By Patricia Donohue
Since I’m a super comic nerd living in Doha, it goes without saying that the only holiday I truly celebrate is the Middle East Film and Comic Con. OK, OK, so the tradition only started last year, but since then MEFCC has managed to overshadow even my own mother’s birthday (until she gets superpowers, at least).
One day at work, in the midst of one of my overexcited rants about the guests who would be at MEFCC, someone decided it would be a really great idea for me to get a couple of interviews for the DFI website while I was there.
For a lot of people that might sound like fun. For me, it’s terrifying. I’m not good with people. I couldn’t possibly walk up to an artist I love and be like ‘Oh hey, what’s up, I’m just going to stutter and stare at you creepily for a few minutes, do you mind?’
But I had a plan: I would coin a new kind of journalism – the kind where you hijack someone else’s work. I call it ‘pi-writing’.
Patricia (disguised as 14-year-old boy): ‘Hey Jock, what’s your favourite Batman storyline?’
Jock: ‘Great question “Patricia”. It’s probably “Year One”.’
Patricia (disguised as journalist at press conference): ‘Hey Alan Tudyk, if you could play any superhero, who would it be?’
Alan Tudyk: ‘Please, “Patricia”, call me Wash. I think I’d either be Aquaman or Green Arrow.’
Luckily, I have my secret weapon: My comic book best friend/comic con partner Steve Paugh was also going to MEFCC. He writes for this wicked comic blog and since I was there for his interviews, well … it’s kind of like I was asking those questions (right?) – just disguised as some bearded American boy. Just call me Paugh-tricia.
This complete lack of journalistic integrity aside, these interviews aren’t just for fanboys or Batman geeks. So don’t act surprised if you get drawn into the comic world.
For full interviews hit up the comic blog.
Interview with Jock – An absolutely lovely, incredible comic artist known for his work on great comics like ‘The Losers’), ‘Black Mirror’ and most recently ‘Snapshot’ (get it!!). He’s also got a foot in the film world…
Paugh-tricia: You got your start with ‘Judge Dredd/2000 AD’. What was it like to get into such an iconic magazine, and to maintain that relationship into its portrayal of Dredd on the big screen?
Jock: With Dredd, honestly, he’s my favourite character. I’m still a massive fan, and I still read ‘2000 AD’ every week. People seem to like my Dredd, and I think that’s because I like him so much. I sometimes find it a struggle to draw characters I don’t know so well, and it shows that I don’t enjoy it as much. That’s why Dredd is so easy for me.
It’s great being handed the reins to such an iconic character, but you just have to do your best job, and that was the same with the film, you know? It was an amazing opportunity, because it was Dredd and because it was a film – it was challenging, but amazing, and we worked hard to do it justice.
Paugh-tricia: You’ve worked on movies like ‘The Losers’ (2010), ‘Batman Begins’ (2005) and of course ‘Dredd’ (2012). How difficult is it to jump between cinema and comics? Is it the same, since it’s still sort of a sequential art framework, or is the process completely different?
(I’m really smart as Paugh-tricia)
Jock: You definitely have to flex a different muscle. I really enjoy the movie stuff. The stuff I’ve done is pretty much concept art, and it’s gone really well, and people seem to have responded to it. I do wonder if that’s because, coming from comics, if you draw an image, you have to have context; it’s part of the story. Something has come before it, and something will come after.
Sometimes concept art can look a little dead, sort of like an architectural drawing, but when I work on films, I try to tell a story with an image. If I am showing a costume or vehicle, I try and give it some context, a time and a place, and again, I’ve been very lucky about the response.
Paugh-tricia: Do you prefer one over the other? Comics or concept art?
Jock: I’ve thought about that a lot, actually. If I did too much of one, I’d miss the other. It’s great working on big movies, it’s really exciting, but with comics, people get to see your artwork. When you’re part of a movie, you’re only one part of the machine, which is rewarding as well, but there is something special about comics and that type of storytelling that I would miss, that direct connection we have to the readers.
Paugh-tricia: What is your favourite horror movie of all time?
Tim Seeley: ‘Halloween’ (1978) is my favourite of all time, but I always loved the original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (1978). The most recent horror movie I absolutely loved was ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ (2011), which I thought was so fantastic and energetic and creative. It was totally in the vein of what I have made and would like to make more of, so when I saw that, I was like, ‘Ah, that Joss Whedon totally gets it, man’.
Paugh-tricia: You’ve been dabbling in horror for some time now, with work like ‘Hack/Slash’ and now ‘Revival’. What makes a good horror story, particularly in the medium of comic books?
Tim Seeley: I think the horror that’s the most effective is when you care about the characters, because they are the gateway to you actually feeling something, and horror doesn’t really work if you don’t feel something. The best kind of horror is unsettling instead of shocking. It’s fun to go get spooked and jump, but horror should make you feel disturbed or make you question something. That’s the stuff that sticks with you, which is why I think zombies are so popular right now – not just because they’re decaying people, but because it makes you ask questions about your own mortality, if you can trust people, if you would be able to shoot Grandma if she went crazy and tried to eat your head, you know?
Paugh-tricia: How do you think comic book horror translates to the big screen? Could ‘Hack/Slash’ or ‘Revival’ work as films?
Tim Seeley: I think anything can work in any medium, but I think some things work best the way they are. I think ‘Revival’ would be a great TV show – it’s more about the ongoing story. It’s like ‘The Walking Dead’) – it just works better as a serial.
There’s definitely something in the air with horror. With ‘The Walking Dead’ being, like, world-record level successful, it means that people are looking at horror comics with a little more respect than they used to…I grew up on Romero, ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ (1985), all that stuff. I love those movies, but then, when ‘Walking Dead’ came out as a comic, the goal was, ‘What if your favourite zombie movie never ended?’ And they killed it, they did it perfectly. So now, the TV show is successful all around the world.
Paugh-tricia: What comic books are you reading right now? Since we’re in Dubai, which is still a new market for the industry, which books would you recommend for newbies?
But yeah, in a place like Dubai, they don’t have a history of superhero comics, so I think there’s a lot of room to check other stuff out, like ‘Saga’). There’s some really great entry-level stuff these days, even if you’ve never read a superhero comic before. It’s a new reading experience, and I’m envious for first-time readers in a place like Dubai for having their first book be something great like ‘Saga’ or ‘Walking Dead’ – I think you’d get them for life.
Patricia: Alright Doha, you heard the man. JOIN US!!