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Comichaus Meets: Fraser Campbell

Today we meet creator & writer, Fraser Campbell.

/media/blog/library/fraser-campbell.pngPlease introduce yourself and your team (if you have one).

Hi, I’m Fraser Campbell and I’m a writer from Falkirk in Scotland. I’ve been writing comics for around 5 years now. I’ve got my comics Sleeping Dogs and Alex Automatic on the Comichaus app. Sleeping Dogs is written by me with art from Lautaro Capristo colours by David B. Cooper and lettering by Colin Bell. On Alex Automatic we have James Corcoran on art and David and Colin again on colouring and lettering respectively. 

What are some of the comics that inspired you to start creating your own? Any creators in particular?

Too many to name really! I’ve been obsessed with comics since I was a kid, where my favourites were Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne era X-Men and Wolfman & Perez’ New Teen Titans. Right now I’m loving Tillie Walden’s stuff, Ed Piskor’s X-Men, the new Firefly comic, the stuff being created by the White Noise Studios guys, Punks Not Dead, etc. There so much great stuff out there. But a lot of inspiration has come from encouragement from pals on the UK small press scene, particularly from my pals John Lees and Iain Laurie – so you can probably blame them for everything!

How much of your own personality goes into your character(s)?

That’s a tough question. I think elements of yourself go into every character to an extent, but that’s different from a conscious decision to speak through a character if that makes any sense. I think my most personal character is Alex from Alex Automatic, who I’ve used to discuss my own mental health issues to some degree.

Where did you draw your inspiration from?

I think in general I draw my inspiration from the strength of the UK small press comics scene, where there’s just so much talent, you just have to be on you’re “A” game all the time, with whatever you put out. In terms of stories and how I write, I think we’re all struggling with how odd, disconnected and frightening the world seems these days. I think for writers and any creatives really it’s important to focus on virtues that maybe haven’t been all that fashionable like loyalty, forgiveness, acceptance and love. I think comics are uniquely placed here given their various traditions. Empathy, decency and a willingness to see things from other perspectives have always been at the heart of comic book heroes and heroines, and ties in with the long tradition of comic book protagonists being there to protect people from those who would spread fear, hate and violence. Whether people listen or not is another question and I’m certainly not suggesting that my stuff has much of an influence, given my relatively lowly standing. But in a world that seems obsessed by division, I still think it’s important to remind people that we’re going to have to develop a new mind-set, and soon, or we’re all pretty much done for.

What struggles have you faced with the creation of ….. and producing the final release?

I think probably the same issues everyone else in small press comics has. Lack of cash, lack of clout, getting the message out there, competing demands on your time, that kind of thing. In terms of the actual production of comics, that’s been remarkably smooth as the people I’ve worked with are all great and really professional. It’s also very, very easy to get burnt out as most small press people are juggling jobs, family etc. while also trying to make their books. It creeps up on you and you can’t always take breaks when you need to. Something you really have to keep your eye on.

What do fans need to know going into their first issue of your comic?

In terms of the stuff I have on the app, Sleeping Dogs is a hard-boiled crime one-shot so that’s about all you need to know about that. Alex Automatic is more of a psychedelic spy story about a man who has his perceptions altered by illegal Government experiments, leaving him thinking he’s a character in a 70s TV adventure show. That’s inspired by The Prisoner and Gerry Anderson stuff like Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet and comics like Miracleman and The Invisibles. The idea with Alex Automatic is to do something different and new while playing with the evocative elements of those 60s and 70s shows and comics like the costumes, cool production design, weird villains, gadgets etc. To make something new out of nostalgia if you like. So if you’re into the kind of stuff mentioned above, Alex Automatic should work for you.

What have you got coming up in the future? Are you working on more issues?

There’s loads coming up, hopefully all this year! I have House of Sweets with Iain Laurie, which is our take on an updated kind of pastoral horror story. If you enjoyed our comic The Edge Off last year, this should be right up your street.

Heart of Steal (with artist Katie Fleming) is a future set action/crime story about loyalty, friendship and ambition. Set in the sprawling, moon-based megatropolis of Alpha-City, teenage thief Toni Doinel needs a transplant heart for her dying brother. However the only one available is earmarked for notorious gang boss Ray-D, whose flunkies aren’t about to give it up without a fight! This’ll be a 4 issue mini-series, with the first issue coming out hopefully this year.

Indexed is a downbeat sci-fi one shot with artist Anna Readman, kind of in the same wheelhouse as The Road and Fahrenheit 451. It’s about a young woman living under a repressive regime who wakes up one morning to find she has become one of the randomly chosen unfortunates who has been Indexed, meaning she has been essentially deleted. No-one can speak to her or acknowledge her, she must leave her home, her assets are seized, she can’t work, her digital records are erased, etc. The story follows how she reacts to this and how she attempts to connect with others in the same predicament. It’s exceptionally exciting to be working with Anna on this, who is just amazing.

There’s going to be more Alex Automatic as we wrap up the first arc of the series with a huge double-issue flip book incorporating #4 and #5. These issues should answer a lot of questions for readers who have been following along so far with a lot of reveals about Alex, his past, how he became “Alex Automatic” and who he cares about the most as we explore a chequered past that casts doubt on his idea of himself as a heroic, wronged victim. We also learn about the formative experiences for supporting characters Harry & Wylde and look closely at the ordeals that shaped them.

Finally, we have Monster Mates with artist Kit Palmer, a comedy one-shot about three ne'er-do-well pals (who just happen to resemble a vampire, a wolf-man and the creature from the black lagoon) who have spent their time since college stagnating in the town they all grew up in. They are finally motivated into action when they hear that their favoured local hangout has been earmarked for closure by property developers. They decide to stage a massive blow out party to try and save the club. However, as their plans gather pace and obstacles start to emerge, cracks in the friend’s relationships begin to show.


You can read Fraser's titles over on the Comichaus App now, or purchase a print copy from the Comichaus Marketplace by clicking on the cover images below.

G-Man

Sleeping Dogs 2015 - #1
Alex Automatic 2016 Vol.1 #1
Alex Automatic 2016 Vol.1 #2

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