I recently got to review ExMortis, a comic series from 451 Comics (http:// www.comicbooked.com/exmortis-1-4-comic-book-gold/). Andi Ewington, the comic script writer of the series (with writing adapted from the Williams Brothers) was able to sit down with me for an interview!
Brian Barr: Thank you for allowing me to interview you. I love the comic series. So, the credits for ExMortis list the Williams Brothers (Paul and Pete) as the writers and you as the adapter. Can you explain the writing process of the comic? Are you rewriting a novel or short story into a comic script format, reinterpreting a story, or is there more to it?
Andi Ewington: I was invited by 451 to adapt the ‘Exmortis’ film script written by Paul and Peter Williams. Obviously there are marked differences between a film and comic script. My job was to break the film script into a workable format for Raymund Bermudez. I had free-reign to suggest changes in dialogue, scenes and pacing in order to make the story fit. It was a pretty seamless process really, I would pass off my adaption to my 451 contact David Forrest before I’d get roughs back from Ray. Then I’d loosely (and I mean real loose!) letter the issue ensuring everything flowed as envisaged. Between the three of us, we’d carry on like this until the issue was ready to be lettered professionally.
BB: How long have you been working in comics?
AE: I’m still relatively ‘new’ to the comic scene, I broke out with my debut graphic novel in 2009/10. Since then, I’ve been steadily ramping up my output. Recently, outside of the 451 stable, I’ve written comics for both ‘Dark Souls II’ and ‘Just Cause 3’.
BB: Is this the first project you’ve be involved in for 451 Comics or are there others?
AE: ‘Exmortis’ was the first comic series, but I’ve been kept busy with several other 451 titles including, Mark Mallouk’s ‘Sunflower’, George Pelecanos’s ‘S6x’ plus another top secret project which is in the works too.
BB: How did you connect with 451 Comics?
AE: A huge slice of luck – I had been networking with other comic professionals for a while when Gus Vasquez suggested I reached out to a new company called, 451 Media. I sent in a few of my scripts, which were favourably received, and I was given ‘Exmortis’ to blood myself on. It’s been a blast from start to finish, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and a Nazi army to put down, what’s not to love about that!
BB: Outside of 451 Comics, do you have other work published that we can check out, from other comics to short stories, novels?
AE: I’d say the must-reads are my debut graphic novel ‘Forty-Five’ which followed a journalist and father-to-be exploring the struggles of bringing up a child with super powers. Secondly, ‘Overrun’, a 4 issue mini-series which has been dubbed ‘Tron of the Dead’ by critics. It’s available on iBook and Kindle or through Forbidden Planet/Jet Pack Comics or check out www.weareoverrun.com
BB: Who are your biggest influences as a writer?
AE: I draw from my old school reading; people that shaped my creativity growing up, such as Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, for the contemporary I’d pick World War Z scribe, Max Brooks. Within the comic world, I’m in awe of legendary writers such as Rob Williams, Kurt Busiek and Robert Kirkman.
BB: Raymund Bermundez is a fantastic artist. What is it like collaborating with him?
AE: Ray is a legend, his ink work is jaw-droppingly good that it makes me grin like a cheshire cat seeing pages I’ve written interpreted by his art. Most of my communication is done through email via David so we don’t get to speak much, although I did happen to meet him at NYCC and thanked him for his amazing art in person.
BB: The mixing of WWII, Frankenstein, and other monsters for ExMortis has been interesting to read. Since you were adapting material from the William’s Brothers, is this subject matter that you are heavily interested in?
When it comes to your fiction, what themes and subjects most intrigue you?
AE: I love a real mix of genres, but ‘Exmortis’ was something different because it let me play with some classic characters set against a World War 2 backdrop, a real mash-up of genres which hit a lot of old school memories for me. I remember playing with hundreds and hundreds of army figures as a kid, building large scale assaults all the way up my grandmother’s staircase. I also have a natural love of cult horror, so ‘Exmortis’ was pretty much a match made in heaven for me. Outside of ‘Exmortis’, I’m a huge fan of anything dystopian, so my bucket list would have to include writing a ‘Mad Max’ spin off.
BB: Do you have a favorite comic book series? Favorite comic book characters?
AE: That’s a really hard one to answer… I love so many comics and characters for so many different reasons but I’d probably pick Judge Dredd/2000AD for sheer nostalgic indulgence. I also have a major soft spot for Calvin & Hobbes.
BB: Since you are currently working for a comic book company, what advice can you give for comic book writers looking for publishing houses?
AE: Network like mad and try writing for some of the smaller anthology publishers, like FutureQuake, who are an amazingly dedicated 2000AD fanzine. I still love my Judge Death short (with Kev Crossley on art duty) I wrote for them a while back – great fun!
BB: Once again, thank you for this interview. Any final thoughts you’d like to share with fans out there?
Keep calm and carry on writing!
You can grab copies of ExMortis at ComiXology and learn more about the series on 451’s website. For 99 cents, you get a lot for your money, as each issue is over 30 pages long. I can’t wait to read the final three issues! -Brian