Comic - Interview with Montynero

Death Sentence cover


With the new Death Sentence: London comics series hitting the streets this summer here's a reminder of an interview from last year, when the hardback collection was due out, and Steve Taylor-Bryant poured the vodka and sat with comic guru Montynero...

You must have been away for a year, or not interested in comics, if you haven't heard of Death Sentence via review sites, social media sites, or the fact I have often been found at the top of mountains waxing lyrical to anyone (or thing - honestly there was a goat once!) that would listen. So, with the exciting news that the Death Sentence comics have been collected into a hardback book, out from our friends at Titan Comics soon, and with new projects on the go it was time to have a drink with creator Montynero.

So, Death Sentence worked out well for you then?

Yeah, Mike Dowling did an incredible job on the artwork – and we sold lots more than we were expecting. We were delighted with the reaction and how it all turned out. Can’t wait for the hardback to drop on June 22nd! There’s a lot of tradewaiters out there who still don’t know why this is good!

When you were drafting the original story did you have any clue as to the impact that the characters would have on the readers?

No, not really. They had a deep impact on me – but I didn't really anticipate many people reading it at all to be honest. So when you find out there’s people out there who feel just like you do it's very gratifying. I just tried to write characters I found interesting, characters that had relevance to my own life and said something about the world.. So many comic characters don't - they're meaningless cartoon archetypes or one dimensional throwbacks to the 20th century. It irritated me so much that I decided to do something about it.

I hear a new run of Death Sentence is on the cards, excuse the excitement in my voice! What can you tell us about the future?

Yeah, It’ll be out fairly soon. We just finished the first issue and it looks amazing. The first story was really tightly focussed which means there's a huge amount still to explore. There's a brand new lead character, someone with a new perspective, as well as two of the characters people loved from the first series. It carries straight on from where the first book ended, and plunges straight into the ramifications of that final epic scene. We open the story out to explore the devastating wider impact of the virus and the deeper meaning behind it all.

Vertigo! How did this come about?

I gave Shelly Bond a copy of Death Sentence at Bristol and she really liked the tone and voice we’ve developed. She invited me to pitch some stuff and it rolled from there. They’ve been great to work for, so far.

What can we expect from the short story and where and when is it available?

Originality: It's a an idea I've never seen before, and it’s told in an a unique way. So if you like dunking your brain in an ocean of freshness you should definitely check it out. The art’s by Al Davison and he brought a wonderful humanity to the characters, which is so important for a short. You have to make readers care about the characters very quickly, and I fell in love with Al’s drawings as soon as I saw them. It’s in the Vertigo Cyan anthology May 1st with other stories from Fabio Moon, Jock, Lee Garbett and others.

How did you get the X-Men gig? You are really are becoming comic royalty aren't you?

Far from it. I'm a small time creator doing independent work. It's a sign of the times that the gap between comics like ours and the big mainstream publishers has narrowed so much. Not just sales, but the art styles and voices are a lot more varied and interesting than they used to be across the board. It means there's a place in comics for oddballs like me. Marvel editors are switched on to all kinds of new stuff. So it just came around from them all reading Death Sentence and then getting in touch.

The X-Men annual is all about Storm. Is it nice having the one character to work on or do you prefer the various story arcs of multiple characters?

It's about Storm but all the Xmen are in it. I prefer doing stories with multiple characters at the moment, there's a lot more you can do with the resonances and juxtapositions between different viewpoints. The Marvel characters that have lasted decades all having something interesting at their core, which you can emphasise and dramatise to good effect. Ultimately you've just gotta do your own thing, though - and tell a good story.

Have you found that the success of Death Sentence has led to opportunities that may not have arisen before?

Yes!

How do you find time for Vodka with all this writing going on?

There's always time for vodka. It's important to live a life beyond being chained to a computer typing away, to read and experience the world and all its many mysteries. Otherwise you don't get fresh ideas.

Cheers Monty and much continued success to you.

Image - Titan Comics.