My Kind of Weird Podcast – Episode 19
with guest: Thomas J. Campbell
My Kind Of Weird is a podcast where two people swap and pitch their favourite kind of weird for the other person to check out and see if they say “That’s My Kind Of Weird!” It could be something watchable, something readable or something listenable.
Point Of View (or P.O.V.) is a sideshow to our main My Kind Of Weird podcast, where we speak with a content creator about their creation. How they came up with the idea and what inspired it are the basis of this sideshow. On this very first instalment of “Point of View” we sit down around the campfire and listen to Thomas J Campbell’s story about how he wrote a Lovecraftian inspired survival horror comic.
For more info, search @AbyssalAlbion on Twitter and follow the link to Thomas’ latest projects.
March 30th, 2022
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Anthony Pollock: Hey guys, this is point of view a podcast where a creator tells me all about their story to create their own chosen work of art. And let’s get into it. Thomas J Campbell is a comic book creator and writer. For the last couple of years he’s been creating and releasing his own self released comic book series, entitled, abyssal Albion. The blog, 3 million years, called a Bissell Albion, a real page turner with excellent scenes, art, lettering and storytelling. With two issues created and the third about to be released, I caught up with Thomas and he broke down for me, where it all started for this couple will inspired survival horror comic and where he sees this project going.
Thomas J. Campbell: Hi there, I’m Thomas Campbell, the UK based writer and creator of abyssal Albion, the eldritch survival horror comic series. So I first got into creating comics, it was at the start of the first lockdown when the pandemic first hit. Prior to that, I’d been writing short films and feature with some friends as part of the filmmaking collective their bulk films. Sadly, when the pandemic hit, we can we can make up meet up anymore. We, yeah, so it kind of left a bit of a creative black hole. So not really knowing what to do with myself, I actually turned, had the idea of return to one of my first passions, which was comic books, I’d always been like, I was one of those massively into, you know, early 90s X Men when I was younger, and like the dark horse Alien series, and then as I. As I got older, I then moved into more like a lot of the Fantagraphics stuff. And then eventually I kind of circled back around to X Men, actually, I think is when Grant Morrison released their X Men series that I first got back into more superhero side of comics and more mainstream comics again. So that’s always been like a big part of my life. So yeah, so when the pandemic finally hit, it was a case of you know, what, I am going to take this idea that I’ve had, it’s been like stewing in the back of my brain for quite a while and I’m gonna run with it. So yeah, Bissell Albion is about a sister and a younger brother, as they try and reverse a post apocalyptic Britain, one that’s now swarmed with trace cultists, mind shattering monsters and books of forbidden knowledge. I like to think of it as a cross between the kulak foo and the row by Cormac McCarthy. It has a very, very bleak feel to it. One that’s captured absolutely fantastically by Wayne Loudon are artists who does it all in this absolutely Stark and lovely black and white. So yeah, when I was first looking for an artist to come on board, I knew I always wanted something that had like a, like a punk rock had DIY energy to it. That was like one of the biggest stipulations for me. I wanted something that was grimy and fit in with what you’d expect of fine in a post apocalyptic book, something that was all quite visceral. All that stuff that a really nice energy to it That create like the really horrific moments of violence, and juxtapose that against some really actually kind of nice touching the scenes as well. When Wayne around and sent me stuff, I was just I was gobsmacked. He was like this is this is perfect for what I want to do. This is ideal. Absolutely love it. And he really does have a quite a unique style. I think there are not many I see with it. He does it all on paper and then inks it all himself and its fantastic. So when combined with Ken Reynolds is lettering, which I mean is if his stuff is incredible So combined with that. And then last issue with embroil entre we black as a I want to say colorist and I guess she is but it’s always still black and white. But she started she introduced these incredible gray tones. That just l Aveda even more, it really made it quite punchy. So for black and white book, it’s incredible. You know the gray, the grays and blacks and everything it just fits is what you’d expect of a post apocalyptic book is what you’d want. And I’m so lucky to have them as a team on board helping realize is really bleak, bleak world that that is a bit of Albion the Lovecraft influence, you know that his entire back catalogue is probably the biggest influence. You know, I hope that we carry on long enough that we’ll be able to touch on at least most of it in some form. But yeah, as mentioned before, the Road by Cormac McCarthy is definitely one of the other bigger influences in which we tried to emulate via, you know, not having names for the first main characters, the brother and sister in our book. And within the road, you’ve got man and boy. So that’s probably the, you know, bigger influence there, though, that is due to change in hours. Then on top of that, you know, it’s a horror book. