Our coverage of the London Super Comic Convention, Markosia, and their LSCC exclusive material continues here! Now that you know what the two books are, let’s meet the creative teams behind them and see if we can find out a little more in these exclusive interviews.
First up, it’s the writer of both Toxic Storm & Terminus at Fenton’s Green – Adam Cheal.
Comic Booked: Hello Adam and thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers and let them know a little more about you.
Adam Cheal: Sure and it’s my pleasure. I have been working in comics for a relatively short time, but feel like I have accomplished quite a lot. It’s been quite an eventful few years full of hard work and I am tickled pink to see my acorn’s of ideas growing into mighty oaks.
CB: Are these two books your first published work?
AC: They are my first solo books to be released. Last year I wanted to boost the profile of indie UK comic creators so I started an anthology called The British Showcase Anthology. I was a two time contributor and also acted as the EIC. This was published by Markosia and was how I got started with them.
CB: Is it unusual to bring out two titles simultaneously?
AC: I guess it is. It was just one of those things that fell into place with great timing. Both titles were due to be published by Markosia and were running at the same time. Even though production of Toxic Storm started way before Terminus at Fenton’s Green, the later just zoomed through and Russ Leach is the most productive artist I have ever met.
CB: How does it feel to have two book launching at the LSCC?
AC: I can’t even tell you how amazing it feels. I was at the first LSCC and was really impressed by what the organisers had achieved in bringing a US style con to the UK. It was here I first met Harry Markos from Markosia. At last year’s con, I knew I wanted a book to launch at LSCC, but never dreamed that I would have two, let alone LSCC exclusives. I’m on a real high.
CB: What are your plans for future projects?
AC: Right now, I am working on a book called Slowheart with US artist Brad Hudson. It’s a 1970’s superhero crime book and it’s very exciting. Other than that, there is Toxic Storm volume two and possible a second volume of the British Showcase Anthology. I would also love to work with Russ and Renzo again as they are both amazing artists.
CB: Lastly, which of the two books is your favorite?
AC: Ha ha, how could you ask me that?! Of course, they are both awesome!
CB: Thanks again and good luck with the launch titles at LSCC!
And now, lets hear from Terminus at Fenton’s Green artist Russ Leach.
Comic Booked: Hello Russ, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions.
CB: First of all, please give us a brief introduction of yourself.
RL: Ok. I live in a small village just outside of Colchester in the UK. I have a previous life working in design and production within retail, publishing and web development. 4 years ago I decided I would go back to illustration and more specifically sequential art. I’ve been doing it ever since. I’ve been fortunate to work with some great indy talent in the states and more recently I’ve been involved in the British Showcase Anthology with Markosia which is how Adam and I got together.
CB: Tell us more about the book TAFG and how you came to be working on it?
RL: Whilst working on the British Showcase Anthology, Adam suggested that we might work together on a larger project. Adam and I had met through a social media site for indy creators and had kept in contact. He invited me to work on the anthology and that lead to us producing the TAFG book for Markosia. Adam pitched the idea to me which I instantly liked. The story tips its hat to Lovecraft and Hammer House of Horror in equal measures and after reading the script I was in. Also Harry Markos was very supportive about the whole project and I was keen to work with a well known publisher. It just all seemed to click. The story itself was great fun to draw. Adam insisted I let myself go and hopefully that’s come through in the artwork. I am constantly looking to improve my work and having a challenging imaginative script like this one enables that process.
CB: What about the book do you think readers will enjoy the most?
RL: Hmmm… it has several moments that I think are quite funny which hopefully horror fans will appreciate. I also think that bringing in the Ripper lore gives the story a basis in the real world which helps underpin and highlights its weirdness.
CB: How do you feel about being at the LSCC to launch and promote your book?
RL: I am uber excited. This is my biggest release yet and certainly the largest potential audience to date. To launch the book at the LSCC is just fantastic! I can’t wait.
CB: We understand that you have custom crafted two original pieces of artwork to give away to two lucky people that purchase copies of the book at the con. Will you also be drawing while you are at the show?
RL: I have an A4 pad at the ready and will be drawing sketches on the day. I will also take commission requests before and after for A3 finished pencils if asked.
CB: Adam Cheal has described you as “the most productive artist he has ever met.” With this in mind, you must have loads of projects in the pipeline, can you tell us about them?
RL: I must remember to thank him
I can tell you about some yes. My next graphic novel release will be Indifference Engine 2 written by Cy Dethan. Cy is a real talent and his scripts are great to work on! I’m hoping for a Thought Bubble release for that one – I’m on part 3 pencils at present so it’s doable. I am also working on a book with Steve Tanner called Foxglove. The book is a steampunk romp and is great fun. Both those books are Markosia releases.
I also do a book every other month for Jay Dee Rosario, owner of Unstoppable Comics. I alternate between his Stormchasers and Origins titles. They are indy super hero affairs and great fun. Another regular job I do is a couple of pages a month, which could possibly turn into a daily strip, for the youth charity Endeavour. I work with Tim Quinn (previously edited for Marvel) on that one. Tim is a joy to work with and has huge experience in the business and we are working together on several projects!
CB: Thanks for taking the time Russ and best of luck with the new book.
RL: A pleasure, thank you!
And now, the Toxic Storm artist, Renzo!
Comic Booked: Greetings Renzo. Thank you for taking part in this interview. Please introduce yourself and let us know more about you. How long have you been drawing comics?
RR: Hello, well I’m just a regular guy who grow up reading comics (in fact that was the way I learned to read, thanks to the 80’s Spidey comics). I’m from Mexico and I’ve been a graphic designer since 2005 and work mostly for an advertising agency (to pay the bills) but my dream is to become a full time artist. I’ve been drawing since I can remember, I think since 3 or 4 years old (I started on my mom’s walls and my older sister’s homework papers).
CB: How would you describe your style of art?
RL: Well I’ve been a fan of the the late 70’s and 80’s comics. Batman books from Jim Aparo, Neal Adams and Spidey from Ron Frenz and Alex Saviuk got that “sparkle” that just makes it so special, a way more realistic way to see the world, I really want to be like them. I want to get back to the basics and have a more “realistic” style. (My dream is become a Neal Adam copycat, hahahha).
CB: Who are your biggest influences and who is your ultimate comic book creator hero?
RL: Well, the FIRST time I really thought seriously about becoming a comic artist was when I saw the Mike Wieringo work on the characters Impulse and Spider-Man (its funny cause his style is pretty cartoony, but so full of life). I think Ringo is my biggest influence (Besides Neal Adam, Mike Zeck, Jim Aparo, Humberto Ramos and a very, very long list of influences!) I think Mike Wieringo and his Tellos are my ultimate comic book creators.
CB: Tell our readers what you like best about Toxic Storm and why they should buy it?
I think the “feel” that Adam put on it, the roller-coaster of feelings he put on the script, when in one page you can feel the horror, and the action and that rich mash up! Adam is a mastermind, I love him! Why should you buy Toxic Storm? … hmm. Its the best mix of monsters, super(anti)heroes, KICK ASS villains and sexy women…. now, I really have to explain why you should buy it???
CB: Do you have a favorite image from the book?
RL:Well I think on the first issue when Simon Fisher crashes out of the cell, it’s definitely is my fave page of all!
CB: What plans do you have for the future?
RL: Become a full time comic artist and have a very happy life drawing comics (and would love to keep working with the talented writer Adam Cheal of course!!)
CB: Thanks for taking the time to talk to our readers and we hope the book does well for you.
RL: Man, thanks a lot for interviewing me and I really hope you enjoy the book as I LOVED drawing it!