Tim is the newest edition to the ranks of Corvus and I caught up with him earlier this week to ask him the six questions I’m asking everybody around here. Tim is the author of an exciting new steam punk series Victoriana, which caused quite a stir at Cardiff in February when the rough sketches were shown the enthusiastic steam punk aficionados of Wales. Tim has a unique vision as you will discover.
How did you get started in this business?
Victoriana started as a combination of things that I like: cat girls and steam punk. It arose out of my years of reading Manga and a Goggle obsession I fully expect Matt Smith to be praising on Dr Who in the near future! The thing that kick started Victoriana was the music of Abney Park (http://www.abneypark.com/). My friend Robin introduced me to the music and he is immortalised within the pages of Victoriana as an Agency member. Steam punk is a genre that is still new to the majority of the world and I wanted to create something that was unique. The early issues of Victoriana will be more Victorian than steam punk but the steam punk style and influence will increase throughout the series, especially in the Alice centred plots. I was conscious that I could not throw my readers into the deep end too early, so to speak, I was worried that they would be confused or overloaded with information. I was always the geeky guy at school and proud of it, I have always wanted to write a comic (as have the majority of readers I suspect).
Who are your influences?
That’s a good question, having been raised from an early age with Silver and Bronze Age comics around me, I tend to have a four colour mentally when it comes to deciding what is good and what is bad. As I got older I moved into British stuff like Judge Dredd, and anything published by 2000AD as a graphic novel. In the past decade I’ve read a lot more indie comics, there are many worlds out there to explore. Gilbert Sheldon’s Freak Brothers opened a darker world of underground comics, I have a strange relationship with them.
Masamune Shirow (Dominion Tank Police) and Phil Foglio (Girl Genius and thousands of Magic the Gathering cards) influenced the creation of the Bast sisters (they are the central characters of Victoriana). I have a slight thing for cat girls you see...I wanted almost Moreauian (that’s H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau) creatures with a severe level of humanity but a distinctly alien look. The kind of faces that if you saw them on the street, would cause you to do a double take. Saskia (the first artist) nailed them spot on.
What are you working on at the moment?
Well, finding the right artist has not been an easy task. Thankfully God (never doubt the Almighty) was smiling on me and He sent me George (the series artist) via a friend of mine Em, who was herself looking for an artist for her comic-thanks Em. George has that serious style with a slight cartoony element that I was looking for. Also she took the original artwork and ran with it making it her own. So miracles are possible, but like a Noir detective it is all about being in the right place at the right time and that takes a lot of footwork.
What’s coming up?
I have a new idea in the pipeline, but I need to get that written down. I’m helping my typographer with her comic as well at the moment, and of course there is Arc 2 of Victoriana, I’m writing that at the moment. Everyone loves vampires, don’t they-save for the sparkly ones of course...
Character or plot, which comes first?
With Victoriana it was the characters that came first, I spent a lot of time fleshing them out in my head before I put pen to paper. That’s how I tend to work, leave the ideas to percolate in the back of the brain while the frontal lobes get on with the task in hand. I wasn’t until I started writing the origins of the Bast Sisters that I realised how complex the story had become, that’s why I need six issues to tell it in. George asked me why the sisters have different coloured hair, the answer was simple, so people could tell them apart! I tend to have ideas like this slide in when I start to write. I had to do some research on Ninja Clans as they appear later in the story. There was a point when Mags Bast only spoke in Biblical quotations-now that would have been fun!
In the film of your life who would play you?
Is Ross Kemp available! (Laughter)
As you can see Tim is fizzing with ideas and Victoriana is becoming more baroque with each day. At the Bristol Comic Expo (12/13 May) Tim will be previewing two short films that relate to Victoriana. I for one am looking forward to that!