Karl Stephan’s Mary Boys is funding over on IndieGogo just now and after having a look at some of the images on the campaign it was quickly obvious that this had the look & feel of something special……cue the interrogation lamp being brought out and the chance to ask the creator some questions.
Where did the inspiration come from for Mary Boys?
Long story, but I’ll keep it short:
It started out with me wanting to do a British version of the Ninja Turtles comic, only it would be full of stuff I had an interest in and liked to draw. I think it was Mike Mignola who said that his approach in designing Hellboy was along the same lines, i.e. he would create a character that he wouldn’t mind drawing over and over. He liked big monsters. I like drawing gothic architecture, urban decay and have always had a thing for the catholic aesthetic.
Mary Boys is much more cynical beast than TMNT, so instead of mutant turtles they would be working class kids all suffering form this birth defect which makes them look a little different to everyone else. They have cleft pallets, can’t grow body hair and have enlarged hands and feet. Their bodies produce high levels of adrenaline when they metabolise alcohol so they are capable of almost superhuman strength and speed when they drink lager. Basically, they’re made for drunken brawling!
What can we expect from the two issues?
It contains their origin story, which introduces their world and the major characters. There are many villains planned, but this story focuses on their trouble with the police in their town (seeing as they are vigilantes).
It’s a fun irreverent ride for people into black humour. On the other hand, it ain’t all about the laffs. There are some very sincere parts with emotional depth too.
How has it been juggling writing & art duties?
That’s the easy bit! Doing the actual comic is a doddle. I used to work as an art editor for comic publisher, so I can do the lettering and book design parts too.
I find promotion hard though! I’s all so new to me, but we’re getting there.
Do you have a favourite character to write/draw on the series?
Parrish. He’s their ‘Splinter’ who raised them and taught them to fight. He’s this weathered, hard-bitten old priest who experienced a past-life regression after an attempted robbery at his church which made him experience a past-life regression back to a time when he was a member of the original Order of the Knights Templar.
I would describe him as a virtuous alcoholic. Deeply flawed but his heart is in the right place. He’d fit in quite well in the cast of the Shameless TV show. You can see him on the cover of issue 2.
The Indiegogo campaign seems to be trucking along – how has it been?
It’s going well, I think, although we seem to have hit the dreaded mid-campaign slump so I need to work harder at getting more eyes on the project. I’ve been very lucky with fans and fellow creators helping me with promotion and have been featured on a number of streams where I’ve been able to talk about this comic. It’s all a learning curve. Next time I’ll have a better understanding of what to do, but for now I’m enjoying the ride.
Do you have more adventures planned for the Mary Boys beyond this first 2-part arc?
Definitely. I have quite a few short stories planned which make up two main arcs or story. They’ve been living in my head for years and I have a lot more to share. I can see myself working on Mary Boys books for some time to come.
What else are you working on just now?
I have a humour comic that I have the first 5 pages done for, but it’s taking a back seat for the time being. It’s a time travel comedy involving 90’s techno music and club culture. Bags of fun.