Posted by Decapitated Dan |

Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Dave Elliott


Decapitated Dan: Hey Dave, thanks for taking time to talk with me about Atomeka.
First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

Dave Elliott: Flippant me would just say "Dave Elliott and I make comics" but that doesn't cover much of what I do.  Over the years people have been coming to me as I developed a knack for either fixing their ideas or being able to develop them fully and often getting them through to print or sale as a project in other media.

DD: How did you find yourself getting into working in comics?

DE: From an early age I wanted to draw comics and despite efforts from some tutors at college to divert me I did end up getting into the industry as editor, art director and sometimes cover artist for a start up in the UK.  That eventually led to me doing a lot of work, primarily as an inker, for Marvel comics and 2000AD.

DD: What was it that lead you to want to bring back Atomeka?

DE: It started as frustration with helping other people get their projects started and then either watch as that work was mishandled or fucked up because of egos or just being fucked over.  But I really wanted to get back to being a creator again.  I'd seen work I'd done as a creator with others mishandled or just plain stolen, so I wanted to work on my own ideas that I'd been slowly developing and do them myself. As I started to talk with my friends about it they voiced their own frustrations about the same.  So this time Atomeka is going to be more of a collective of creators who can promote  their concepts and ideas knowing that there are several other creators promoting the same project.  The entry level is less painful.  Too many of us have done four to six issue mini-series and just getting out with a breakeven or $500 to show for over 100 pages of full color art.  Working with Kevin Eastman on Heavy Metal again has given us an additional platform to promote those ideas while giving the magazine an injection of great new material by great creators.

DD: How did you come to partner with Titan on bringing back Atomeka?

DE:  I've known Nick Landau for 25 years.  He wanted to publish A1 back when we first started out but Garry Leach and myself wanted to press forward ourselves on doing everything.  We learnt a lot of lessons doing it that way.  The biggest lesson was letting Titan publish it the next time! :-)

With Titan the big appeal is working with a creator friendly publishing company that has real publishing experience outside of the comic market.  Nick is a big a geek as any of us but he's managed to temper that enthusiasm with sound business sense and grown Titan up on a solid foundation to put him in the position now to expand into doing creator owned comics.

DD: So what can you tell me about A1. What's it all about?

DE: A1 was originally conceived as a comic where Garry Leach and myself could produce our own creator owned material.  Word quickly spread what we were aiming to achieve and other creators approached us wanting to do something.  The 32 page 1st issue quickly became 100 pages.

Unfortunately for Garry and myself managing those creators and doing the publishing duties left us with no time to do any of the creating ourselves.

With the return of A1 I was determined to rectify that.

A1 is coming back in two completely different formats.

First up will be a 32 page monthly anthology featuring 3 different recurring strips.  Each one will have 10 pages each and get its own cover.  These strips will continue through every issue, similar in format to titles such as Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense.  At the end of the year we will then release three trades of this strips under the "A1 Presents" banner.

The second format is the more familiar version everyone is used to, an annual anthology of over a dozen creators, 160 pages in a larger 8 x 11 hard back format.  This will not have the same content as the monthly title.

Like before, A1 will be a mix of established and new creators doing 100% creator owned work.  I've been on DeviantART for a couple of years now and found a lot of amazing talent that I hope to introduce through these pages over the next few years.

DD: How many different storylines will the anthology follow?
DE: The monthly A1 will start with three series; Carpe DIEm, Odyssey and Weirding Willows.

DD: Who will be working on this book?

DE: Here’s the info straight from the PR –

Weirding Willows, by writer Dave Elliott and artists Barnaby Bagenda, Sami Basri, Sakti Yuwono & Jessica Kholinne, sees the worlds of Wonderland, OZ, Neverland, Mars, Pellucidar and Elysium leak through portals into the little English town of Willow Weir, as Alice and her allies defend her world from the things that would come through those portals to destroy them!

Odyssey, by writer Dave Elliott and artists Garrie Gastonny and Sakti Yuwono, follows an immortal military superhero, out of place and time, who finds himself in the middle of an eternal war for mankind between Angels and Demons!

