Crowdfunding Spotlight: Who Killed Nessie? A Quick Chat with Paul Cornell & Rachael Smith

Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith

downthetubes catches up with award-winning comics writer Paul Cornell and award-winning comics writer/artist Rachael Smith to chat about their latest project, Who Killed Nessie?, currently seeking crowdfunding support on Zoop.

Every year, legendary creatures from all over the world gather for an annual convention. But never has there been a murder. 

Who Killed Nessie? is an all-new graphic novel, a comedy cryptozoological whodunnit about finding confidence through rationality and accepting a world of mysteries… by solving one.

Check out the Who Killed Nessie? crowdfunding campaign on Zoop here.

Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith
Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith
Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith

Lindsay Grockle, a sceptical, rational young woman, agreed to be the manager of an isolated hotel in the Great Lakes to get over a terrible break-up that left her with zero self-confidence.  Her partner was romantic, whimsical, a believer.  And she kept telling him there were no such things as fairies.  She arrives to find the former manager on his way out of the door, as if he’d been freed from a terrible burden.  The rest of the staff have all elected to go on leave this weekend.  Because this weekend is… the convention.

Lindsay doesn’t know what that is, but is pleasantly surprised when some charming, but eccentric patrons arrive, patrons who want to hide their faces or shelter under huge coats or all walk together in single file, as if they’re one long creature pretending to be several people.  And there’s a just slightly too big cat that’s started to hang around.  And the lake outside seems to have suddenly become both deserted of wildlife and weirdly choppy.

But still, Lindsay goes to bed in the hotel that night sure that her weird guests are having the best time she can provide.

She’s woken in the early hours by the cat, who tells her she has to come quickly.  There’s been a murder.

Lindsay can’t quite decide which part of that to deal with first, the murder or the talking cat, but she’s quickly hustled to the ballroom, where, on the floor, lies the enormous corpse of… the Loch Ness Monster.

And around Nessie are gathered the convention attendees, now revealed as who they really are: legendary creatures from all over the world.  There’s Bigfoot and the Jersey Devil and a Unicorn and a Succubus and a minibus-load of Yokai from Japan… and outside in the lake there’s the Kraken and many more water-based monsters.  And the cat is actually the Beast of Bodmin.  Or Bob for short.  And, oh dear, there really are Fairies!

Every year, Lindsay is told, the cryptids gather here for their annual convention.  But never has there been a murder.  Suddenly, they can’t trust each other.  They’ve locked the doors and prevented all external communication.  The only person they can agree on to solve this mystery is Lindsay.

“You may not believe in us, Lindsay,’ says Bob, ‘but we believe in you…”

Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith
Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith

Paul, Rachael, are you pleased by the response to the crowdfunder?

Paul Cornell: It’s very heartening! I mean, it’s still thirty days of absolute terror for me, but it’s a heartening sort of terror.

Rachael Smith: It’s been really great! People have been so kind and excited about it. We’ve still a way to go, but I believe we can get there 🙂 Hopefully we’ll have a flurry of support in the last week.

Paul Cornell
Paul Cornell

What brought you together on this project?

Paul: We’ve always wanted to work on a long form project together, since collaborating on a couple of small things like a charity strip about cricket and a couple of Doctor Who back-ups.

Rachael Smith: Paul and I had a Zoom meeting to talk about possibly collaborating on something and we bounced ideas around for a while. I wanted to do something with mythological creatures and Paul wanted to do a who-dun-it…and we landed on Who Killed Nessie?

What’s your favourite mythological “monster”?

Paul: Serious answer – I think it’s fairies, because they say so much about peoples’ need to believe. Cryptozoologist Richard Freeman has a theory that we’re programmed by our prehistory on the plains to look out for bigger and small hominids and for cats, because those are the main threats, so we increase the size of every cat we see and invest hugely in big Yeti and little fairies.

Rachael: I’ve always love Japanese yokai, my favourite being the tsukumogami – items that are over 100 years old that have become sentient. On the cover you can see some of them in the form of cups and glasses.

Who Killed Nessie by Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone considering running their own crowdfunding campaign to create comics?

Rachael Smith
Rachael Smith

Paul: Know your audience really well and be prepared to put aside all shyness and sell to them like nobody’s business.

Rachael: Be confident in what you’re creating! You are the only person who can tell your story just like you will – there’s something beautiful about that.

What other project have you worked on we should be checking out right now?

Paul: Con and On, my now-collected comics series from Ahoy about decades in the life of a big comics convention: loads of real life industry anecdotes!

Rachael: I’m making NAP COMIX. They are auto-bio comics about being a new mum! New comics three times a week 🙂

Paul, Rachael, thanks very much for your time – and the very best of luck with Who Killed Nessie?

Check out the Who Killed Nessie? crowdfunding campaign on Zoop here

Paul Cornell has written episodes of ElementaryDoctor Who (Father’s Day’ and ‘Human Nature’), PrimevalRobin Hood and many other TV series, including his own ITV children’s show, Wavelength. He’s worked for every major comics company, including his creator-owned series I Walk With Monsters for The Vault, The Modern Frankenstein for Magma, Saucer Country for Vertigo and This Damned Band for Dark Horse, and runs for Marvel and DC on Batman and RobinWolverine and Young Avengers

He’s also the writer of the Lychford rural fantasy novellas from Publishing, co-host of Hammer House of Podcast, and won the BSFA Award for his short fiction, an Eagle Award for his comics, a Hugo Award for his podcast and shares in a Writer’s Guild Award for his Doctor Who and the Grand Prix Nova and Scribe awards for the audio series Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Firewall

His latest book is the SF novella Rosebud, his latest graphic novel is The Witches of World War II for TKO and his latest comic series is Con and On, for Ahoy, recently released in collection.

Con & On - Collection Cover by Paul Cornell and Marika Cresta (Ahoy Comics, 2024)

Rachael Smith is an award-winning comic creator based in Manchester, in the UK. She is best known for making comics that deal with mental health issues with warm, relatable humour, such as Wired Up Wrong, Quarantine Comix, and Isabella & Blodwen.

Rachael is currently drawing her autobiographical webcomic NAP COMIX about being a new mum. Rachael also wrote and drew the humour comics for Titan’s Doctor Who, Tenth Doctor comic series for three years. She has created work for The New Yorker, Image, Boom! Studios, and Mad Cave, among others.

Nap Comix by Rachael Smith

Check out the Who Killed Nessie? crowdfunding campaign on Zoop here

Categories: British Comics, Comic Creator Interviews, Comics, Creating Comics, Crowd Funding Projects, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features

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  1. Loads of New Podcast Interviews! (Including me on BBC Radio!)

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