sexta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2010

Researching Heroes: Interview with Jess Nevins

He wrote HEROES AND MONSTERS, a very detailed book, a real companion to the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN comics, the steampunk book by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil. According to Moore, he is “that psycho American guy who probably just drifts eerily in a flotation tank all day with a reference library wired directly into his brain-stem”. But Jess Nevins is not a newcomer to the fields of comics research... his sites about pulp fiction and Victorian literature are great reference sources for all the amateurs literary researchers.

Octavio AragãoHi, Jess! I'm late, I know. I'm very sorry, but my son was born last November 13 and I was suddenly drown in a sea of diapers!

Jess Nevins – I think that's a good reason for being late with the questions. :-) Congratulations!

OAThank you! I also had time to read your book and think about the questions. If it is fine with you, let's go with our five questions!

Your book HEROES AND MONSTERS is an amazing body of work through all the XIX Century (and early XX) genre literature, not to tell about the heavy info that you collected in your other sites, Fantastic Victoriana – and Pulp & Adventure Heroes of the Pre-War Years – . How is your research process? You still visit libraries?

JN – Thanks for the kind words! I do visit some libraries, but mostly I get the relevant books sent to me via Interlibrary Loan and read them myself. Some books and magazines I can't borrow, of course, so when that happens I do go to the libraries to do the reading. This spring I'm going to the British Library in London for two weeks to do research; the British Library is the only holder of many books that I want to read, so I have to go there to do the research.

OAI believe that the kind of passionate work you do is a valuable source of info to a lot of researchers of the pulp fiction around the world, but why and where did you had the idea to begin with this herculean project?

JN – All of my websites and books began with the same idea: they were things I wanted to read. But no one had written a guide to League, and no one had written a guide to characters from 19th century literature, and no one had written a guide to characters from the pulps, so I decided to write them myself.

OAYou are a great fan of the works of Philip José Farmer - notably the Wold Newton series, where he organize the literary pulp as a coherent universe - and Kim Newman, author of the ANNO DRACULA series. Don't you feel tempted to write a similar research to these books as you did to the comics by Alan Moore, Mark Waid and Alex Ross?

JN – I do, but other people have already written them. At this point I try to avoid duplicating other people's work. It's partly an ego thing and partly a time-saver on my part.

OAAnd what about your own literary projects? Any ideas for a novel or even a short story? Have you ever written a script for comics?

JN – I've written several scripts, but the American comics industry is dying a slow and ugly death and the chances of me getting something published by them is slim. I do have ideas for a number of short stories, and several movie scripts, and I will write them, eventually, but for the next 3-4 years I'm going to be busy writing non-fiction books. I'd rather be writing fiction, but the non-fiction books are guaranteed money, so I'll write them first.

OAWith the success of HEROES AND MONSTERS, you'll be considered for sure one of the next "mass media" researchers of the millennium. Any plans for a new issue of HEROES focusing the second volume of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN or a new updated version of the same book?

JN – Yep! The working title is A BLAZING WORLD, and it should be out next summer. (We're not planning to update HEROES & MONSTERS, though). A BLAZING WORLD won't have any essays in it--the book is long enough as it is--but it will have interviews with Moore and O'Neill, and of course all the annotations, rewritten and expanded, to the second League miniseries.

All best,

The early LoEG research by Jess Nevins can be found here.

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