Last year, I sat down with comics industry veteran Shon C. Bury to take a look into the workings of his premiere comic artist talent agency Space Goat Productions. Today we get a closer look at Shon C. Bury the writer. With his first original graphic novel Nox now on sale, Shon had a lot to tell us about his OGN and the impetus of its creation.
Alex Rodrik: How have things been since we last spoke?
Son C. Bury: So good! Nox has finally been printed and has moved in to my living room. Couldn’t be happier to have the new edition in the house.
AR: Tell us a bit more about Nox.
SCB: Nox is my first original graphic novel. It’s an epic road trip story mapped onto the Hero Cycle, as defined by Joseph Campbell. It’s a self-aware, low fantasy populated equally by mystical gurus, urban hipsters, Everyman characters, and dark forces bent on tipping our drab, mundane world into shadows. That’s the official up-shot, anyway.
AR: When did Nox begin for you? What was your inspiration for the comic?
SCB: A long damn time ago. Two-thousand-and . . . one? Yeah, that’s when I wrote the first chapter. I was writing a lot of superhero stuff for Marvel and DC at the time. I was looking to become less of a professional proposal writer and wanted to dabble with some of my own story ideas — ideas that had a lot less spandex and meaningless face punching.
I had been reading a lot of Joseph Campbell and Robert Graves at the time. The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The White Goddess respectively. I really wanted to incorporate that material a) into a comic book and b) onto a world I was very familiar with. At the time, that world was Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA.
So, yeah, I wrote the first chapter . . . then — after seven years of schmucking comics — I took a well deserved hiatus to focus on other writing interests. I came back to Nox in 2005 and had the five chapters pretty much ready to go to print by 2006.
It’s funny that Nox is about the archetypal struggle of the archetypal hero . . . because after one . . . two . . . three ridiculously bad starts with small press publisher I finally decided a) Nox would be printed as a straight-up graphic novel and b) I’d just take care of it myself, thanks. In short, the creation and production of Nox was the easy part. Getting it printed and now distributed? Straight up Herculean.
And now it’s 2010 and I have several dozen cartons of Nox sitting in my living room . . .
AR: Tell us about Joey. Bobby.
SCB: Joey King is a pretty typical Seattle Urban Hipster. He lives on Capitol Hill and attends a fictional Comparative Mythology grad program at Seattle U. Mild-mannered and overly-cerebral, he’s as dumbfounded as a normal person would be when he finds himself actually living the Hero Cycle that he studies by day at college.
In that sense, Nox is a bit post-modern and self-aware. But literary pretensions end there, as Joey accepts the call to adventure and begins a journey that will teach him as much about himself as the world(s) around him. We also work in the secondary Father Quest cycle — always important to include in a young man’s journey of personal exploration as adulthood looms.
Bobby is the ultimate non-sidekick sidekick, Joey’s constant companion and sounding board on Joey’s adventure. He’s comic relief. He’s Joey’s id. He’s Joey’s confidant and advisor. He’s, in short, the Swiss-Army-knife character that all sidekicks should be.
AR: How was it getting to work with Allan Goldman and Ed Waysek?
SCB: Awesome. This was Allan’s first big book before he moved on to Superman and various other DC books.
AR: What was it about Allan and Ed’s work that drew you to them when deciding who to slot as the art team for Nox?
SCB: It was easily their raw talent. I was just beginning to represent artists back in 2005 and Allan jumped to the top of my list as a) an artist who could have a good career in comics and b) an artist I immediately wanted to work with. Same with Ed, though he was referred to me by a US artist.
It was fantastic watching them both grow over the course of 120 plus comic pages.
SCB: First, let’s sell the copies sitting in my living room. Feel free to hope on over to the Nox website or Amazon.com to help me out with that . . . We’ll be adding a list of supportive retailers to our website shortly.
Beyond schmucking the OGN, I’d love to revisit the world of Nox. I have the stories, if readers have the interest.
We’ll be doing some fun stuff on the Nox Facebook fan page. If I have something new to announce, it’ll be done there.
AR: What can readers look forward to from you in 2010? Will you be doing any work with other publishers in the coming year?
SCB: No, most likely not. I’m always putting personal projects together and have two moving forward nicely, but I don’t think I will be doing any superhero stuff this year. I’m interested, but I’m not pushing for it.
My creative efforts this year involve some animation stuff and two comic-book properties that I’ve really eager to kick into hyperdrive.
You’ll be the first to hear about them!
AR: And to steal Karyn’s signature question (Thanks Karyn!). Now’s your time to sell it. Why should readers run out and pick up a copy of Nox?
SCB: Great question! Readers should run out and buy Nox at my website right now because we all love comics and fantasy and epic adventure and books that have all that plus make us laugh and think about the nature of ourselves and the world around us all at the same time. We all like that, right?
Or to put it more simply: Nox is the Hero Cycle meets Clerks. Perfect bond. What self-respecting comic reader is going to walk away from THAT!