Every year, in the countdown to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in partnership with downthetubes, we bring you a series of interviews with guests at the event. Over 70 are attending in 2018 in October (and that’s not including creators you’ll find in the Comics Clock Tower).
This Festival Focus for 2018 is Dundee-based Monty Nero who writes, and draws comics – including X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Death Sentence with Mike Dowling for Titan Comics, Hollow Monsters, @MontyandZuzu with Zyzanna Dominiak (online), and various other stories for Marvel, Delcourt, Vertigo and 2000AD.
He has a Masters with Distinction from The University of Dundee in Comics and Graphic Novels, where he won the Duncan of Jordanstone prize, researching how the verbal and visual elements of comics combine to elicit emotion.
His agent for written work is James Wills at Watson, Little Ltd and he lives and works in Dundee as part of the Inkpot studio.
He's recently been busy preparing to launch a crowdfunder for Death Sentence Liberty, the latest in the critically acclaimed series , working with artist Martin Simmonds. It's the first of a new six-issue arc pushing super-powered comics in fresh directions, while delivering explosive genre thrills. It's an irreverent adults-only comic with mature themes, regularly praised for its dynamic plotting, scintillating dialogue, and emotional depth.
What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Monty Nero: Death Sentence Liberty, a new six-issue series live on Kickstarter throughout September, and Hollow Monsters - a graphic novel about friendship and fear in the 1980s, about the nightmare in the shadows and how it’s never what you think.
Which comic project you've worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Monty Nero: Ooooh, Death Sentence is the only comic I’ve made so far that was widely acclaimed as a masterwork. The hardback is available from any book or comic shop.
How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Monty Nero: Well, there are always deadlines and when they’re pressing you get no choice in the order of attack. But if they’re a way off I tend to focus on whatever inspires me.
Riding your inspiration into an oasis of genius is the challenge every freelance writer or artist faces. When inspiration strikes, you have to embrace it.
What's the best thing about being a comics creator?
Monty Nero: The freedom.
And the worst?
Monty Nero: Long hours.
What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Monty Nero: Social media. It’s a constant battle because you have to be on social media a bit to publicise your work. But as soon as you engage, your muse leaves the room.
Do you think it's easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Monty Nero: Much easier to get published, online or in print, but also much harder to get anyone to pay attention.
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?
Monty Nero: I'm really looking forward to visiting as we’ve previously just stopped off overnight on the way north or south, and never really had the chance to look around. It’s like the Scottish lochs meeting a Hovis commercial, but with more tourists, so I’m told ;)
Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Monty Nero: Moebius, though that’d be difficult now. Maybe in the next world I’ll come back as a bristle on his brush.
How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Monty Nero: They remind you there's an enthusiastic audience of lovely people eager to read comics. They also get creators together for a drink and a chat, which is good for the soul.
What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Monty Nero: Make your own work in your own way and if you love it, keep on. The audience will come.
What's your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Monty Nero: The Seeds from Berger Books at Dark Horse.
Monty Nero, thank you very much for your time and thoughts on creating comics. We look forward to seeing you in Kendal in October!
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will be back in Kendal 12th – 14th October 2018.
• Tickets for the Festival are on sale now!
MONTY NERO ONLINE
Monty Nero will be exhibiting in the CCT Extra Space located in the Shakespeare Centre, just a few minutes walk from the main Comics Clock Tower at Kendal Town Hall.
Interview questions and feature by John Freeman