Saturday, 29 December 2007

Because I wanted to talk to...David Baillie (Part Two)

Please tell us about your Meg' column.

My chance to do a monthly Judge Dredd Megazine column came about when you jumped ship to spend more time writing your in-depth analyses of talent that no longer speaks to 2000AD. When the editor, Matt Smith, emailed me and asked if I'd be interested I was over the moon, and spent the first week writing thousands of words of complete waffle. I had originally planned an over the top Grant Morrison circa 1990-esque diary column, full of tongue in cheek references to my lavish life style, comics-groupies and the rock star merry-go-round existence of an indie comics creator. Unfortunately it's difficult to squeeze that into 400 words a month and still have something resembling useful information there too. I think the compromise works.

The column, and the small press section as a whole (NB: the small press section consisted of David's column about life as an indie comic creator and a strip taken from the UK small press comics scene), will be taking a rest over the winter months. The gap is being filled by one of those comics that happened in the '90s when the Marvel and DC universes collided and they published hybrid titles. It's one of my favourites though, and I'm really looking forward to reading it again. Amalgam... The Amalgam Universe. That's what it was called. Anyway they merged Z List Marvel hero Night Thrasher with the John Wagner / Carlos Ezquerra, Worzel Gummidge-alike DC character Bob The Galactic Bum. Yeah - Bob the Galactic Night Bum Thrasher. My favourite ever anti-hero. Meg readers are gonna love it.

Which of your comics are you proudest of and why?

None of them. It's hard to look back at my old stuff without dwelling on all the things I would do 'better' now. Unfortunately my favourite stuff from this year's batch of work is sitting in failed pitch files and screenplays that no one is ever likely to read. I'm adamant that next year will be different.

You seem to genre-skip a lot. Is this a conscious choice or just a tactic to fend off boredom?

I was very conscious that quitting the 'career' was as much to do with escaping the soul-destroying monotony of the day-to-day grind as it was about wanting to write fantasy zombie sci-fi comics. What would be the point of quitting a job in which I had to do the same stuff every day, to then write and draw comics…That were all about the same stuff. Every day. Of course I shot myself in the foot because now I have an illustration portfolio where every piece is in a different style and I don't have any two comics that even 'feel' the same, so editors and art directors do tend to look at my stuff and say something like 'I don't get it...What is it you actually do?' Fuck 'em. I like eating Pot Noodles.

What's in the pipeline for you next?

Well, I'm sure you're sick of hearing about my big plans. But... I really want to get round to putting together this book I've been thinking about all year, which is a triptych of one act stage plays. The book would contain the scripts along with comics’ adaptations. They can be read as comics or performed as plays. It seemed like a great idea at the time and I definitely will get around to it. I'm working on a stalled comics project called Electron City. Which is sci-fi. And uses vector graphics. I also have a strip in the new Sci Fi anthology Hybrid, which has some huge names attached, that I don't think I'm allowed to mention yet. And I've just started work on an educational graphic novel for Cambridge Technique that will be used as a revision aide for GCSE students. On top of that I have 39 more instalments of my Belly Button Bubble Chronicles weekly web comic (which is on the front page of my website) to go. Future episodes will divulge in gory detail my physical, mental and financial collapse. And you'll find out why my bellybutton talks.

(Go to Part Three)

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