The Winner and Champion of the First Ever Writer Deathmatch!

Damn, we should have done this a long time ago. Here you go fans, the winner of the Illumi-Nerdi's first ever Writers Deathmatch is ...........Scott Closter!!! Congratulations Scott. A few weeks ago, we emailed Scott and told him we had a surprise. In Round 4 of the Writers Deathmatch, the contestant had to submit their final page of their mini series. We decided to have the winner of the Artist Deathmatch, Steven 'Sash' Scott draw the final page.

Who is Scott Closter?

This is a question I ask myself daily, perhaps hourly, and it's littered through everything I write. But for now, let's keep things simple. 

After toiling in IT for what seems like forever, several years ago I decided I that I needed a new creative outlet after the band I was playing in had split up. I had always enjoyed writing and figured it would be worth a try as I could hole myself up and grab as many learning materials and bother as many people as possible on the Internet for guidance at my own pace.

I somehow wound up working with Michael Devito and Jon Conkling at Th3rd World Studios, and with their help I was able to dip my toes into the industry. I initially began writing some of the Eskimo Dave strips that were running on the Th3rd World site at the time while developing the mini-series Space Doubles. As I began to work on what became my current webcomic SPi several things in my personal life changed and I had to pull back from focused creative work for a few years. It's only been since the start of this year that I've been able to pull everything back together and focus on the various projects that I had previously begun to develop. Currently I'm working with Braden Poirier, the penciller of SPi, on developing several pitches that we hope will flourish into full-blown projects.

Is there anything else you want to say about your story that we do not
know already?

Well, that's a great question. I definitely tried to not give too much away during the competition, as I wanted to keep the story in my back pocket to further develop what I'd written. However, to add to the general sense of direction the story takes, I can simply state that "nothing is what it seems" when it comes to The Sixth, Ohm and The Absurdist, and would suggest to anyone interested that they read up on the eight-circuit model of consciousness.

What inspired your story?

I'm fascinated by characters that are put into situations that make them doubt the carefully crafted reality they've developed for themselves. I enjoy taking these situations and presenting them to the reader in such a way that even they are temporarily unsure of what's status quo. When I read about the competition, I think it was several days before it started, I wanted to make sure I  would have the time to come up with something new, so I took some ideas from Prometheus Rising, a Robert Anton Wilson book I had recently (re)read, and proceeded to wrap your suggested story outline around it. From that basic starting point, I was able to flesh out the entire plot of a five issue mini-series.

What was your biggest obstacle during the contest?

There were actually two obstacles that come to mind, the first I had to deal with before the contest even started. It can be pretty easy to underestimate the amount of time you're going to have to put into something like this. On the surface it doesn't seem like it would take much effort. Create some characters, write a summary, write a plot, write a page, but in reality you have to figure out the entire story-line before the competition begins, otherwise as the rounds progress it's going to be pretty obvious that you're just throwing ideas at the wall and hoping enough of them stick to get you through to the next round. With a full time job that generally runs beyond the eight hour work day, and needing to find time beyond that to spend with my family, creating on a daily basis can get a little tricky.

As far as the contest itself, when it got to the third week, we had to give the general plot outline for the story. I didn't really want to get into specific plot details for the most part, I only wanted to give an impression of what the story was going to be thematically. I knew the lack of explicit detail may put people off, but decided by this point that I had put enough thought and work into "The Enemy of My Enemy.." that I didn't want to give away any of the plot twists in case I was fortunate enough to actually produce the story at some point in time. That said, I hope I managed to give people a sense of what the story was truly about without spoiling anything.

What made you decide to write comic books instead of writing for
television and movies?

I learned to read at a fairly young age and spent many evenings under the covers with a flashlight reading comic books. To this day I can recall specific comics I owned and read over and over, essentially they imprinted upon me, and superheroes took the role as the first mythological beings I came across. I can't recall a time that I didn't know who Superman and Batman were, they just seem to always have been a part of my reality. 

A few years back I hit a point in my life where things were going all right, but I was beginning to feel strongly about doing something with all of the ideas that were floating around in my head. Other than playing bass in a band, I hadn't truly flexed the creative muscle for many years, so I started writing down everything that passed through my mind. When you consider my influences then and now are Robert Anton Wilson, William Burroughs, the "Davids" (Lynch, Bowie, Cronenberg) and Philip K Dick, some of it was quite a bit "out there" so to speak. But as I read through everything I had, visualizing characters, scenes, stories, I pictured everything quite clearly in the comic book format. The more I thought about it, I began to get more and more inspired to move forward and actually attempt to produce something tangible beyond the many sticky notes, notepads and word documents that were currently gathering cobwebs. 

Which comic book do you NEED to buy every month and why?

I'd have to go with a title that brought me back into comics in my late teens: Hellblazer. As I entered high school I pretty much stopped reading comics, definitely stopped buying them. A couple years out of school I wandered into a comic shop that had recently opened in town. Back then I was reading a lot of Stephen King and Clive Barker, so I perused the shelves looking to see if there was anything similar in tone. I started thumbing through issue 13 of Hellblazer and realized I'd found what I was looking for. That one book alone brought me right back into reading comics, and though my buying habits have fluctuated over the years, it's the one title I've bought no matter what else was going on in my life. I've always had an affinity for the morally ambiguous anti-hero, and John Constantine neatly fits the bill. Peter Milligan is doing a great job on the book right now, so it's always at the top of the read pile, closely followed by whatever Grant Morrison books came out that week month.

Who wins in a fight: Avengers VS X-Men?

On top of battling various mutants threats, Sentinels, aliens and otherwise, all members of the X-Men have spent a lot of time training and learning to fight together in the Danger Room as a team. When to comes to an AVX throw-down, their teamwork should win the day.

Why do you believe in comic books? 

There's a sense of nostalgia I experience by holding a comic book in my hands, smelling the paper (yeah, I went there), the tactile experience often transports me back to when I was five years old, thumbing through a pile of comics I read over and over. 

Comic books also offer the opportunity to create a story that will only work in this particular format. Alan Moore's Promethea, Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland, Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo, these would be impossible to translate to any other form of media without losing the essence of what makes them great comics. In these and many other cases the creators were able to use the advantages of the format and show us the best of what it has to offer. 

If I could even once create something that comes close to pushing the format as these particular works in form and content have, and give someone the same sense of enjoyment that I feel when I 'm reading a comic, that'll be that day that I can honestly say that I accomplished what I set out to do.