First Comics News: If you don’t mind, can you tell me a little about yourself? Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
NICK: Writer. Patriarch. Recovering cookie addict that’s fallen off the wagon during the pandemic (My wife would debate that last part). My origin story starts in the greatest city on Earth. Baltimore, Maryland. Especially the West Side. From there I was born and raised and on the playground is where I spent most of my days. That is when I wasn’t reading comics.
TROY-JEFFREY: I’m a reformed club kid, failed pro wrestler, and career film student. I was born in Washington, DC in the 80s and I’ve loved comic books almost my entire life. So much that I work in comics now. Like, a 9 to 5 job in comics. I call myself the marketing megaphone for PREVIEWS. I come up with new ways to appeal to consumers and remind them to get their asses to a comic shop.
1st: When did you first get interested in comics?
NICK: It was a classic charm city summer, and I was a kid just trying to survive the blistering humid heat. I was placing my face far too close to a fan since my grandparent’s house didn’t even have an air-conditioning unit at the time. My grandmother wanted me to read more and had my grandfather walked me down into their muggy cellar’s basement where my late uncle’s pristine comic collection was.
I was a kid in a candy store.
And Wertham was right. I corrupted my brain reading picture books from Superman to Howard the Duck to X-men and everything in between.
TROY-JEFFREY: You know, I usually have to narrow it down to a few childhood memories. One thing I remember was an obsession with Archie early on. Pretty certain my grandmother purchased me a copy of The New Archies at a High’s. Jughead was the star of those books as far as I was concerned. He loved fast food, had a dog, and thought girls were gross. At elementary school age, that’s like role model material.
I also have a very distinct memory of getting a Luke Cage/Storm/Spider-Man coming that was anti-smoking. But if I had to pinpoint when my fanboy started to show it was those damn Ninja Turtles. Particularly, the Archie books. The Mirage Studios stuff passed me by. I was all about TMNT toys, comics, and movies, though. After that, once I discovered the X-Men I was locked in for life.
1st: If you could hang out with any comic creator, who would it be?
NICK: Besides peeps I know from cons and collaborators, I think it’d be cool to hang out with Grant Morrison. I’ve hung out with a few creators, but he’s one of my favorite writers and I don’t think he’s been stateside since Morrisoncon. I think sitting down with some brews and talking shop would be great or just comics. I’d probably let him do most of the talking if he was up for it. Maybe ask burning questions like were my fan theories about his batman run and final crisis run right.
TROY-JEFFREY: I’m kind of fortunate. I’ve been able to interview some big-name creators because of my job. Crowning achievements: Todd McFarlane, Frank Cho, Peter David, Rob Liefeld, John Romita, Jr., Rick Remender, and Garth Ennis. This is not a humble brag. At the same time, there are a handful of creators that I’m terrified to meet. I had a chance to meet Stan Lee and totally side-stepped it because I didn’t want to meet him and it turn out he’s an asshole.
1st: Are you a writer, artist, or both?
NICK: Writers ARE artists. I kid. I kid. I’m a writer that letters when he has to and does logo work/graphic design for Rexco’s IP.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: I’m a writer. Which I think always confuses filthy casuals. They don’t think people write comics, I guess. It keeps my ego in check, at least.
1st: One of your many creations is Fight of the Century. What can you tell the readers about this comic? Where is it available? How can the reader get a copy or many copies if interested.
NICK: Fight of the Century A.K.A. FotC is a thriller that’s high-octane with a sci-fi brain. A classic kung fu story in a futuristic athletic setting. We’re looking at the sports world through the black mirror, focusing on a man swept into the culture of bigger, faster, stronger and what it means to go against the grain. We’re reveling in the world of sports – which is rare in American comics – and filling it with a lot of real-world influences. I hope anyone that’s ever competed in a sport will be able to relate to FotC on some level.
You can get the last copies of issues 1-3 at www.rexco-comics.com. Then the series enters a chrysalis until it reemerges in the DM next year with Second Sight Publishing. We don’t have a lot of copies, so I suggest you beat the fans to them before we appear at Awesomecon in August. Otherwise, there’s digital floppies. We do have a triple pack of the series thus far which has been quite popular.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: Everything Nick said. It’s what we’ve taken to calling “biopunk.” The close cousin of cyberpunk. The books is about what happens to the concept of winning and losing when everyone has a biohack that gives them an advantage. The elevator pitch is its Rocky meets Akira meets David and Goliath meets Frankenstein. That’s not an exaggeration.
1rst: I want to say Congratulations on the signing with Secondsight Publishing. What can you tell your fans about Secondsight and the projects going forward?
