A Future Superstar (Part 1): Joey Esposito

Are you tired of the same old superhero stories? Are you interested in reading a story about people with real problems? Are you in love with New York City? If you answered yes, I think we found the perfect comic book for you. Pawn Shop is written by Joey Esposito and art by Sean Von Gorman. Luckily for us, these two talented gentlemen gave us the opportunity to interview them. Part 1 of this interview will focus on Joey Esposito and his many dark secrets. Part 2 will focus on the legend behind the man that is Sean Von Gorman. If you click on Pawn Shop, you're given the opportunity to donate a dollar or more to the creation of their comic book. 

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What are five facts that every fanboy must know about Joey Esposito?

1. I usually like superhero pets more than their owners. 

2. I love the Star Wars Prequels, Superman Returns, Lois & Clark, Superman III, Spider-Man 3's dance sequence and everything else I'm apparently supposed to hate. Like what you like and if people give you guff for it they can go to hell.

3. More often than not I write in my pajamas.

4. I think continuity is silly and is more often a detriment to stories than a boon. Everyone should ignore it. It'll never be perfect and it doesn't matter. 

5. I used to coach youth baseball.

How did the concept behind Pawn Shop come about? Was there a certain event or someone that influenced you?

First and foremost, I just always have loved stories about real people. Family dramas, love stories, that sort of thing. The stories I've connected to most in any medium are all predicated on very basic, everyday life. On top of that, I love the idea of interconnecting stories, and a Pawn Shop in a major city just sort of struck me as an obvious way to do that. People in and out of the store, buying and selling particular items -- it's reasonable to think that one item could act as a thread throughout dozens of different lives. 

And driving to and from work every day, in heavy LA traffic of course, I pass this one particular pawn shop. I do a lot of my creative thinking in the car since I need to kill time anyway, and so I was in the middle of that process when I glanced over and saw this shop lit up all bright and the idea just kind of struck me. Just the basic concept, mind you, of intertwining lives that revolve around a store like that. From there I went on to develop the various characters and how their stories connect. 

Without spoiling much, what can you tell us about the characters that are a part of Pawn Shop?

So there are four chapters in the book, each one following a different character. The first chapter -- some pages of which you can see on the Kickstarter page right now -- follows Harold, an elderly widower who has moved away from his longtime home in the city out to Long Island in an effort to find some solace after his wife's passing. Yet he finds himself on the train almost daily heading back to his old neighborhood, spurned on by the loss of something that disappeared during the move, something of his wife's. Actually, this is all in those preview pages I mentioned -- it's this old mannequin. So Harold's story revolves around him trying to make peace with his wife's passing and the apparent loss of this one seemingly trivial thing that he felt connected him to her most. 

The other characters -- whose names COULD change, given that we've got a reward in which a backer can name some of our characters, but these are the names I've been writing them with -- consist of Josh, a late 30's home care nurse, Lilly, a middle-aged conductor on the LIRR (Long Island Railroad), and Jen, a sweet teenage girl that hangs out with all the wrong people and dates all the wrong guys. I don't want to say too much about how they all fit together, but their stories share important thematic qualities that will hopefully bring the book full circle in the end. 

Since every character appears in each chapter -- you'll see some of the same events from different perspectives for instance -- my hope is that these connections will shed new light on the story when you re-read it. Hopefully it's a different experience the second time around.

What is the secret origin behind your collaboration with Sean Von Gorman?

I met Sean on Twitter, actually. A while back I was looking for an artist for this horror short I wrote with my friend Erik Norris, which will be coming out in an upcoming anthology, and Sean had responded. His style wasn't what I was looking for in that project in particular, but when I finally started to move forward with Pawn Shop, I talked with him and he liked the story and we were off. I can honestly say I've never worked with a more passionate guy. I mean, who else would chain himself outside of a comic shop in the pouring rain as a publicity stunt? And guess what! It worked. Not only do I love his art, but that's the kind of guy I want on my team, you know?

Is Pawn Shop completed or are you still in the creation process?

We'll be working on it for a while still. Our goal to start shipping out the rewards to our backers is February, with distribution in shops and what not to come after that. I'm still writing -- the script should be locked by the end of August -- and Sean is wrapping up his other book. When he's done, it's onto Pawn Shop full-time. And while he's drawing the hell out of it, I'll be working on the technical stuff. Figuring out how we're going to get ourselves distributed without a publisher -- or finding a publisher, if possible, though it's not really a concern -- exploring the best digital options, building a marketing campaign, etc. Still tons of work ahead, even after the book itself is done.

What was your writing process when you created Pawn Shop? At what point did you start the actual script?

Lucky for all of our $10+ backers, they'll get to see my writing process in the Pawn Shop Script Book! :) But generally I write REAL loosely in my notebook to start. In the case of Pawn Shop, I did a quick breakdown of the general stories for each character and the key points in which I wanted them to intersect. And then I fleshed that out a bit more, with more detailed rundown of each chapter, which I then break down further page by page. From there I take it one chapter at a time, handwriting my rough draft that probably resembles serial killer diaries, and then I take that and begin to type it into an actual script. At that stage is where I'll add much more detail to panel descriptions and flesh out some dialogue and narration and stuff. Doing that rough draft makes the actual scripting so much easier. 

Why did you use Kickstarter and not Indiegogo?

Well, for one thing, I've used Kickstarter before. I'm not really all that familiar with Indiegogo aside from knowing people that have used it. But I had a great experience with Kickstarter -- their staff is great, for one thing -- and was itching to try it again and do it right. My Footprints campaign didn't exactly go as smoothly as I'd hoped, so I took a lot of the mistakes we made with that and fixed them this time around. Kickstarter is a great community too. I'm always on there even when I'm not promoting something; I'm always looking at projects. 

If you could kill any comic book character, who would it be and why?

None, man! No more killing! Life! Mainly because I want to bring Ch'p the Green Lantern back from the dead.

Why do you believe in Comic Books? 

Because there is so much potential in this medium, and I won't rest until everyone and their mother can recognize that. There's something for everyone, and I truly believe everyone's life could be improved if they just found themselves the right comic book.