John Richard Farman (on the right) has produced the likes of Spies, Purity Ring and Royal Descent through Vital Publishing and as it hit a three-year milestone last month, it was about time for another catch-up with him.
What was the first title you worked on?
I first worked on an already drawn comic called Black Maria, David Braysher asked me if I would be interested and I thought why not? It has been the only time I haven’t written the script for something I’ve worked on, placing dialogue over already established artwork.
How has your work changed since then?
The biggest change in my work is that I produce and letter the books myself, also this means I tend to re-read and edit right up until deadline, which is really the second best decision I’ve ever made in comics. I know it’s not for all writers, but I feel far more connected throughout every step of the process now. My writing style hasn’t changed much. Finish the script, clean and re-write for the artist, only now that includes more edits in the final lettering stage.
Who are your main influences?
In terms of plot structure I take from Film more than anything, this is mainly re-working a set piece for example, or in terms of structuring of time and flashback. Specifically Cronenberg, Carpenter, Romero, Hooper and Argento, what these guys don’t know about visuals and storytelling isn’t worth knowing. Comic wise, School of the Damned pays regular homage to the comic greats with #1-7 riffing off of famous covers by Nick Cardy, Bernie Wrightson, Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Jeff Jones, John Byrne and Graham Ingels. Ideas, take a look out the window, we live in very interesting times. In terms of comic creators, Jack Kirby and Will Eisner.
What are you reading now?
Image – Redneck.
Vertigo – Frostbite.
DC Comics – Superman & Super Sons.
Young Animal – Doom Patrol, Mother Panic & Shade the changing girl.
Marvel – Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Jessica Jones, Scarlet Witch.
Archie Comics – Afterlife with Archie, Sabrina & Riverdale.
Warrant – The Creeps.
Also re-reading classic runs of Frank Miller, I’ve just finished Ronin and Daredevil Born again and I’m about to re-read Frey by Joss Whedon. Anything Silver/Bronze.
What’s the best thing about creating comics?
Two things stand out for me, the interactions with readers is vital, not just a creator but a publisher. After spending 4 months putting a book together (on average.) it’s a lovely feeling sharing the work with an audience and watching them buy into your characters as well as concepts. The second part is holding the finished product, it’s always a wonderful moment when you can enjoy this physical copy in your hands, there’s a real sense of achievement there, for about 10 minutes until you realise the hard work has just begun!
What are you working on just now?
After recently finishing the company’s 17th release, The School of the Damned #7, I took a break for a couple of days and then I jumped back into writing Royal Descent #5, finishing off the remaining 5 or so pages of both School of the Damned #8 & Generation Gun #2 and finally begin SPIES.7.
You can also read some of John’s The School of the Damned title that was serialized earlier this year on the TerrorFirma website.