• Equestria Daily Interview Series: Interview with IDW Editor Bobby Curnow Part 1 of 5

    Believe it or not, but the hardest person to show examples of their work in the comic industry is the comic's editor. They don't write the script. They don't draw the art. They usually don't color anything, but they always get their names on the book. So they must logically do something for the comic.

    Bobby Curnow, IDW's editor on the My Little Pony Comic line, has provided what has to be the most insightful I have done thus far Equestria Daily.

    What truly goes into editing a comic book? When did Bobby start working at IDW? And why is there a giant T-Rex outside my bedroom window?

    You can find the answers to those questions, and more, below the break!

    How did you first find out about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Was it through IDW when the license to produce the comic was acquired, or did you discover the show before that?

    I heard about the show anecdotally through pop culture osmosis— I had maybe seen part of an episode; got a sense of the tone and look. Regardless, I was familiar with Lauren Faust’s work, and the general vibe of the show. I didn't start watching it in earnest until after I found out we had the license.

    Who’s your favorite pony?

    Applejack is the nearest and dearest to my heart. Though for pure enjoyment, I think I like Fluttershy the best, she's hilarious.

    Where did you go to school? What did you study? And what were some of the major takeaways from your time there?

    I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts for film production. I took all the screenwriting classes I could, and felt I learned a lot about storytelling there. I also learned that the world of film requires either a lot of money or a lot of compromise, which was not that appealing to me.

    Luckily I had been a comic book nerd from a young age, and realized that what were large obstacles in the world of film were not concerns in comics. The budget for a space opera about talking dinosaurs is the same in comics as it is for a comic about two people talking on the couch.

    How did you first start working at IDW?

    I had taken some classes with Andy Schmidt’s Comics Experience workshops in NYC. When I thought I might be interested in comics, I wrote to him about breaking in, as he was then an editor at IDW. He said I should try applying for an internship. I did, got it, and worked my way up the ladder.

    What was the first project you worked on for IDW and what can you tell us about it?

    My first two books as an assistant editor was our Jurassic Park line and a small mini-series called Killing the Cobra. I don’t think they were particularly good, to be honest. I like to think that I've learned a lot about what doesn't work with my experiences on those two.

    The first book I worked on as full editor was That Hellbound Train—an adaptation of a Robert Block short story. I enjoyed that a lot, and still work often with artist Dave Wachter today.

    As an editor, you've worked on a ton of comics over the past few years. I believe that number is approaching 300 individual issues as of this interview. What goes into editing a comic for IDW?

    Ha, I had no idea what number that it was, that’s funny.

    That’s a tough question to answer—there’s a million different small facets that go into the job. But the easiest way to describe it is as a project manager, or a producer on a film. An editor assembles the creative team, creates a publishing plan, and then makes sure the books roll out on time and on budget. We give notes, when needed, on the creative aspects of the book, as well as make sure all the technical requirements are being made. We proof read the books. We act as liaison with the licensor, on [licensed] books like Hasbro's. We also work with the marketing team to get the word out.

    There’s a bunch more, but that’s probably enough to cover the basics. It’s a lot of juggling, and deadlines never go away, which can be stressful, but it also keeps you on your toes and is very interesting and rewarding. I have friends who have stayed in film/screenwriting, who, while making more money than me, have never seen any of their work produced. Meanwhile I get to physically hold stuff that I work on many times a month, which is a feeling that doesn't get old.

    Does the process change when working on a licensed comic as opposed to an IDW original title?

    Yes—every licensor is different, with a different vibe and set of requirements. When working on a creator-owned book, you’re just managing the creative talent involved, and they have the last say. With a licensed book, you have to wait on approvals, and it’s usually a longer process, at least at the beginning. There are pros and cons to both types of books. I’m glad I get to dabble in both.

    You've worked on two different mini-series for Jurassic Park. What were the differences between working on The Devils in the Desert and Dangerous Game?

    Ha, that was many years ago, so my recollection is foggy. Devils in the Desert was a John Byrne Comic, whereas Dangerous Game featured a return to the original island. I was an assistant on those books, which meant I was primarily doing more menial tasks on them, so I couldn't tell you much about the creators or creative process that went into them.

    With the fourth movie in the franchise coming out next year, is there any chance of seeing more JP comics in the future?

    No one has talked about it here, but I think the trailer looks good, and it’d be a fine opportunity to try comics again. I've got a full workload, but part of me does want to revisit that world and get it right. I love Jurassic Park.

    That's all for today's installment folks. Be sure to tune in to part 2 of this interview tomorrow! Same Bat-Pony time, same Bat-Pony website!

    In the mean time, you can find Bobby Curnow on the web at IDW Publishing's Official My Little Pony Forums.

    Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5