About a month ago I had the chance to talk with Charlie Huston, who in the span of a few short years has become one of my favourite authors. He’s the best-selling creator of the Joe Pitt Casebooks, The Hank Thompson trilogy, and has also been doing his fair share of work in the Marvel Universe, including a run on Moon Knight that helped bring the character back to prominence. We had an excellent conversation about his novels, including his tour de force The Shotgun Rule, but seeing as how the San Diego Comic-Con is upon us, I thought today would be a good day to post the comic talk Charlie and I had. There’s lots more to come, but in the meantime here’s some Moon Knight reminiscence (which came at the tail end of our conversation) and teases to whet your appetite.
Andy B: I came to your Moon Knight run relatively late and I’ve just been catching up. How did you wind up working on Moon Knight?
Charlie Huston: (Marvel) were actually looking for someone to work on their licensed novels, you know, Wolverine the novel, blah blah blah, and they sent out general queries to agencies and my agent asked me if I was interested because he knew I was kind of a comic book guy at the time. I was not interested in ‘that work at all, but I did say I would be interested in an actual comic. You know, they didn’t even know I existed, let alone read my stuff, they were just looking for writers. So they read my stuff, liked it, we talked and some characters were mentioned and kind of out of the blue they mentioned Moon Knight, and it was this light bulb moment for me because in all the characters we talked about that I had dug when I was a kid, I had somehow completely blanked on Moon Knight. I had been a big fan, really just the Doug Moench stuff when I was a kid. I had never the read any of the stuff from the late 80’s, early 90’s. I didn’t even know there has been another Moon Knight series. And that was it. I pitched my take on the character. I was very lucky to be pitching to Axel Alonso and Joe Quesada because I used a lot of sports analogies and talked about an athlete past his prime trying to get back in the game, and it turns out I was talking to two of the only guys at Marvel who give a shit about sports.
Andy B: And you finished up your run on Moon Knight…
Charlie Huston: Well I finished Moon Knight ages ago. It’s been years. I finished my run writing those scripts probably a good year before they finished actually publishing them. So that feels like ancient history to me. I stuck around…
Andy B: You did the co-plotting thing…
Charlie Huston: I did the co-plotting with Mike (Benson), but really Mike Benson’s run is his run. We would get together in a cafe and talk and break story but that was basically it. He might send me a script to look at and give a couple notes, but that was really him.
Andy B: So what do you have come up with Marvel next?
Charlie Huston: You know I’ve got a couple things in the works but they haven’t announced them. I wrote a 7 issue mini-series that’s done and there are 5 issues of art that have been finished, but the artist, who is tremendously talented, is also quite slow. They wanted to get a bunch of art work done before they started publishing it so that they wouldn’t have delays. They keep waiting for the window when they want to announce it. They’ve got to be announcing it at Comic-Con. They told me they want to start publishing in November and a catalogue is going to come out sooner or later. But I told them I’d keep my mouth shut.
Andy B: Sure.
Charlie Huston: Right now what I’m working on for them is a 12 issue run on one of their larger characters in main continuity. It’s supposed to start in November or December and I’m working on the fifth script right now, but they don’t have an artist assigned. But again, their catalogues come out so they’ll have to say something.
Andy B: I’ll have to keep my eyes open.
Charlie Huston: It should be soon. And then I did a couple short stories. There’s a Deadpool jam and I did a short story in that. And there’s a Shang-Chi collection coming out and I wrote something for that. And then they’re also doing a Punisher jam. Axel emailed me and said “Hey, are you interested in doing a Punisher jam” and I was like “that would be fun”. I had a quick idea that I cranked out and then he said, “Hey, maybe you want to do a Deadpool” and literally within a week he had asked me if I wanted to do three short stories and I just pumped them out. It was kind of weird. And that’s it for now. The thing that I’m working on, the 12 issue run, is kind of a monster. It’s a 12 issue arc but its not two separate storylines, its a single 12 issue storyline. I don’t think I’ll be doing too much comic book wise while I’m working on it.
Thanks to Charlie Huston for his time. You can check him out online at www.pulpnoir.com. Look for part 2 of our interview coming soon.