Copy 1/100 (yes, the one and only) of the first edition of Jericho.
Sound good? Fantastic. Check out the contest information below.
Now, back to the interview.
**All images belong to and are the copyright of Fwah Storm.**
Q. All authors go through editing. What sort of executive decisions do you have to make, or what changes are necessary, during the process?
A: It's surprising because every decision that is made, no matter how small, has a huge effect on the story. This is one reason why early on I try to make as many decisions as possible like what is this characters sexuality, what is their star sign, what is their religious beliefs, what is their political point of view, what is their favourite color, what is their passion in life, were they raised by one parent or two......all of these things may seem a little unimportant to some, but to quote Brandon Lee: 'Everything is trivial. If you think that only certain things are trivial then you are missing out on some of the most beautiful and important things in life'.
So these need to be changed until everything fits in place. Then along the line decisions can range from how many panels are on a page, what shade of red should be used for Jericho's hair, should we reveal this fact about her this early on, is she left handed or right handed.....like I said, there is so much to be thought about when it comes to a story like this.
Q. I know people receive work differently, depending on the source material. As Jericho deals with a touchy subject (cancer) do you receive any sort of prejudice or negative reactions to your work?
A: So far it has been received well, but you do get the occasional person that seems to think I'm a bad person because I want to not only do what I can to help find a cure, but because I want readers to understand what it's like to not only go through suffering with cancer, but what it's like to have someone you care for suffer with it.
Everyone has the right to be offended, butI don't fully understand the offence that people take to the issue of cancer. It comes across to me that because a lot of people still don't know a lot about the illness, they tend to hear it mentioned and then decide to run away from the issue which doesn't help at all. And I've had to remind people before that some people have survived, so there is hope, and the more we do to help cancer research, the closer we are to finding a cure, but once again, some people take offence to this. But if I'm brutally honest, taking offence towards the subject doesn't help in anyway what so ever. Becoming educated on what cancer does not only to the patient but to those who care for that patient the most can help. Donating proceeds to help cancer research helps mankind get a little closer to finding the cure.
If the people who take offence at the subject matter, and take offence at the fact that I want to do what I can to help those with cancer. If they just take the time to realise that this desease effects not only adults, but children as well, then maybe they'll see how important it is to talk about this subject. A child shouldn't have to spend their few years wired to a machine and being pumped with chemicals while they lay in bed. Children should be out there climbing trees and playing with their friends. If they think about that, then they'll realise, there is no point in taking offence towards the subject of cancer. I'm proud that not only myself, but one of my characters might, just might make a difference. And if it doesn't make a difference, then at least I tried.
Q. I started writing as a hobby, but I know that's not the case for some authors. When did you know that you wanted to create comic books? Was it something you were aware of early on? Or was it something that just happened one day?
A: I always wanted to write, and even though I have been a huge fan of comic books since I was very young, it wasn't until I was in my early twenties that I knew I wanted to create comics. However, I didn't want to create super hero comics. I enjoy reading stories about super heroes, but there are so many different styles of stories that can be told through the medium that cover all types of heroes. So I really enjoy the fact that if I get the opportunity with Jericho to write and illustrate what seems and looks like a superhero, but really isn't. I mean, she doesn't have any superpowers. She has her intelligence that leads her down the path of life that she chooses.
Q: I think every author can see a version of their work on the big screen. If your comic became a movie, who could you see playing Jericho?
A: That's the sort of thing that often plays on my mind with every project I have ever worked on. I knew before the script was complete that I wanted Doctor Foster (one of the antagonists of the story) to be played by Jason Statham who starred in Snatch, Crank and The transporter. I just think that he could not only pull off that pissed off villain with a grudge against the world, but I also think that he could pull off the sleazier side of that character.
As for Jericho herself there are a few actresses who would be too old for the part, but they would be able to nail the character without trying. If scarlett Johansen was younger then she could really pull it off. But I would probably have to go with Jennifer Lawrence who recently starred in X-Men: First Class. I think she has the look and the skills to play an emotionally complex character like Jerry.
Q: Writing takes up a lot of time. Since creating a comic is so much more involved, what are the sacrifices you have to make to get the job done? Have you seen a significant change in your life and lack of free time as a result?
