INTERVIEW: Anthony O'Neill

I’m delighted to present an interview with County Clare based artist Anthony O’Neill. His concept sketches for the Mike Lynch and Martin Greene scripted Vampire book, Nestor due out this Autumn, have proven to have generated a ton of buzz when they hit ICN recently. What better way to get the low down on who Anthony is, than by asking the man himself. Read on…
David O’Leary: Hey Anthony, thanks for joining us here on ICN.
Anthony O’Neill: Thanks for having me its great to be here.
DOL: Firstly, you are new to us on the scene so tell us a bit about yourself?
AO’N: I eat sleep and breath comic books they’ve meant everything to me for as long as I can remember. I love all kinds of music but especially rock and most especially the band HIM
DO’L: Will Nestor be the first time you will have been published?
AO’N: Not exactly. Gas and wire will feature a story drawn by me called ‘Good Boy’ and we’re hoping that one will be published around late July so technically I’m not published at all at this present time but Nestor will be my second time by the time it hits the shelves.
DO’L: The concept sketches that Mike Lynch has released show some very detailed images. What training have you received?
AO’N: Absolutely none whatsoever. I’m totally self taught I dropped out of school after the junior cert exam, worst thing I could’ve possibly done, it probably would’ve been a much easier road to this point if I hadn’t. So remember stay in school kids!
DO’L: How did you get involved in the Nestor project in the first place?
AO’N: Well I do a VTOS course in Kilrush, Co. Clare and one day a girl named Sharon wised me up to the genius that is Mike Lynch and Martin Greene who told me they were doing a World War One anthology together, I was really nervous and wasn’t actually going to go through with it but as the old saying goes “behind every dumbass man there is a fantastically brilliant woman to guide his stupidity” and luckily my beautiful girlfriend Char pushed me to go for it, so after me, Mike, Martin, Aidan Courtney and the amazingly talented Mike Ball had finished the World War stuff we barrelled straight onto Nestor.
DO’L: From the images we have seen there appeared to be many different head shots, how was the look of the vampires whittled down to what we will see in the book?
AO’N: Well first I met up with Mike and Martin and we kind of hashed out what sort of imagery they were looking for so I went home and done about 10 or 11 sketches of just vamp heads all sort of loosely basing it around what had already been done, then focusing totally on the feel of what mike and martin wanted. I done a few more just trying to push it as far as I could without losing the vampire essence of it while keeping it original and cool looking.
DO’L: Do you know how long the story of Nestor is going to be?
AO’N: I think its around 44 pages give or take. Its going to be pretty immense.
DO’L: What were your thoughts when seeing the story/script from Mike and Martin?
AO’N: My first thought was just WOW!!! This is BEEPING! cool, it was so professional and original and put together I couldn’t believe I was getting a chance to work with these guys, I had never heard a story like it before. With its emotion and just over all sweep, it was fantastic and its action was just bitchin. The whole thing just blew me away.
DO’L: Mike’s script really tests your skills in location drawing from the store, the hospital, the apartment block and more. How challenging was the script to tackle?
AO’N: Well I’m still in the middle of it at the moment so I’ll let you all know when I have the full experience, but even though the scale of the whole thing is pretty huge Mike and Martin kind of compensated for that by bringing in the very very talented Mr Mike Ball to do the first half, and its kind of handy that its set in my home town of Dublin considering I know how the city looks and feels first hand after dark, well, minus the teeth of course.
DO’L: Now that the first issue is under your belt, any thoughts?
AO’N: I just really hope all you guys out there like my stuff and that I do such an amazing story justice. I’d also just like to take this chance to thank Mike and Martin for the opportunity to make my dreams come true and thank all the people who supported me through all of this like my gorgeous girlfriend Charlene, my Mam of course (can’t leave the mother out she’d kill me) also my friend and mentor Paul and one last huge shout out to Christopher, Lucas, Colin, Louise and Daragh.
DO’L: Any other comic work on the horizon?
AO’N: Well I intend on doing this for the rest of my life hopefully and I’m working on a couple of my own things on the side lines not to mention I’d love to work with Mike and Martin again, so here’s hoping.
DO’L: Do you know when we will see Nestor for sale?
AO’N: We’re hoping he’ll claw his way out of his coffin and into your collection in time for all the other ghosty’s and ghouly’s of Halloween, so I better love you and leave you and get back to the drawing board or Mike might drive a stake through me.
DO’L: Anthony, many thanks for your time. Take care.
AO’N: Thank you and I hope you’re not all passed out on you keyboards at this stage after that big thesis thanks again toodle pip!