Comic Creators Anonymous – Chris Sides

Chris Sides is a creator I’ve known for years without realizing it but looking back at his body of work with Whispering Sands, Dark Matter (Vol 1 & 2) and his contributions to some cracking anthologies it’s no wonder our paths crossed.

What was the first title you worked on?

It was, unknown to me at the time, the original scripts for Dark Matter. A lot of the stories you see in volume 1 were heavily, HEAVILY, rewritten as they were my first attempts at something resembling a comic script. My first published work were two short stories, Capsule and The Pond, in the the first British Showcase Anthology from Markosia.

I still hold, as do others, that this book was responsible for a lot of good things happening, including good friendships forged and many a great night out!

How has your work changed since then?

Exponentially. Looking back over the scripts from those stories, even in the first volume of Dark Matter, I can see SO much I’d do differently and want to change. Terser panel descriptions, tighter dialogue, more attention to pacing and characterisation and a closer attention to an overall sense of theme – I’m forever learning and it’s still a lot of fun (for the most part!)

Who are your main influences?

Soooooo many…there are the usual suspects (Ellis, Ennis, Diggle, Jock, Simone, Brubaker, Vaughn, Bendis) that were hugely influential, but then I’m loving the work of Colin Lorimer, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, Justin Jordan and others.

What comics are you reading just now?

I borrowed the first deluxe hardcover of Criminal from a friend and I’ve just finished the first story, which was superb. I just picked up Broken World by Frank Barber, Chris Peterson and Marissa Louise, as well as Cannibal by Brian Buccellato and Jennifer Young, both books having been on my wish list for a while.

What’s the best thing about creating comics?

There’s lots of ‘best things’, I can’t nail down just the one. Starting with an idea and the rush you get when it develops and starts clicking in your head. Typing ‘Page 1, panel 1’ after putting in all the hard work in research, structure, outlining etc. Typing ‘The End’ on the first draft. Showing this thing you’ve created from nothing to potential collaborators and getting their feedback. If the stars and planets align, starting to see it come to life in the initial thumbnails. The ‘process’ and having amazing art drop into your inbox/Dropbox.

Becoming good friends with those you’re collaborating with. Holding the finished thing in your hands and realising that, while it was hard fucking work putting it together, it was ridiculously satisfying work, because you’ve put your heart and soul into it, as have the people you’ve created the work with (which in and of itself is a ‘best thing’ – the collaboration). Any given project is the best of all of you at a specific moment in time and because you’re always learning, it’ll (hopefully) get better. Oh, and beer time at conventions with buds. In fact, scratch all the wanky ‘best of you’ stuff, it’s beer time, that’s the best thing.

What are you working on just now?

I’ve literally just finished the post-production work on Impossible, a sci-fi graphic novel with Jake Rowlinson and Dan Franco, launching at London Super Comic Con this summer. Dead excited to see the proofs on that soon.

Chris Travell and I are working on a serialised crime drama called Close for the Comichaus anthology. There’s a one-shot, Here and There, in production with artist Adam Jakes and Aljosa Tomic that we’re looking to pitch, something else I’m developing with Paul Moore for Comichaus, some exciting projects with Dan Franco. Lots of plates are a’spinning…

Where can we see you next?

I’m at London Super Comic Con in August, followed by ICE Birmingham and then Thought Bubble, which I’m excited about, as myself, Jon Laight, Jay Martin and Chris Travell are tabling together for the first time since last year.

You can keep updated on Chris’ work over on his website as well as through his Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages.  You can get hold of his latest releases through his online store, Comixology, DriveThruComics & ComicHaus too.


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