A: Absolutely. When I work on a project like Jericho I have to sacrifice a lot of things due to the fact that the work is labor intensive. I normally work six days a week. On the one day off I have I help take care of my brother who is severley autistic. On the days I work it is pretty much wake up and shower say around 8, or if I'm feeling lazy, around 10, and then I work right through until about midnight because sometimes it can take a day or two just to get one page of artwork done depending on details and coloring and inking. If I'm lucky I might get an hour and a half to watch a movie or a TV show, so a lot of sacrifices do have to be made, but it's worth it. Plus, at the end of the job I can take a week or two off.
Q. I'm a huge fan of your music (Along Came A Spider is AMAZING).Can you tell us about your band and what you do when you're not working on Jericho?
A: Abuse was formed back in 2002, and during our time we recorded an album, played various shows all through the UK, and got to play with some great bands like Skindred, Esoterica, Breed 77 and Stampin' Ground who are all well known in the metal scene. We had our music played on various radio stations and podcasts all over the US, and sadly, we split back in 2006.
Since then there have been several rumors that we are getting back together and so forth, but I cannot deny nor clarify those rumors at this stage. All I can say is, myself and the guys have been meeting up regularly to talk, and if something happens then great. If not, then nevermind.
Q. As a teen, I was an enormous fan of comic books. Do you have any favorites that you would like to share?
A: Oh, absolutely. There are quite a few titles out there, some of which don't get enough credit. Growing up as a kid, I loved reading Fantastic Four, Spider-man, Batman and 2000 A.D. But as I got older I steped away from more of the conventional super hero comic books and discovered some incredible titles. Preacher by Garth Ennis is just pure twisted genius. Watchmen by Alan Moore really does go to show that there is something more to comic books past the typical stereotype. Death Note is probably one of the best Manga series since Akira. Frank Miller's Sin City was beautifully written and helped put the noir style back on the map. The Crow by James o'barr speaks for itself. The Walking Dead, Y The Last Man, Nemesis, Kick-Ass, The Losers, Alan Moores The Lost Girls (which is still Banned in The UK)...........there are just so many great titles out there.
Q. Your work is currently based in the UK. Can we expect to see more of your work in the US in the future?
A: I hope so. The US is the homeland of the comic book, and I think it would be a shame if Jericho never made it over there. I constantly hear from people in the states who want to read Jericho after hearing about the concept, and I honestly think there are more fans in the states than there are in the UK. We've made it so that US readers can order from the Reload Comics website, however, because of currency differences it does work out that US readers are paying a little extra for the title which I think is very unfair. So we're gonna keep our fingers crossed, and hope that one day Jericho makes it's way to the US
Q: Speaking of the future, what can we expect following Jericho? Do you have any other projects in the works?
A: At present there are a long line of projects that I want to do, and a lot of projects that I have been asked to do, and there is one exciting opportunity that I was approached for by a film studio. However, during the early creative process I have realised that I am left in a difficult position. I can either take the offer and make a book that I would not be proud of making in return for some recognition and money, or I politely decline, work on titles that I am hugely proud of, and keep fingers crossed that those projects get the recognition and following that I believe they deserve.
It's a difficult position to be in, and sadly, I cannot reveal who the studio is or the book that they have asked me to work on, and the situation is alot more complex than how I have described it so far, but at present I am leaning towards declining the project.
However, on the plus side, there are plans for another story arch of Jericho, but this is still in talks and won't be confirmed till nearer the end of the first story arch.
Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to mention the other projects until Reload has confirmed them.
Q: When you're not working, what do you do to relax and unwind?
A: As little as possible, but it's not always easy to unwind until the whole project is done. I enjoy many things. Playing music, bowling, playing pool, origami, performing magic, watching movies, so I find that any combination of those things help me to unwind, but they also make me think which means that somewhere along the line one of those thoughts could turn into more work.
Q. My best ideas come when I'm driving. When does your muse normally strike?
A: I find that my muse can just strike anywhere at anytime. Sometimes someone could say something like, "I was watching a documentary on submarines the other day," and there might be something in that statement that intrigues me and starts the gears in my brain. But if I had to name one place that does seem to help me with creative ideas it would either be my office because that's where my computer is and my books and my music and my movies, or it would be in the bath.
