Comic Creators Anonymous – Steve Tanner

Writer Steve Tanner brought his Flintlock title to life with a few successful Kickstarter campaign’s and with the 18th Century adventure stories impressing from the very first issue, it’s got the momentum to run and run.

What was the first title you worked on?

Way back it was stripzines in the 80’s (yes, I’m that old!), my first pro sale was to Fleetway’s Crisis monthly in the early 90’s, and the first Time Bomb title was the Ragamuffins one-shot in 2007.  So you see I achieve something of note creatively roughly once every 10 years. The launch of Flintlock last year covers the current decade, so comics aficionados can expect something big from me in about 2027!

How has your work changed since then?

It’s hopefully become more enjoyable to read and less pretentious than it was in the early days.  In the eighties every fresh-faced comics writer wanted to be the next Alan Moore, and that shows in my early work – It’s me trying to be clever but it’s really me being very ham-fisted.  I think taking a break from creating helped – I stopped writing completely for about 10 years until 2006.  When I sat myself behind a keyboard again I was no longer interested in “breaking in” to comics, I just wanted to write them so just got on with doing that.  I think my work now is more accessible and more mainstream – It’s not stuff  that pushes the boundaries of the medium or excites the comics intelligentsia, I’m not that kind of creator. I just want to try to tell an entertaining story in comics form. I no longer want to be the next Alan Moore. I just want to be the first Steve Tanner.

Who are your main influences?

Early influences were Alan Moore obviously, but also Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and outside of comics Stephen King. The latter two especially can tell really satisfying stories in a very straightforward way without using too many bells and whistles to do it.

What comics are you reading just now?

Very little mainstream comics these days, excepting 2000AD, Saga and the odd mini-series here and there.  I find there’s a huge amount of great things coming through the Indie press/small press comics community in the UK so I tend to follow that more than anything else.  Ken Reynolds’ Cognition is just terrific, any of the books put out by Accent UK I enjoy, Skies of Fire is great as well.  Loads more, really, there’s some fabulous comics being produced these days.

What’s the best thing about creating comics?

It’s the collaboration.  That feeling when you see the art pages for a story that previously only pictorially existed in your head, and realising how so very different and so much better it looks than in your own imagination – That never gets old.  If it ever does, it’s time to stop.

What are you working on just now?

I’m halfway though writing Flintlock Book Three.  The third instalment of Lady Flintlock is done which is the longest story in the book, so I’m now getting ready to write the other stories that are also going to be in the book.  I’m also starting to get artwork pages through for a couple of other things that I’ve written earlier this year, so feeding back regularly to the artists about those.  They’ll be both officially announced later this year, just as soon as I know the schedules are on point.

Where can we see you next?

Where can we not see you next is perhaps the easiest answer, as I’ll be appearing at about 25 shows in 2017 across the country.  At time of writing this my next show is Em-Con in Nottingham, but there’s a full list on the Flintlock Facebook page.  Shows are so important to a small-scale creator like myself, for the most part they’re the main source of sales and awareness for the comics we create.  Flintlock has opened up a whole host of new show opportunities too, so I’m doing the Lincoln Steampunk Asylum again in August instead of the London Super Con as I know where my audience will be!

You can get hold of Flintlock over on the Time Bomb Comics website and you can keep up to date with what’s next over on Twitter too.



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