Comic Creators Anonymous – Metaphrog

Comic creating team John Chalmers & Sandra Marrs have been creating some great comics & graphic novels under the Metaphrog banner for a while so I jumped at the chance to catch-up with them following a US/Canada tour and the release of their latest book The Little Mermaid.

What was the first title you worked on?

The first comic we worked on was Strange Weather Lately – Martin Nitram #1. Directly when we met, back in 1994, we talked about working together and started making short comic stories. Once we were happy with some of them we produced our first comic together.

How has your work changed since then?

Looking back at this first comic our work looks radically different! Over the years we have continued to work together and each time the process changes. In general Sandra does the art and John writes and letters but the creative approach varies. We hope our comics are improving and are continuing to reach new readers.

We worked on Louis – Red Letter Day in 1999 and on its release in the year 2000 it was very well received. The book was nominated for two Eisner Awards which was very encouraging.

All of the five Louis stories look like they are for small children but the books work on several levels and adults can also enjoy them.

Most recently our books are published by the New York-based Papercutz. The Little Mermaid came out in May this year and is a follow-up to The Red Shoes and Other Tales.

Who are your main influences?

We have always been inspired by music and by nature. We also love art and literature, including films and comics. Although we both grew up in different countries and different decades we both read comics. In France Sandra was in a culture of Bande Dessinée and in Scotland John liked The Broons and Oor Wullie. Both of us loved Tintin and, even as teenagers, because we were lucky enough young people to read, we kept an interest in underground commix, like Zippy, and independent comics like RAW and Black Hole and The Acme Novelty Library.

What comics are you reading just now?

We’re just back from an American tour and as usual came back with a stack of books and comics, so we’re working our way through those. It’s exciting! We both enjoyed Sandrine Revel’s Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo and we’re looking forward to My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris. We always enjoy the new books from Chris Ware and from Daniel Clowes.

What’s the best thing about creating comics?

We love the comic medium. It’s incredibly dynamic. You are able to try and produce a third space, something, somewhere between the words and pictures themselves. Comics bring together some aspects of things we love: visual arts, literature and cinema as well as the rhythm and experimentation of music.

What are you working on just now?

It’s still top secret just now but Papercutz have asked us to produce a third book to add to the series of fairy tale adaptations.

Where can we see you next?

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 14th, and then at Thought Bubble and The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival a little later in the year.


Go pick up some of the Metaphrog books and check out more of their work on the website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages.

G-Man

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