QSFer Joel Craig has a new gay sci fi graphic novel out:
Broke actors Joel Craig and Stephen Foster have just had the break of a lifetime, series regular roles on The Julianne Moore and Madonna Half Hour Comedy Show. But during the filming of the show Madonna is kidnapped by Mae Dunaway, the evil twin sister of Faye Dunaway, and whisked away into a science fiction alternate parallel universe. Joel and Stephen are in hot pursuit in efforts to rescue Madonna from the evil clutches of Mae and get help from some new friends along the way in the city of Gaytopia. Will Stephen and Joel rescue Madonna?
Find out in this graphic novel that will put you on the edge of your seats and leave you wanting more.
J. Scott Coatsworth: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Joel Craig: An actor. I loved Star Wars and Dallas. I wanted to be Han Solo and Sue Ellen Ewing. But I loved watching Bobby (Patrick Duffy) swim in the South Fork pool.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
JC: I started writing plays after I moved to Los Angeles. I wrote a play called Mrs. Beasley for a theater company I started with my friends. The theater company was called, “Off Hollywood.” We performed in plays we wrote ourselves. Then about ten years later, my friend, Stephen Foster who was one of the co-founders of “Off Hollywood” read this screenplay I showed him that I had years ago and hidden away in a drawer. Stephen said, “Hey, let’s film this as a web series.” I said, “Sure,” so we both re-wrote the script and shot it. If you want to watch it, just go to youtube and type What’s My Intention web series. That was a lot of fun to film.
After What’s My Intention, I shifted gears and wrote the graphic novel, Journey To Gaytopia, about these actors named Stephen and Joel (basically ourselves) who get cast on the Julianne Moore and Madonna Half Hour Comedy Show but Madonna gets kidnapped by Mae Dunaway, the evil twin sister of Faye Dunaway and taken into an alternative parallel science fiction universe. Stephen and I are sent there to rescue her. That was fun to write. We were able to fly in space ships, shoot guns without killing anyone, and fall from high places without injuring ourselves since the gravity is different on the planet Zerock where Gaytopia is located.
JSC: Describe yourself using… ( a food, a book, a song, a movie, an animal, a drink, a place etc)
JC: food – a homemade healthy veggie pizza (health conscious but just the right amount of cheese)
a book – Drinking At The Movies (because I am an artist and have travelled to a large city to be a creative person and have had all kinds of adventures and awakenings)
a movie – Waiting For Huffman definitely
an animal – a black panther
a drink – espresso
also I could have been a court jester in another life
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
JC: For Journey To Gaytopia, it is a graphic novel. It is a humorous science fiction/science fantasy kind of.
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
JC: I wish I had a writing habit because then I’d write more. Superstitions.
Superstitions, I don’t think so. In fact, a black cat crossing my path is good luck for me. I used to have a black cat named Tallulah but she’s no longer with us.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
JC: My first work published (by me) was a graphic memoir called, Welcome To Nursing HELLo, an irreverent tell-it-like-it-is true story of my first few years working in a hospital as a registered nurse. After my theater company, “Off Hollywood” disbanded, I became a registered nurse (RN). At that time I first started to draw cartoons.?The pictures aren’t that detailed in the book, but I still get my story across. The writing with the drawings, in my opinion, is the right combination for others to get a feel for my sometimes hilarious/sometimes scary stories. I wrote the book because I needed a creative outlet. I was unable to perform theater anymore since I had to work every other weekend, and some evenings and nights. Before Nursing Hello was a book it was a series of zines (a zine is a noncommercial often homemade publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter.) A nursing story told in a series of cartoons was unconventional.
JSC: If I were a Hollywood producer about to put your book on the big screen, who would you want me to cast as the leads? Why?
JC: Of course myself, Julianne Moore, Madonna, Stephen Foster, my friend who is an actor and a comedic genius, my husband, Donovan Holden who is also in Journey To Gaytopia and Kathy Taylor as the character, Cat. Cat is an older lady that helps Stephen and I in Gaytopia to rescue Madonna. Kathy is a writer herself under the pseudonym, Juliet Montague.
But if I was not available, I would cast Matt Bomer as my character. He is really sexy. And Diane Lane would be cast as the Cat character. Donovan would be played by Denis Quaid. Stephen would have to play himself. There is absolutely no one else like him. If Leslie Jordan had a son, Stephen would be the son.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
JC: Basically when I have an idea for a story I write out everything in my brain, including descriptions, dialogue, everything. Then I re-write and re-write and re-write. With a graphic novel I do rough drawings with dialogue. Then I do the whole process again refining the writing and the details of the drawings even further. It takes a long time, especially for someone like me who works a full time job to pay the bills.
