QUICK QUESTIONS with Peter Loftus
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
My name is Peter Loftus and I am the Editor and main writer with Longstone Comics.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I’m working on a Cthulhu Mythos story called ‘The Midnight Sun’ with the uber-talented Oisin Roche, a one-off horror story with Superhilbo creator Hilary Lawler, a science-fiction piece with Kieron McKeown (who pencilled the excellent ‘White Canvas’ in Longstone Comics Volume 4), a Soviet-inspired retro SF series with Ian Pettitt (if you haven’t seen his work, our latest release ‘Smiling at the Sky’ is available in Forbidden Planet and hopefully soon in pdf from this site). Hilbo is working on that too. Then we’re just putting the finishing touches the start of a new series called ‘Chromehead’. Alan Nolan took a break from saving the world to draw that one and it looks really cool. I’m looking forward to getting that one out there. Then there’s a space opera ‘The Fortune Saga’ with Deirdre de Barra.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
There are a lot of things I love:
Getting to work with some seriously talented artists. Sometimes they come up with their own interpretations of the script which are really interesting to see, and sometimes they draw it exactly as I envisioned it, which is kind of freaky when you think about it, but cool.
Seeing ‘Downpour’ (drawn and produced by Deirdre de Barra) on ‘The IT Crowd’.
Talking about comics and planning our releases with my wife Hilary.
Brainstorming ideas and designing characters with Iano, especially when there is drink involved.
Writing scripts tailored to an artist’s interests and talents. I think that is great fun and there is (hopefully) a synergy at work in the process.
Getting to meet all of the other comic creators and be a part of the scene.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
As an editor and a writer, I don’t like when people agree to do something and then disappear off the face of the earth. I can understand that they might have other things to do (I think a noteworthy characteristic of the Irish comic scene is how busy everybody is, and I understand the great individual efforts made in spite of minimal recognition and the lack of remuneration) but just hate when people prefer to go silent rather than contact you to reset deadlines or return the script.
Another thing that gets me down is when you do a Con and people won’t part with a quid or two to buy a few comics and support the scene. There are so many people investing themselves selflessly for their art and it sucks to see punters just pass them by.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
Who knows? Whopee? Whizzer and Chips? Then 2000AD of course!
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
I have a cycle helmet with a 26mm knitting needle sellotaped to it and I type by rocking back and forth. I have special ‘writing underpants’ that I wear too.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Can’t say. Artists will begin to fight among themselves like ravenous harpies, tearing at each other’s clothes and wrestling in a paddling pool filled with cold baked beans.
I am actually really proud of Superhilbo, but my wife does that and I have feck all to do with it. Weird huh?
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Never eat anything bigger than your head. (I haven’t always followed this advice, and always to my detriment).
When I was about 7 my Nan told me never to talk to prostitutes because they’d stick a hat pin in your eye and blind you for life. I’ve generally followed this advice, and it has served me well.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Nobody gives me advice, because I am excellent at pretending to know what I am doing. Hilary sometimes tells me what to do, but that’s not the same thing.
But yeah… ‘Buy a house…’ that was a doozy!
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
I think it is nice.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I think the website is a great contribution, for a start – well done to all. I’d like to meet up more often. I wish the Comic Jam was closer to the city centre so I could go to that.
I’d like to see a decent con or event – something like The Point Village Comic Festival or Edition Book Arts… can we organise one ourselves?
I’d like to see lots of Irish releases with plenty of diversity and the opportunity for people to express themselves and have a bit of fun.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I have no interest in Marvel or DC, but I wish they didn’t dominate the scene so much – both in terms of what people aspire to and what they want to talk about…
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Scott Pilgrim. ‘Shortcomings’ by Adrian Tomine and ‘Blankets’ by Craig Thompson made an impact too and Madman by Mike Allred is a personal fave.
I’m trying to read ‘The Last Man’ but it’s not doing a whole lot for me. Next on my ‘to read’ list is ‘Down’ once I get my hands on a print copy. I read Ryan A – Our Bloodstained Roof today. Nice! See link blog.ryan-a.com/tagged/comics
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS? (And don’t say DON’T ).
I’d have to say: Do it for the love.
I’ve seen people get really pissed off or even quit because they aren’t making cash, getting recognition etc.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Can I go now?
Peter Loftus is editor and main writer of the independent Irish Longstone Comics. www.longstonecomics.com He is co-editor of Albedo 1, Ireland’s longest-running magazine of SF, Horror and Fantasy. www.albedo1.com He administrates the annual international Aeon Award for Short Fiction. www.albedo1.com/aeon_award.html He is a regular reviewer for Interzone. www.ttapress.com, part of the writing team for music website Eternal Terror. www.eternalterror.no
His blog (unfortunately neglected over the last few months due to study commitments – but don’t worry, that will be remedied soon!) can be found at: www.astrodogreviews.blogspot.com Peter has published around 150 short stories, comics, reviews, articles and poems. Peter is married to comic creator Hilary Lawler. www.groireland.ie/getting_married.htm