The first thing I read from Dave Cook was issue #1 of Bust and I stumbled across it at a Convention after the Kickstarter had come & gone – but since then I’ve been on-board with more of Bust, his Vessels title and I’ve interviewed him a few times before as well.
What was the first title you worked on?
It was a comic short called ‘Comfort’ for an anthology called Overload by Martin Conaghan, with art from Gary Crutchely from 2000AD.
My first solo title was the Kickstarter funded Bust #1 – a post apocalyptic road trip saga set across ten years. It sees a father suffering from dementia trying to find purpose in a world overrun by mutants and murderous gangs. It’s got the nihilism of Mad Max with the savage violence of Fight Club to match. We’re currently on issue #3 which has a variant cover by John McCrea (Hulk, Justice League) and Mike Spicer (Mythic). It really has gone from strength to strength!
How has your work changed since then?
I think my plotlines have become more complex, with multiple story strands weaving in and out of the core plot line, giving you a greater sense of the world. In our latest series Vessels, you have three storylines running in tandem across a dying dark fantasy realm on the verge of collapse. I used to find it hard to juggle that sort of thing in my old scripts but it comes with time. I’ve also learned to give my artists more description to work with in the script, without dictating too much – a really delicate balance all writers need to learn. Tell your artist enough so they know what you see in your mind but don’t confine their creativity. That and patience, I’ve learned to rewrite or step away if things aren’t working out, and rework accordingly – patience is key.
Who are your main influences?
It changes from series to series but overall it is unanimously Warren Ellis and his essential Vertigo series Transmetropolitan. Imagine Hunter S. Thompson living and doing investigative journalism in a hipster metropolis in the far future. It even predicted Twitter/social media feeds before they were a mainstream thing, which is just nuts.
The Dark Souls series of games has also been a direct influence on our new series Vessels, and Fargo was the influence for our short saga Feather, out now in the Comichaus anthology series. Our next series Killtopia is a love letter to ‘80s and ‘90s Manga films like Ghost in the Shell, Akira and Guyver, mixed with the games of Suda 51 and Platinum Games – a wild mix for sure. Watch this space!
In the end though, influences come from the weirdest places sometimes, and there’s really to many to count. You never know where your next idea might come from.
What comics are you reading just now?
I was late to the party with Preacher but I’m about to finish Volume Two after watching the whole TV series. I love them both. I also just read the first volume of Kieron Gillen’s hyper violent WWII series Uber (seriously this thing is nuts!) and the insane Levels by our Edinburgh mates Desert Whale Comics – Think Die Hard meets a zombie apocalypse film. Epic right?
What’s the best thing about creating comics?
Three things really – first is getting a completed page back from your art team and seeing your mad idea leap from your mind to the page (and looking exactly how you described it in the script)
Second, getting the completed book back from the printers, because all of a sudden your ideas that came from nothing are now a physical thing that’s like, ‘real.’ It’s hard to describe but I’m sure my fellow creators would agree with this one.
Lastly but by no means least – when someone, a fan or newcomer, buys your book at a con. It’s a lovely validation that your silly idea isn’t silly at all, but something avid readers are willing to pay you for. And if they come back for the next issue, you know you’ve done something right.
What are you working on just now?
Aside from Bust #3 and Vessels#2, I’m working on the third series from my team Card Shark Comics, which is called Killtopia. It’s a tribute to old school anime films and video games from Japan – thing Platinum Games, Shinji Mikami and Suda 51 blended with Borderlands.
It takes place in a Japanese metropolis that has suffered a terrible cataclysm, which has left at agin know as Sector K in complete ruin. Now it’s know as Killtopia, an overgrown, derelict jungle swarming with animalistic robots that attack humans on sight.
The government, yakuza and thugs pay contract killers known as Wreckers to enter Killtopia, hunt these rogue robots and bring back their precious high-tech scrap as salvage.
One wrecker, our hero Shinji, enters Killtopia illegally to sell scrap and pay for his sister’s dying medical care. He encounters the world’s first sentient robot – called Crash – and suddenly both Shinji and Crash become wanted fugitives, hunted across the neon lot metropolis and cyberspace by every low life in the city.
It’s big and epic. We’ve got some mad news to share about this one when the right time comes but for now this is all we can share.
Where can we see you next?
I’m really toying with the idea of running a Vessels anthology but it may not happen. I’m already concocting ideas for our fourth series for after Bust ends in 2019, and the concepts I have are truly warped. It may be the strangest thing I’ve ever written but we’ll see how it goes.