Independent British comic publisher PigDog Press will be launching their first ever Kickstarter in early July, seeking support for a collection of their fantasy adventure series Killing Moon, a story that centres on an elite band of assassins, attempting to earn a dishonest living in a world of vampires, orcs, dragons – and necromancers!
Jimmy Baker catches up with writer Chris Denton and artist Neil Roche to find out more about the project, which has proven a popular independent title since its resurrection in 2015…
If there’s a take home for aspiring comic creators from chatting with writer Chris Denton and Neil Roche, it’s never throw an idea away, because you never know when its time may come. This is never truer than with the latest incarnation of Killing Moon, a project coming to Kickstarter at a time when escapism of the sword and sorcery kind is proving hugely popular.
The characters of Killing Moon actually have their origins in the 1980s. An earlier incarnation of Killing Moon was published in 1985, created by Mark ‘PigDog’ Roche, older brother of publisher and artist Neil ‘Bhuna’ Roche, whose credits include Dr WTF, Vanguard Comic, strips for Paragon Press, Zarjaz and more.
30 years later, back in 2015, Neil, the enigmatic British writer Chris Denton (Eagle Award-nominated Walking Wounded, Massacre for Boys, Drokk, Judge Dredd Megazine) and colourist Darren Stephens (2000AD, Sonic the Comic, Red Dwarf, Zarjaz) resurrected assassin Moses Valentine and Killing Moon, in a new series of comics featuring some of the UK’s most talented small press artists, offering their take on the main characters in the story.
“As a teenager, I’d always admired my brother’s artwork,” explains Neil. “He’d been developing Moses Valentine and Killing Moon for a number of years in the 1980s. I was so chuffed when he actually had two Killing Moon stories printed in Totally Alien back in 1985.
“It wasn’t until Mark and myself were going to see the Dredd movie in September 2012 that he actually suggested picking up the reins and drawing Killing Moon again.”
Neil had collaborated with writer Chris Denton on a short strip called “Emu War”, which had appeared in Massacre For Boys. They linked up a second time to work on the new venture.
“Basically, Neil told me about Killing Moon,” Chris recalls. “Including his ideas for bringing it back, then asked me if I was interested, and if so what would I do with the strip? I’ve always wanted to write fantasy, and was sold immediately.
“The main story arc jumped into my head pretty much on day one. I’ve been waiting my whole life to help shape an entire world like this.”
Neil also brought celebrated colourist Darren Stephens and lettering legend Bolt-01 on board. Noted author Richmond Clements agreed to join the growing team, acting as consulting editor.
Killing Moon initially launched as a four-part comic, with Issue One debuting at Thought Bubble 2015. The reception was encouraging, and the remaining segments were completed over the next five years, culminating in a ComicScene Awards nomination last winter.
So has the new Killing Moon turned out as Neil hoped it would?
“This is better!” Neil answers, happily. “I pretty much gave Chris carte blanche on what he wanted to do with the characters and the world the story was set in. I was so impressed with the scripts and Chris is always pushing me as an artist. It’s only when you see my line work brought to life by Darren’s phenomenal colour pallet and Bolt-01’s lettering that everything comes together.”
Now, to round the journey off, Killing Moon is coming to Kickstarter. This volume collects issues 1 – 4, and also includes a brand new strip, plus all the original 1985 material. Rewards will include digital and physical copies of the book, merchandise, sketches and original art.
As to the future, well nothing is written in stone, but don’t rule out a sequel…