UK Indie Comic Interview 01 – Steve Penfold, Moon
As I mentioned over in the Birmingham Comic Con post, whilst at the show, I interviewed a number of the indie comic book guys with the intention of using them on the podcast… However, my recording equipment decided to throw a fit, and thought they’d all sound much better with echoing robot style voices… Funny, but not much use for a podcast! So, rather than let them go to waste, I’m transcribing the interviews to put up as posts. First up, artist Steve Penfold talking about his book – MOON!
Hi Steve, do you want to explain a bit about MOON?
I’m surprised that people don’t know about this, as it is something of a concern, but the Moon has been dropping out of the sky in the early hours of the morning for the last 2000 years, every morning like clockwork. But for some obscure reason, people don’t seem to know about this! However, most recently, he’s been putting on a suit, taking out a gun, and fighting ridiculous crime!
Right… Okay! Where did the idea for MOON come from?
Basically, Dan Thompson (the writer) he entered a film competition for a very short film (about 1 min and a half long), and the theme of the competition was ‘the moon got too close’. So obviously, everyone else did things like ‘tides are rising’ and those sort of things, blah, blah, blah… and no doubt we’ve never heard about any of those ever again. But Dan decided that this sounded like a detective story, and so there we have it. You saw 90 secs of a man with a moon for a head in a car chase and a gun fight!
So, how did you get involved with Dan?
I met Dan at the London Bridge Experience, where we were both actors, and we both had a sort of mutual sense of the silly, so it sort of developed from there. Just working on various different projects, and MOON, which already existed to a certain extent (as the 90 sec movie), so it was a natural progression.
So you’re an actor and a comic book artist! How long have you been drawing for?
Well, I started as a child with computer paper on the floor with a biro, and just never really stopped!
Do you have any artists in particular that influence your art style?
Yes, well, if you go through MOON, you’ll see that I’m quite obviously influenced and fail miserably to try to cover it! Just going through the book you’ll see a bit of Simon Bisley, a bit of Mike Mignola, so artists that have no real visual relationship to each other, so you’ll see random panels of completely different styles… Simply because… Joe Quesada’s old work is also an influence (before he became head of Marvel). I’m absolutely in awe of Joe’s work. The way he melded the Manga and American style of comic book art is sensational. The expressions and the contours of the characters faces and his characterisations… I can fault any of it. His work on Daredevil with Kevin Smith is one of the finest examples of composition I’ve ever seen in a comic book. And it’s not hailed anywhere near as much as it deserves. Page after page of genius, utter visual genius. I don’t know how much of it was Kevin Smith’s indication. He probably gave stylistic points and things like that, but Joe Quesada’s work is just mind blowing.
How are you finding the indie comic book scene at the moment?
The indie comic book scene is thriving to say the least, and is building in terms of importance. The problem is with some of the larger commercial companies. MCM is actually excellent, as they’re devoted to indie comic’s and helping develop it. The problem is, a certain other Con… i’m not going to name names… but the ‘other’ one… seem to treat indie comic people with the sort of contempt I’ve only ever seem with someone that’s committed some sort of crime. They’re just short of kicking the comic books out of, what is actually called a Comic Con… So to those people (I stress NOT MCM!) I have this to say – Don’t alienate a large section of what you consider to be ‘your show’. Comics belong at a Comic Con.