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Comichaus Meets: Tony Cooper

Today we meet creator, writer & artist, Tony Cooper!

/media/blog/library/tony-cooper.jpgPlease introduce yourself and your team (if you have one).

My name is Tony Cooper and I write and illustrate comics, write novels and short stories and design video games.

I've made two comics so far: "Powerless: Some Kind of Hero" which is a tie-in to my novels, about a woman who works as a policewoman by day but is a secret vigilante superhero by night. My latest release is the two-part story "The Murder Club: Useless Deaths" about two bored psychopathic shchoolkids who plot to kill a fellow student then frame someone else for the murder to see if they can get away with it.

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

As I kid I read the Marvel UK comics Transformers and Ghostbusters titles, but it was only when I found my local comic shop I got into the US Marvel titles, mostly X-Men and New Mutants, although I remember picking up Shade The Changing Man which blew my young mind at the time. 

Around the same time I discovered manga. All Masamune Shirow stuff, Akira and Domu by Katsuhiro Otomo, Outlanders, Ah! My Goddess - as much as I could lay my hands on!

But it was finding Y: The Last Man about a decade ago that got me back into comics, and made me want to seek out different and indie titles. So, my influences are spread across the storytelling and art styles of several eras and genres, which is a nice range to pick from!

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

Not much, unless I'm secretly a psychopathic murderer! I prefer to think outside my own brain when coming up with characters, as I've lived in my own head for long enough to know I'm pretty dull. So I enjoy thinking about how other people have lived their lives and how it informs their personality and their actions. I also find it makes it easier to discover unique voices for characters, instead of just creating several slightly different versions of yourself.

Where did you draw your inspiration from?

Anywhere and everywhere. Comics, obviously, but mostly manga in terms of the types of stories I want to tell - stories with a definite mood about them. The black and white and tone art style was a deliberate decision and direct reference. Also TV: Hannibal was a strong influence on The Murder Club (minus the cannibalism) in terms of basing the story around people with psychopathic personalities, how they think, why they do what they do, how they get like that. It intrigued me so much I wanted to explore that in my own writing.

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

The major struggle was trying to maintain momentum and interest as I was doing all the art myself. The writing of The Murder Club only took a few weeks, but the art took over a year. At times it felt like a trudge and there were many days I had to force myself to do pick up the stylus and draw. But I consoled myself with the fact that I was fully in control of the look of the whole book, which helped make me look at all the art I had to do as a good thing! 

The other struggle was in terms of the characters themselves. The reader has to identify with at least one of them, so writing a story with two leads who are both psychopaths with no qualms about killing people and making it enjoyable to read was hard. That's why I went down the route of making Lisa the more sympathetic of the two, who doesn't know she's a psychopath, someone who Tom can manipulate (or try to) and then make one element of the story the back-and-forth battle of wills between the two of them as Lisa develops.

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

Just that if you like dark, psychological thrillers, people playing mind games with each other, stories about psychopaths ... Then The Murder Club is for you!

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

I'm taking a short break from comics to finish writing book three of my superhero novels, but if The Murder Club does well I already have Volumes 2 and 3 outlined and I know exactly how the series will end.

And I also have another graphic novel idea which is sci-fi thriller set 50 years from now, which is already written but will take a lot of art research before I attempt to make it!

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


Powerless: Some Kind of Hero 2016
The Murder Club  #0
The Murder Club  #0

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