Q. I know what inspires me and turns me on when I need to create fresh ideas. What is it that 'clicks' for you? What do you turn to when you are having a difficult time deciding what to write next?
A: I really like unatural situations that take unforseen turns. I once wrote a short story about a man who was laid on the floor of a mall and wasn't moving, but he wasn't hurt. This simple situation turned into something quite sinister. I also like the stories that come from what if situations like: What if the grim reaper felt guilt for taking a soul? What if making a deal with god was actually worse than making a deal with the devil? Or What if England became a complete no mans land, and martial law was declared? These sort of things appeal to me as well as concepts that could have a political or moral undertone to them.
If I have trouble coming up with ideas then I just simply force myself to just relax and not think and just take a little time for myself because normally this leads to an unforseen moment that will inspire me some how some way.
Q. Playlists are vital to my work. If you could create a soundtrack for Jericho, what songs would you include?
A: That is a fantastic question! Music is very important when I write, and it really helps getting the creative juices flowing, so I do try to come up with play lists for certain stories, and the songs involved in the playlist have to move me in a way that I can see scenes of the stories play in my mind like a movie trailer.
The first song I would pick is 'Call To Arms' by English Metal act The Defilied. Their use of Drop B tuning really helps create a certain atmosphere that gives the song an epic sound even in the sludgy verses, and the chorus just reminds me of an anthem. When I hear that song it doesn't just make me think of the first story arch of Jericho, it reminds me of some of the plans I have for future archs.
I would also pick 'What have you done now' by Within Temptation because of their orchestral backing in that song. Thier music always reminds me of a movie.
I would also pick some songs that remind me of certain characteristics of characters, and some of the hardships they will have to go through in the story, so for that side of things I would pick 'Goth Girl' by my good friends Esoterica, '9 Crimes' by Damien Rice, 'Rose of Sharyn' by Killswitch Engage, 'Parasites' by A Beautiful Nothing, 'A Decent Cup Of Tea' by Frank Turner, 'This Will Make you love again' by I Am X and 'Hurt' by Nine Inch Nails.
And obviously with any comic book , there are a few action sequences, so for those I would probably choose 'Switchback' by Celldweller, 'Won't back down' by Fuel, 'Kill The Headlights' by Adema, and 'Through My Eyes' by Threat Signal.
Q. Of all my characters, only one is always there to talk to me. Do you have have characters you have a difficult time hearing? If so, how do you get past that?
A: I do indeed. Infact a certain character in Jericho who shall remain nameless, otherwise I will give too much away, is never talking to me. I think this is because I decided very early on that they weren't going to survive this story, which I have to admit made me feel really bad for a while. But that character has nothing to say to me. I worried at first and then realised that if this character was a real person then they are the sort of person that would take one look at me and judge me before even trying to get to know me. Because I realized that, it suddenly became easier to write that character because I just had to look back at all those types of people I had met in my life and it just became easier.
Q. I know I can't be alone here (at least I hope not). Do you have a night when you'll wake up and get to work because you get an idea and it just won't wait?
A: Absolutely. Every now and then, insomnia and I become friends. When I have an idea that I'm so passionate about, it just cannot wait, and it has to be done there and then. And those moments will happen without warning.
Q. Of everything you have created, what is the one thing you are most proud of?
A: Well, I am my own worst critic, but if I had to choose, then I would say that my short story 'Pegasus' is something I'm very proud of, and I'm extremley proud of a script I have for a graphic novel that I hope to make in thefuture called 'The Paperchase'.
Q: Are there any books or movies you've enjoyed recently that you would like to make into a comic?
A: Well I had the pleasure of watching 'Source Code' recently, and it was an incredible experience that left me in awe. I think it's the perfect style of story that could make a revolutionary comic title. I also watched 'Brick' for the one hundreth time recently, and I think that it's a great noir story, and in general I think noir stories do translate well in the medium of comics.
Book wise I think that anything by Edgar Allen Poe could work as a comic, and I think that Jeff Lindsay's 'Dexter' series. Even though the TV show is amazing, I think it could also benefit from a comic book audience.
