With the first issue of The77 anthology comic now on sale, here’s another in a series of “Meet the Creator” interviews conducted by Morgan Spiceman with the writers and artists involved in the project.
This time out, it’s a quick chat with Kek-W, creator of “The Screaming Hand!“, drawn by Conor Boyle. He’s been a professional writer for over 25 years, although sometimes he also makes music or does what he calls “strange art stuff”.
Kek has written lots of different genres for different publishers – everything from Commando comics to New Scientist, to weird speculative fiction to tattoo magazines. In the UK, he’s written “The Dark Judges”, “The Order”, “Indigo Prime”, “Black Max” for 2000AD and other Rebellion-published titles. He’s written numerous pieces for Ahoy Comics of Syracuse, New York, and Cap’n Dinosaur for Image Comics. He also co-created the Conspiracy Dog character / strip with Lukasz Kowalczuk.
How did you get involved in The77?
Kek-W: Well, I have pitch-books full of ideas for strange characters and strips that I couldn’t find a home for. Some of them had a neo-retro 1960s or 70s British Comics feel to them and seemed a good fit for what The77 were talking about doing.
I already had a script sitting around for “The Screaming Hand!” (Yes, this strip has an exclamation mark in its title), so it was the quickest thing to get up and running. I suggested asking Conor Boyle to illustrate it. I met him at a convention two or three years back, really liked him and his work. He seemed a perfect fit.
The strip is set in 1977, during the Cold War, in the dark crumbling streets of Punk Rock / Thatcherite Britain and has the feel of a classic old school espionage thriller. But it’s a horror story – John le Carre meets early David Cronenberg – and there’s also a modern, up-to-date quantum physics side to it too. It’s retro, but not – if that makes sense.
Conor’s done an incredible job on the art, nailing that whole tense, spooky 70’s vibe with black and white artwork and beautiful washes of grey. We were fortunate enough to be able to add UK lettering legend, Annie Parkhouse, to the team and the result is something that looks like a lost strip from some forgotten old British comic, but which also feels fresh, new and different. I’m delighted at how this has come out.
Conor and Annie were wonderful to work with and have done an incredible job on “The Screaming Hand!” Thanks, guys.
How to describe this? Well, The Screaming Hand! is a hand that… screams. (Actually, that’s pretty freaky if you think about it – imagine what it would be like if The Hand was real – if it existed in our world? Brrrr… ) It’s somehow linked itself with Dr. Paul Stoneman, a man alone and on the run, hunted by both foreign agents and our side. The Hand is haunting him – is ‘attached’ to him somehow – it manifests itself whenever he is stressed or in danger. Is it trying to help him – or kill him?
The Hand seems to have its own agenda as well as a life of its own. What is it? Who does it… belong to?
“The Screaming Hand!” is designed to work as a stand-along story, but is also intended as the set-up for a bigger, longer series. I’m currently tinkering with the script for Part Two and things are getting darker and weirder for poor old Dr. Stoneman. I’m starting to feel very sorry for the guy…
Who are your favourite writers?
Kek-W: Mike Moorcock, William Burroughs, Roland Barthes. In comic books, Steve Gerber, Jack Kirby, Gardner Fox, John Broome. In more recent years: Warren Ellis, Tom Peyer, Stuart Moore, Mark Russell, Jonathan Hickman.
What are your favourite comics?
Kek-W: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s run on Fantastic Four. The Fourth World saga. Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. Steve Gerber and Mike Ploog on Man-Thing. Grant Morrison and Ricard Case on Doom Patrol. Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani on Doom Patrol. Wally Wood. Steve Ditko, Ditko, Ditko!
What are your influences?
What characters would you love to write?
Kek-W: My own! Failing that, er… Man-Thing. The Heap or any of the old Skywald Comics horror characters. Vampirella. Kid Colt, Outlaw. Challengers of the Unknown. Sexton Blake. Robo-Cop.
Who would you like to work with ?
Kek-W: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing illustrators / collaborators in both the UK and beyond: Dave Kendall, Lee Carter, John M Burns, David Roach, Simon Coleby, Conor Boyle, Lukasz Kowalczuk, etc, etc. Long may it continue!
What advice would you have for upcoming writers?
Kek-W: Write, write, write!
And just when you think you can’t possibly write any more, do like they say in that old Doctor Hook song, and write just a little bit more.
• You can pre-order The77 direct from the team, too. Message the team via the title’s Facebook page or email – firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order. Payment by PayPal
The first issue of The77 costs £6.95 for the standard print edition with a cover by Ade Hughes (£4 PDF), or £7.77 for the Variant Cover edition by Nick Percival.
Also offered are a copy of the comic, plus a signed writer’s script (£17); a copy of the comic plus an A3 signed cover print by Ade Hughes (£17); comic plus T-shirt (£20); or the comic plus A3 Ian Gibson signed “Lifeboat” print (£27).
Interview cross posted with thanks to Morgan Spiceman