FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… TOMMIE KELLY
Up this time, we have former Supreme Overlord of Irish Comic News and creator of books like The Holy Numbers and THEM Tommie Kelly.
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
Well, the first and only thing that has ever been published is a Pin Up for the Reprint of THE LAST SIN OF MARK GRIMM #1 published by Silent Devil in 2006. Everything else has been a webcomic or self-published. Does Comixology count as being published? I wouldn’t say so.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Mostly, I learned how to draw and write. I only started drawing again in 2006, before that I hadn’t drawn anything since I was at school. I started drawing because I wanted to write comics and didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to draw them.
But the biggest lesson I have learned is that the culture of “Book them and they will come” or the more new agey “Follow your passions and the Universe moves with you” is plainly untrue, misleading and harmful. Success comes from a combination of high talent, extreme persistence in improving, learning how to conform and being in the right place at the right time with the right people and the right personality. Just because you put your heart and soul into something doesn’t mean it will be successful or that people will care. It also doesn’t guarantee that it will be good either.
What’s your process for writing/drawing a comic book?
I just sit or walk round the house thinking. I very seldom write anything down. I try to let a story develop itself and as much as possible get Tommie out of the way of it. Once I have the major beats of the story and a general feel of the characters I start drawing and see what happens.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
Comicwise I love Mike Oeming, Jaime Hernandez, Dave Sim, Rob Guillory, Alan Moore, early to mid Frank Miller, Grant Morrison’s Invisibles (but not much else), Bryan Lee O’Malley, Al Williamson, Mazzucchelli and others.
However Film, TV and traditional literature probably have a bigger influence on me these days than comics. I don’t really read comics anymore. I don’t have the love for them I once had and I have come to really loathe superheroes.
What are you working on right now?
At this very moment I am piecing together a new webcomic. But as yet I am undecided if it will happen or not.
What do you have out now or coming out next?
At the minute all my comics are available on the site http://www.tommiekelly.com and THEM#1 comes out on Comixology on December 11th 2013.
What is your favorite Irish comic?
Long Coat and Leather Jacket by John Farrelly. A less well known work maybe, but it’s a major reason why I got into comics in the first place. John is talking about doing it again someday soon, I hope he does.