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Comichaus Meets: Tony Esmond

Today we meet creator, writer, comic fan & podcaster Tony Esmond.


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

My name is Tony Esmond. I sort of muck about writing things that occur to me between fits of procrastination. The quiet between what can sometimes be furious storms of distraction are the sweet spot for my writing inspirations. I write some comics, some prose and some reviews/non fiction. I also freelance for Nobrow running tables at conventions and soon more (spoilers).

Teams? I’ve never really considered myself a team player and believe to truly be a creative person, that I hope to be one day, you’ve really got to be outside the party looking in. Saying that I do hang about with those two James Hunts Vince and Dan on The Awesome Comics Podcast. We’ve been doing the podcast for over three and a half years now and I’ve loved every crazy moment. 

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

How long do you have. There’s a short cut I suppose to say that my favourite creators came from the Bronze Age of comics. The originality of creators like Doug Moench, Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman, Matt Wagner, Don McGregor, Howard Chaykin, Mike Baron, Mike Grell, Steve Gerber, Tim Truman and all those crazy hippy bastards. 

Creators really took chances back then, or certainly to my young and impressionable mind it seemed like they did. Books like Master of Kung Fu, Tomb of Dracula, Amazing Adventures featuring Killraven, Man and Swamp Thing, Conan and Solomon Kane, Epic and Heavy Metal. These were breeding grounds of imagination and often exceptionally carried out attempts at stretching the medium. Even some of the more mainstream titles had crazy angles. Books like The Defenders and The Champions, The Freedom Fighters, Uncanny X-Men and others were often out there with their trippy and dreamlike moments. They are still readable to this day, pages and stories so good that they make me want to weep!

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

Everything goes into what I write. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. Why would I want to. The pages of my books are reflections of who I am on that day or that particular moment. Even when I write comics for kids there is a little of my life and personality in their pages. I have a sharply defined and wild man humour. I am of an age where I absolutely don’t give a flying fig if you like what I do. I write only for myself and so therefore I’m there present on the page staring back at you. Often this falls only into style but often characters and narratives are there to speak for us as creators, they are our mouthpieces. 

Comics are a piece of solidly private communication between the creators to the reader with nobody butting their nose in for the time it takes to read. This pure and individual delivery style allows for words to be said in ways not accessed by other mediums like TV or movies where they blare out to the masses all at once. I’m sure that deep down I want to be listened to like every other writer on this planet but if you don’t like what I have to say then I don’t care. Many of the characters I write have that individualism I hope to achieve. I love the loner struggling in this ridiculous world and isn’t that all of us really?

Where did you draw your inspiration from?

 ‘Everything’ would be the flippant answer but it’s kind of as true as anything else. I carry a notebook at all times that I work through with ideas, phrases, dialogue and so on. It can take hold of you at anytime and I’ll speed on to the next set of services on the motorway to write it down before it fades from my very old grey matter. Ideas can be like the breeze, enjoy them for a minute and then forget them.

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

Something that I am still learning to cope with as a writer who cannot draw is the time you have to wait until it gets on the page from the artist and then released. With ‘Cockney Kung Fu’ I wrote the story a year before I found Nick and he agreed to draw the story. It’s not impatience that I am complaining about but the ability to keep your hand in on the creativity element of the comic.

I’ve been lucky with all the artists I have collaborated with in that it becomes a conversation as the project has progressed. But I kind of miss the characters. I’ve taken to writing prose and other stories about the characters to keep me sane and happy. For example with Cockney Kung Fu I’ve been writing and posting short stories about the background scumbags who appeared in issue 1. I’ve also written a couple of spin-offs that I can't wait for you to see when it is all collected.

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

Just do what you want to do. Don’t copy or pander or pick a subject that you think will make you famous or popular or righteous. Just get on with it. Comics wait for nobody and we all need to write and draw and talk and promote to keep the comics world turning.

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

Exciting times. I met with a publisher last week about collecting ‘Cockney Kung Fu’ and that sounds really promising. ‘Coffee House Barbarians’ is now on its way to Sean Dobes for colouring from Susie Gander laying down some saucy pencils so expect that in the next couple of months. ‘Bloody Biography’ is a comic I’m working on with the mighty Cliff Cumber and is really punching my buttons at the moment, it’s very different, very sexual and very, very violent. ‘Peggy’ is a short that I’m working on with Sarah Harris who has a style that just gut punches me with it’s beauty. It’s Sarah’s first comics work and I think she’ll soon be much sought after. 

I have really been digging working with the publisher Fair Spark and Aaron couldn’t be a better boss. If I could I’d put all my books through him but it being a Kids Comics company it may cause a minor scandal? ‘How to Make Comics With Springworth’ came out last month and Andy Hanks absolutely nailed the art. I’m fucking ecstatic about being involved. We have another book that we are working on that I am about ten pages into. Andy is going to be a big name in kids books - watch this space. 

I’ve also just done a two page comic with Ian Ashcroft for the third volume of Little Heroes. Ian......man! Give that geezer a Sandman book RIGHT NOW! And to make it even better Matt Soffe did the colours.

Awesome Comics  Vol.1 #1
Awesome Comics  Vol.1 #2
Awesome Comics  Vol.1 #3

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