AUTUMN OF INDIE: Interview with OR Comics

Today we are talking to Gary Chudleigh. Gary and Graeme Kennedy are the minds behind OR Comics and their main comic Villainous. The final chapter of Villainous will be released at this year’s Thought Bubble.


Geek Syndicate (GS): Villainous has been a growing success for the OR Comics team of Gary Chudleigh and Graeme Kennedy. Where did the idea come from?

Gary Chudleigh (GC): The idea came about from my love of The Dark Knight and serial killer films. I thought, what if a character as beyond redemption as The Joker, decided he had a change of heart? From that base, the story of Villainous took shape. It was tough completing my first script, but very rewarding.


GS: What first inspired you both to get into comics?

GC: Comics kind of wandered into my life just as writing did. I’d been heavily invested into “geek” culture, but had never read comics as such. I started getting into them just as my love for storytelling started to evolve into an ambition to be a writer. They met in the middle.


GS: What type of storytelling do you like?

GC: Layered, structured and emotional. I want to follow well-developed characters through a gripping plot that entertains as much as it provokes thought. For me the best stories are the ones that perfectly strike the balance between entertainment and art.


GS: What is the future of OR with Villainous coming to an end at this year’s Thought Bubble? Will Villainous return for a sequel?

GC: We’re both involved in a big project with other members of GLoW (Glasgow League of Writers) at the moment, which is hugely exciting for us so watch this space. I’m spreading out working with other publishers to really develop my career and gain new experiences. I don’t think we’ll see any tales from the Villiverse I’m afraid! It’s been an amazing ride but once it’s done, that’ll be it.


GS: Can you tell us how you went by getting issue 1 of Villainous made?

GC: A lot of learning, a lot of love and a lot of mistakes. Getting 1000 copies printed for small press was one of those mistakes. Graeme and I both put our heads together and done everything from the ground up. I learned to write, to letter, to edit and publish and we put it to use. Research – planning – doing – selling is the basics.


GS: How does the collaboration process work between the two of you?

GC: Graeme and I have a very honest back and forth, we both edit the script and both plan out thumbnails for the issues. I’ll then give critical feedback on art and he’ll provide the same on my lettering. You need to be brutally honest and able to take feedback but at the same time treating your collaborator with respect and trust.


GS: To any aspiring creator out there, what would you say is the best piece of advice?

GC: Learn how to write, write it and re-write it. Study writing books, learn character development and structure. Even if you have a natural spark for stories, learning the mechanical side is crucial. A man can play a guitar and not be a musician so learn your instrument inside out. Write it and do not look back. Never say, always do. And then dust it up and make it good. The first draft is always the worst, extensively edit and rewrite and apply everything you’ve learned.

Then network with the community, gain feedback, share advice. Meet an artist and collaborate. There are many people out there the same as you online and probably close by, so meet with them.

Once you’re selling your comic at a convention, remember that it isn’t the comic you’re selling, it’s you. The best writer in the world can go unpublished because when submitting his work no one knows who he is. Make yourself a name and start climbing the ladder.


GS: Where you would like to be in 10 years time?

GC: After that rousing speech on getting into comics, I’m hoping in the industry or I’ll look pretty stupid. In ten years time I’ll have a good amount of creator owned comics published and I’ll be making a living as a writer, with works in TV and games too.


You can check out OR Comics at their website, and if you are going to Thought Bubble this year make sure to pick up the final issue of Villainous.

GS Reporter: Luke Halsall


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