Austin Allen Hamblin is an up and coming comic book writer from small town Iowa. Though only 21 years of age he already has 14 published credits in comic books. He loves to write sci-fi, horror, and fantasy comics. Austin loves comic books, professional wrestling, anime, writing, rock music, and power rangers. He also already has glowing praise from fellow creators in the comic book industry, including Jeff Balke (Colorist Zenescope/Marvel), who said “he is very passionate about the industry and has the determination and mindset to go all the way.” Flickering Myth’s Tai Freligh caught up with him via email to talk about his style, influences and aspirations for the future.
FM: Tell us a little bit about yourself…how did you get involved in writing comic books?
When I was little I used to make stories of all my action figures. Some of them went on a few days. Then one day I thought why don’t you start writing these down and I had always loved comics so for me it just felt right.
FM: Why writing instead of illustration?
The only thing stopping me from drawing is the fact I can’t draw! I’ve tried to teach myself a few times and it is just one of those things I can’t wrap my head around.
FM: Who are your influences? Are they modern comic writers or ones from an earlier time? The illustration style of many of your comics reminds me of a TMNT or Groo the Wanderer from about thirty years ago.
I am a huge fan of classic TMNT! I read tons of comics be it self published, indy, mainstream, manga, old stuff, new stuff, however…. I have always had a place in my heart for indy and underground comics. My inspiration are guys who make the comics they want to make. Guys like Phil Hester, Mark Millar, Garth Ennis, Jeff Lemire, Todd McFarlane, and all the other Image founders.
FM: You have some recommendations on your website from people working with Marvel and DC. How did you meet these people?
I have been going to comic conventions and store signings for as long as I can remember. After a few years of talking to and asking advice from the same people I eventually became close with a lot of them. I have always said I have met some of the best people I know through doing comics.
FM: For someone as young as yourself, you already have several comics to your name. What drives you to push forward on your own and self-publish?
My mindset has always been if you want to make comics then its as simple as make comics. Right now this is a hobby for me only because I don’t make enough money to support myself. I know a lot of artists that spend years just doing sample pages for publishers. I always figured draw a comic you want to make or collaborate. If you don’t get hired at the publisher at least you have the work you made a comic. Which is more then most people can ever say.
FM: Are you self-taught or did you study to do writing for comic books?
I wouldn’t say self taught… I’ve never attended college (unless you count parties). I had a lot of help when I first started out writing from Phil Hester. He has always been great to me. I call him my comic dad because his kids are around the same age as me. I also picked up every single how to write comics or make graphic novel book in existence. I recommend Dirk Manning’s Write or Wrong, and How to Self-Publish Comics not just Create them.Austin Allen Hamblin with Phil Hester (left)
FM: Can you explain exactly what a comic book writer does in the creation of a comic book? How involved is the writer in things like concept, characters, etc.?
It depends on the writer and sometimes who he is working with. Some artists I have work with don’t want me to go in depth on the character descriptions because they want to design them. With others we kick ideas back and forth. For most of my self published books I write them, track down everyone on the team acting as almost a project manager, and then print the book, promoting it, getting it reviewed, things of that nature. As for script always break each page down panel by panel. Telling the “camera angle”, lighting source, who is in each panel, what the look like and are wearing as well as the dialogue.
FM: How much interest do you have in other entertainment mediums?
I consume so much entertainment its insane. I not only love comics and manga, but I am a huge professional wrestling fan. New Japan, Lucha Underground, WWE, NXT, Ring of Honor, AAA etc. I follow quite a bit of television shows some of my current favorites are Game of Thrones, Flash, and Rick and Morty. I used to go to the movies a ton now I find myself buying them on itunes unless I NEED TO SEE IT NOW!!
FM: What is your ultimate goal with all this comic book writing?
To make a living just writing, and to hopefully help out young writers and creators like myself down the road.
FM: What are you working on next?
Soon I have a story coming out in a pro wrestling anthology, the first issue of Headless Hitman, and The Adventures of Punk and Rock Graphic Novel. I have a billion things to work on next so this is pretty hard question to answer, but I will do more Punk and Rock and Headless Hitman for sure!
Thanks so much for taking the time, Austin! You can find out more about Hamblin Comics and view some of Austin’s comics here: http://hamblincomics.com/comics. You can also catch him on Facebook and Twitter.