Women in Comics Month: Interview with Erika Lewis
Feb 28, 2018
In honor of Women in Comics Month this March, PREVIEWSworld talks with writer Erika Lewis!
PREVIEWSworld: Who is your current comics employer?
Erika Lewis: Heavy Metal and Legendary Comics
PREVIEWSworld: What is your primary job title? In a quick phrase or two, could you define your job’s key responsibility?
Erika Lewis: WRITER-AUTHOR-CREATOR: I create the worlds, characters, story arcs, and dialogue that the artist translates, and the letterer letters into brilliance on the page.
PREVIEWSworld: Could you please explain how your work helps make comics a reality? (Connect the dots for us. Where are you in the flow of getting a book into reader hands?)
Erika Lewis: I’m at the very bottom of the food chain, or the top depending on how you look at it. I ignite the spark with the idea. I write the scripts and story pages so everyone knows the direction that I’m hoping to go, but of course that adjusts with the suggestions of the artist and publisher, and even the readers depending upon if it’s new or returning.
PREVIEWSworld: What’s the part of your job you enjoy the most?
Erika Lewis: The blank page: full of promise that usually leaves me feeling like I’ll never write another thing. Then I do, and it’s shocking, and magical.
PREVIEWSworld: What comic titles have you worked on?
Erika Lewis: THE 49TH KEY (Heavy Metal) and FIREBRAND (Legendary Comics)
PREVIEWSworld: While there are loads of professionals in the comics industry, there are only so many folks who get to do what you do! How did you get started? How did you learn all the skills you needed for your position?
Erika Lewis: I started writing when I was working for the studios in Los Angeles, supervising TV shows. A big part of my job was reading scripts before they were shot, and making sure that the studio and networks and creators were all in sync. So I read, and read, and then wrote my own scripts…some pretty crappy ones at first…but then, some better and better. Some TV, but also comics because I love comics. I showed those to comic publishers and was over the moon when my first one sold.
PREVIEWSworld: Talk to us about the heroic people in your comics life. Who do you admire? Who inspires you? Why?
Erika Lewis: Grant Morrison. Supportive. Genius. Insightful.
Jeff Krelitz at Heavy Metal. Also supportive. A visionary.
Robert Napton at Legendary Comics. He makes everything I write so much bigger, better, and with more heart. Editor extraordinaire.
Dave Sadove at Legendary Comics. Editorially insightful. On top of everything. Makes everything run smoothly.
Jessica Chobot, my partner in crime on Firebrand. Crazy all the time with Nerdist, Bizarre States, and everything else on her plate, yet she always is on it with Firebrand.
Claudia Aguirre, our artist on Firebrand. She’s on fire with very issue. So very talented.
J.K. Woodward, my artist on The 49th Key. Brilliant. A painting on every page. His interpretations go beyond my dreams and imagination.
PREVIEWSworld: Please tell us about the coolest experience you’ve ever had thanks to your job!
Erika Lewis: At the cons, always. Meeting those passionate readers who know the stories as well as you do. One of my favorite moments was at Teen Book Con. I was there for my novel, Game of Shadows, but funnily enough all of the kids knew Firebrand. It was before The 49th Key came out. It was so much fun.
PREVIEWSworld: Every industry professional has something they absolutely love about comics. Whether it’s a particular title or format, audience or tradition, or something else, we’re all hooked. What’s special about comics for you? Would you be willing to share a treasured memory about it?
Erika Lewis: Comics were my first escape, and are now my favorite escape. I fell in love with the Fantastic Four. Yes, I know the movies have been kinda yuck but the relationships between the characters and the interactions were so real…brother and sister fun, relationships…and then yeah, they were superheroes. Now I can’t wait for the next issue of SAGA. Fiona Staples art and Brian K. Vaughan’s writing come together, and together they suck you in and take you on a fantastic telenovela-ride through space!
PREVIEWSworld: If you had one comics-related wish—no limits—what would it be?
Shaking up the superhero establishment. More comics that take us to places without the worry of saving the world. There are many out there, but even more for me please!
PREVIEWSworld: Do you have an online presence we can link to and share with our readers?
Erika Lewis: http://www.erikalewis.com