Reading Comics With…Patrick Rothfuss

I’m always trying to get more people into reading comics for the first time but it can be a struggle as some regard it as just one genre (superheroes) and not a medium. Some people don’t know about the variety of stories being told and the different ways to tell a story that are unique to the medium. I regularly review comics and talk about them often on my podcast, but my opinion only carries so much weight.

Last year I contacted several fantasy authors to lend a hand by talking about their experiences with comic books, how they into reading comics and what they are currently enjoying at present. This week Tor.com will be running those short interviews.

Today features Patrick Rothfuss, the author of critically acclaimed, The Name of the Wind, an amazing epic fantasy and part one of the Kingkiller Chronicle. The second part of the trilogy, The Wise Man’s Fear was released this March and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Stephen Aryan: When did you first get into reading comics?

Patrick Rothfuss: I think it was about 10-15 years ago. I was at one of those all-weekend parties that seem to happen in college and nowhere else. Everyone was running around, having fun, drinking, I was a little burned out, so I sat down and saw a copy of The Dark Knight Returns. I wasn’t feeling particularly social at the moment, so I picked it up and started reading it.

Three hours later I looked up and saw the party was still in full swing. I started walking around, holding out the comic and saying, “Whose is this? Do you know who brought this?”

Finally someone told me that it belonged to my friend Brad. I knew he was the comic book geek of the group, but I didn’t hold it against him.

I went up to him with the comic and asked, “Is it all this good?”

He shook his head. “No, but some of it is pretty close.” Then he gave me Watchmen. I’ve been a comic reader ever since.

What comics are you currently reading?

I follow a lot of series. Fables. Girl Genius. Echo. I don’t do many superhero comics. I’m not like, “Oooh! I need every Green Lantern ever!” because a Green Lantern story written by an idiot is just going to irritate me.

For that reason I follow authors more than characters. I’ll pick up anything written my Morrison, Ellis, Ennis, Willingham, Gaiman, Carey…and Whedon of course. His recent X-Men was brilliant.

What is your favourite comic at the moment and why?

It’s hard to beat The Dark Knight Returns. For a series? Sandman or Transmetropolitan.

Are there any new comics that you are particularly looking forward to?

Not particularly. I’m looking forward to the next trades in the series that I’m following. But I don’t really actively follow what’s coming up. I just stop by the comic shop every week or two and see if anything new looks good.


Stephen Aryan is a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction and fantasy. He co-hosts the Comic Book Outsiders podcast and writes fantasy and comic book reviews at Walker of Worlds.

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