London Horror Comic Speaks (honest)

Interviewed by Comic Book Page in a podcast. Click play below. I chime in at 19m 27 secs.

Or you can download the direct mp3 interview (22.7 mb).

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posted by JP at 12:23 am  

London Horror Comic gets four out of five stars @ Jazma online

“The person beside you who seems so normal may not be. Watch out for the quiet, normal, unassuming types. They may be watching out for you.”

Like Avis, I’ll have to try harder.

Read Richard Vasseur’s review over here.

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posted by JP at 9:29 pm  

Comic Book page podcast – London Horror Comic creator speaks!

You can hear me discuss the ideas behind the London Horror Comic in this podcast interview I conducted with Comic Book Page.

[Update: this is their review of Previews. The interview with moi goes up this Friday. New link will be posted then. I am old and my vision is blurred is why]

The interviews were conducted by John Mayo and Bob Bretall who got in touch via the LHC Facebook page. Over the course of our talk, they both came across as people that really love their comics – they actually go through Previews each month seeing what’s new and what’s worth their dollar, something that not even some retailers do.

I ended up talking to them on Skype long after the interview finished, which, given that I was up at midnight UK time to do the interview is saying something.

It’s rewarding to listen to fans that want to see a better type of comic book made. It’s even better when you can hear them because you can feel how excited and interested they are in new books and that stays with you when you go back to writing the next issue.

Anyone with a regular podcast /videocast which focuses on comics – reviews, the industry, interviews, etc, drop me a line through Facebook and I’ll post some links later.

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posted by JP at 9:36 pm  

Batman # 678 and Batman R.I.P.

Grant Morrison’s run as writer on Batman has split comic fans down the middle.

This is what all comics should do, but which few actually do.

On one hand, you have Batman fans enjoying the jump cut style of story telling that’s driving an irresistible plot forward.

Has Batman been insane all along? Who is the mysterious Doctor Hurt and why is he out to get Batman? How will Batman come to rest in peace? Questions like these are annoyingly compelling. We need answers fast but each issue serves up yet more questions, which goes against the Google ethos of finding answers to everything instantly. That’s good storytelling.

On the other hand, you have some fans thinking that Morrison is taking the piss and holding two fingers behind Batman’s cowl. Panels that are seemingly non sequitur or which blur the line between what’s real and what’s not have left some readers confused.

If we take issue Batman 678 for example, we see a villain standing behind an unaware Nightwing. By the end of the book, with no intermediary panels explaining how, we see Nightwing locked up in an insane asylum.

Did we really need to see how Nightwing was overpowered? Probably not. The focus here is Batman. Nightwing’s fate in issue 678 is a footnote about how screwed Batman really is as his support system of friends falls.

I’m a big fan of Morrison’s approach. I’d rather a reader was confused for ten minutes than bored for ten seconds.

Whereas other writers might plot a fine linear well laid out course from a to b, I think that comic book fans have read too many books by now to second guess most ‘surprises’.

I loved Morrison’s The Filth – I’ll admit that I didn’t understand all of it, but there is something about coming to terms with pieces of work you don’t understand that makes them more valuable to you.

I genuinely open each issue of Batman now wondering what will happen next. Filling in the gaps or re-reading the book to see if there was anything I missed just seems like a bonus.

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posted by JP at 9:19 pm  

Horror Comics – when did you decide to write them?

I finished an interview yesterday with Richard Vasseur from Jazma online which should go up in the next week.

From my background as a reporter, I’ve found that asking the most simple questions can reveal the best answers.

Richard clearly comes from the same school of thought and one question in particular took me bloody ages to answer.

The first question was: when did you first discover you wanted to be a writer? I answered this one fine. No probs.

But it prompted another question in my own mind which I struggled with: when did I decide to become a writer?

There is a difference between the two questions.

A lot of people may discover they may like to become a writer, but when you decide that you’re committed to being a writer, well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

I’ve been writing comics for the past four years, I’ve always loved comics, but when it came time to remember when I decided to write them, my memory telescoped to a dot.

Researching interviews with a few other comic writers, they all tended to describe their first big break with a publisher. They didn’t describe the exact point at which they resolved to write comics.

Was this mass amnesia? A collective conspiracy to keep new and up and coming writers from the one bit of advice that might help them unlock their own potential?

Nah.

Because after thinking about it I remembered exactly when I resolved to write comics.

I decided to write comics because I couldn’t find a comic book out there for me.

There. Purely selfish.

Up until that point, I had read some great comics that had resonated very closely with me, most notably Joe Matt’s Peepshow and Adriane Tomei’s Optic Nerve.

But what these works opened my eyes to was the value of writing comics with my own take on things.

Once you start writing comics imbued with your own voice and your own view of the world, that’s when you write something of value, not only to yourself, but to the industry.

If you’re thinking of writing your own comic, take stock of what’s around you and what’s not.

Resolve yourself to fill the gap.

If necessity is the mother of invention, discontent is the father of change.

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posted by JP at 9:40 pm