Interview – Gerimi Burleigh

photo_250x250Today we meet Gerimi Burleigh, who is both a self-publish artist and writer. You though writing a story was tough, imagine how much more of a challenge it is to do both.

Gerimi was a delight to chat with, and we ended up having such a long conversation that I had to break it up into 3 videos. I do apologize for the delay of this, but there were initial technical difficulties that I had to counteract post production.

Text Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an LA-based comic book writer/artist. I graduated from UCLA with a BFA in Fine Art. Most of my comic work is self-published. In my day job, I work as a art director for a toy company, mostly designing packaging and some product design. I did get to work in animation briefly as a writer for a short lived cartoon series I co-created.

2. Do you consider yourself a character driven writer, or a plot driven writer?
I’m definitely a plot driven writer, but I strive to learn how to balance the two. I’ve heard other writers say that plot is what happens, but story IS character. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. I haven’t explored it as much as I’d like to, but my plans in the future are to write more projects that are character studies, since plot seems to come to me naturally.

3. What is your favorite sport and team?
I’m not much of a sports fan, but I ran track and field in college. I think I’m more compelled by the challenges of the individual, rather than the group effort. Then again, that could just be my anti-social tendencies peeking out. As a kid, Carl Lewis was one of my heroes.

4. Where were you born, where did you grow up, and where do you live now?
I was born in New York, but my family moved when I was four, so I don’t really think of the East coast as home. I grew up in Southern California, about an hour outside of LA. Now I live in the San Fernando Valley, porn capital of the world.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That’s tough for me, because LA already feels like home. In fact, I really would like to live in other parts of the world, just to soak up some of the flavor, but it seems silly to uproot my life, if I know I’m going to end up coming back to LA eventually. I have a fantasy of getting rid of everything except an iPad and whatever drawing supplies I need to make comics, then moving to a different country every six months for five years. I visited Paris for the first time a couple years ago and loved it, so that would be high on my list, if I had to stay put. The city just has an incredibly rich artistic culture and history. Every museum I visited was like a crash course in art history. I went to the Louvre on a day they stay open late and spent twelve hours there.

6. What writers inspire you?
From comics, Warren Ellis, creator of Transmetropolitan, Planetary, and The Authority, among others, Ed Brubaker’s CRIMINAL series is fantastic and his comic Incognito was the first comic that made me want to throw it across the room because I was mad at how good the dialog was. And Will Eisner. You read one of his graphic novels and you understand why the highest award in the comic industry bears his name. Each one is a master class in visual storytelling.

Prose writers, I enjoy Chuck Palahanuik of Fight Club fame. His dark twisted sense of humor, horror, and irony tickles me. I love David Sedaris. I was in a bookstore years ago, reading ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY and a woman eventually came over and asked me what I was reading. Anything that made a person laugh out loud that much had to be interesting and she bought a copy. My tastes are pretty eclectic these days, but I grew up reading a ton of fantasy, Piers Anthony, RA Salvatore, Margret Wies and Tracy Hickman. The Dragonlance novels were my Lord of the Rings. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any Tolkien, since The Hobbit, back in grade school.

7. What is your favorite food, color, and ice cream flavor?
Food: Sushi, specifically Rainbow Rolls. Color: Blue as a child, red as an adult. The switch happened sometime in college. Ice Cream: I don’t eat a ton of ice cream, but what I do enjoy regularly are Oreo cookies and cream ice cream sandwiches.

8. When you write, what is your drink of choice?
I drink water most of the time, generally. Writing is thirsty work and I gotta stay hydrated. I do like to have a glass of red wine before bed every night, but I rarely wait until then to do my writing.

9. Tell us about your current books and future releases?
I self-published my first graphic novel, EYE OF THE GODS, a couple of years ago. It’s a psychological thriller about a man cursed with the ability of remote viewing. My current project is Morningstar, and eight-issue comic book series retelling Lucifer’s Fall from Heaven as a Western. Issues 1-3 are currently available from my website in print and digital. I’m in the middle of drawing issue four.

10. How much control do you feel you have on the outcome of your story? Do you have complete control or are you along for the ride?
I feel like I have a large amount of control over the story, but that doesn’t mean it will turn out the way I outlined it. The epilogue of my first graphic novel was an afterthought, my it completely changed what I had in mind for what the lives of the characters will be beyond that book when I revise the world.

I look at writing a novel as if I were peering into the heart of the multiverse. I can see every variation of every decision the characters could make. There’s several ways the characters can end up where I want them to, and each can be equally entertaining if handled properly. On the flip side, in the course of writing the story, I may realize that the story could be interesting in ways I never imagined before, if I’m willing to go down a completely different path and end up some place very different from my initial outline.

 

Eye of the Gods

Eye-of-the-Gods_cover592x900 EOG_008 EOG_019 EOG_028 EOG_030

Morningstar

MStar01_cover600x900 MStar02_10 MStar01_01 MStar01_07 MStar01_09

 

neda_steampunk_695x900Gerimi Burleigh is a writer, artist, & graphic designer in Los Angeles.  He works mostly in the toy industry as a product/packaging designer, but after dark, he sweats and bleeds comic books.

In 2005 he co-created the animated series Alien Racers for MGA entertainment, and co-wrote a ninety minute special for Cartoon Network.

In 2009 he self-published his first graphic novel, Eye of the Gods, a psychological thriller about a man cursed with the ability of remote viewing.

He’s currently writing/drawing a new comic book series retelling Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, as a Western. It’s called Morningstar

 

 

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