An interview with Sean E Williams

For those of us not familiar with your work, tell us how you first got into writing, and what works have influenced you the most?

I actually got into writing without really realizing it, by playing a play-by-email STAR TREK role-playing game in high school. Back then, I was focused on directing theatre and film, but, looking back, it was the first seeds of my writing career. As far as influences go, I’m a huge fan of epics, so getting to write one in the FABLES universe is pretty fantastic.

As a Minnesotan myself, how crazy is it that both you and FABLES creator Bill Willingham both call southern Minnesota home? How has the local comic book community (creators/fan base) impacted your career?

Funny you should ask… My wife actually got a job in the area, which drew us away from Los Angeles. Having Bill nearby was a bonus, as he’s impossible to get a hold of on the phone, so being able to drive over and knock on his door was definitely an incentive. The Twin Cities have such a great comics community that I didn’t even know about until I got out here, but once I did, it’s been great getting to know everyone.

Does Minnesota Nice really exist?

From what I’ve experienced, I think it does. It probably comes from having to survive these horrible winters together. It brings the best out in people. On the flip side, there’s definitely also Minnesota Ice, which is that nice-to-your-face/talk-behind-your-back thing that Minnesotans like to do. Then again, people do that everywhere, but I think Minnesotans like the Nice/Ice rhyming scheme.

Nowadays, it seems like superheroes are everywhere: movies, t-shirts, TV, etc. But just because someone goes to see a superhero movie, doesn’t mean they’ve read the comics before. What book would you give someone who hasn’t read a comic book before?

Honestly, FABLES. It’s an easy entry point, as it’s characters that people know already. Oh, and Bendis and Oeming’s POWERS, which has the superhero shorthand, but is super-smart about it. Those two books got me back into comics. If it worked for me, I can be pretty confident that it’ll work for others as well.

Besides FAIREST by DC comics, you also have your creator-owned book, ARTFUL DAGGERS, distributed monthly by Monkeybrain comics, as a digital only format. What is ARTFUL DAGGERS about, and how has the response been?

ARTFUL DAGGERS is published as a digital-first by Monkeybrain Comics, on comiXology. It’s set fifty years after Mark Twain’s A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT, so technology and sciences have evolved this medieval setting, and corporations have replaced all the kingdoms throughout England. Our story follows a mercenary named Arden, who’s hired by the corporations to undermine their competition. It’s spies, swords, and science, basically. The third issue came out May 8th, and the response from readers has been great, and it’s a universe we love playing in.

In the spirit of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” and the Bernard Pivot questions asked of every guest, we have our own set of questions we ask of every interviewee.

When did you finally say, “Yeah… I’m gonna write stuff for a living. And it will be AWESOME.”

I think it was when I finished my first prose manuscript, and I said “That wasn’t so bad.” Prose is the hardest form of writing that I’ve experienced by far, as it’s a marathon for a month or more of writing for hours every day. Getting through that, I realized I could tell any story I wanted, and it was an invigorating revelation.

What was your favorite moment in comics writing? The moment that when you read it on the page, you smiled and said, “That was so cool!”


Writing the last page of FAIREST #15 was an experience, and it still makes me smile every time I read it, even though I’ve known for two years that it’s coming.

What was the moment that made you say, “Writing books is amazing”?

When I realized that I could reach an audience directly, and that I didn’t have to ask for permission or money to do so.

Our standard Beatles or Rolling Stones question: Batman or Superman?

Batman. I could never relate to Superman. Plus I like flawed heroes more than clean-cut ones.

Parting thoughts?

I’m just grateful to be a part of such an awesome community of readers and creators. Comics are welcoming by their very nature, and to experience that first hand has confirmed that I’ve finally found where I want to be.

 To learn more about Sean, check out his blog.