Carpe DIEm, by writer W. H. Rauf and artist/creator Rhoald Marcelius, follows an offbeat group of the world’s seven greatest assassins: one for each day of the week! Their leader is always a Sir Monday… but the rest of the team always hate Mondays! A riot of colour and concepts in a Tank Girl vein.

DD: In terms of horror what can we expect?

DE: Well in the first Carpe DIEm story we see an agent killed by a blender, is that what you're looking for? ;-)

Odyssey is a supernatural, horror story thinly disguised as a superhero book.  It deals with possession of people from every walks of life.  This is something that has been going on for over 100 years and it's effects are finally being felt.  The reveal will start to occur when the superhero Blazing Glory realizes what has been going on and how he is involved.  He's a 90 year old man who hasn't aged since he hit his early 20's. 

In Weirding Willows first arc it has Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein's monster, a werewolf, lots of dissections of animals, a wicked witch, Doctor Jekyll and a very Mad Hatter.

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this book?

DE: Hopefully they will embrace the fun and variety of the title.  If successful each of these strips will spin out into their own titles and three more series will get a shot in their place.

DD: So what can you tell me about Tomorrowland. What's it all about?

DE: Tomorrowland is one of the biggest music festivals in the world.  It takes place in July every year in Belgium.  180 thousand people attend. 2.5 million try buying tickets that sell out in an hour.

The comic and graphic novel is a supermatural series that takes place in and around the festival.

DD: Who will be working on this book?

DE: The series is being written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by Stellar Labs the art house founded by Sunny Gho.

DD: Where did the idea come from for this title?

DE: Several of the team at Stellar Labs are huge fans of the festival and reached out to ID&T about doing this project.  Two of the DJs in particular were big fans of comics, Dimitri Vega and Like Mike so we ended up using their characters as the focus for the story.

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this book?

DE: We’re hoping this title appeals equally to fans of comics and music.  It has all the potential to be a real breakout title and we’re hoping to have some unique additions to the project when it comes out.  We’re been working with the shows designers so the themes and look of the festival is being integrated into the graphic novel and art from the graphic into the show.

DD: The book I am looking forward to most is Weirding Willows, so what can you tell me about it?
What's it all about?

DE: After years of studying under scientists like Charles Darwin and reading the journals of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, Doctor Philippe Moreau moved to the country to begin his experiments to advance evolution artificially.  To play at being God.

His wife left him suddenly when their daughter Alice was only 6.  Moreau was not the best of fathers.  All Alice has known is life in the Weir across from the Wild Woods. 

It was at the age of 9 that Alice wandered by herself into the Wild Woods and made her first startling discovery.  A portal to another world.  A world simply called Wonderland.

Now at the age of 18, Alice has found 3 more portals with rumors amongst the intelligent animals that inhabit the Weir of more.  The area itself affects animals, enabling them to evolve into intelligent, speaking, creatures that no longer need to walk on all fours. Along with team comprised of Badger, Mole, Ratty, Toad, Frankenstein’s Monster, Mowgli, Benjamin Bunny, Peter Rabbit, the White Rabbit, and a talking dinosaur, Alice now guards the gateways from our world to these others.
DD: Who will be working on this book?

DE: I’m writing the book and the fabulous artists on it are Barnaby Bagenda and Sakti Yuwono.  I’ll be having covers from Barnaby as well as Stanely Artgerm Lau, Sami Basri and a couple of guest stars…

DD: Where did the idea come from for this title?

DE: This is the story that just kept growing once the first ideas started to form.  It started when I had the initial idea of a group of characters guarding these secret doorways and I started rereading the original classics for details to layer in.  I noticed that many of the books weren’t as detailed as I remembered and left out big chunks of information such as the full names of the main protagonists.  In Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll never mentions her parents or her last name, so once I realized it was okay for me to fill in some of those blanks the fun really started.

DD: In terms of horror what can we expect?

DE: Outside of the obvious references to Frankenstein’s Monster who is one of the main characters and Doctor Moreau… Rabbit deaths.

Now you may think “Rabbit deaths? Where’s the horror there?”  Let me give you a hint… Peter Rabbit… In the Beatrix Potter books it is revealed Peter’s father is dead.  Killed by Farmer McGregor.

