FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… RORY MCCONVILLE
Up this time we have Rory McConville writer of the recently released Brian Boru and The Battle of Clontarf with artist Deirdre de Barra. He is also working on a comics blog (he’s on the look out for artists so check it, links at the end of the interview).
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
A short 3 page comic for Mysterious Visions: After Hours 1 that was published back in 2006 I believe. It was about a detective hunting a serial killer. In the story, the detective’s been on the killer’s trail for months and after finally tracking him down to his secret hideout, discovers that…dun dun…he has a split personality disorder so HE is the serial killer.
Absolutely awful stuff. I promise I’ve gotten a bit better since then.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Loads of things. Firstly, knowing the limits of what I can do with the space I’m given. There’s no point in trying to condense a huge sweeping epic down into 3 pages. Also, making sure I’m actually telling a story, and not just stalling until I can get to the twist at the end. A story can’t just be about the twist (especially if it’s a crap one). But the biggest one would have to be: Don’t write stories that involve “shocking” split personality twists. EVER. EVER EVER EVER.
What’s your process for writing a comic book?
Firstly it’s just messing around with ideas, finding something that really grabs me and then building up from there. Even if it’s absolutely awful, I have to keep going forward until I’ve found an ending and then work back from that.And then it gradually gets down to the nitty gritty stuff — trying to figure out the pacing, whether to have narration and all those bits and pieces.(At least that’s what it would be like in a perfect world. It rarely works out as straightforward as that). It also varies depending on the project. With history-based comics like Big Jim or Brian Boru, where you have your story pretty well set up already, there were really great opportunities to concentrate on experimenting with the form and really figure out the best ways to use the comic book medium to tell a story.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
Neil Gaiman. Jose Saramago. Grant Morrison. Joss Whedon. Martin McDonagh. Harold Pinter. And anything Brian K. Vaughan writes. I would happily read the man’s shopping list. Movies like Little Miss Sunshine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Music like Manic Street Preachers
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the script for the 4th comic for this new comic blog I’ve set up. The aim is to have one up every month which is both challenging and energizing. I’m always looking for artists so anyone who’s looking for paid work, feel free to get in touch. I’m also working towards finishing the script for a 4 part mini called The Sadness Solution. It’s a spy-fi story about the search for a cure for sadness.
What do you have out now or coming out next?
I’ve just had a new comic come out with Deirdre de Barra called Brian Boru and The Battle of Clontarf. Deirdre’s done some fantastic work on the book so I’d definitely suggest people check it out. It’s available in Irish and English (the Irish translation is by Gabriel Rosenstock). There’s also the comics blog I was talking about. There’ll be a new comic going up during the first week of every month with a rotating group of artists.
What is your favorite Irish comic?
Stray Lines was a great book. Really great use of Irish talent and exploration of the medium.