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Sean Patrick Murphy

Five Questions with...
Writer/Creator Stephen Kelley

1) On what project are you currently working?

Currently I am promoting "Darkest Night" #1 everywhere I can place an "ad," which is surprising because only one group has kicked me out for spam linking here on the Internet, LOL.

But all bad jokes aside I will be in the coming months helping to promote Hooligan Alley Comics title line as they're being produced.

2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?

This question is a little tough as there are many in the creative field that I admire for a lot of different reasons, but a few in particular that stick out in my mind are Kelly Sue Deconnick, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, Bryan JL Glass, and the legendary George Perez.

Kelly and Gail because these two courageous ladies have redefined the comic book fandom to where now women are slowly becoming a "more accepted minority" at conventions, book signings, etc. but most importantly especially in the case of Gail is the proof that writing characters well is not gender bias whereas Kelly is for strongly breaking the stereotype that female characters have to be "hot and bodacious" to sell books.

My fan boy admiration for Mark is, I will admit, a little biased because there is not a single character that I have read from him that seems out of character or out of place.

He is one of the few writers to be given any character and do something amazing with them hence why I and my buddies refer to him as "the magic man."

But it also doesn't help, and I say this jokingly of course (LOL), that Mark is a genuinely laid-back and very cool person to talk too.

Bryan Glass and George Perez I lump together in the same category as creators solely for the "entertainment value."

What I mean by that is that both men in another universe and another time would've made great vaudeville performers. The times I've witnessed both men they have done nothing short of leave fans with a positive impression that will in all likelihood get them to purchase a book, poster, or sketch.

But the thing that most makes me admire both men is how generous and kind they are to fans. Even at their most worn down both men always managed to have a smile and kid-like enthusiasm that I hope to be able to muster when I start sitting in on con tables/panels.

3) How did you get into the comic book field?

Well in terms of my work the first issue of "Darkest Night" is my "writing debut" into the industry, I've been an avid fan of comic books since I was five or six and have always grown very fondly attached to the superhero genre.

But I found as I got older that mystery comics, fantasy comics, sci-fi, etc. all fueled my imagination and left me wondering if I could do or even tell the amazing stories that these guys and girls did.

Sadly I didn't have that much confidence back then I wrote a few horribly written fanfic stories in sixth grade on crumpled up bits of notebook paper.
Add in the fact that having Aspergers and being outcast socially had left me not only very depressed but with very low self-worth.

Flash forward through many depressing and hard years and I'd went to Baltimore Comic-con in early September of last year, and the people that I listed in the previous question minus Kelly Sue (who I do hope to get to meet at some point along with her husband Matt Fraction) inspired me to just throw caution to the wind and do it.

I spent months studying up until right around near Christmas (to my memory) I had seen JW Sims make a posting asking for writing samples for "Darkest Night," me being an inexperienced writer I thought it would be good to get rejected for submitting material and hope to get tips on what I did wrong.

To my amazement JW wanted me to help right the first issue and well the rest is history so they say.

4) On which title would you most like to work and why?

I can't even begin to describe to you which title I would want to do the most as I'm one of those fans who really would like to try almost ANY character that he or she likes.

While I would like to work on or have a short run on Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Spider-Man, etc. I think for me I would want to dabble with the characters that aren't used that often or given enough credit, characters to me like Dr. Strange or Dr. Fate, Zatanna, the Outsiders, Challengers of the Unknown, Firestorm, Heroes for Hire, and so forth.

But I would also like to work on characters that don't just extend to DC and Marvel, I would love to try my hand at characters from Image, Dark Horse, Dynamite, and other big to mid-level publication companies.
Dynamite especially since they've for the most part made a "killing" on acquiring rights to pulp characters like Red Sonja, Green Hornet, the Shadow, and the newly acquired rights to the Spirit.

As to the why of the question especially in particular of the obscure and/or pulp characters, because while everyone in the casual comic reading audience knows Batman, knows Superman, knows Spider-Man, the Avengers, Justice League, the list goes on and on a popular characters the casual audience will recognize.

I however am NOT part of the casual audience of comic fans, and while that sentence or phrasing may make me sound pretentious I can assure those reading this transcript that I am not.

In fact one of the many great joys for me being a well-versed comic fan to now being a writer/creator is being able to pass my knowledge and/or experience to potentially the next generation of fans/readers/creators.

5) On what project will you be working next?

Well I have six anthology short stories that I hope will be ongoing if they catch on that will be released in an anthology title/spinoff of Hooligan Alley Comics' second title "Fall from Grace."

Sadly I have not been able to find any side projects however small to distract myself and get better practice and work on my script structuring as well.

Find Kelley on Twitter and Facebook.

Find more about "Darkest Night"

(posted June 8, 2015)