Saturday, February 24, 2018
Home  >  Features  >  SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Joe Khachadourian (Co-Creator of IDENTITY)



Guest contributor Mark Dickson interviews Joe Khachadourian, A.K.A. our very own Joe Kach, about his newest comic book creation, IDENTITY, with artist Ruairí Coleman!


Creator-owned independent comics are a dime-a-dozen and it’s often difficult to isolate the ones that are worth your attention; you’re often required to go on word of mouth alone. Alternatively, getting to know the creators behind a project can help to build up faith that they’re capable of creating a quality product. This Spotlight Interview has been put together to help you get to know an up-and-coming creator and let them sell themselves.

IDENTITY is an upcoming release from two creators: writer Joe Khachadourian and artist Ruairí Coleman. It follows Hollywood stuntman, Sami Nassar, as his world is turned upside down when he is mistakenly identified as the alter ego of a local vigilante. Joe Khachadourian was kind enough to sit down with me for a Spotlight piece and discuss how he started as a writer and what he hopes to achieve with this project.





Joe creates comics

He enjoys reading them too



Mark Dickson: Let’s begin at the beginning: have you always wanted to be a writer? What made you want to head down this path?

Joe Khachadourian: I don’t know if I’d say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer – I’ve always wanted to be a creator. For the majority of my creative life, I’ve had more aspirations towards art. But, as time went by, and the years grew shorter, I found that writing was what I was able to dedicate most of my free time to. Most of my professional training was in the writing arena so it’s a better fit. However, I find both sketching and writing to be cathartic and relaxing.

What literature have you previously created?

A few plays that I wrote were performed in San Diego and I also had a short run as a script doctor. On top of that, I’ve scripted and drawn some short stories for a few comic book anthologies over the years, including Tales From The Edge at Enigma Press. I had some interest in an animated web series that I created with some friends called State of Unconsciousness, but that never got off the ground; I’d love to re-approach that one some day. I suppose my biggest claim to fame would be a one-page short story published through IDW’s Transformers Mosaic project. 

I’m also an Executive Editor at – A Comics Website and have had the opportunity to interview many wonderful actors, writers, and artists. I’m active there as a contributor and editor (under the pen name of “Joe Kach”), providing columns, reviews, and so forth. That’s where most people know me from. Hopefully, soon, it’ll be for more than that.

What is it that you enjoy about writing comics over other forms of literature?

I think it comes down to the collaborative process. Similar to playwriting or screenwriting, it’s writing in a way that lends itself to a joint view, if that makes sense. Some of my strongest moments of joy come from getting an email attachment with another artist’s representation of my words. It also allows for short bursts of creativity. I imagine I’d struggle trying to write a full-length novel, for example.




Do you have any significant attachments to any currently ongoing titles?

Currently? Not really. I am pretty far behind in most of my comics reading. I still don’t know who won … the Avengers or the X-Men? The one title I am caught up with is The Walking Dead, so if that implies an attachment, we’ll go with that. 

A current series that I get excited to dive back into any time I pick up a new graphic novel is the New 52 relaunch of Batman– superheroics done right! I also love the Blacksad books put out by Dark Horse, but those are every few years. I’d say the comic book series I have most emotional attachment to is Preacher, but of course that’s no longer ongoing. The Flash TV series is quite good, if that counts!

Who approached who about teaming up and creating IDENTITY? Was it a collaborative process? 

That depends on how you look at it: I put out some feelers online looking for an artist or team, based on my character designs, script, and notes. A few people reached out, including Ruairí. There’s lots of great artists out there, so I encourage any up-and-coming writers to utilize that fact! Ruairí’s artwork really spoke to me. His anime-influenced style is one of my favorites, and we bonded over our love of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

He’s also a consummate professional. Once we decided to work together, it definitely became a collaborative process. We’ve made a number of changes to the story based on his thoughts and ideas, and it’s really flourished. I’m constantly in awe of his pages and the book wouldn’t be nearly as strong without him. Team-ups: it’s the best part of comics! I also want to give a shout out to Sam Moyerman, who helped me flesh out aspects of the first issue, and to our fantastic colorist, Tim Brown. Woot!




Do you have any artistic talent or do you sit and admire Ruairi’s creations from the sidelines?

I do have some talent, but I’m loathe to use the word “talent” to describe myself in the same sentence as Ruairí. That said, I admire everything Ruairí does from the sidelines or otherwise. I designed the lead characters; Ruairi brought them to life and designed the others. I do love to draw though, so I’ll have a pin-up in the first or second issue! When I first came up with IDENTITY, the plan was for me to draw it myself. But that would have ended up being an incomplete disaster.

What’s a deep, dark secret about Ruairí that he wouldn’t want to get out?

The man has been known to have long, philosophical conversations with this dog, but I suppose that’s not so bad. I’m more concerned about his unhealthy attachment to Dean Cain.

Everyone has the story of the comic that got them hooked on the medium. What’s yours?

Geez, this is hard; I grew up reading comics. Living in the Middle East, it’s how I got a lot of my entertainment and helped me learn English. I still remember my first comic, Green Lantern #175 by Len Wein & Dave Gibbons. The story that got me hooked, that turned me into a comic book fanatic wasn’t even a comic. It was the 1989 Batman film. I loved it so much my mom bought me a copy of The Dark Knight Returns collection on our way home from the theater and the rest is history.




(This interview was reprinted with the permission of The Green Gorcrow and was initially published at this link.)


More Spotlights on MightyVille:

By Plane, by Train, and by Foot - Our First Journey to Midtown Comics!

Mighty Artist Spotlight: Ruairi Coleman

Mighty Artist Spotlight: Sam Bentley


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