Verbatim: Rus Wooton

Rus Wooton, 41, does lettering for comic books, including for Marvel. But he’s not just about words for someone else’s work — he also draws and designs his own comics, and dreams of seeing his strips make it big on the Internet.

How’d you join the crip club?
I was surfing at Daytona Beach in October 1990 in some pretty rough, choppy water. The waves were pretty close to the shore and in an instant, I was swept under the water. Lifeguards saw me floating in the water and pulled me out, and although I wasn’t breathing, I did have a faint pulse. The ICU at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona became my residence for a little less than six weeks, and thanks to some
surgery, I’m now a functional C6 quad.

When did you start conquering the world?
The day in rehab where I took my brand new sketchbook, loosened my arm and drew without thinking. My hands weren’t what they used to be, nor was the triceratops I was drawing. Yet I knew that with a lot of practice, I’d get there.

How’s the 9-to-5 treating you?
Keeping me busy! As a letterer, I’m using digital fonts that emulate the handwritten dialogue previously used in comics. Typically, I’m lettering eight to 12 different comic books a month along with other graphic design projects.

What inspires you?
“Everything from art and music to books and movies — anything that’s creative and pushes boundaries and puts a new twist on things.”

What’s on your bucket list?
I am very interested in film and would like to take some of my comic book ideas to the big screen. I’m currently developing a screenplay with a friend. No matter what, I don’t want to wake up when I’m older and say I didn’t do it all.

SURPRISE ME
Over the last few years, I’ve helped other people tell their stories, and now I want to tell mine.

I’ve brought back a comic strip, Siblings, that I started working on before my accident. With all my other projects, Siblings has been on the backburner, but I’m giving it new life as an online webcomic. When I was younger, I wanted to have the strip syndicated, but now the growing webcomic industry is really the place to be. Plus, what you can do with a comic on the Web, you can’t always do in a newspaper. I’m keeping the classic, old school style, but with a larger panel format and some interesting stories that might not fly in newspapers.

In Siblings, the two brothers, James and Randy, are loosely based on my brother and me. They have an adopted little sister, Kay. There is also a character named Jack, a kid in a wheelchair, who will be in the strip frequently. His disability may come up, but he’s just one of the guys, so his disability isn’t the main focus. However, how he gets around will play into certain strips for sure.

You can follow my strip at www.siblingscomic.com.

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