NICK: Thank you so much for that. And this interview while we’re on it. Well, I’ve known of them for a while and they’ve been doing amazing work in the DM. I’ve known Marcus and Bradley for a bit and when they approached Troy and I, we were both very excited. They’re a smart publisher. Doing business the right way. Which is ultimately why we decided to join the team. It’s been wonderful so far. Publishing is a big hat to take off and we’re glad to get to focus on telling a great story and getting it collected and in the hands of the Fight Fans.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: It’s funny how things work out. I remember the initial wave of Second Sight. This second wave is the good kind of aggressive. Which is perfect for a comic about MMA.
1st: What can you tell the reader about FairSquare Comics and Rexco? Any links you wanna share?
NICK: Well, Fairsquare Comics is a publisher I had the pleasure of working with recently that is responsible for the wildly successful Noir Is The New Black Anthology. I had the pleasure to reunite with my longtime friend and collaborator, Mervyn McKoy on a six-pager that will directly link into a follow up project about Queen Nanny of The Maroons.
Rexco is the name Troy and I published Fight of the Century under as well as other projects we have brewing. I think everyone these days should have a label that they can create from. Create the Culture is the company’s slogan.
1st: Have been doing a lot of conventions lately? Any advice for convention goers and fans?
NICK: Not at all. The real life hunger games we’ve been living in have taken the lion share of my time. I barely have the time to write. Personally, I’ll have germ-x and have masks in this post-pandemic con scene we’re stepping into. I’m also fully vaxxed, So I’ll be ready hopefully for whatever comes our way. 2022 is when we should be back at shows full force.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: I just told Nick the other day that I’m not going to a convention until 2022. I have the vaccine now, but nowhere in the Pfizer description did it say that the vaccine can combat “nerd flu.” For all we know, COVID could have started at a comic con. The convention industrial complex just doesn’t want you to know.
1st: What advice can you give to anyone interested in getting into comics?
NICK: Writers write. So if you’re a writer you just have to just do it. Build up a thick skin. Go to shows and meet people. Having a partner and friends that can help you is always a bonus. Doing it alone will have you talking to inanimate objects like tom hanks in castaway. If you’re going solo, at least get outside every once in a while and talk to other people about comics.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: Get off Twitter and just make some shit. You’ll figure it out.
1st: If you could work with anyone in the comics industry, who would it be?
NICK: That’s a hard question for me because I’m a fan of so many people and they all have special talents and bring unique skills. I think it would be interesting to see what I could do with an artist like Frank Cho. He’s a master storyteller. And I think our humor would pair well together. Maybe some Maryland magic, lol.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: I have several somebodies in mind. But I’m not going to jinx it.
1st: Can you tell your fans what projects are coming up in the future that we haven’t covered.
NICK: Well, I have the historical fantasy about Nanny of the Maroons in the pipeline. I also have a book I’m producing called Speeders by Nate Hill and Mervyn McKoy. There’s some more incipient stuff, but nothing worth mentioning, yet.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: I did a free MF DOOM tribute comic with artist Smack!. You can pretty much find it on any of my social media. DOOM was a big influence for me. I didn’t even realize how much until after he passed away.
I’m also actively concluding my nerds vs. jocks wrasslin’ webcomic, BAMN. That has been a long process, but I’m getting the artwork from co-creator Jay Payne and its loaded with violence…so I’m happy. Beyond that, it’s officially time to just branch out. Nick and I will finish Fight of the Century, of course. But I’m looking forward to embracing some of the insane stories I’ve been sitting on for literally years. I’ve been writing about comics and co-creating with others for quite some time. Time to just dump out my headbasket and let these other crazy ideas loose on an unsuspecting public. You’ll see.
1st: Thanks so much, this has been amazing. Are there any shout outs, groups or links you want to mention we haven’t covered in this interview? Thanks and keep on creating!
NICK: I’d like to say hi to the wife and kids (Tracy, Russ, Liv) and the rest of my family. Shout out to the dream team that makes it possible including Julius, Thiago, Bryan, Mervyn, etc. And definitely thanks to second sight for making this happen.
TROY-JEFFREY ALLEN: I want to thank the Direct Market, actually. I came into Diamond Comic Distributors as a a fan and former comic shop manager. The industry has been very good to me on nearly every level. I meet retailers at cons and they are some of the nicest, enthusiastic, and wonderfully weird people. People complain about comics a lot online, but the reality for me is that I’ve never felt more at home while on the job. I’m stupid fortunate to be doing what I love.