John Jackson Miller: The Origin Story...
What happens if your mother never throws your comics books away?
Then you, too, can spend your career strip-mining your childhood!
Faraway Press is home to yours truly, John Jackson Miller, writer of comics, books, games, and nonfiction works about those things.
I'm a New York Times bestselling author, having written several Star Wars novels from Random House/Del Rey including Star Wars: A New Dawn, the first work created in conjunction with the new Lucasfilm Story Group. My bestseller Star Wars: Kenobi won the 2014 Scribe Award for Best Original Tie-In Novel – Speculative Fiction.
I also wrote Star Wars: Knight Errant, Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith, as well as twenty graphic novels, including ten Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic volumes. Originally published by Dark Horse, they're now in rerelease from Marvel.
My first Star Trek novel, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, was released in 2015 by Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, for whom I'm writing the Star Trek: Prey trilogy of novels for release in 2016. I've also written for my own science-fiction universe in Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, a setting which has associated short stories available as well.
My comics work has included Marvel Comics' Iron Man, Bongo Comics' Simpsons, and Mass Effect and Conan stories for Dark Horse Comics. I also wrote the comics adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
In games, my work includes writing for the Star Wars Role-Playing Game and reference guides including the Scrye Collectible Card Game Checklist & Price Guide.
In non-fiction, my research specialties include studies into comic-book circulation history, which in 2002 spawned the first of four Standard Catalog of Comic Books volumes. I've also edited magazines including Comics Buyer's Guide, Comics & Games Retailer, and Scrye: The Guide to Collectible Card Games, serving also as Collectibles Editorial Director and later, Interactive Media Editorial Director for F+W Publications. Since that time, I have continued my research interests on my other website, Comichron.
With a master's in comparative politics from Louisiana State University, I've sought to play on international and political elements in my fiction and games. I hold a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, where I served as editor for The Daily Beacon eons ago. Before that, I was active in the fanzine and minicomics community, the 20th century equivalent of webzines and webcomics.
This site provides behind-the-scenes information about my works, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Here are some now...
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where can I find out more about your upcoming work?
I try to get pages online here soon after their solicitations are made public, but I can't reveal more information than the publishers have. I do try to link to interviews when they appear. I also have a blog — the feed is here on the front page, but you can access the whole thing at FarawayLooks.com. Readers can also follow me on Twitter at @jjmfaraway — and on Facebook here.
How do I get copies of your work?
Many pages here include links to comics retail sites, Things From Another World, and and Amazon.com, where my books are sold. Also, a limited number of autographed copies are available directly from me in the Shop.
What's the origin of your Faraway Press studio name? Is it Star Wars?
Ironically, no. I wrote a small press comics series by the name Faraway Looks -- one of the collections is here -- and also a column for Comics Buyer's Guide by that name in the 1990s. I took the name from a reference in a Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge story. My later connection to Star Wars is completely coincidental, but it's a fun coincidence.
What was the first comic book you ever read?
I would've been six years old at the time, so I don't quite remember—but I have tended to think it was probably a Gold Key comic book, possibly an Uncle Scrooge. The first "grown-up" comic book I ever read — meaning, not funny-animal or Richie Rich — was Marvel's Star Wars #1 in 1977. I was nine.
What's easier to write, comics or prose? Which do you prefer?
There are different toolkits for doing each; some stories are just more suited for comics and some for prose. I enjoy writing both about the same and have tried to do a mix.
How many times did you see the original Star Wars in the theater?
Four. Once during the initial release, two more times during the rereleases, and one time for the Special Edition. Once it hit HBO in 1983 I saw it 25 times in the first month.
What's the movie you've seen the most times in the theater?
Tim Burton's Batman, from 1989, which I saw 12 times. I was bored that summer!
Where do you answer questions about comic book circulation history?
Over at Comichron. I may not have the answers, but often someone reading the site does.
Are you the same John J. Miller who wrote the Wild Cards novels?
Nope — nor am I the John J. Miller who writes for National Review. Sure are a lot of us out there!
Did you go to high school with The Nerdist?
This one's true. Chris Hardwick was a freshman at my Memphis high school when I was a senior; he was my assigned underclassman to torture during Freshman Initiation Week. (I hated hazings so I cut him loose after a day.) It was easy to tell he would be a talented humorist.
Do you make convention and store appearances?
Occasionally, as time and travel allow; visit my events page to contact me. That is also the temporary address for interviewers; questions from the general public can simply be posted in the blog. No promises that I'll be able to answer, but I do read them!
Can you critique/help me get published my story set in the Star Wars/Star Trek/fill-in-the-blank universe?
I'm sorry, but for legal reasons, I do not read fanfiction or outside story ideas associated with any franchise that I either am writing for or might write for in the future. (So please don't send your materials; I can't look at them.) Almost all tie-in fiction is invitation-only anyway; most publishers are contractually prevented from looking at ideas from outside. Certainly, write what you enjoy: but in general, the best way to get invited to write for official publication in a licensed franchise is to build a reputation as a writer of your own characters and properties first.
Can you critique/help me get published my story set in my own universe?
I'm afraid my time limitations don't allow for that. But there are many professionals and communities online that work with aspiring writers — and I do run seminars at various conventions.
Do you ever get tired of reading comics?
I get tired of carrying comics — which is why collectors loathe moving so much!