Hire This Woman: Writer Christian Beranek
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Christian Beranek has worked as a writer for years, including a stint at Disney creating comics. She wrote Dracula vs. King Arthur and is currently working on a number of projects including the webcomic Validation.
ComicsAlliance: What’s your background/training?
Christian Beranek: I have a B.S. in Communications and Media Studies from James Madison University with a minor in Epic Literature. Beyond that, I've learned and applied most of my skills on the job. As a hobby I study languages and am currently becoming proficient at Spanish.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
CB: I travel extensively and am constantly interviewing new people, taking reference photos and researching local history and lore. I've lived overseas a total of seven years and in numerous states and cities. I like to draw from experience. My style definitely incorporates a world view. I like to write about people who try to live by a code but are tested -- whether by seemingly mundane matters or epic threats such as apocalyptic showdowns. To me it is all about how the characters act and interact given their situations.
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past? What are you currently working on?
CB: I started off in the small press and learned the ins and outs of how to make comics the hard way. The book I am best known for from that period is Dracula vs. King Arthur. After that I worked with a variety of publishers before landing a producer/writing deal with Disney in 2008. I was happily working on comics on the studio film lot (in Walt Disney's old building, no less) before they bought Marvel. There was obviously no room for two comic book production companies so I struck out on my own. I do think it was an incredibly valuable experience.I am currently producing the webcomic Validation with Kelci Crawford and writing several projects for The Webcomic Factory. I also have some creator owned comics in the pipeline including a 128-page graphic novel called Dealers with co-writer Tony DiGerolamo and artist Nicholas Raimo. That one is completely penciled and inked and is in the coloring and lettering stages.
In addition, I do marketing and some consulting for filmmaker Doug Lefler's Scrollon digital comics app.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to write a 20-page issue?
CB: On average a solid week to craft an issue.
CA: What is your dream project?
CB: Something that finds a wide and loyal audience.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
CB: I've had the privilege of meeting many of my favorite creators. I worked on pitching stories to Disney with such luminaries as Peter David, Neil Gaiman, Michael Uslan and John Cassaday. I've had enlightening conversations with Brian K. Vaughan, Joe Quesada, C.B. Cebulski, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Matt Hawkins and countless others. I just feel fortunate to have had access to such immense talent and definitely soaked up every experience. There are truly so many inspiring people in the industry.
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
CB: In the mid '80s I devoured a steady diet of anything Alan Moore wrote, Claremont's Uncanny X-Men, Grell's Green Arrow and countless independents including Grendel. It was an epic time to be a comic book reader.
I think the best comics has to offer is yet to come, however. Hopefully I can be a small part of that.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
CB: I can set up anywhere and write. I've designed my life to be able to work from pretty much any environment so long as there is a decent internet connection. It's just a matter of scheduling quiet time to get the actual typing done.
That being said, it is nice to set yourself up for success in writer friendly places. For example, I rent a place in Cerrillos, New Mexico a few months out of the year and am able to see the Milky Way sometimes at night. During the day it's a beautiful landscape to take walks and work stuff out in your head.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
CB: I love what I do. I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead. I enjoy selecting interesting projects to work on and like collaborating with talented people. I hope my work reflects that passion.
CA: How can editors and readers keep up with your work and find your contact information?
CB: I post often on my site: http://www.christianberanek.com and am accessible by email: christianberanek at gmail dot com.