Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Image from DHP #10

I was asked to do an interview some time back for a UK publisher- but on supplying the material-I never heard anything back (maybe I was bumped for the Batman teams with Teletubbies news-  who knows;)

As I'm not one to let anything go to waste; I thought I would share it with you :

What would be the high concept pitch?

A Clockwork Orange meets Black Adder.

What was the genesis of the concept?

Well, they always say write what you know- and I really just wanted a vehicle to let me ramble on about movies and my distain for what passes today as popular entertainment. So I created a world were the three main characters were the only ones who could still access and view various media such as video games , music and movies and it was their suits that afforded them this “luxury”

-Sort of post-apocalyptic movie critics….

So it grew and developed out of that basic concept—however I soon realized I just couldn’t have them sit around watching movies all day and had to find them other things to do.
The movie theme as it progressed became less important as I got into the meat of the story. Although the rambling about various pop culture will still be quite prevalent throughout.

The design of the suits stemmed from the fact that I wanted to avoid the typical superhero type costume clichés where everyone is seemingly trying to come up with the coolest looking design. I decided to negate that and take it in a completely different direction; making the characters look somewhat absurd. Yeah, they have a suit that makes them incredibly powerful but there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about it. It just makes them look ridiculous.

I also have a great love of old British science fiction/horror and UXB is somewhat of homage to the works of HG Wells, John Wyndham and Nigel Kneale. Wyndam’s The Midwich Cuckoos is a huge influence.

UXB = unexploded bomb or something else? What’s the significance of the title?

No that’s exactly it. Quite simply these guys are the most powerful beings on the planet and they have the capabilities (yet unbeknownst to them) to destroy what’s left of the world. It also could be taken quite simply as a metaphor for their volatile angst-ridden nature.

Dark Horse has described UXB as following in the dark footsteps of dystopian visions such as The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, DMZ, and Give Me Liberty, What are your thoughts on those comparisons?

Flattered! That certainly set’s the bar pretty high…I’ll have to work very hard to achieve anything even near that level.

Who are those three brothers?

Das Bombast (Real name: Wilfred Brian Atherton) has a penchant for movies, everything from Kurosawa to Kubrick. Das is the leader of the group. Pragmatic, austere and highly intelligent.

Muc Olla (Real name: Donnchadh Flaherty Atherton) has a thing for soap operas and spaghetti westerns. Muc was adopted by the Athertons at birth. He’s the sensitive one.

Rifter (Real name: George Galton Atherton) enjoys porn and gaming, he also likes to burn and occasionally kill things. Rifter is slightly psychotic and dangerously unbalanced. Of the three he is the most damaged.

What are their motivations?

They just want to continue where they left off before the war came. They are so immersed in their comfort zone that even when faced with the end of the world they still cannot break free from their petty addictions.

Is there a main antagonist? If not, what drives the story forward?

They have quite a few interactions with the other “survivors” and there are some interesting scenarios that develop from that, however, there will be a big reveal at the end of book one, which will answer a few questions.

What is the main theme of UXB?

Basically it’s an excuse for me to rant about the state of the world, especially the entertainment industry; I’ll not tell you what Rifter does with the corpse of Simon Cowell….

What's the back story?

Here's the blab: When their mother is apparently killed in one of the many terrorist bombings of London in the build up to the great war, their father, a self made billionaire (A Richard Branson type), decides to protect his children from the same fate. His company develops state of the art anti-terrorist skin suits; a combination of nano-tech means military. When the highly experimental suits are finally placed on the three young brothers, they malfunction, fusing into the muscle and bone of the boys so completely that they can never again be removed.

When the war finally arrives, the genetically modified bio-strains are anti-biotic resistant and immunosuppressive. Within two weeks all of Britain is infected and in four most are dead or dying. The viruses corrode and degrade plastics, fuels and metals rendering computers, telecommunications, travel, hospitals and the military powerless to act. Britain is thrown back into the Dark Ages.

However, Das, Rifter and Muc survive, impervious and self-sufficient in suits that could sustain them for up to sixty years. The world is theirs for the taking -- but their suits while being state of the art protective devices, capable of emitting force fields, repairing injuries and recycling bodily waste also have the most advanced multi-media entertainment units built into them for playing movies, video games and music… so in a world so inherently poisoned and laid to waste and with their only company being the diseased and dying they decide to take residence in Buckingham Palace, kick back and continue right where they left off.

Also, what type of mood are you trying for? What style of story are you looking to tell? What audience are you aiming for?

It’s quite a dark story with black as night humor peppered throughout. I think anyone that enjoys a good end of the world horror tale will get something out of it.
I should also mention that this is not a superhero book. It’s more kitchen-sink drama than X-men. Imagine The Road as written by Mike Leigh and directed by Wes Anderson.

What sort of challenges did the project pose for you as a writer?

The characters once created -- wrote themselves. One pitfall of being an artist/writer is that it is very easy to get so enamored with the art that you forget about the need to keep driving the story forward. Instead, drawing a bunch of splash pages just because you can. As the story progressed(web-comic)I was much more cognizant of that and the story and layout became a lot tighter.

How does the Dark Horse Presents story tie in with the UXB web comic? Will newcomers be up to speed from the very beginning? Will fans of your web comic be familiar with the story you’re presenting?

Yes. The Dark Horse stories interlock into the web-comic. I’m also in the process of re-editing certain sections of the web-comic making it a little more reader friendly.

What was the attraction of producing UXB for print?

I self-published UXB (a preview issue) some time back- but found that the work involved marketing and promoting the comic left me little time for anything else. The web site actually came after that as I felt it was a more immediate and direct way to communicate with your audience. Still haven’t figured how to make money out of it though…;) Personally speaking I like to have a hard-copy of a book and even though I respect and see the value of going digital I always wanted to see UXB in print.

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