In the run up to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October), we’re aiming to run a number of interviews spotlighting at least a few of the huge number of guests and comic creators who will be at the event, continuing today with comics writer Jörg Tittel, the author of Ricky Rouse Has A Gun, recently published by SelfMadeHero. Illustrated by John Aggs, the book is a fantastic blend of action, comedy, and social and political satire. (You can read our review here).
Jörg also writes, produces and/or directs plays, films and videogames. Notable successes are the critically acclaimed 2+2+2 at the King’s Head Theatre, short film Battle for Britain (starring Julian Glover) and West End success FIESTA (The Sun Also Rises.) Jörg’s passion and long-term mission has been to create beautifully crafted, story- and character-driven projects that transcend media. Jörg is also a BAFTA member and frequent speaker on cross-platform storytelling. Together with partners Alex Helfrecht and Philip Munger, Jörg runs London and NYC based production company Oiffy.
downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now and when will it be published?
Jörg Tittel: I’ve been writing a Young Adult sci-fi series and, if all goes according to plan, it will be out sometime in 2015. Making these things takes a while. But over the coming year I’ll be devoting most of my energies to a live action adaptation of György Dragomán’s stunning novel The White King, which my wife and partner-in-crime Alex will be directing together next summer.
downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Jörg: I’ve only worked on one so far so, without much hesitation I’d say I’m most proud of Ricky Rouse Has a Gun. It’ll be fun talking about the project with John Aggs and Dr. Andrew Miles at LICAF!
downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Jörg: I generally plan it around my two little ones and will squeeze in work wherever I find the time. I try to be as present in their lives as possible, while also trying to maintain as much sanity as I can despite all the sleep deprivation. They really are sadists those two.
downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Jörg: My “day job” is making movies and the occasional West End show or video game. And those things require large teams and lots of diplomacy and personal politics, not to mention far bigger budgets. What I love about making comics is the sheer amount of control you have over what ends up on the page and the lack of “censorship” of sorts. It’s just you and an artist or, if you have more talent than me (like John Aggs for instance), you can even write and draw the whole book by yourself. It’s incredibly liberating.
downthetubes: And the worst?
Jörg: Making a comic can be quite a solitary experience and you better believe in what you’re working on it, because you’ll be sweating over it alone for a really long time.
downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Jörg: The two little sadists I mentioned earlier. Oh, and cat videos. Everyone loves those.
downthetubes: Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Jörg: I’m not sure if I’m the best person to answer this question because a) I probably no longer count as young and b) I was extremely lucky with Ricky Rouse Has a Gun: the first publisher I approached agreed to take it on. SelfMadeHero happened to be the only UK comic book publisher whose books I’d bought in recent years. I never thought the multiple award winning publishers of Kafka and Lovecraft adaptations would agree to take on a story involving terrorists in mascot outfits shooting each other in the face! So perhaps there is hope for new creators, young and old. And we might as well be as loud, brash and mad as possible. The world needs fresh, joyful, crazy ideas.
downthetubes: Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it? If you haven’t what are you expecting?
Jörg: Not yet but I can’t wait to discover it for the first time. I’ve only heard great things from last year’s festival. This year was my first Angouleme, too, and I expect this will be this island’s equivalent in the making. Very exciting!
downthetubes: Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Jörg: Brian K. Vaughan. I love his work. Y the Last Man is the best TV series I’ve never watched.
downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Jörg: First of all, it forces them to leave the house and get some much needed Vitamin D. And ultimately, meeting people is the most important thing. It takes people to make books and far more to read them. Finally, comic books deserve to be celebrated. The concept of a festival rather than a stuffy convention is joyous.
downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Jörg: First, think if there’s anything else you’d rather be doing. If the answer is no, you’ve come to the right place. But don’t think anyone will immediately offer you a seat. Perhaps ever. Just bring your own and don’t get up before you’ve shown the world all you’ve got.
Jörg, thank you very much for taking time out to talk to us.
• Jörg and John Aggs will be talking about the making of Ricky Rouse Has A Gun on Saturday 18th October at 3.45pm at the Brewery Arts Centre as part of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Full details and booking information here. Jörg will be running a writers workshop at 1030 on the same day – more details and booking details here