18/01/2008

Various virtues: an interview with David Lloyd, part3.


Last part of our exclusive interview, David Lloyd talks about his most recent and future projects, and also explains why he prefers to work on short stories.

Wellington Srbek: You have worked with three other important British writers: Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and Jamie Delano. How it was to work with them in Hellblazer?

David Lloyd: Well, they're all great writers. But working with Jamie was different to working with the other two because we created “The Horrorist” in a “Marvel-type” manner - i.e. working initially from page-by-page breakdowns of the action, from which I drew layouts, and from which Jamie wrote the final script. I've always considered this way of creating a strip gives an artist much more opportunity for producing a smooth flow to the visual narrative. Everything I've worked on with Jamie, I've done in that same way. Grant and Garth supplied full scripts. I suggested to Garth once that we work on something together in the same way I work with Jamie, but he threw up his hands in horror at the prospect! A writer sacrifices some control if he works in that Marvel-type style, and some writers don't want that.

WS: You seem to have a preference for short stories or limited series, and a taste for experimenting with different techniques.

DL: I get bored easily is one reason, another is that I like short stories. I think I could spend my whole career doing short stories of various kinds if it was commercially viable to do that. But these days anthology books always struggle to sell enough. And, yes, I like experimenting if I can. So much of this business is ingrained in common practices geared towards fast production methods, and experimenting usually takes time, so it's not always possible to do it. But like I say I get bored easily - and the thrill of discovering a new way of depicting something, or using some new technique never fades for me. I think the adventure of creating something in art is a precious thing, and I want to keep that.
Another part of the picture is that I never wanted to become an artist who goes from one job to another just to keep up with his bill payments. There are lots of artists who do that and I respect them for their professionalism - but I'd go crazy doing that. I work on things I find interesting to work on - and very few long-term projects have that degree of attraction for me. What if I got bored half-way through a long run? The rest of it would be Hell. At the beginning of my career I did anything that came along because I had to, but I figured very soon after it was a good idea to always have a back-up bank balance that insulated me from the need to jump off one job and onto another all the time. And having that back-up was very important when I wanted to create my own graphic novel: Kickback. If I hadn't been able to escape the treadmill of working on other people’s scripts, how would I have found time to spend on it?

WS: Please tell us about your new book São Paulo published by Casa 21.

DL: It's one of a series commissioned by the publisher from various artists on the towns and cities in Brasil. They're portraits of the places - text and art - as seen from the artist’s point of view. There are volumes on Rio, Belo Horizonte, and Salvador among others - I'm sure you know the books. And they wanted me to do the book on São Paulo. I thought long and hard about accepting the job. It was a challenge and a big responsibility - portraying one of the biggest cities in the world in art and word is not a task to be taken lightly unless you happen to be crazy. It seemed like an even bigger responsibility and challenge when I came to São Paulo to research it. I found lots of people knew and liked my work here, and were eagerly looking forward to seeing what I was going to make of their city. It was a whole different deal to my usual work of telling a story about fictional people in a fictional world, where the truth is a choice and not a reality. Ultimately though, I could only respond to what I saw and heard in my journey through the city on that research trip, and compile the book honestly from those perceptions, which is what I did. I don't know how well, or otherwise, paulistanos have responded to it. A lot of nice things were said to me about it when I was back in the city for the launch, and after it from some folks, but I'm not aware of the general consensus of opinion. I hope it's generally good.

WS: How is the comics industry in Britain now, and how do you see the future of comics in general, as a medium and as an industry?

DL: There's no comics “industry” in Britain, as such. We could have had one here if comics publishers had cared enough about them to keep all our homegrown talent fully employed in the UK, instead of letting it be imported wholesale to the US, but they didn't. As a nation, we haven't really seen comics as an essential part of the culture as the US and other countries do. We have only one comic that's important in artistic terms - and which is still a breeding ground for much new British talent - 2000AD. The rest is mainly a mix of licenced marketing tools or nursery titles.
It's impossible to make any predictions about comics in general because it varies from country to country and covers such a wide field of styles. But Manga seems like it'll be a permanent fixture in every country it's been exported to. That's about as much as I'd risk speculating on with any certainty.

WS: What are you working on now? Any new projects?

DL: Well, in March/April, Kickback will be in the stores in Brasil - and that'll be new to Brasilians. It's the first substantial work I've been able to write for myself - previously I'd only had the time to write a few short stories, and a single issue of a series. Being a writer/artist is the best and most satisfying thing to do as a creator in this medium if you have something you want to say with it. Kickback's a crime thriller about a corrupt policeman in a corrupt police force who decides to change his way of life - but the story's as much about why he's corrupt as how he overcomes the obstacles to achieve a change. It has all the usual elements of a crime story in an urban setting, but It's about the people in the situation more than the situation itself. I hope everyone will like it here.
New work this year starts with me illustrating a short strip for a French publisher in a book of stories about children who were separated from their parents during the 2nd World War. Then a ghost story for another French book. And then I'll be starting work on a new graphic novel, the nature of which I am yet to decide upon.

WS: Well, thanks a lot for this interview!

DL: You're very welcome.

2 comentários:

Pedro Cirne de disse...

Muito boa a entrevista, especialmente os comentários dele sobre roteiros no jeito Marvel.

Abraços,

Brasil

Wellington Srbek disse...

Valeu, Pedro! Abraço.
W.S.