Early this week we managed to grab Mike Garley and James Moran to discuss their latest project Vs Comics. Yesterday we posted our Vs Comics feature based on that interview, but as always there was just too much information to include and so we thought you might appreciate seeing the whole thing for yourselves. We also spoke to Nich Angell, one of the guest writers/artists, who is responsible for the drunken exploits of Tabby and Trout. If you want to know more about Vs Comics you can get all the latest updates by Liking the Facebook page. Or if you’d rather get more up front, Mike will be talking at Thought Bubble in Leeds this 18th November. Right on to the interview…
So tell us – what is VS comics all about?
Mike Garley: Lots of grown-up-styled cool stuff in a monthly digital comic.
James Moran: It’s a completely creator-owned comic, with cool stories, a great mix of genres and styles, and a drunken alien fish thing.
Both Day and Night and Eponymous are described as digital comics – what made you choose this platform and will we ever see them in print?
Mike Garley: Hopefully! But we went for digital as it gives us the opportunity to reach a larger audience, which we wouldn’t be able to cater for by traditional publishing methods – Apparently paper is really expensive. We’re hoping that VS will be popular enough for us to eventually do collected print editions. But we can only do that if enough people buy it digitally first. No pressure…
James Moran: Even paper comics are easier to handle digitally – I’ve got a stack of stuff to read at home, and wish it was in a convenient file on my iPad or something. People want to be able to grab the latest issue quickly and easily, then they’ll buy the collected version if they want to keep it on their shelves. So yes, if there’s enough demand, we can do print versions of anything once the story or arc has finished.
So will the same teams continue to work on each comic every month or can we expect to see different writers/artists as the months progress?
Mike Garley: We’ve got four stories in each issue, which are created by four different creative teams. There’s Day and Night and Eponymous, which will continue each month as well as two guest stories. We’ve got some really cool creators involved so each issue’s got a real diverse selection of stories in it.
James Moran: Because the digital format is nice and flexible, we’re not tied to page counts so we can be a bit more relaxed with the guest slots – we’ve got lots of stories lined up, some multi-part, some short one-offs, so it’ll be a constantly flowing and evolving mix of stuff, with the steady, regular base stories. The plan is to always have two longer, ongoing stories backed up by the guest ones.
Comics can be a fairly niche market. Are you hoping that presenting these two comics digitally may make them more accessible to people who do not normally read comics/go into comic book stores?
Mike Garley: We’re hoping that the creators, stories and cost of the comic will entice people to give us a go. We’re not aiming solely at comic fans, we’re aiming at fans of films, books, games, TV, basically everyone who likes cool stuff.
James Moran: Hopefully. A lot of people who like my work have asked if I’ll ever do comics, so I’ve already got some readers lined up – and maybe if people see the comic linked to online, it might make them give it a go if they can just grab an issue online easily.
James Moran, I read somewhere that your inspiration for Severance came after a terrible commute where some yuppie types were rude – so you got your own back by creating a film where office workers end up being slaughtered. In Day and Night there are a group of vampires that hunt a group of office workers. I sense a theme here… Where did the inspiration for this tale come from? and do office workers make really good victims?
Mike Garley: James Moran kill! Kill! Kill!
James Moran: SHUT UP MIKE, that family was dead WHEN I FOUND THEM. Yes, that’s true about Severance, and I hadn’t actually realised the connection with Day and Night! This one came from my frustration with the way vampires had been slowly diluted into romantic, tragic figures – my favourite vampires are brutal, fast, relentless landsharks that feel no mercy. I often wondered what such creatures would really be like, how would they live, would they be careful and avoid detection, and so on. I needed a diverse group of people to be the human heroes, and office workers are a pretty diverse bunch – you get thrown in with people that have a wide range of tastes and opinions, some of them you get on with, some of them you can’t stand. I also like to take ordinary people like me and people I know, and see how they survive (or don’t) in an extreme situation like this. It’s much more tense if the heroes don’t have super strength or abilities – they have to find an inner strength somehow.
Mike Garley, many people will know you from your work on Collider. As Collider used different platforms to tell one story, and given that this is somewhat of a special interest of yours, should we expect something similar with Vs Comics?
Mike Garley: We don’t have any plans to get involved with any transmedia shenanigans We’ve got a lot of comics in the works and we’re focusing on making them as awesome as possible. Luckily we’ve got a great team who have all been working extremely hard. I’ll blame them if it goes wrong.
Nich Angell you have a lot of experience working as an illustrator. You have done children’s cartoons, comic strips and graphic novels. What attracted you to working with Vs Comics?
Nich Angell: Vs comics was special because of it being a monthly publication, like a lot of the children’s comics I’ve worked for in the past, BUT UNLIKE THOSE allowing me to tell my own, creator owned stories. I trusted the editor and knew that I had an opportunity to get some of the more off the wall and downright fantastically imaginative stories, out of my head and onto the COMIX PLANE.
Tabby and Trout sounds great fun and I cannot wait to read it but I have to ask – why a trout?
Nich Angell: Tabby and Trout come from a picture I drew literally years ago. I don’t know why but I drew a sexy chick and a huge ugly alien dude marching towards a big starship. An idea formed but I never capitalised on it as I had so much other stuff on. I returned to it for Vs and decided that the girl would be called Tabby, named after the Latin ‘Tabula Rasa’ which means ‘Blank Slate’. This is because she knows nothing about herself or her past. I then turned to the alien dude and Tabby and Trout just fell out of my head. It worked, it sounded good and he does look quite a lot like a trout! This sums up the whole credos of T&T. They are ridiculous characters in a ridiculous patch of space where the laws of physics don’t apply… this means I can do what i want and HAVE FUN!!
Your work is an explosion of colour and imagination that is very pleasing to the eye. It reminds me a little of 1980s Japanese animation – what would say your influences are?
Nich Angell: I have a huge broad range of influences but my major ones would be kids Saturday morning cartoons, japanese anime and manga, french bandes desinees, usborne puzzle adventure books and any book with a map in the front that creates a whole new world to explore. I love world building. Some of my favourite artists who do this are Brandon Graham, Sylvain Runberg, Koji Morimoto, Moebius and Katsuhiro Otomo.
You’ve mentioned elsewhere that you loved the excitement of the Japanese animated TV shows from your childhood and that you try to capture that magic in your own work. How do you think this fits in with some of the other content of Vs and should we expect some adult shenanigans from the Trout?
Nich Angell: I think that Vs is going to be a very exciting mixed bag and that every time you hit a new story you’re going to be in for a wildly exciting new experience. That said, I think we’re all united in telling good stories with a focus on the exciting and the fantastic… as comics should be. Tabby and Trout will stand out because of its colours and cartooney nature but it will fit in with high concept sci-fi ideas and awesome characters. And you can expect more ‘adult shenanigans’ from Tabby, rather than Trout. SHE IS OFF THE CHAIN.
Final question guys. The guest story is a great opportunity for any budding artists out there. How would someone go about trying to get their story included?
Mike Garley: It is isn’t it! We’ll have more details about this and other cool stuff at our exciting VS Comics launch panel at Thought Bubble on the 18th. It’ll be a great opportunity to meet some of the creators, see a bunch of artwork and watch me make a complete fool of myself in front of a room full of people.
So there you go, pretty exciting stuff right? The Reluctant Geek will continue to keep a close eye on this one and we’ll update you whenever we hear any news. You can also bet we will be reviewing Vs Comics as soon as it launches in December, so be sure to check back with us.