Andrew Clemson Talks Finding Time for Comic Book Projects
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Hi there fellow readers, here’s my interview with comic book writer Andrew Clemson. We caught up over the weekend and talked about writing comics, finding the time for a creative outlet and lots of Science Fiction.
I hope you enjoy reading my interview with Andrew as much as I did talking with him.
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Andrew Clemson: Im a writer from the UK, living and working in Dubai. I write Star Bastard for Scout comics, and Bete Noir for Mad Robot comics, with a few of other books in various early stages of production. When I’m not doing that, I’m paying the bills with my day job as a director of photography.
Anthony Pollock: Tell me a bit about the inspirations behind Star Bastard?
Andrew Clemson: Star Bastard is a bit of a cursed “carry-on” movie by way of Red Dwarf. I’d just re-read a load of my old books from childhood and I guess threw some Lobo, Star Jammers and Deadpool in a blender and ended up with a kind of Super-powered Eastbound and down in space. Theres no social commentary, It does exactly what it says on the tin, a fun space comedy that pulls no punches, or laser blasts.
Anthony Pollock: Where did writing start for you and what is your origin story?
Andrew Clemson: I always wanted to be a comic book artist growing up, I was actually super close to attending SCAD in Georgia to study comics after school but I decided to pursue animation in the UK. I’m super critical of my own work, so art kinda fell by the wayside and I moved into film. I had a close friend pass away in 2015 and in taking stock of things my bucket list had “write a comic” on it, so I did. I started off writing a bunch of super serious attempts at masterpieces but quickly grew frustrated and scribbled down a bunch of nonsense about a big stupid space captain zooming about the galaxy annoying people. Turns out that was the one that resonated with potential collaborators, go figure!
Anthony Pollock: Star Bastard is clearly influenced by some mega Sci Fi classics but where does the science fiction sit for you? What are you go to’s?
Andrew Clemson: I love Sci FI. Especially stuff set in space. Star Trek, Battlestar, Starship troopers etc. I think theres a certain built-in suspension of disbelief that lets you push a lot further than you can in other genres whilst still have stuff feel familiar. Star Bastard is much closer to Red Dwarf or Spaceballs than it is Star Wars though!
Anthony Pollock: What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to your work? How do you overcome them?
Andrew Clemson: I struggle with imposter syndrome something chronic. If you ever see me tabling at a con, I’m usually glossing over my own work entirely and loudly telling people about all the other great stuff they can see at my neighbours tables! Criticism used to really sting me when I started out, but I quickly learned that not even the greatest writer in the world will be able to put out something that absolutely everyone likes. Better to have a project that some people love, even if others hate it! At least it’s causing a reaction.
Anthony Pollock: How did you go about finding the right artist to collaborate with on this project?
Andrew Clemson: The internet is an amazing place when its used for good! I found Jethro on DeviantArt, and Kris popped up in a facebook group dedicated to connecting writers with artists. Ive since found a tonne of great artists on Twitter and Instagram, so hopefully Ill be able to find projects for them soon.
Id say always be looking for new talent. Having a little directory of artists and other creatives that you add to over time is a great resource for when you actually set out to start work on something. It helps avoid wasting time scouring the web for the “right” style if you’ve got a bunch of people lined up already.
Anthony Pollock: Many of us creators work on projects outside of our 9-5 jobs. Do you have any advice for balancing careers with passion projects/side hustles?
Andrew Clemson: Comics are a tough game. Very few people are able to do them full time and even fewer are going to get rich. Having said that, I’ve found comics to be invaluable in having a creative outlet to focus on when the 9-5 gets too draining. Having said that, when you’re fighting for the time to spend on your projects, you have to make sure they’re projects that you’re passionate about or you’ll just find excuses to not do them. Don’t set out to write the next Star Wars if you hate space books.
If you’ve always wanted to see books about suburban estate agents who work part time as goblin hunters, then as niche as that sounds, just write it. You’ll have fun and I’ll guarantee there are at least a handful of people who will be clamouring for content on just that subject. You might not sell as many copies as batman does, but you’ll have a book you enjoy that hopefully other people do too.
Anthony Pollock: Do you have any upcoming events/projects/releases you would like to discuss?
Andrew Clemson: Bete Noir issues 2 and 3 are launching on Kickstarter in the first week of September. We’re hoping to get the rest of Volume wrapped up this time next year so that we can start getting the trade out to a wider audience. The first issue ends on a spoiler so it was difficult to really sell what the story was about before we’d done the first campaign. We ended up with some really great reviews that I honestly hadn’t expected, so I’m super excited to let people see the rest of the book, which is where the real story begins.
After Bete Noir, Ill be launching my next book Damsel from D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. which is a kind of Charlies angels in middle earth. Elves and Espionage if you will. It’s definitely similar in tone to star bastard (albeit with none of the bad language or adult situations) but its got a strong female lead and should balance out some of the over the top machismo from SB!
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to do this! Where can readers find you and your work?
Andrew Clemson: Star Bastard issues 1-6 and the volume 1 trade are available from Scout comics webstore now. The first 3 issues of Bete Noir will be available as rewards during the upcoming kickstarter campaign, Damsel will launch right after Bete Noir, most likely mid October.
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