2000AD interview – Henry Flint

Looking forward to the upcoming release of the Zombo graphic novel (review here : http://geeksyndicate.co.uk/2010/09/14/zombo-can-i-eat-you-please/ ) I figured I’d use it as an excuse to fire a Q&A at artist Henry Flint… so here you go

So the Zombo graphic novel is due to be released in the next few weeks. What can you tell us about the book and the character?

2000ad as you know is all about anti-heroes so it made sense to make a zombie a lead character. He’s half human half zombie and has to battle with instincts on both sides of his personality. Should he help humans destroy zombies or join zombies eating humans.

As I understand it, you came up with the original idea for Zombo which was then developed by writer Al Ewing. What changes did Al bring and was it hard handing over your character like that?

The original idea was for me to write. I wanted basically to freak people out with a loose script with elements that made no sense. Lots of people loosing their minds then dieing and putting the reader though a similar hell. Al turned the whole thing around and made a reader unfriendly pitch into a great script. He added his own elements to the story and from the Christmas episode onward it’s all his. Yes it was hard handing over the character but I got over it pretty quick.


Seriously…. What’s with the Cameo Pants?

In the script Al had Zombo’s government handlers administer electric shocks to his costume. I spent ages designing metal utility belts and attachments but it looked too complicated. Going-simple looked better and I picked red as it was opposite to green on the colour wheel, the two colours clash nicely. Only noticed the cameo similarities after the fact…Word up.


I’ve been fortunate enough to read an advance copy of the collection and there’s an exclusive one page story that isn’t a million miles away from the old Twinkie ads Marvel & DC used to run. What can you tell us about that as I understand there’s a seed planted for later stuff.

It was a promotional idea. This will connect with the U.S. market and ‘yes’ there is a clue for the next story. Can’t give too much away but promise it’ll be good.


I’ve noticed that certain characters in Zombo are not too dissimilar to celebrities such as Russell Brand and Susan Boyle. I also notice they get killed quite nastily. How do these get picked, is it fun to do, and do you take requests as I’d love to see Katie Price and/or Jamie Oliver get the Zombo treatment.

This all came about by accident. Lord Lust was a womanising pop star so I had to go with Russell Brand. Al noticed the similarity and it was his idea to start introducing celebrities. They should feel honoured to get bumped off in a zombo story and until it’s made illegal we’ll continue to kill celebrities.


You’ve done work on Dredd, ABC Warriors, Nemesis (my fave), Rogue Trooper and a slew of other 2000AD characters. Which are your favourites to draw and are there any other 2000AD creations you haven’t had a crack at yet that you’d like to?

All are my favourites, really got into each and everyone of the characters I‘ve drawn for 2000ad. I’d maybe change the way I did Rogue Trooper, make the mood much darker.
I’d love to draw Strontium Dog on a ‘Journey into Hell’ type script with double page spreads. I’ve always wanted to do Flesh. Someone on a forum said they wanted me to do Black Hawk, yeah! I’d be up for that.


Expanding on that, would you have a dream Marvel or DC character to put your spin on?

I’d like to draw Sub-Marina, Swamp Thing, Hulk, Wolverine. Lets not forget the villains, Hobgoblin would be interesting.


I just read and LOVED the “Judge Dredd : The Henry Flint collection” which has some really weird, but fun Dredd stories. How did that book come about as I can’t recall seeing an artist specific collection since the Simon Bisley stuff from Heavy Metal got traded…..also, did your previous work prepare you for drawing that many mutant turkeys?

No idea how that came about. I think it’s interesting if you want to see how my work changes over 15 years. I look at the old work and wonder how I ever got hired. It’s good for me to look at it and think, yeah! it’s been worth sticking at it but, no! nothing can prepare you for drawing that many turkeys.


Some of your artwork, especially on Shakara’s backgrounds are incredibly detailed and surreal. Is your work all hand drawn traditionally or do you use computers at all?

In the first Shakara I used computers too much and some of it looked too ‘manipulated’. I tend to stay away from filters now. I’ll use Photoshop to drop a separately worked background into a panel or I’ll scan in a water colour and change the contrast. Things like that but, yes, it’s all drawn traditionally on paper.


Lastly, what do you have on the horizon and where can people go to check out more of your stuff?

I’m currently working on the final part of Shakara with Robbie Morrison. Then after that a possible U.S. title. Sorry, can‘t give you any clues. Then hopefully more Zombo with Al Ewing. I’m also looking to publish my own art book of ‘doodles‘. If you like your art books full of character sketches, figure reference and page layouts then this book isn’t for you! It was due for release this Christmas but the publisher became insolvent…

Thanks for taking time out to answer these. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next for the big green guy and hopefully we’ll get you on the podcast before too long.

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