Recently, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Aubrey Sitterson, writer of Street Fighter X G.I. Joe, to discuss his current projects, advice for young writers, and, of course, Street Fighter X G.I. Joe. The second issue for Street Fighter X G.I. Joe hits selves this week, and trust me you will absolutely love it. It was an absolute pleasure to have the chance to pick Aubrey Sitterson’s brain about all the things that he is passionate about.
For those who don’t know who you are, tell us about yourself, and your work?
I’m a comics writer! Among other things! I’ve worked for Marvel, DC, Image, Oni & Viz, and I also wrote the graphic novel Worth for the folks at Roddenberry. That said: Street Fighter x G.I. Joe is most definitely my biggest – and best – comics work to date.
In addition to my comics work, I also do a couple of popular podcasts. The first is a weekly, serialized sword & sorcery show called SKALD, and the second is The World’s Smartest Rasslin Talk Show, STRAIGHT SHOOT. I’m thinking that my love for fantasy and wrestling shouldn’t come as a surprise to people who’ve already checked out SFxJoe #1.
The project actually began with Capcom. Having seen what amazing work IDW has done with crossovers in the past – especially the absolutely bonkersamazing Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli & John Barber – they were interested in putting something together to come out around the release of Street Fighter V. IDW, knowing my background with and fondness for fight-based storytelling, came to me for a pitch. I sold them on the single elimination tournament, King of the Ring style approach you see in the book, and from there it was just a matter of our awesome editor Carlos Guzman assembling the blisteringly awesome art team of Emilio Laiso & David Garcia Cruz.
Seriously…can you believe these guys’ stuff? With their understanding of anatomy, motion and light, and their unparalleled ability to communicate character through body language and facial expressions, they are the absolute right people for this book.
Is there anything that you are willing to give us, storyline-wise that is, with where the Street Fighter X GI Joe series is headed?
Well, I certainly don’t want to give anything away, but I will say this: Pay attention. Most savvy readers have already picked up on it, but despite the fact that the issues are almost entirely fight-scenes, we’re weaving a ton of story, plot and character into each one. Things aren’t entirely what they seem and every character in the book has an angle that they’re working. I think that fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with the the book’s complexity as things unfold. And if you aren’t seeing it yet…I’d give the issue another read.
Are there any other projects, on the comics side of things, that you are currently working on?
Of course! Right now I’ve got one final issue of Street Fighter x G.I. Joe to script, and I’m already prepping for my next big IDW assignment, as well as a book at another publisher. Unfortunately, editors and PR folks alike would go ape if I started talking about either one of them now, but I think fans of mine will greet both of the eventual announcements with a hearty, “Yes, of course that’s what he’s working on next.” You’re gonna love them. Seriously.
What advice would you give to young and upcoming writers?
I think that a lot of times, people get caught up trying to write what they think other people want and what they think will get them money, fame and acclaim. Thing is, not only are the odds on that happening absolutely terrible, but there are already so many people out there that create from that place of calculating cynicism. My advice is to leave that stuff to the beancounters and instead, create something that you want, something that you feel the world is missing, something you think the world is poorer for not containing. Ultimately, it will serve you much better in the long-run – both financially and spiritually – than chasing trends.
Switching gears a bit, I’m willing to admit, I used to be a avid wrestling fan, and grew up watching both WWF (now the WWE), as well as WCW. I hear that you host the “Straight Shoot” series, which is strictly dedicated to the world of professional wrestling. Would you mind telling us a bit about the series?
I’d love to! Along with comics, heavy metal, fantasy and pizza, professional wrestling is one of my biggest passions. Unfortunately, as popular as professional wrestling continues to be, there’s a serious dearth of smart, insightful discussion of it – the bulk of it is angry, cynical, mean and only interested in rattling off things they don’t like. STRAIGHT SHOOT is my attempt to course correct the dialogue around professional wrestling, as I’m much more interested in asking my guests “What did you love and why was it good?” than “What did you hate?”
Best of all, it’s not just me rambling! I welcome a procession of awesome guests, including actors, comedians, musicians, former WWE creative team members, writers about wrestling and prominent independent wrestlers. This Sunday, right after WrestleMania, I’ve got Roderick Strong & Josh Alexander returning to the show! New episodes of STRAIGHT SHOOT are recorded live every Thursday night on YouTube, and then also get posted to iTunes, Stitcher & Podomatic. Head to aubreysitterson.com for links to everything!
Anything else you’d like to plug?
How about my aforementioned sword & sorcery serial, SKALD? I tell people that it’s “Like Conan, as told by the Ultimate Warrior,” but that’s only scratching the surface. It’s a brutal, nihilistic, uncompromising, psychedelic fantasy tale. If you like Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, or the Witcher and Dark Souls games, you are going to absolutely love SKALD. Likewise, if you dig my work on Street Fighter x G.I. Joe, you should definitely give SKALD a try – there’s a ton of fighting (naturally) and a lot of complexity lurking beneath the surface for anyone who wants to find it. I’d recommend just jumping in with the most recent episode, as while the story is serialized, each part works as a great jumping on point.
SKALD is like an ongoing comic book series, but one where I have complete freedom to do whatever I want, and one that you can listen to while you’re driving or working out. And here’s the most impressive part: I record each 30+ minute episode in one, single, flawless take. SKALD is available on iTunes, Stitcher & Podomatic, or linked up everywhere on aubreysitterson.com. And if listening to a story isn’t your thing, you can pick up the SKALD prose volumes on Amazon – they’re only $2.99 each!