Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Home  >  Features  >  Mighty Writer Spotlight - A.J. Scherkenbach

SWEET LULLABY ART

 

Meet A.J. Scherkenbach. The writer and former military-man is the creator of SWEET LULLABY, from Darby Pop Publishing. If that names sounds familiar, it's because the artist, J. Briscoe Allison, was our last spotlight.! Read on to get inside A.J.'s head and witness the origins of the hot, new assassin giving the likes of Black Widow and Elektra a run for their money!

 

AJ Scherkenbach

 

MightyVille: When did you first get into reading comics and what was the title that got you into the genre?

A.J. Scherkenbach: I have to be honest, the first ‘comics’ I read were the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED ‘Three Musketeers,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ and ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.’ It really opened my eyes to what an amazing concept of combining art and story. I was probably 6 or 7, but it changed I viewed storytelling.

As for traditional comics, the first title I really remember reading was DAREDEVIL #208. Beautiful art, action, and inner dialog.

But alas, SPIDER-MAN was the series that keep me reading for forever. I joined that series with the introduction of the Hobgoblin, which was intriguing, as we all tried our best to figure out who this mysterious new villain was.

 

DAREDEVIL #208

 

What are you reading these days?  Any particular comic series, characters, or writers that you are enjoying?

I’m currently reading Terry Moore’s RACHEL RISING, CHEW, INVINCIBLE, and Jason Aaron’s SOUTHERN BASTARDS. I really love Jason Aaron’s hardboiled series and will pick up anything of his. I have always enjoyed J. Michael Straczynski’s writing. One series I continually look forward to is HAWAIIAN DICK. These are great writers that have picked superb artist to tell amazing stories (except Terry, he does it all)!

As for characters, I always enjoy the Elseworlds concept. It’s so fun and interesting to see characters that we grew up with in a whole new world and sometimes upbringing. 

In general terms, what got you into writing in the first place?  Did you save any of the first things you wrote and do you ever go back to them to see how you have progressed?

I’ve always written, I’d read and start writing my own take on adventures, from as far back as I can remember. It wasn't until 10 years ago I felt I had to get organized and really try to write professionally (that was also because a friend asked me to write a comic script).

I have all my notes from over the years. I pull them out all the time! Half the concepts for SWEET LULLABY were ideas that I came up with during my preteens. Just combined and reimagined. I honestly believe there are no bad ideas; it’s just finding them a home. 

Do you have any advice for those interested in creating comics on how to get their ideas out there and get noticed by publishers?

Be unique. Find your voice and tell narratives that speak to you. Your ideas might not be what certain publishers are looking for, so seek out the companies that your adventures fit into.

Put together a great team. Find an artist that compliments your writing and that you guys can have an open dialog with. Everyone on your team should be just as excited about the product you're putting out and that final product will show that enthusiasm. 

And finally be professional. Listen to what everyone in the industry has to say: they want your book to be the best product out there, and they know the ins and outs, and maybe how to make your vision more compelling. 

 

SWEET LULLABY COVER

 

You're the writer and creator of SWEET LULLABY from Darby Pop Publishing, with the tradepaperback collecting all six issues out this week. How did that come about?

First I had to find the right artist. That actually took longer than expected, but once I found J. Briscoe Allison, it was game on. He loved and understood the story (very key). Once we had three issues complete, we started to shop the series to all publishers accepting submissions. Some publishers wrote back to tell us the story didn’t fit their brand, others didn’t reply at all. When we found Darby Pop Publishing, we were intrigued by their titles and the people working at the company. Needless to say, when they showed interest, J. Briscoe and me were beyond excited.

What have you most enjoyed about working on SWEET LULLABY?

This is a twofold answer: It’s been really exciting just to see J. Briscoe bring these characters to life. With all characters, they take on a life of their own, with just writing. But it’s also true when they’re drawn. Every time J. Briscoe would send me a new page, I was like a little kid- just thrilled to see the cast take life!