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
JC: It would be Halloween II day about six months behind October 31. But people would get a tax break for wearing a costume the entire day. That way more people would dress up and they’d wear their costumes to work.
Also I’d make a holiday where people have to treat everyone else with dignity and respect, treating others the way they want to be treated. I don’t know what you would call it, maybe the Golden Rule Day.
JSC: If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
JC: The Emperor in Return of The Jedi. He was just evil. He was more evil and scarier than Snook or whatever you call the new emperor in the new Star Wars VII and VIII. I would have killed him the second he started shooting electricity from his hands.
JSC: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
JC: Maybe Douglas Adams who wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I would like him to share in detail his writing habits, where his ideas come from. And Tennessee Williams and ask him if he is more like Blanche Dubois, Maggie the Cat, or the Princess Kosmonopolis from Sweet Bird of Youth.
JSC: If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose, and why?
JC: The year after high school graduation. I would come out to LA and try to get into TV when I looked really really young while taking animation classes at UCLA.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
JC: A notebook and pen. That counts as one right? The complete works of Stephen King. I would never run out of reading material. And a fishing pole so I could eat.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
JC: I used to wet the bed up until sixth grade. I didn’t want to spend the night at friends because I was embarrassed and spending the night with friends and staying up to watch scary movies was one of my favorite things to do as a kid. Then without doing anything, I just stopped. Maybe my bladder got bigger.
JSC: Tell me about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
JC: I like to binge watch the TV show, Daria.
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
JC: I loved books. I loved reading mysteries. Also, “Choose Your Own Adventure.” But I read a lot of Star Wars comic books. I loved those.
JSC: What action would your name be if it were a verb?
JC: I got Joeled. That means the person is laughing hysterically from some story I told.
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
JC: Gaytopia because the city is full of beautiful gay men, no one gets gay bashed, the city is futuristic looking, and full of creative types, such as actors, writers, directors, painters. Oh, but also I would really really love to live on Cloud City that was in The Empire Strikes Back. I liked the orange pink sunsets and those twin pod flying machines people used.
JSC: What fictional speculative fiction character would you like to spend an evening with and why?
JC: Han Solo or Buck Rogers. Han Solo because he is sexy, flies the Millennium Falcon, and he has Chewbacca with him all the time.
Buck Rogers because he wears a tight outfit and he lives on the futuristic earth in New Chicago. That’s what I remember from the 1970’s TV show. I’ve always wondered what the future Earth will be like. It can’t be all post apocalyptic, Mad Max type.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names?
JC: Mia and Horatio.
JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
JC: I was an artist model. The first time I ever modeled was in college for this alumni class from some neighboring college. The class were these white headed older women and that was kind of weird. But years later I got my chance to be a naked extra in the Del Shores film, Sordid Lives. And I was naked in front of Bonnie Bedelia who was dressed like a Southern conservative church going mother. But if I didn’t have the artist model experience I would not have been prepared for my movie shoot.
JSC: What’s your greatest weakness as a writer?
JC: I don’t write enough. Also, I’m very lazy with my grammar.
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
JC: I would kill Mae Dunaway, the evil twin sister of Faye Dunaway. I’d kill her because she’s evil and tries to kill Madonna to put her in fountain of youth potion.
Fuck? Any of those men from Gaytopia who saved us after the airship we were in crashed into a building. They are kind of like hot firemen.
Fuck and marry? Donovan Holden, a character in Gaytopia and my real life husband and he’s sexy.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
JC: I guess the past because I know a little what to expect. I would want to visit San Francisco in the 1970’s.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
JC: Two things. I have been learning animation software so I can turn Journey To Gaytopia into an animated series. I really need an animator but until I find one I will do what I can myself. That might be another year before I have a trailer for the series. The second thing is working on a “Choose your own adventure” for Journey To Gaytopia. Maybe in six months that would be ready.
JOEL CRAIG is a writer and actor living in Los Angeles. He lives with his husband, Donovan Holden, who is a musician. “Journey To Gaytopia” is Joel’s second graphic novel. His previous work was “Welcome To Nursing HELLo, a Graphic Memoir.”
He is also an actor, having appeared in the films, “Sideshow” and as a naked extra in “Sordid Lives” and the web series he co-wrote with C. Stephen Foster called “What’s My Intention at www.youtube.com/whatsmyintention where Joel plays Josh Harrison, an actor/nurse in aging alcoholic actress, Stella’s class. You can check for updates at www.andJoelCraig.com.