A life-long lover of films and graphic novels, College of Arts & Letters alumnus Greg Wright is using his Ph.D. in Contemporary American Literature and Film from Michigan State University as a successful comic book writer.
The author of the graphic novels Wild Bullets and Monstrous first considered writing screenplays after earning his Ph.D. in 2007, but soon discovered he enjoyed writing graphic novels even more.
“In my dissertation, I wrote about theory behind adaptation and how movies get adapted to books,” Wright said. “Now, I am having this very real experience of breaking down a story, analyzing the characters of a television show, and telling a new, original story in an adaptation.”
Wright incorporates his love for writing screenplays into the comic book process by writing his graphic novels in a format similar to the screenplay style. After he writes a graphic novel, an artist is hired to design the picture elements, colors and letters that accompany the script.
“When I get the sketches back from the artists, they almost never look exactly how I think it’s going to look, and that’s part of the excitement. It’s a lot of fun because they come up with something that I haven’t expected,” Wright said.
His favorite part of comic book writing is seeing one of his finished products for the first time.
There’s really nothing like being the first person to see how great the art looks and know that it’s going to be a great book that somebody is going to be excited about.
“All of the parts of the process are gratifying to me, but there’s really nothing like being the first person to see how great the art looks and know that it’s going to be a great book that somebody is going to be excited about,” he said.
Wright credits all the experiences he had on MSU’s campus with helping him to explore new interests. One of his favorite parts of campus is the Michigan State Library, particularly the Comic Art Collection. With more than 200,000 comic books, including American comic books, newspaper comic strips, foreign comic books, and more, the Comic Art Collection is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world.
“It’s very exciting to me to think about how much value MSU puts on something that means so much to me,” Wright said. “I would love to have my own work wind up there someday.”
Wright’s most recent work, Holliston: Friendship is Tragic, a graphic novel based on the American sitcom Holliston, has been so popular that a sequel was announced one month after the first installment hit shelves.
“I enjoy the show and I enjoy writing for these characters and living in a horror-comedy world,” Wright said. “I get a bit fan-boyish about it. Even now it’s very exciting for me to think about the fact that this is something really cool that I get to do.”
The sequel graphic novel, Holliston: Carnival of Carnage, will hit shelves sometime this year.
Written by Alexandria Drzazgowski, Professional Writing Major