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of gore, I want to try and keep it quite pulpy. So I’d certainly think that, you know, series like Hellboy and the, you know, the early Dark Horse aliens, comics as well, they were they were quite gory and quite visceral in the way that they portrayed their violence. But it was all done. There was like a tongue in cheek feel to it. I feel that, that probably influences the way that we do that, more than anything. It’s not, it’s not hyper realistic. But still, there’s still a sense of, you know, just chaotic violence there, which I think amplifies the horror elements of our book. So yeah, that’s they’re definitely our biggest influences for sure. So in the first issue, were introduced a brother and sister, brother is is the younger of the two. He’s still young lad. He’s, you know, he hasn’t had much life experience. He’s still a bit naive. He’s headstrong. He’s feels like he’s got something to prove. Whereas on the other hand, you’ve got sister now sisters had a life before the awakening. She’s experienced, you know, she’s experienced love and all that side of things. But which has made her a bit more stoic riddled with survivor’s guilt. You know, she’s had this paternal role where it’s been thrust upon her. And yeah, and this has led her to be a bit more untrusting. And I think this is really shown in the first issue where they meet Nathan, an ex police officer who offstage come into his home, often Safe Harbor. And they’re sat down, they’re having a meal. And you know, they, Nathan start to describe his, his back-story. And then brother start goes to blurt out everything that’s happened to them. Like he reveals that sister’s got a girlfriend and all that. And she quickly puts a stop to it. She’s like, No and then, you know, then progresses and you learn that she was she was quite right. To be, you know, that untrusting is not a bad thing in this world to not really trust others. Nathan, things go very, very dark from that point. And then, you know, you move on to the second issue. And the second issue once again, I think the second when the first issue started straight with a horror, they’re running away from a cultist, so they’re, they’re trying to flee you’re trying to survive. This second issue shows another aspect of the relationship you learn a little bit more about them. You do see them over the paternal side of sister trying to try and take place or you know, she’s trying to try and be more supportive.
There’s a whole scene where they’re discussing about how what birthdays used to mean and how they no longer have their parents around and all that sort of thing you learn you learn more of them as a siblings. I mean, at the end of the day, it is a horror story. We could tell a heartwarming story about a brother and sisters surviving, you know, in a world that’s changed, but we’re gonna throw some really nasty stuff at them. I mean, first issue straight off the bat we have a culture screaming running out them’s like shouting like prayer to its dark god. And then they’re rescued by this man that turns out not to be who that he really is and has them locked away in his house. And then in second issue EULA and more that, you know, sister’s girlfriend might have been taken off by this cult that now, you know, Cole Fishman that they’ll live across the coast of British Isles. You know, setting up churches in old piers is a really nice, really nice page that Wayne has done where they, they enter this kitchen and this body parts and like fish carcasses and all sorts hanging on the walls. It’s absolutely terrifying. It’s really, really gruesome stuff and quite nightmarish. And talking about nightmares, where there’s, we’ve even like, introduced this elements of the Dreamlands that got introduced in the first issue. So we could introduce more creatures on that side of things. And that’s going to play a lot more in issue free as well, where we’re going to see like, more creatures and how they interconnect a bit more as well. So you know, there’s, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of disturbing stuff coming up. Issue free, is it’s going to be special. I think that’s going to be that’s our nightmare issue at the moment. Whereas the other two have just been, they’re terrifying or scary in their own right and quite, quite disturbing, I think issue free, we’re ramping it up a lot more. You’re going to learn kind of a bit more than what went down as well, prior to issue one and that it actually ties in quite nicely in regards to the fictional newsreel we did you know, so I’ve already mentioned that I made sort of short films with a group of friends with their both films. During lockdown when I first got the idea of wanting to tell this apocalyptic horror story comic, I sort of reached out to them there was competition going anyway, for a horror short film. And I was like, Look, I want to make like a really good punchy