Now it’s really exciting to hear people’s reactions to the series. To see people love, hate, and embrace our secret agent/assassin fantasy. It’s surreal to think people are talking about a little book that we created.

Tell us about your encounters with the covert spy industry...

Wow…if I toldja, I’d have to…HA. But seriously, I actually have some experience. For a little over a year during my military career, I was an ‘Intelligence Non-Commissioned Officer.’ I will say it sounds really boring though…mostly sifting through emails, reading tons of reports, and trying to put together storyboards to brief.  

Walk us through your journey to SWEET LULLABY.

As I stated earlier, an old middle school friend asked me to write a comic, I had one question: what kind of story did he want? His reply, ‘James Bond.’ I looked through my notes and found a concept I had called ‘Sandman.’ Now I knew that title was never going to work as my comic, but the concept was solid. An assassin moves next door to a potential villain and lays dormant, until they’re given the green light.

I needed a new title. I searched my notes and found SWEET LULLABY (which I had actually intended for a vampire story). It fit, but I felt the name "Lullaby" was better suited for a woman (yes, the original story was suppose to be a male lead), this changed the dynamics of the concept. I started to flesh out the characters, their world, and motivations. Next thing I knew, I had a first draft. Although the story has changed from that first draft, the concept hasn’t. It’s been one hell of a ride, but I know people will enjoy the ride.  

SWEET LULLABY is part of an impressive catalog of titles at Darby Pop Publishing.  How has it been working with them?

I love everyone over there. Jeff Kline and Renae Geerlings have ensured that Sweet Lullaby is an even better series then I had originally imagined. I know I’ve grown not just as a writer, but also have a greater understanding of the comic book industry. I can’t express it enough, how thankful I am that they took a chance on our series and took the time to mentor us on our first professionally published work.

 

SWEET LULLABY COVER

 

Lullaby vs. Black Widow: Who Wins?

Hand to hand combat…Black Widow…but Lullaby doesn’t fight like that. She’ll move next door, befriend Natasha for months or years, and then stab her in the back. So, Hell yeah, Lullaby would win!

Are there any mainstream characters you'd like to chronicle the adventures of?

This is a tough one to answer. I love so many characters and I’d love to do them justice, which is a tall order. But I know I could tell some kickass stories for The Punisher and Captain America. I really relate to Frank Castle and Steve Rogers. Both were Soldiers and I feel we’ve shared the same boots, even if on different soils and eras. I understand the paths they’ve taken.

A dream character would be Ghost Rider…he’s just a tortured character that has fun and fantastical stories pouring out of him. I’d jump at the opportunity to create an arc for these characters.

Do you currently have, or have you had, any projects outside of comics?

I’m currently writing and producing three short films. We’re in pre-production phase right now, but expect them before years end!

Give us a fun fact about yourself!

I love to cook! I find myself at ease in the kitchen and enjoy learning new recipes. Plus I make some bomb ass ribs, with homemade BBQ sauce!

What's the best Mexican food place in San Diego? 

Not a fair question…there’s a Taco Shop on every corner here and they’re all great. The advantages of living in a border town. But when you do come to Diego, go to any Taco Shop and order a California Burrito or Carne Asada Fries, those are two very San Diegan entrées.

 

CA BURRITO

 

Anything else you would like to add or plug?

I’d really like to thank everyone that took the time to read SWEET LULLABY. Although the series is self contained, John and I would love to be able to further explore Lullaby’s character and her world. If you the fans crave this, let us know! 

Thanks for your time, Mr. Scherkenbach! 

 

Make sure you run out to your local comic or bookstore today and grab yourself a copy of the SWEET LULLABY tradepaperback today! Or, check the series out now on comiXology!

 

More Spotlights on MightyVille:

Mighty Artist Spotlight - J. Briscoe Allison

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Jeff Parker

SVCC 2016: DEADPOOL Film Panel

 

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MightyVille Spotlight

 ImageFor MightyVille's newest Writer Spotlight, we talked to Sweet Lullaby writer and creator, A.J. Scherkenbach!

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