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 17, 5:35PM EDT0
Where did you learn to draw? How long have you been drawing?
Jul 17, 8:08AM EDT0

I can't draw at all.  I like drawing but my drawings are usually only discernible by me.  I draw more for the calming affects it has on me.  I have a great deal of respect for artists that can draw things and bring them to life.  So for the cover of Brandon's Fairy Tale and my comic book series Wolf's Howl I hired a very talented artist named Sergio Drumond.  I am also working with a friend of mine who happens to also be a very talented artist named Brittany Granahan on another comic book series called Heart of Aurora.

-Matthew Basile

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Last edited @ Jul 17, 5:36PM EDT.
Jul 17, 2:51PM EDT0
What is your novella Brandon's Fairy Tale about?
Jul 17, 3:03AM EDT0

Brandon thinks of himself as nothing special. Just your average run-of-the-mill guy who has lost his zest for life and finds refuge in solitary routines. But when he meets a sweet-natured fairy named Willow his life is turned upside down. Willow opens his world and his heart in ways Brandon never imagined possible. As he struggles to find balance between the world he has always known and the magical world of Willow can he also find his true self? Does he really have more to offer than he thought?

The purpose of the story is to help people think about things differently and encourage people to open their hearts.  It is something I have been doing a lot of personally recently in my life.

-Matthew Basile

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Last edited @ Jul 17, 5:36PM EDT.
Jul 17, 2:45PM EDT0
What cultural value do you see in storytelling?
Jul 17, 12:39AM EDT0

I think storytelling as I mentioned in a another answer is a very powerful force.  I think it can have profound affects on both an individual and on a culture as a whole.  I think culturally it can reflect the values of that culture or the larger questions that the particular culture is grappling with at the time.  By telling stories we help people work through things and experience things that they may not be able to experience in their daily lives.  Even stories primarily for entertainment can lighten people's hearts and moods.  But I think stories can go even further to almost present deep values and ideas the culture is struggling with in new lights.  This allows for changes in perception and healing and growth.  So I think stories not only reflect what is going on in the subconscious of a culture but also, much like dreams, they can help the culture work through what is going on underneath the day to day and process it.  Thus allowing us all to move forward and grow as a people.  

-Matthew Basile

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Last edited @ Jul 17, 5:37PM EDT.
Jul 17, 2:43PM EDT0
Do you have plans for future books besides Brandon's Fairy Tale? What can you share about your projects?
Jul 16, 11:12PM EDT0

Good question.  I have about 15 story ideas currently that I want to get out into the world besides Wolf's Howl and Brandon's Fairy Tale.  I am currently trying to get another comic series called Heart of Aurora made which is about a young woman in New York City who suddenly gets thrusted into a war between demons and angels that she wants no part of.  I would like to one day expand or write a sequel to Brandon's Fairy Tale.  I also have another book idea tentatively called Witch Wars about a group of Los Angelenos who suddenly find themselves in the secret paranormal underground of Los Angeles as peace keepers.  And like I said many more ideas that I am trying to get fleshed out and find avenues for.  

-Matthew Basile

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Last edited @ Jul 17, 5:37PM EDT.
Jul 17, 2:39PM EDT0
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Jul 16, 9:11PM EDT0

Well I was a story-watching junkie before binge watching was even a thing lol.  So I have certainly had a lot of influences.  Some of the ones that were authors of comics or books that definitely influenced me especially in regards to Wolf's Howl are J.M. Dematteis, Mario Puzo, Brian K. Vaughn and Bill Finger.

J. M. Dematteis influenced me with Kraven's Last Hunt, which is a Spider-man comic book arc.  That story showed me that you can tell a dark, adult and heavily emotional story without having graphic violence, gruesome imagery, or very "heavy" elements.  And you can also do it with people running around wearing colorful costumes.  Wolf's Howl is deep and definitely has darkness in it but I don't think it's overly heavy and it certainly isn't gruesome.  But I do feel it's emotional rich.  It just tells a story about characters who change into animals and the emotional turmoil that they are going through as their worlds collapse around them.  And how they must delve deep into their hearts to come out of it.  That's similar to the themes that I felt were done in Kraven's Last Hunt.

Mario Puzo is the author of the novel called The Godfather which the famous film trilogy is based off of.  He also wrote the screenplays for the movies.  When I was a teenager and in my early twenties I devoured all his books and was blown away by the depth of his characters and how so easily with one conversation or something that wasn't said you knew so much about them.  I try to invoke that depth of character in my stories including Wolf's Howl.

Brian K. Vaughn will always have my utmost esteem and respect for what he did in a comic book series for Marvel called Runaways.  Just like Mario Puzo the depth of all those characters was amazing.  How with one scene you felt like you knew so much about each character and yet so much you didn't know.  They became like friends to me.  The phrasing they used and the looks they gave.  Sometimes one word spoke volumes.  If I can write something like that I would be extremely happy.

Bill Finger is the co-creator of Batman and the writer for the early Batman comics.  I actually have never read any of Bill Finger's works.  But he inspired me because of what he stood for.  He stood for storytelling.  The man only in the last couple years was given any credit to Batman as the co-creator.  He died in 1974 penniless and alone.  Aside from some people in the industry nobody knew who he was.  Yet Batman was a cultural phenomenon.  I learned about Bill Finger attending a screening of a documentary about him at NYC Comic Con.  At the time I had just started writing again after several years of giving it up.  I wasn't sure what to do with what I was writing.  After that screening though and seeing a man who just loved creating and telling stories and didn't care about fame or money or power I was inspired to just get out there and tell my stories.  I decided that being a storyteller was worthwhile and stories do have important impacts on people.  Watching the Q&A after the screening with people tearing up made me realize stories can touch people in profound ways.  So I was going to find a way to get my stories out into the world and just see what happens.  Which is why I am here now promoting my stories and trying to get them to an audience. 

So I hope that answered your question appropriately about my influences and inspirations.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 16, 10:57PM EDT0
What made you choose to self-publish Brandon's Fairy Tale?
Jul 16, 8:20PM EDT0

Honestly it was my gut.  I originally intended to try and submit it to publishers but then I just got this feeling that I should self-publish it.  I rationalized it to myself with thoughts such as: "Well this way you get to keep all the rights and creative control over it.  A publisher could always read it and contact you to have them publish it or have you expand it to a full-length novel.  A novella might be hard to get published since they are so short."  Those types of thoughts.  But it was my gut that told me to just self-publish it and that the story needs to be shared.  So I went with it and never really second guessed myself and for better or worse now it's on Amazon.  I think it was a good thing in hindsight.  At the time I wasn't sure why my gut was telling me to self-published but as I describe in another answer it helped me face my fears of getting my stories out there.  So if nothing else it helped me say to myself "I can share my stories with the world."  And that's been a big thing for me.

-Matthew Basile

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Jul 16, 10:33PM EDT0
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