Some bumper comics content in this month's issue (#89) of SciFiNow magazine, featuring my interviews with comic legend Bryan Talbot on all things Grandville and a history of the graphic novel in the UK, and with Jean-Marc Rochette and Benjamin Legrand on the hit film Snowpiercer based on their co-creation.
Legrand is the writer of the second and third Le Transperceneige (Snowpiercer) books, while Rochette is the artist of all three, and both men have had unique access to the film which stars Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton and is directed by Bong Joon-Ho (The Host, Mother). We discuss everything from the editing woes of the Weinstein distribution to Rochette's art techniques, and there's a short guide to some other European comics that are a) ripe for adaptation and b) absolute must reads!
Talbot is of course the creator of an astounding number of classic comics, from Luther Arkwright to Grandville and every Alice in Sunderland and Tale of One Bad Rat in between. Chatting with Bryan was a real highlight of my interview work thus far, and I hope my feature does justice to a man who is far too modest.
The new issue of SciFiNow magazine (#87) features a rather fabulous four page spread for my interview with the Young Avengers creators, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.
We talk diverse characters, editorial freedom, the upcoming end of year party, and the dynamic duo's close collaboration. Plus lots of that lovely McKelvie art, and a character breakdown of the team.
A new piece up on The Guardian, where I have a chat with superb creators Posy Simmonds, Katie Green, Isabel Greenberg, and Kate Charlesworth ahead of this weekend's Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal.
We look at why they picked the comics medium, the subversive and communicative powers of comics, and how things have changed - and remained the same - for women creators across the decades.
Long-time Guardian favourite and multiple award-winner Posy Simmonds is one such guest, a prolific artist who has been drawing comics since she was a little girl. Her collection last year, Mrs Weber's Omnibus, brought together her long-running strips for the Guardian about a well-meaning middle-class family.
"As a child," Simmonds tells me, "I liked the combination of words and pictures - in bound copies of Punch magazines and, later, in the piles of comics some American kids used to give me. There was also something subversive about comics that appealed - adults didn't approve of them."
A long-form interview with the lovely Howard Hardiman, creator of the recently collected The Lengths - a controversial and important comic about male escorts, told with canine characters.
Howard's answers were simply far too interesting for me to worry about distracting from, so I went with a Q&A format for maximum ease of reading. A very fascinating interview, and a book that I highly recommend reading.
"One of the funniest responses to reading it came from someone working in the sex industry, who said “you let straight people read this?” because he’d become so used to secrecy.
"Other than that, though, the response has been reassuringly positive. I waited almost five years between the interviews and making the book because I needed to have a distance from telling too much that could have identified people, especially given that I’d been told a lot of things that could have resulted in them having trouble with the police or the inland revenue!"
I'm really pleased with this great interview with the lovely Mary Talbot, published in today's Independent on Sunday.
Mary, along with husband and UK comics legend Bryan Talbot, made headlines earlier this year when her debut graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, won a prestigious Costa award. We had a long chat in the sun about that win, how she came about entering the world of comics, and her upcoming second graphic novel and brand new comics festival.
“It was a medium of expression that I was very much aware of on a daily basis,” she explains. “I mean, I’ve been watching Bryan create and been part of the process to some extent, in terms of reading his drafts and scripts, looking at pages as they form on the page, very often commenting on them. I’ve never participated before, fully, but I’ve been to some extent involved. I must have soaked up quite a bit of it!”
Making the transition into working in comics herself was perhaps, then, a natural step. “The whole thing started off as a suggestion from Bryan,” Mary explains. “Would I consider writing an autobiographical graphic novel? That was the starting point. I was uncomfortable with the idea, because I didn’t think it would have legs.”
Though she modestly thought no one would be interested in her upbringing, Bryan assured her that her story was both unique and compelling. Her father, the Joycean scholar James S Atherton, has cast a long shadow upon Mary’s life, which naturally suggested a link to James Joyce himself. Aware that the Ulysses author had a daughter, Mary began to see how her own story could be intertwined into something larger.
Okay, first things first. Have you bought Ballistic yet? Have you back-ordered #1 and pre-ordered #2? Because this comic is selling out everywhere FAST. I hit up artist Darick Robertson for a chat on what is rapidly becoming the runaway hit of 2013.
LS: Looking at the hugely detailed scale of the world of Ballistic, and the mix of organic shapes and technological wonders, I’m spotting a little bit of Moebius as an influence – maybe? What influences have you drawn upon for this project?
DR: I love Moebius’ work and his landscapes and free flowing architectural ideas were an inspiration when I started working on this. Heavy Metal from 1980, and the magazine itself, were very influential when I was a teen. I recall the sequence from the animated film where Taarna is flying over the city on her winged bird creature (Moebius designs) and at one point she flies through this massive skeleton of some long dead behemoth.