campaign video, that told a story without giving too much away of the actual story itself. Like, I think there was so much going on in the news at the time. And it gave me this idea of why don’t we do like a series of news reports are all spliced together that sort of told us a bit of a story and sort of give someone a bit of a back-story to, you know, the awakening event, you know, the sun went dark, and then everyone started going mad and all that sort of side of things. So yeah, we I sort of reached out to my film buddies, and we sent them scrip gave each of them parts. It’s quite funny. So got like my producer there, we got like the director there, Gavin John, and we got a couple of the, the deadbolt crew, like there’s some voice acting and public work for us. It was a fun thing, actually years, which basically gave everyone little parts and we just said, Look, could you go away, film this, send it back. And then John edited it all. And put in all the graphics on that, and it just came out? We actually won we didn’t we’re into a short film in one, like Best Editing or something like that. But yeah, it’s it was such a fun little thing to do. So only because everyone was just sat in their bedrooms, and will offices home offices at the time. So it was nice that it was it was quite funny. It was quite it was good laugh. And I think it really set the scene for what we’re going forward with in the comic as well. You know, it’s, it’s not too serious, but it’s still quite horrifying. So I’m really excited to see what the future holds for these characters certainly issue free is going to introduce a whole new dynamic to them, where you’re going to learn who they are, you know, what their connections to the dream lands are, what happened to their parents, all this side of things, it’s, it’s going to be quite an interesting thing to see how it all goes down. And certainly in future books, as we build upon what we’re now laying really, this really are, we are just laying the groundwork, we haven’t really gotten to the very meat of how this world is. And that’s going to be quite exciting. I mean, going forward. I personally would love to see like other collaborators come on board and help us expand more into this world. You know, we’ve got, we’ve got that little short film that was great to have other people get involved. They’d be great to have liked other comic creators coming out and to tell stories and that within it. I think it’s such a, you know, such a interesting world to tell stories in I mean, God wouldn’t it be great to be able to tell like a Bissell Australia or something like that at some point.
That’d be amazing. Yeah, it’s just I’m very excited. I think there’s, you know, there’s some really great, great places we can take this book, and certainly with the characters they are there. They are in for a rough time, but it is going to be fun. So yeah, obviously thanks for listening to me ramble.
You know, I hopefully found it interesting. Hopefully you got take some away you got a better idea of what the comic is, and what we’re aiming for. I just want to obviously I’m going to mention a couple of projects you know, you can find me I pretty much living on Twitter these days. And you can find me under my own personal account, which is party underscored lard or you can find us on a Bissell album, just all one word on there. Do obviously check that out. You can find any of our crowd funding details through that. You know, we’re on Instagram; we’re on Facebook, we pump out pretty consistent updates. You know, we always give a shout out to other campaigns and stuff like that we you know; we love the community as such. So please do follow us. I personally have a nother project that’s due to come out very shortly that I’m working with a fantastic artist called Martin called in that project called grim land, we’ll be heading to Zoop where we’ll be launching our funding for that, which is going to be like a grim, dark, futuristic look into the far future humanity. The first issue is all set up for this universe. But we have plans to take it beyond its going to be quite the epic adventure. Once again, think I keep coming back to aliens, but think alien meets Warhammer is going to be that sort of that is the thing we’re looking at. So yeah, please check that out. That’s also under Greenland underscore comic on Twitter. We’ll be releasing more information about that shortly. And on top of that, you’ve got their bulk films, and you can find us on YouTube. If you want to see a couple of other little shorts on that we’ve made. We’ve had a couple of Lovecraftian shorts that have been in the HP Lovecraft Film Festival, please do check out our YouTube channel and we’ve also got a website just google and find it. Here sunlight DeBolt films.co.uk Thank you
Anthony Pollock: Thank you so much to Thomas J. Campbell for appearing on the show. If you missed it then check out a Bissell Albion by searching a b y double Sal Albion a lb ionann Kickstarter if you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast and please leave a five star review on the My kind of weird feed or subscribe wherever you get your podcast from. But for now, guys, I’ll be back with the main my kind of weird episode next week. And for now stay weird