Over on the Forbidden Planet International blog, Joe Gordon has posted an interview with Brighton-based Hannah Berry, author of the recnetly-published Britten & Brülightly from publishers Jonathan Cape, a film noir-styled debut graphic novel that centres on ‘Private Researcher’ Fernández Britten, often a messenger for bad news who would view being shot as a blessing.
Berry talks at length about her work (although she prefers to keep an air of mystery about herself), revealing she has always had an interest in comics long before she started creating them. “I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes and Asterix and Fungus the Bogeyman,” she says, “and I think I really latched on to those during those formative years. Eventually I progressed on to the clever graphic novels by Chris Ware and Alan Moore and all those types whose books work so bloody well they bring a tear to my eye.”
After some wilderness years, discovering bande dessines ion a French bookshop led to a rekindling of interest in the “Ninth Art”, and she began working on her own comics, such as Maureen’s Odyssey – what she describes as her first and last attempt at self publishing.
Her hand painted novel, she reveals, took just over two and a half years to complete. “I wanted the artwork to be as complex as the story was, and to leave little visual clues in the images that people would only pick up on in a second reading. That’s an advantage of working with comics: the format, more than other literature and definitely more than films, makes it possible to skip back and re-check a detail in a new light. However, hiding details in the images meant that the illustrations had to be fleshed out around them, and so the ante was upped accordingly.”
Hannah is even now working on a new graphic novel project. ” Britten & Brülightly was quite steep learning curve, but I still don’t feel like I fully understand what comics are capable of yet,” she comments. “I have an idea in the pipeline for the next one (sadly no more Britten or Brülightly, at least for the present), and I have plans for a different genre altogether. I’ve always had a love of horror, and I think a ghost story as a graphic novel could work well. I’ll see how it goes.”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: Comic Creator Interviews