Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you do in the Comic Book industry?
My name is Jock; I draw comics and movie posters. I also do art concept work for movies as well. Probably the best known work that I’ve done with Andy is a book called The Losers, which was published by Vertigo and made into a movie. We’ve also done Green Arrow: Year One.
What do you think the benefits are of Comic Books as a medium compared to movies or TV?
Andy: I like the immediacy of Comics. I like it when they are fast and sort of a quick hit. It’s probably because I’m involved with 2000AD, which has got a very dense storytelling style. It has short and punchy stories and I like that fast hit style. I’ve never been a reader of particularly very long form Comics. That’s what I like from Comics.
Jock: It’s quite lovely to work in the Comic Book industry, although you are working with big characters. You tend to find that the people who do best in the Comic Books industry have their own voice as a Writer or an Artist. There’s a lot of opportunity and freedom to tell the kind of stories you want to tell. For me, it’s rare to have a medium that lets you do that. Often a Comic can just be 3 or 4 people; it’s a very small unit to hopefully tell a very large story.
Have you ever noticed the success of a movie encouraging people to look at the source material?
Jock: I would hope so, i hope the current trend for mainstream cinema being just jam packed with superhero movies. I would hope that at least someone would look at the internet and find Comixology and pick up an Iron Man comic and get more people reading them.
Andy: I meet at conventions, alot of people who discovered The Losers via the movie. Alot of the female readers i found came into The Losers via the movie. I would imagine alot more discovered Green Arrow the same way.
Do you think people should read the comics first before seeing the movie or vice versa?
Jock: It doesn’t matter, to me they are different things. I think it would be good fun to read the original and then watch the film to see how they adapted it. There’s always the case it’s gonna be a different thing. An adaptation is just that, it’s an adaptation done by different people. No matter how close it sticks to the source material, it’s always gonna be a different experience.
Andy:I think you need to change in order to adapt. I think if you do it too faithful to the original material then it’s not gonna work. A Comic is a Comic, a film is a film, you need to make it work for which ever medium you are working in. Some fans feel very invested in the characters and don’t want anything to change. I think you need to let go and let it evolve into something else. They change over time as well, the Comics we’ve got now aren’t the same as they where 50 years ago. Change is good.
In today’s world of Digital Comics, do you approach your work differently for a digital title knowing that readers will be zooming in and reading from panel to panel?
Andy: I don’t think about it to be honest.
Jock: I don’t either but it’s an interesting question though because i do think about panel layout on a page and being aware of how people are looking at it and reading it. In fact i did a Superman & Joker story (Adventures of Superman 2013- #40) with Max Landis that was a digital first release. I had to split the page in half because each half of a page represents a page on an IPad, in landscape format. The delivery of the work isn’t really my concern, it’s really about the work and that should shine through in any medium.
Andy: I’m the same, i always write with the Comic page as a unit, it’s the building block. Even to the point where I don’t do double page splashes, double page spreads.
Jock: We have done double page spreads (laughs).
Andy: It’s too much, as i reader i don’t like them because i don’t want the picture to be interrupted by a staple down the middle.It just feels like i’m cheating, i get paid for two pages and I’ve only written one. We have done but i just don’t do them anymore. With digital now,you want to fill the one screen, you don’t want to have to turn your IPad so that works quite cleanly i think. I don’t even do scene transitions within a page. I will always take a scene right to the end of a page so when you turn the page that’s where you’ll get a scene break. It just feels more like a natural break kind of rhythm of reading. That tends to transfer nicely in digital format.
Do you think having only the first page to capture a reader strives writers and artists to become more creative and to think outside the box?
Andy: I’m not sure it actually works that way if you are browsing in a Comic store and you’re flicking through it, it’s gonna be the last page of the issue you see first, if you are right handed. I don’t think people necessarily, or maybe it’s just me.
Jock: I would never, i would always browse from the front. You would just get a big spoiler alert if you just look at the end of a Comic.
Andy: I think we should have a poll of whether people browse from the front or back.
Jock: My favourite few minutes of a film is always the first few minutes because i think it’s really interesting how people choose to open something. It tells you alot about the film coming up, so maybe Comic Books do have that to a degree.
Andy:I know when I’ve done it badly. I think the first two pages of Snap shot are the weakest, cause he just finds the photos. I didn’t come up with a very interesting way for him to find it. I felt like it was a necessary plot business to get out of the way. It’s not grabby is it?
Jock: You did say finders keepers, losers weepers.
If either of you where left washed up and stranded on an Island like Oliver Queen, do you think you could survive?
Jock: Yeah easy, i’d be eating rocks and stuff. No problem.
Andy: I don’t know, i’m not exactly the rugged outdoorsy type. I’d probably be rubbish at it.
Do you know any survival skills?
Andy: I do now because i researched them writing Green Arrow: Year One so i know alot more right now than i did then. I’d think i’d be alright.
Jock: I’d try and hang out in trees as much as possible rather than being on the ground.
Andy: Would you make yourself an awesome hood?
Jock: Yes, let’s keep it simple you understand.
Part Two of the Interview is available here