Q. You donate proceeds of Jericho to Marie Curie cancer care. I know finding a cure is very important to you. Can you tell us why?
A: Unfortunately, many people in my life have passed away due to cancer. My father passed away after a ten year battle with cancer. When he was first diagnosed he was given six weeks to live, and it didn't just put a lot of pressure on my family, but it caused a lot of disaster and hurt as well.
I also lost my cousin, Emma, to cancer just before Christmas last year. She was the same age as me, and she was a teacher who was married and had a whole life ahead of her, but it was cut short due to this heinous desease. And I went through my own cancer scare as well.
I have an autistic brother who the doctors have said will die because of cancer at some point in the future. Luickily, he hasn't been diagnosed as yet, but it's only a matter of time.
I've lost pets to cancer as well, which is also heartbreaking, and I know many people who have lost their children at young ages because of this desease, and it's just fucking terrible how it destroys lives. It does more than just slowly devour a person from the inside, it effects so many people, so it's extremley important to me that a cure is found, and hopefully that will be one day soon. So to anyone who has picked themselves up a Jericho T-shirt, then wear it as a sign of hope for finding the cure!
Q. Okay, you're a horror movie fan. I'm a horror movie fan. Give the blog a list of your favourites.
A: Hahaha, I love horror movies, and I love all the different sub-genres of Horror movies, so I warn you this could be a very long list, and there will probably be a few titles on there that some may think I'm a disturbed individual for putting them on this list.
I would have to say that my first ever horror movie experience was 'The Monster Squad'. To me this movie is like the family horror version of 'The Goonies'.
In the more commercial side of horror I would have to mention Hellraiser, Child's Play, The Exorcist, Saw 1-4 (I did not enjoy Saw 7, but that is one hell of a rant that no-one wants to hear), Paranormal Activity 1 & 2, Nosferatu, Dracula, Dawn Of The Dead, The Evil Dead, Black Christmas....infact, If I keep listing commercial horror movies we could be here for a while.
Foreign horror, or horror related movies I would have to Say Tenebrae, A Serbian Film, Cannibal Holocaust, Sleepless, The House On The Edge Of The Park, Zombie Flesh Eaters and Bad Taste (which I count as Foreign considering it's an australian movie...i think).
Then there is the underatted movies, and also the underground movies. For that I would probably say Prince Of Darkness (very underatted John Carpenter movie), They Live, Sella Turcica, The Redsin Tower, Untraceable, Brainscan, S&man, Vulgar, The Poughkeepsie tapes and a documentary called Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide.
Q. How long does it usually take to complete a comic book from start to finish?
A: Depending on the amount of pages per issue, the style of art, and the size of the team you work with, it can take anywhere between 6-8 weeks to complete one issue.
Q. Finally, What advice can you give to aspiring comic book authors?
A: I think if you want to become a comic book writer, then the most important thing you can do to help your career is learn how to draw. It doesn't have to be perfect, but when you start out it is very hard to find an artist that will do the work for you without you having to chase them up on the progress of the pages. Also, everyone who wants to work in comics shares the same common first thought of 'Everyone wants to be an artist, so they are not in short supply, but writers are' and it's actually the other way round.
For anyone who wants to be an artist, then I suggest you take your time and have fun with the project. Don't make it a chore, and learn how to write. This will definitely help you along the way.
And the most important piece of advice I can give to any writer of any genre or style is to spend time developing their idea and characters, but don't over develop it. I have witnissed several times writers who get a great idea, they develop it and it becomes better, and when they develop it to the point of it being a masterpiece, they end up saying to themselves 'There is still more to add to this' and all of a sudden a masterpiece that is absolutely flawless becomes a complete disaster.
Entering to win isn't difficult. All you have to do is be a subscriber to the blog and leave a comment. For those of you who are interested in entering but don't have blogger, you can enter by leaving a comment on the post I'll make in regard to our Q & A session on Facebook. The contest is international. I will write the names in the order I receive them (via blogger and Facebook) and announce the winner on Tuesday July 4th (in one week). In order to be entered you must provide me with a valid email address in which to contact you. Failure to provide an email address will mean I'll move on to the next commenter in line.
Thank you so much, Fwah! I can't wait for the next issue of Jericho!