Rik Hoskin is a comic book writer and novelist from the UK. He’s written comics for Star Wars, Doctor Who, Superman, Shrek and a successful Spider-Man title aimed at younger readers, among many others.
His most recent work includes a graphic novel with author Brandon Sanderson that made the New York Times bestseller list, and collaborations with writers Dean Koontz, Pierce Brown and Patricia Briggs.
He has written 25 novels under the pen-name James Axler, as whom he was the lead writer on the Outlanders series for eight years. He’s also written a trilogy of original novels for HarperCollins based on the Kevin Sorbo led Hercules, The Legendary Journeys TV series, and is currently the writer on Dynamite’s SEAL Team Six novels. Rik’s also written animation scripts for the BBC’s website, and others.
downthetubes: What’s your latest work to be released, what’s it about – and where can people find it?
Rik Hoskin: I’ve just had two graphic novels released from Dynamite.
White Sand Volume 2 follows up the New York Times bestselling first volume, and is based on an unpublished manuscript by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. It’s an action story set in a land where sand can be magically charged to perform incredible feats.
Red Rising: Sons of Ares is a new story set in the world of the Red Rising novels by Pierce Brown, and was co-written with him. It’s a science fiction series about a harsh future where man has colonized the Solar System.
Both graphic novels are out in hardcover or eBook from high street bookshops, comic stores, and online retailers.
And if you’re a book reader, my latest prose novel — SEAL Team Six Book 7: Executive Action — is available on eBook.
Just now I’m working on White Sand Volume 3 and an original graphic novel set in the world of Altered Carbon.
downthetubes: You’re known as both a comics writer and prose author but do you have a preference when it comes to storytelling?
Rik: Not really. If a project’s going smoothly and I’m enjoying it, that’s my preference!
It’s easier to get excited about comics because I see the artwork coming in, and that builds my excitement page by page, and there’s also a more obvious sense of collaboration. Where, with a book, I’ll write it, but other than perhaps a little back and forth with the editor, that’s it for maybe a year until the book sees print.
downthetubes: How did you become a comics writer?
Rik: Honestly, it’s all I ever wanted to do. When I was in my teens, I created a small press comic that ran for almost ten years and over one-hundred issues, and that taught me my craft because it drew feedback from people so I could learn what worked and what didn’t. But all I ever wanted to do was write, and ideally for superhero comics.
downthetubes: Did you read comics growing up, and if so, which were your favourites?
Rik: I pretty much learnt to read from Marvel Comics. As a five-year-old, my school books were full of words like “Inhumans” and “Invincible” that I’d picked up from Stan Lee. I was drawn into DC when I was a teenager, but I started with Marvel’s output.
I loved The Avengers – Hawkeye’s still my favourite character – and Spider-Man and I still follow various Marvel Comics every month. You have never met anyone who has read as many Marvel Comics as me
downthetubes: Of the comics projects you’ve written, which one are you most proud of?
Rik: Wow, that’s tricky! I’m lucky to have worked with numerous well-known characters across a variety of genres, so I’m proud of different works for different reasons.
My work on Star Wars means a lot to me because I grew up on the original movies. Writing Superman for DC Comics (in Superman 80-Page Giant) was a big deal, because it’s Superman and it was my first comic from a US publisher.
And anything from Dynamite really, because they’ve been very good to me–great editors who always find amazing artists.
downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Rik: I’m quite disciplined, doing a standard working day of 9-6. I start with emails and then I tend to have a list of projects that I work through.
Deadlines are a great motivator, but it’s creative work so you have to be aware of when your mind is wandering and know to take a break. I frequently work for overseas publishers, so emails can run into the evening, especially when a book’s getting close to print date.
downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Rik: It’s a dream come true. I don’t think anyone ever went into being a comics writer or artist because they needed a job and saw a vacancy–everyone in this field wants to be here and loves what they do.
downthetubes: And the worst?
Rik: Slow paying publishers. That’s the same complaint you’ll hear from freelances in any field.
downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Rik: The only advice I’d offer relates to writing a novel, but it’s just as applicable to comics — the secret of writing a book is that you sit down and you write until the book’s finished.
You need to see the project through to the end. That’s it.
downthetubes: Rik, thank you very much for your time and the very best of luck in all your projects.