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Pronto Presents: Writer Dennis Knight

Pronto Presents: Writer Dennis Knight
By David Rondinelli

Creator Dennis Knight has been creating comics for over six years. On the suggestion of his penciler, he decided to submit his book Cross to Pronto Comics. Fusing science fiction with urban living, Knight’s book has been greeted with accolades on the convention circuit, leading to a special kind of alchemy between Pronto Comics and Cross. In my interview with Knight, he sheds light on some of the influences that led him to become a comic writer, as well as offering some of his suggested “do’s” as a new creator entering the industry. He also lets us in on what is in store for his series and where you can find out more about it.

headshot of me for pronto interviewPronto Presents: You are becoming a bit of a breakout star for Pronto Comics. How did you get affiliated with the group?

Dennis Knight: It is very nice to know that I am being noticed as well as my work; I appreciate that. As far as how Pronto and I found each other, [my penciler, inker, and letterer] Kirk Feretzanis of [my book] Cross told me about Pronto. After looking Pronto Comics up on the web, my business partner and colorist Juls Casella submitted the pages we had so far to Pronto. The rest is history.

PP: How long have you been writing comics? Is this the only medium in which you want to write, or do you write other things as well?

DK: Six years is how long I have been writing comics. It is a surreal feeling that Pronto Comics published the first comic series I ever wrote. Currently, comics are the only medium I write; however, I do want to experiment with other mediums [such as] screen writing and video games specifically.

PP: You had a very successful run at MoCCA Fest 2013. What are some tips and strategies you can offer to novices looking to get their books in the hands of readers?

DK: MoCCA Fest was a blast! The best advice I can give is to have fun, be passionate, and have a solid pitch. Don’t worry about selling your—book people don’t like to be sold. Tell as many people about your book as possible and the sales will come on their own.

PP: What comic or characters have been the most influential in your life? Is there a book that made you want to write comics?

DK: A few comics and graphic novels have influenced me as a child and as an adult: Death of Superman, Batman: Knightfall, X-Men’s “Fatal Attraction” crossover when Wolverine loses his Adamantium when Magneto rips it out, and Watchmen.

Some influential characters are Green Lantern, Wolverine, and Rorschach, but the one book that made me think I could write comics was Dark Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis. I really enjoyed the adult tone of the book, and it showed me that my book had a similar tone to it. That was when I thought, “Yeah I can do this.”

PP: Are there any other mediums in which you work? Do you draw or color?

DK: Currently, there are no other mediums I feel comfortable working in. I do want to expand my horizons in the comic book world. Inking, lettering, and editing are some mediums I am eager to teach myself and learn from those more experienced than me.

PP: How did you form your collaboration with Cross’s and even more so, how do you keep it successful?

DK: The collaboration between Kirk and I took time to build. When we first started working together, the level of detail in my scripts was absurd. I left nothing to the imagination. The early scripts for a 20-page pamphlet would be fifty pages and up in length. One day Kirk said to me, “Don’t write so much.” It was a simple statement, but it spoke volumes. The realization hit me that I wasn’t letting Kirk do his job. After that day, I eased up; I didn’t put so much detail in the scripts. It was the best decision.

The writer has to trust the artist to do his job accurately. I am proud to say that Kirk and I have developed a writer/ artist relationship that is virtually flawless. I give him scripts and am comfortable with what he does. There are two things you need when working with an artist: trust and communication. There has to be a free flowing of ideas between the writer and the artist. Those are the best stories because both people bring something different to the story.

PP: Your book Cross takes readers into the genre of science fiction, but can you tell us some more details? How long is the series going to run?

DK: The beauty of it is that science fiction isn’t the only concept present in the book. There is an urban crime element that gives the reader a close look at what goes on in the streets after the sun goes down. Other concepts are desperation and repentance. The series will be eleven issues long. I may do another story arc of Cross, which depends on how the story as a whole is received by the readers and if they want more.

PP: What is it about Cross that excites you the most?

DK: The one thing that excites me the most is the theme of how the actions of one person can change the life of a perfect stranger in both good ways and bad.

PP: Is there a character in the book that stands out to you to whom you would like to give more attention in future issues?

DK: That’s a tough one. It’s like asking a parent which kid is his favorite. If I had to pick just one, it would be Dot. Nobody ever cares about the sidekick, so I wanted a sidekick that people would care about and root for. He does some things in the story that are unexpected, and I can’t wait to see the readers’ reactions.

PP: As a writer, what are some of the challenges you face when it comes to tackling a script?

DK: Some of the challenges I face are pacing, writer’s block, and the search for that perfect word or sentence. My delivery is not always spot on either.

PP: For a science fiction piece, was there any research you had to do to bring the story to life?

DK: Research to me is a dirty word. It is tedious, boring, and necessary if you are not well versed in the subject you are writing about. I usually read books or go into internet chat rooms concerning the subject. I borrowed some concepts from physics, namely the Copenhagen Theory and the Schrödinger’s Cat Theory. The research has helped the story in the sense that it gives a scientific basis to the premise. It made me believe that the idea for my story is possible on some level.

PP: What are some other projects that you have coming up in the future?

DK: There are so many ideas in my head, it’s crazy. Right now I’m the mad scientist locked in my lab experimenting and tweaking concepts. All of my ideas are in the early developmental stages; once my ideas are more presentable, I would love to do a follow-up interview. In the meantime, please feel free to follow me on Twitter @crosscomicbook, become a fan of my comic book on Facebook, and check out my website www.crosscomics.com.

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