Chuck Dixon is best known as a comics writer with over three decades writing characters like Batman and The Punisher. But with the change in the market, Dixon has decided to take the plunge and move into prose. We caught up with him recently to ask about the difference between comics and prose with the release of his second novel, Levon’s Night, on amazon.
TW: As an experienced comic writer, how did you feel tackling prose?
CHUCK DIXON: It was scary at first. I’ve always been a dedicated comic book scripter with no grand plans for writing a novel or screenplay. Comics were a destination for me rather than a stop along the way. While I read a lot of prose and have always been a voracious reader of novels and short stories, I wasn’t sure if I had the fearlessness that writing prose fiction requires. Plus, I’d seen other comic book guys try it and fall flat on their faces.
CD: The biggest con is that there’s no collaboration. Writing prose fiction is a solo act. It’s all down to the one mind. At least it is until the editor becomes involved. But by then all the mistakes have been made. The pro is also that there’s no collaboration. No waiting for the artist or the crippling expense of comic book production. And there are no gatekeepers granting you permission to write or denying you the same.
TW: Levon’s Night is a police book. What was the appeal for you as a writer to write in this genre?
CD: Along with science fiction and westerns, crime fiction has always been a favorite. I’ve been reading Ed McBain, Donald Westlake, Mickey Spillane, Chandler, Hammett and hundreds of others since I was in junior high. Combining that with how much I enjoyed writing the Punisher at Marvel and a series like Levon Cade felt like the right kind of book for me.
TW:This is the second book in the series. Do you enjoy the fact that as this is your own creation, you are able to create and build up your own world here rather than working in someone else’s playground with something like Batman which you wrote for a number of years?
CD: Like I said, no gatekeepers. The characters and world of Levon are all up to me. I can push the subject matter as far as I care to and follow my own instincts. I recall, back when I was on the Punisher, that we do an arc where martial law is declared in Miami to end the war between the cocaine gangs. My editor told me that this could never happen. A month later the mayor of Miami requested that the National Guard be sent in and martial law declared.
TW: This is being published like the first book as a kindle edition. How much do you think the existence of things like Kindle have made it easier for authors to get their work out to their audience?
CD: It’s nothing less than a gold rush. Anyone who is prolific and can build up their own backlist of titles will find a following. I’ve always been prolific and the ebook market is a perfect fit for me. And the bonus of owning the material outright as well as other financial advantages make the lure of this irresistible.
TW: What else are you currently working on as a writer?
CD: I have another series called Bad Times which is up to its fourth book. It’s about a team of former US Army Rangers who travel through time having one misadventure after another. So far they’ve been to prehistoric Nevada, the ancient Aegean. Roman Judea and Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870. And Bruno Books will be publishing a serialized zombie epic by a new author in the fall.