5 Question Interview #132

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With True Believers 2018 fast approaching, we put 5 Questions to Dan Whitehead...

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What will people find at your table at True Believers 2018?

Cool stuff, I hope! I'll be bringing Midwinter, a frosty post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure, and Hex Loader, my surreal sort-of horror comic in which a reclusive 1980s games designer finds a way to use computer code to cast magic with bizarre results. There's a taking wombat. If all goes well, then issue 3 of Hex Loader will be making its convention debut at OK True Believers! If I can make the space, I'll probably bring along some of my other stuff too - my retro gaming Speccy Nation books, and a children's time travel novel. Something for everyone!

What do you love about creating comics?

My favorite part of the process is that delicious waiting period, after I've sent a script off to the artist and I get the first email back with attachments. I'm fairly hands-off when it comes to art direction - I don't like being too dictatorial in terms of how characters should look, or how to lay out the panels, so I like to be surprised - usually pleasantly! - when those first sketches and scans come back and I get to see how the artist has interpreted what I wrote. Sometimes it's exactly what I imagined, and that's amazing. Sometimes it's something I never would have thought to do, and that's even better. Comics are a collaborative media, and I never stop being thrilled at seeing someone else taking something I've written and adding their spin to it.

What part of creating comics do you find the most challenging?

There's that bit, after you've had the flash of inspiration but before it's all done, when you have to just sit down and graft at turning those wisps of an idea into a functioning story with interesting characters. I'm not sure I'd call it "challenging" but that's the part where you just have to knuckle down and chip away at it until it feels right. Not so much the actual writing part - I like that bit, as you can just open the floodgates and let it all out. It's the fumbling around for that one connection or twist that reveals the story inside the idea. It can sometimes feel a lot like trying to find a single peanut in a pitch black room, while wearing oven gloves. Of course, when you find the peanut, and it turns out to be delicious, it's all worth it. Mmmm. Metaphorical peanuts.

What do you love about being at a comic con?

As a visitor, I'm always like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to small press stuff. I find it massively inspiring to see just how many creators are out there, producing such an amazing range of work across loads of genres just for the love of it. It's a business, but also a hobby. Some people spend hours sitting on a riverbank trying to catch fish. Some people lock themselves in the spare room and write or draw until their eyes fall out. It's such a vibrant niche. From behind the table, it's the sense of community. The UK has a really lovely indie scene, so many people putting their thoughts and ideas out there and hoping others like it. Regardless of whether I'm there as a creator or a punter, I always come back from a convention feeling inspired and energised, and eager to crack on with something new.

What comic - other than your own - would you recommend people read?

God, there are so many. Mark Penman's Eimurian Tales is great - chunky standalone books set in a shared fantasy world that feels really real and alive. Imaginary Gumbo is a wonderful all-ages book from Abby and Dave at Dumpy Little Robot, just bursting with ideas and a lovely sense of being a little kid. Frisson Comics up in Liverpool just released The Trade, a down-to-earth horror story that is sweet, emotionally powerful and absolutely stomach-churning. Quite an impressive feat. Killing Moon from Pigdog Press is an ongoing fantasy saga that just keeps building. There are loads. Apologies to anyone I didn't mention!

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You can find Dan online at his website and stop by his table at True Believers 2018 and say "Hello". 

Not got your tickets yet, head to our ticket page now to buy yours.