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Comichaus Meets: Steven Horry

Today we meet Lizard Men creator Steven Horry.   

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Please introduce yourself and your team (if you have one).

HELLO! I am Steven Horry and I’m a writer and artist who is currently writing Lizard Men, a Comichaus mini-series, and Chalk, a Comichaus anthology serial. As an artist, my most notable works are Double D, an Image Comics graphic novel written by Art Brut singer Eddie Argos, Transrealities (issue 1 available on the Comichaus app!) and The Islanders, also in collaboration with Eddie, as well as the writer Amy Mason and folk musician Jim Moray.

For my Comichaus works, I am joined by Catia Fantini, an amazing Italian artist, Chiara Bonnacini, an amazing Italian colourist, amazing letterer Ken Reynolds and amazing editor Mira Manga. They are amazing.

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

I’ve always been drawing stuff, for as long as I can remember. I’d draw comics based on whatever I was into at the time – Transformers, Doctor Who, whatever. My earliest inspirations would have been those Marvel UK Transformers comics, and 70s/80s Marvel. When I was very young, my father introduced me to his epic collection of Avengers comics stretching back into the 70s, so I devoured them. Following that, I have a nostalgic soft spot for the 90s Marvel UK stuff like the original Knights of Pendragon series, and the strips that appeared in the anthology series Overkill. Then there’s the obvious stuff like Sandman and Watchmen, Mike Carey’s Lucifer, and Zenith from 2000AD, which is probably my single favourite comic of all time. I kind of lapsed on my comics reading for a while in the late 90s, but was then suckered back in by stuff like Phonogram, and a whole stack of Image Comics’ output over the last decade or so.

What do you think people see in your character(s), or the books in general, that has really drawn them in and kept them coming back for more?

I fear that if I definitively work that out, it’ll all go horrifically wrong! I think with Lizard Men, the big idea has been the thing that’s grabbed most people. It’s a concept that’s pretty easy to explain, and straight away kind of grabs people. ‘Outsider becomes Prime Minister, promises big change, learns we really ARE ruled by shape-shifting lizards, it all goes wrong.’

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

They’re characters, in the end. I’d hate to be writing an objectionable character and for someone to think that was what * I * thought. I try and keep them as far from me as possible, ‘cos they have to be true to themselves, not me.

Where did you draw your inspiration from?

The news, history, mythology…anywhere and everywhere, really. If I take Chalk as an example, that’s a melting pot of mythology: the central character is based on the Jack O’Kent myth, about a trickster archetype who regularly got one over on the Devil by making bets, winning them by being clever. The remaining characters from that are taken from other bits of myth and legend that interested me. I’m brewing my Next Big Idea at the moment, and that sprung out of – I kid you not – watching a documentary about the conception of Milton Keynes as a Utopian project.

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

Writing a script in the first place can be like pulling teeth, then there’s the process of getting together the right team. I was lucky Mira came along as editor fairly early. We had a bit of a nightmare finding an artist back when I first started writing both Chalk and Lizard Men. At one point I was going to draw them – I even did some pages – but I have two kids and a lot going on, so time was not on my side. So we tried someone else who just didn’t work out, but thankfully I happened upon Catia’s work online, desperately Googling. It was a big turning point. She’s fast, efficient, and really, REALLY good. It’s great when you work with someone you can trust with whatever you’ll throw at them and know they’ll not only do a great job, but they’ll do it within the deadline. Then there’s the challenge of building the team around the artist, making sure the colouring style fits the linework, that sort of thing. It took ages, but again, it was worth it ‘cos I think Chiara is magnificent. Then with Lizard Men there was an additional pressure in that it’s reasonably topical, so I was worried about real-life events taking over – which did genuinely happen with some early drafts! I genuinely panicked when Kid Rock and Kanye West started talking about running for office in the wake of Trump.

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

Nothing, ideally! I prefer people knowing as little as possible upfront, going in clean, as it were.

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

At time of writing, we’re just prepping for the launch of our Kickstarter campaign for issue 2 of Lizard Men. We’ve got 4 more issues of that to follow and 6 more instalments of Chalk for Comichaus. I’m also working on something secret with the fabulous Garry Mac, and in the back of my head is brewing my aforementioned Next Big Idea. I’m trying to ignore it so I can concentrate on Lizard Men, but it’s beckoning me. It can’t have me yet though.

Other than that, I’m busy doing musical things: in late February the singer Mark Fernyhough and I release a new single, followed later this year with an album, and we’re playing a London show in February with more to be announced.

You can find the acclaimed Lizard Men on Comichaus: http://bit.ly/CHLizardMen

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