After being firmly impressed by the first two issues of Hexes I was lucky enough to catch-up with writer/creator Simon Birks & letterer/artist Lyndon White and fire some questions their way on the project, their process and what’s next for them both.
Simon Birks – Writer
Were Hexes #1 & 2 ideas you’ve been working on for a while?
Similar to my title Sinners, both The Boy Who Came Closer and Waking Nightmare are adapted from short film scripts I’ve written. They’ve been on the hard drive for a few years, and I was looking for some one-off stories that convention-goers could pick up. Understandably, some of comic-con visitors don’t like to commit to an Indie series due to the slightly longer production time between issues. Hexes fits this bill perfectly, and allows me to write some horror too!
Do you have plans for more Hexes beyond these two issues?
Yes! Issue 3 is nearly finished (from a writing perspective), and I have an idea for issue 4. I like the idea of creating them in pairs.
The issues have a similar vibe to them but have a different pace/artistic style – was that the intention?
I tend to let the stories develop at their own pace, so whatever the story needs, I’ll go with. As for the artistic style, I liked the idea of using different artists for each issue. It keeps the titles fresh, and also doesn’t lock the artists in for long stints, which can be a problem for some.
The artwork is great on both and unique – did they turn out like you had envisioned them?
I honestly don’t try and envision them beyond the script I write. I love seeing what the artists come up with, and am extremely happy with the results.
This title seems to broaden the type of story you write with it having a horror element and after covering thriller/supernatural in Sinners and Sci-Fi in Gone do you have a favourite?
Not really. Whichever one I’m reading or working on, that’s the favourite for that moment in time! Each genre has its own followers though, so it’s nice to be able to offer something for everyone.
Do you plan to work on other titles with Lyndon & Ege in the future?
Definitely. Lyndon is my go-to artist for covers and is fantastic at lettering. We’re doing a serial together for the Comichaus anthology called Cold. Ege is already working on our next title, which is a series for all ages, mashing up some interesting characters in new gender-bending ways!
Do you think you would return to these characters or will they be more one-off type stories?
When I adapted the stories I meant them to be one-off, but in truth, I think the Hexes comics all share the same universe (hexiverse?), so there’s a good chance they may show up again!
What else are you working on just now?
I’ve finished the first series of Cold for Comichaus, and putting the touches on issue 4 of Ege’s collaboration. Sinners 3 & 4 are being drawn right now, and I’m waiting a short time before I run a Kickstarter for Gone 2. I have several other comics, both one-offs and series, that I’m always on the look out for artists for. Oh, and a board/card game too! So, not very much!
Lyndon White – Artist
What attracted you to working on Hexes?
I was lettering the first Hexes book (The Boy Who Came Closer) for Simon and I really liked the story, the art style and the overall tone of the comic. I thought the book was a very strong, complete package. I started talking to Simon about what it was for, if it was just a one shot comic or something else. He said it was going to be part of a series of self contain stories and I kinda jumped on Simon to count me in on the next one.
Did you approach Hexes differently to any other titles you’ve worked on?
It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on a horror comic, which can seem a little odd because my art style can suit horror fairly well. I think Hexes is an evolution of a style that came from my first comic (Where Were You), with lots of inks, paint, textures and sketchy line work. I wanted to make sure the antagonist is scary and gives some impression of a living nightmare. So I spent a lot of time making sure she was intimidating and had a presence. Another thing was the time jumps, which can sometimes be difficult to get right. So planning ahead and making sure the reader can still see little things (like Ben’s teddy bear), helped connect the timelines.
Hexes has a distinct horror theme but do you have a favourite theme to be involved with on a comic?
I simply like good stories. I think my work tends to have some philosophical undertones (when writing) but I’m not picky to one genre. It’s all about narrative.
You’ve worked with Simon on a few projects but what was it like on Hexes?
On Hexes myself and Simon FINALLY got to work together on a complete comic. I think we met roughly 2/3 years ago? He originally sent me a script for a comic but I was already pre-booked with other projects. Since then I’ve done lettering, book design and covers for him but never the interiors. But, we are finally here!
It’s always great working with Simon, because he trusts me. We can talk and collaborate, give each other feedback and it’s really easy. He lets me take the reins with the artwork. I can edit and panels if I can think of a better way of doing it or if there’s a way of doing it more suited to my style. Which is what you want from an artist perspective. You need a level of freedom and trust so you aren’t restricted when working through the book.
Evolution of a page from Hexes:
Your colours seem to bring a great sense of mood to your art – is that something you were conscious of for a project like Hexes?
Believe it or not, I’m party colour blind. So I do all my colouring digitally, which gives me some freedom with edit and adjusting the colours with a custom colour pallet that I’ve built. They are colours that I know and can ‘see’ properly. So I’m always a little conscious with colouring. The majority of the book is set at night which instantly gives you a dark colour pallet. So to counter this, there’s blues and purples contrasting with the glows from light sources. This was to make the book dark with a sense of atmosphere, but not so dark that it just becomes a mess. There’s a particular splash page in the book that is the perfect balance of this.
You’ve drawn, letterered, written & created comics but do you have a favourite?
My two favourite parts are at the concept stage for writing and the thumbnails / page roughs for the drawing. Both are at the creation stage where your figuring everything out, kinda like a puzzle. But I do love all aspects of comic creating. Even the editing.
What else are you working on just now?
I’ve been quietly working on two graphic novels. One of which is complete, I’m just sitting tight with the publisher at the moment. This is 92 pages, full colour artwork similar to Hexes. The other is a 162 page book that was picked up but the deal fell through, so it’s just looking for a home at the moment before I finish it off the remaining colouring. Myself, Tyler Wilson and Paul Clark-Forse have started work on A Tale of Shadows Book 3, which should be returning to Kickstarter later this year. I’m also writing something new and will be starting a new project with Damaged Comics later in the year. So expect more soon!
A good insight into the process the team follows for a project like Hexes and you can add your support to their Kickstarter through the link below:
You can also check out more on Hexes and keep up with the other projects from Blue Fox Comics, Simon & Lyndon through the links below: