With The77 Issue Three now on general release and the Kickstarter for Issue Four launching today, here’s another in our series of “Meet the Creator” interviews conducted by Morgan Spiceman with the writers and artists involved in British comics anthology. This time out, he chats with Paul Duncan, writer of the strip “funSShun”…
Older downthetubes readers will remember that Paul edited the brilliant fanzine Arken-Sword/ARK, wrote Second City (drawn by Phil Elliott) as well as some other comics (drawn by John Jackson, Steve Pugh, and Shane O’Dwyer). He then founded Crime Time and Pocket Essentials in the 1990s, and over the past 20 years has been writing/editing film books for TASCHEN such as The Star Wars Archives and The James Bond Archives.
What is The77 to you?
Paul Duncan: For me, The77 is an anthology of strips celebrating/remembering the shared experience of discovering comics like 2000AD and Heavy Metal, and creators like Mick McMahon, ISN Gibson, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Carlos Ezquerra, Moebius, Philippe Druillet… and, perhaps, emulating/recreating that experience in the hope of building something new.
How did you get involved?
Paul: Publisher Bensky asked for a story submission. He put me in touch with Robert Wells, and here we are.
What is your story about?
Paul: “funSShun” started as a riff on a famous story from the 1970s but, as usually happens, even though you lay the foundations on the same footprint, the structure that emerges can evolve into a different vision than the one you had at the beginning.
The strip is a mix of cyberpunk and space opera, with the additional spice of sex and violence.
Who are the characters?
Paul: The main character is funSShun, who started as a dark Night-Raven/V-like character a la the magnificent David Lloyd, but as soon as Rob started drawing him, he developed into something a little more grounded, with a different texture to him.
The six-page story is direct and compact, and reads like a one-off, but Rob and I are currently working on an original graphic novel that takes “funSShun” on an epic journey.
What are your hopes for The77?
Paul: Like any idealistic enterprise I hope they they learn from the early issues to grow and develop into an entity with its own identity and point of view – and remains commercially viable of course.
How long have you been writing?
Paul: I have been writing since I was a little boy and I hope to get the hang of it soon.
Who are your favourite writers?
Paul: Writers come in all forms, and I love many of them, so I’d be as happy to sit down with a Gerald Kersh book as Iain M. Banks, John Dos Passos, Carol Shields, James Ellroy, Honoré de Balzac, Philip K. Dick, James Sallis, Cornell Woolrich, Robertson Davies, Paul Auster, Harlan Ellison, Fredric Brown, Damon Runyon, Joseph Conrad, Dashiell Hammett and so on…
What are your favourite comics?
Paul: When it comes to favourites, it always boils down to the comics that formed and informed me, so anything by Will Eisner, Love & Rockets, Krazy Kat, From Hell, The Incal, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, Akira, Countdown, anything by Alex Toth, Cerebus the Aardvark, Frank Miller’s Ronin, A Tale from Gimbley, Alack Sinner, Cages, Lone Wolf & Cub, Corto Maltese, Mr. Mamoulian, “The Ballad of Halo Jones”, and so much more…
What are your influences?
Paul: Besides books and comics, I also love cinema, TV and art, so seeing an exhibition by Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, or Edvard Munch, can be as exciting as seeing Interstellar or The Tree of Life or The Wire or The Singing Detective or Alan Clarke’s Contact (1985).
What characters would you love to write?
Paul: Generally, the ones I like have probably already found their ideal creator. Who else could write Krazy Kat?! Having said that, I like a challenge.
What advice would you have for upcoming writers?
Paul: Writing is rewriting, but never forget the emotion behind the first idea/draft.
Paul, thanks for the chat, and all the very best with your projects!
The77 Issue Three features a stunning cover by Ade Hughes featuring Anat from ‘V’ | Available for priced £6.95 for 64 pages in oversized format.All editions and back issues, posters and other merchandise available from Get My Comics here
Contributors include Dave Bedford, Conan, Conor Boyle, Steve Bull, Joe and Jeremy Dunn, Phil Elliott, Sinclair Elliott, Anna Evert, Filippo, Bambos Georgiou, Morgan Gleave, Dave Heeley, Ade Hughes, Kek-W, Hal Laren, Mac, Leonardo Manco, Sarah Millman, Michael Powell, Jon Roydon, Andrew Sawyers, Neil Sims, Lew Stringer, David Thomas, Dan Whitehead, Brendon Wright
Variant 1 cover by Paul Williams; Variant 2 cover by Neil Sims
The77 is also available from these UK comic stores: Atomic Comics, Bath; Calamity Comics, Harrow & Hatfield Castle Bytham; the Community Village Store, Lincolnshire; Gobsmack Comics, Horsham; Heroes, Isle of Wight; Krackers, Taunton; Mega City Comics, Camden, London; Millennium Comics, Northwich; Not Just A Comic Shop, Eastbourne; Ryhall Village Store and Post Office, Rutland; Scorch Comics, Eastbourne; Sheffield Space Centre, Sheffield; and Wow Comix Bury LLP, Sale and Stockport