Interview with author George McDougall
By: Sheena C. Howard, 4-24-2021
What inspired you to publish Men in Black and Other Creatures?
What inspired me to publish this book is that I have a fascination with this topic, and at first I was thinking about trying to incorporate these beings mainly the Men in Black into a story, but I realized I really don’t understand the exact nature of these beings. I was intrigued to find stories that sometimes when you start to look at these beings they may interact back. I figured if I research them enough or write about them enough, I might get some interaction. So as I wrote this I started scaring myself and generally tried to write about these beings during the day. My general take away is the beings for the most part appear to be negative and I have a nice life and kids and maybe this was a bad idea, but it is really interesting.
I would binge watch documentaries on aliens and these beings when my family was not home because my wife is creeped out by it and I figure it is not good for my kid’s brains. Then my wife would come home and report to me about nightmares she had about Men in Black, and I was intrigued but also felt somewhat responsible. I thought about incorporating those dreams into a comic but so far I have not.
How long did it take you to put the book together and finally get it published?
I have been reading about these creatures throughout my life, but I decided to do a comic about the subject in October of 2020, when I realized I would rather buy a comic book about non-fiction Men in Black than read anybody else’s science fiction. I figured who in their right mind is going to try out a random science fiction guys comic book on Amazon. So I figured this might sell, and also I enjoy the topic, and I love the excuse it gave me to keep reading on the subject.
Can you tell us more about the creative process behind putting together Men in Black and Other Creatures?
I’ve always wanted to do comics with friends, but relying on friends to get stuff done, well it does not work for the most part, for me at least. People are busy, people have different priorities. I love the website Fiverr. I can pay an artist to create my thoughts. So with my go to artist on Fiverr, Wesly Galila, from the Philippines, I asked him if he is interested. I storyboard it out first. Then I go and type it, and I order it page by page. When he sends it back to me I usually send it back for some edits. There are some cultural barriers where we may not interpret things in the same way, and I realize I have to explain myself a little better.
It has definitely gotten better over time, this was our fourth complete comic working together.
As far as choosing what stories to put in the Men in Black and Other Creatures book, I chose information on what I thought added the most insight, if it was scary that also helped.
Who did the artwork for the book and what was the creative process between you and the artist(s)?
I draw better than the average person, but not good enough for comics, so I story board and the more pages I knock out the worse my art gets as the storyboarding goes on. So I might story board, type a draft, and then re-storyboard. I’ll try to proof read a couple times, have my wife proof read, sure enough some typos made it through. My wife catches a lot more than I do.
My Artist Wesly puts up with my revision requests. If I annoy him enough on changes, especially if it was my fault, I try to throw him some extra funds for his headaches with me.
What is your long-term vision for Men in Black and Other Creatures?
I hope people love it, tell their friends, and want to learn more. I wouldn’t mind some Men in Black visits if it was on a bright sunny day when others are present, and can see what I’m seeing, and no one would get hurt. I would love to study this stuff full time. I may need to travel because I don’t see myself getting abducted anytime soon in a heavily populated suburb of Cleveland.
What advice would you have for aspiring comic creators?
There are great books out there on writing comics. I enjoyed Brian Michael Bendis’s book Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Graphic Novels, I swallowed that in two days. I recommend to just keep making comics, take your work you did to comic conventions, ask other writers what they think. I was bummed when Ted Sikora, maker of Apama, told me my word balloons were not quite lining up, but he was right. He gave me a lot of information, and like an idiot I didn’t run with all of it due to laziness.
Writing a comic is half the battle ( if it is decent, that is great, but now you have to market it, so that is why I’m currently reading a book on Amazon about advertising, even though I rather be reading more about extraterrestrials). I find most people in the comic world very friendly. People are willing to help out. I myself am a minnow in the comic world or whatever minnows eat, so I might not be the dude to go to, but that would be my advice.
Also I want to thank you Dr. Howard for this opportunity.
You can learn more about George McDougall and his work on Facebook HERE.