The David Lynch of Comic Books: Jeremy Holt

Are you attending Baltimore Comic Con in September? If the answer is yes, there is one independent comic writer that you must meet: Jeremy Holt. You will find him at 215Ink's table #'s A66 and A67. Over the past year, Jeremy has become a force of nature on the internet. If you have not had the chance to follow him on Twitter and listen to him on Image Addiction's The Process than you are missing out on something rare and useful. Starting this Fall, 215Ink will be publishing Jeremy's two comic books, Cobble Hill and Southern Dog. Now it doesn't end there. Jeremy also has a bi-weekly column with Multiversity Comics, where he discusses his journey into comics. 

Who is Jeremy Holt?

I’m an Apple computer technician that moonlights as a comic book writer. Amidst several projects that are currently in development--two of which through the small press publisher 215 Ink--I also write a bi-weekly column for Multiversity Comics, as well as host a writer’s podcast for Image Addiction.

Why did you decide to write comic books instead of prose?

Honestly, I never really imagined I’d ever become a writer. I had written short stories in high school, but I had such a difficult time with grammar and punctuation, that it deterred me from seriously pursuing it. I never really understood the structure behind long prose, and my comic book writing started with strong visuals that spawned my first few concepts for a comic. Fortunately with consistent practice, my grammar and punctuation has improved considerably. ;)

To get to the point of your question: The comic book structure is one that feels like a reflex to me. Ever since I first learned how one was constructed, it’s felt like second nature creating stories around that. Plus, the collaborative process as a comic book creator provides that instant gratification when you start seeing layouts, inks, and finalized colored pages of your stories from a talented artist.

There is a close knit community within comics that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

For those who don’t already know, 215Ink is publishing two of your books (Southern Dog and Cobble Hill) this fall. How did your collaboration with 215Ink come about?

My collaboration with Andrew DelQuadro (Publisher at 215Ink) spawned from an atypical submission process. I submitted two pitches: Cobble Hill and Primordial which Andrew green lit rather quickly. I had actually submitted Southern Dog to him almost half a year earlier. When I asked if he had even received it since I never heard back about it, he said he meant to green light it, but it got lost in the shuffle and he forgot. Primordial is currently on hold due to scheduling conflicts with the artist.

Without spoiling much, what can you tell us about Southern Dog and Cobble Hill?
Well, Southern Dog is a rural noir that modernizes the Teen Wolf story by setting it in the Deep South six weeks prior to Obama’s Inauguration. It examines the complexities of race, love, and what it truly means to be a family.

Cobble Hill is an evolving mystery focusing on one girl’s unique gift (or curse?) to hear inanimate object’s cryptic messages that elude to dark secrets within her historically rich port town. As the Chief Editor of her school’s newspaper, she will use her investigative skills that will aide in her uncovering the truth behind her parent’s unsolved disappearance. Unlike Southern Dog, Cobble Hill’s content is geared towards a YA demographic.

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

Cobble Hill spawned from a high concept that I had been dwelling on for a few months. I’m a big David Lynch fan and absolutely love Twin Peaks. The high concept is Twin Peaks meets Toy Story. I loved how polar opposites those two stories are and anyone who loves Lynch as much as myself, would be immediately intrigued by the unusual mash-up. Once I figured out the synopsis, I started breaking down the issues and the scripting began.

Originally the story was quite dark of a more mature content, but after being introduced by a mutual friend to Selena Goulding’s work, I already knew if I could convince her to join the project, I’d have to revise the tone. Her work has a fun, youthful vibe to it, and she was very honest about having no interest in the dark, ultra-violent stories that get pitched to her all the time.

Tailoring your story to an artist that you want to work with is an excellent writing exercise. It’s also the best way to get an artist to commit to a project, regardless of upfront or back end pay. If an artist is loving what they’re creating, they feel included in the creative process which is what makes creator-owned comics so much fun in the first place.

What is your standard day schedule, when you are writing?

I work a full-time job which obviously interferes with my writing time. I typically save Fridays and Saturdays (my weekend) to devote to writing all day. I carry a moleskin and notebooks on me at all times, so I’m constantly taking notes or scribbling down story concepts and dialogue when I think of it.

All of my outlining and first drafts of scripts are written longhand in a spiral notebook. I can’t work any other way.

We are giving you an opportunity to kill any comic book character. Who would it be, why’d you pick this character and how would you kill the character?

I don’t know, I don’t think about that stuff. I don’t really read too many comics these days, and the ones that I do, I have no interest in killing off anyone because I want those stories to continue!

If you had the opportunity to rewrite an origin for any character, who would it be and what changes would you make?

I’ve always had one solid idea if ever given the opportunity to pitch to Marvel, which would be a re-imagining story in the vein of Millar’s Old Man Logan, but focusing on Jubilee’s story. She’s always been my favorite X-Men for reasons that are completely unknown to me.

Why do you believe in Comic Books? 

I believe in comics solely on it’s massive creative output each month. When TV and Film rely so heavily on recycled ideas that are sometimes less than four years old (i.e. Death At A Funeral), comic books continue to churn out new, engaging, and original stories at an impressive rate. The extremely broad range of genres that comics cover is another thing that more people need to realize--inside and out of the industry.

When I read creator-owned titles like Preacher, Saga, DMZ, Green Wake, Revival, Manhattan Projects, Morning Glories, and Scalped (to name but a few), I’m reminded on a fundamental level of how fun the art of storytelling can truly be.