THE BIG INTERVIEW: A Roundtable Discussion With The Creators Of Nestor
ICN is delighted to present a roundtable discussion with the writers and artist of new book Nestor. Please read on as Martin Greene, Mike Lynch and
Paul McCallan lift the veil on the production of Nestor and what went into bringing this idea to fruition and much more.
David O’Leary: Firstly, thanks guys for joining us in talking about the release of Abandoned Comics first book Nestor.
Mike: No problem Dave, cheers for having us.
Martin: Thanks for having us Dave.
Paul: Thank you Dave.
DO’L: My first impression of Nestor is that of a guy who wants to keep to himself and not be drawn out until the tragedy that befalls him which unleashes a very violent side of his personality. That progression of characteristics building up throughout the issue was a real highlight. Can you explain how these characteristics formed throughout the planning of the book?
Martin: We made the guy a regular Joe from the outset, he is at this point in the story a decent person which adds to the tragedy as when he loses the woman he loves he reverts back into the creature he used to be. By the end of it the man is gone and only the monster is left.
Mike: Myself and Martin discussed it at great length. What we came up with was that if a creature like a vampire existed it would do everything in its power to stay hidden. It wouldn’t like to draw attention to itself. Nestor has been around for a very long time and is still around because he has gotten so good at blending in and not being noticed. So I suppose that idea is reflected in his characteristics, he keeps his head down and doesn’t look for trouble. He has also spent a long time suppressing his violent nature and it takes something pretty horrific to bring that back to the surface.
DO’L: The book is based on an idea from Martin and scripted by Mike. Can you tell us about firstly, the genesis of the idea and how it was built upon when Mike came aboard?
Martin: I’m a huge fan of vengeance stories both in movies and comics from Punisher to Deathwish even Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. The idea that something awful happens to someone and they just snap. With movies like Harry Brown and Deathwish those guys have a military background, they have combat skillset and they can use most forms of weaponry. Nestor on the other hand is a weapon….a killing machine in every sense. It’s a breakaway from most vengeance stories. What would the fury of a distraught vampire be like? How would he hunt and kill those responsible and who would he convey his pain and sense of loss to? That’s where Mike came in. He really fleshed the characters and lent a great level of pace to the story. Lusk in particular is a prime example of this. Mike’s script really lets you see that he and Nestor are close friends and have a deep history together.
DO’L: When writing a Vampire story what did you do to ensure that Nestor stood out from the rest and not fall foul in being just another genre tale?
Martin: First off we avoided the word vampire. I like in Night of the Living Dead no ever calls the zombies “Zombies”. They were more scary because you didn’t know what they were. Second we done away with the rules. Crosses, garlic, sunlight none of those things apply in our story, in fact we kinda take the mick out of such notions. The characters are very real world, there’s no over the top vampire covens or sexy vampire hunters. These guys survived by keeping their head down and not getting noticed. Despite their strength and power if they were found out they wouldn’t have lasted very long.
Mike: It’s a tough genre to try and break into, everything has been done before. We did try and come up with little twists on the mythology such as Nestor can walk in daylight more like Stoker’s Dracula. We also played around with the idea of the vampire bite but I’d ruin the second issue for people if I explain that here. Hopefully when people read it they will think we have done enough to make it standout.
DO’L: How and when did Paul McCallan come aboard the project?
Mike: I had worked with Paul on issue 16 of FutureQuake and I loved his work straight away. He has a great look to his work which I think complements the story. It really helps to draw you into the story. I remember when he sent me the first page and the way he drew Nestor was excellent just kind of slouched forward doing his best not to stand out, great stuff.
Paul: As Mike said I’d worked with him previously on FutureQuake and thoroughly enjoyed the process. Mike had written a great short story with a mix of good ideas and characters making my task of illustrating all the easier. So when he dropped me an email one morning saying he had this ‘Nestor’ project and that he felt my style would be a good fit. I told him I was interested, got the script and jumped at the chance to work on it.
DO’L: Were the character designs all Paul or were there parameters from Martin and Mike that were set?
Mike: I think the only thing we told him was that he had to look very young and we had a few notes on how Lusk his friend should look but other than that we let him work away. Anthony O’ Neill had a big hand in designing the look of Nestor in vampire form too. He gave us a load of different looks and then we sat down and kind of mixed and matched them until we got a look that I think looks very cool.
Paul: From my point of view it was good to have Anthony’s designs as a jump off. I was able to flesh out my own interpretations quicker than my normal process. The script was quite specific on how the other characters looked other than that, but not restrictive in any way.
DO’L: Paul, you’ve mentioned that you found Nestor ‘really challenging but worthwhile’. Can you expand on that comment and tell about your time creating the look for the book?
Paul: Yes I did find it challenging because of a few things from time to time. I felt a little pressure to deliver the project to a good enough standard and on time. This was the guy’s project and I didn’t want to disappoint or dash any expectations they might have had. But worthwhile in the long term, I learned a lot about storytelling and as this is my first full length comic the importance of being organized. The look of the book evolved from my research, I wanted to keep the reader engaged by using background settings that they can relate to. But my time was mostly spent on characters expressions and motions in order to try convey the story as best we can.
DO’L: How long do you envisage Nestor to go on for?
Mike: Well I suppose that all depends on how this book does. This story will be wrapped up in issue two but myself and Martin have a few stories we would love to tell with this group of characters. The prequel story we did with Joe Campbell about Jack the Ripper does show that there is a lot of potential for these characters and we could do a lot more with them.
DO’L: Martin, being as Nestor is finally in print, do you see yourself diving more direct into full on writing?
Martin: I’m currently working on a few short stories but I think for the meantime I’ll stick to comics. Mike and I have some real cool stories to tell. I think that while we’re at Abandoned we’ve got the freedom to tell darker stories that other comics might shy away from.
DO’L: Can you tell us the best place to pick up Nestor and will it be available digitally?
Mike: Sure thing, for the moment if people fire off an email to email@example.com we can send them out an issue. If you are in the States and want to maybe save yourself a few dollars on shipping it is available on Indy Planet too. It will be available for digital download very soon and if people keep an eye on our facebook page we will post up more about that once it comes out.
DO’L: Thanks for joining us folks. Take care.
Mike: Thanks Dave.
Martin: Cheers Dave.
Paul: Thanks man.