In Weirding Willows that hasn’t happened yet.  Not going to tell you when it does happen either.  But Peter’s father won’t be the first to die at McGregor’s hands. 

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this book?

DE: Not to ignore the past.  That these stories couldn’t have taken place without the work of H G Wells, Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley, Beatrix Potter, Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H P Lovecraft, Frank Baum and Kenneth Grahame.  And that fun can be had in unexpected places.

DD: So what can you tell me about Monster Massacre? What's it all about?

DE: One of the things I’ve always believed is that comics should be fun to read and fun to produce. “Fun” as enjoyable, not as in ‘funny’, not that we don’t have a couple of stories that will make you smile.

Like the A1 annual, MONSTER MASSACRE will be around 160 pages in the 8 x11 format and hard back.  The difference between Monster Massacre and A1 will be the tone.  This will be more action, fantasy and adventure.  While A1 will welcome slice of life stories, Monster Massacre will see plenty of life sliced in its stories.  It is the bastard child of 2000AD and HEAVY METAL raised by JACK KIRBY and FRANK FRAZETTA.
Who will be working on this book?

The first issues creators are Ian Edginton, Ron Marz, Andy Kuhn, Dave Dorman, Mark A. Nelson, Vito Delsante, Dave Wilkins, Alex Horley, Tom Raney, Mark A. Nelson, D’Israeli, Garry Leach, Sunny Gho, Steve White, Javier Aranda, Sakti Yuwono, Jerry Paris, Dave Elliott plus a special guest appearance that I can’t announce just yet.

DD: I am really excited to see this one come back, so why bring it back?

DE: Comics need more books like this.  It won’t just be sequential stories, there will also be galleries, sketchbook sections and the occasional text stories as well.  Anthologies have traditionally sold well into the mass market.  I want to show that market we have more to show them than licensed books and single universe mass continuity superhero soap operas.

DD: In terms of horror what can we expect?

DE: Zombies, giant monsters, dragons, ogres, valkyrie, gods, fisheaded creatures and tentacled elder gods. Not to forget a gruesome story about body disposal based on a true story.

DD: So what can you tell me about Sharky. What's it all about?

DE: Sharky is 16 years old. All his life, he's been raised by his mom, with no idea of who his father was.

Now he's hit puberty, only to discover that the “no-good-S.O.B.” who contributed to his genes is none other than ODIN – not to mention his mother is a child of ZEUS!

Now, whenever something sets off his hormones, he transform into the demi-god SHARKY – complete with a body The Rock would kill to have – and the strength of a superman!

“Sharky” was Alex Horley and my love letter to Jack Kirby and all those cool Marvel stories of the 60’s and early 70’s. It was just a fun book to do and work on.  This book collects the 4 issue mini-series we published originally through Image Comics.  The second volume next year will collected the various other appearances of Sharky over the years as well as a new story from Alex and myself that starts an entire new chapter in that world.

DD: Why bring Sharky back after all this time?

DE: He was fun to work on.  I’ve got two stories coming up with two very different takes on Sharky.  One will be a look back into that same world that will trun things on their head a little while the other one has Sharky making an appearance in another strip where things aren’t quite the same… ;-)

DD: In terms of horror what can we expect?

DE: Well Sharky was the original comic to have zombie superheroes.  We beat Marvel Zombies by several years.  Expect giants, trolls, zombies, heads being ripped off and spines being pulled out.  Poor Kenny…

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this book?

DE: A sense of fun and drama.  That extreme violence can sometimes be funny. And kids of all ages get off on superheroines in skimpy metal bikinis.

DD: Can you talk a bit about your experiences so far working in comics?

DE: Next time, why bring the audience down now?

DD: What is the most horrific experience you’ve had at a comic convention?

DE: I once had to smile and talk nicely to someone whose head I wanted to rip off and then shit down his throat as he had screwed me worse than anyone ever had in my life… But we have to show people we’re better than that don’t we?

DD: So where can readers find out more about everything Atomeka, and about yourself?

Twitter you can get me @DeevElliott and Atomeka @Atomeka_Press

DD: Thanks so much for your time Dave.