LIVING WITH DEATH
We’re publishing a lot of different comic books now and it can be difficult for a new reader to know where to start. To that end we’re going to do the occasional spotlight feature introducing you a comic with some preview pages and interviews with the writer/editor/creative team.
First up is LIVING WITH DEATH: MURDER AT OXFORD, the latest of our Phase Two series, and an interview with its writer, Glenn Matchett.
GHC- What can you tell us about LIVING WITH DEATH? What’s the series about?
GLENN- When I was growing up I was a bit of a mystery addict. Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle were big influences on me early on and that really stuck with me with the rest of my life in regards to my future likes and dislikes. I kind of wanted to do something that was my own little love letter to mystery fiction and that’s how Living With Death came about. The story follows Jenna Wakefield as she remembers her dead best friend Stephanie Hawkins and how they first met and didn’t necessarily hit it off right away. Over the course of the story these 2 girls will find how they can actually compliment one another to not only solve a horrible murder but perhaps find something they’ve both been missing. Ultimately when Andrew asked me if I wanted to do something for Phase 2 I asked myself if I had one comic story I wanted to do more than any other and my answer was ultimately became Living With Death.
GHC- You’ve done a lot of short stories in various comics. What was the inspiration behind this one?
GLENN- Like I said there a bunch of influences. Christie and Conan Doyle but also little dibs and dabs of other versions of that work that Sherlock, House and the Mentalist. Also a big influence was the TV show Ashes To Ashes which was about the police form in the 80′s which was a time of heavy corruption. I just didn’t want the police to be ineffectual leaving up to Stephanie and Jenna to do the heavy lifting. I wanted to add another element to it that perhaps it’s not just the will to solve the crime, it’s just the barriers that were in the force at the time. I also wanted to pick a time period where my characters weren’t running to the internet or searching on their mobile phones for answers. I wanted to do this old school detective style but still have it relatively recent so that people could relate.
GHC- There’s the murder mystery and the exotic (to American audiences at least) location but at the center of the mini-series is your main character. What makes her tick?
GLENN- It took me a while to figure that out myself. Ultimately Stephanie will seem like an unpleasant person who doesn’t care about anyone or anything. In truth her isolation is something she feels has been forced on her. Over the series we’ll learn she’s been dealing with some heavy stuff since she was very young. In her mind there’s little point forming personal relationships or setting up ties in the world because she feels more in common with the victims of the murders she investigates. She feels like them she is dead but her body just hasn’t caught up with her yet. She drives people away for herself and for them until Jenna comes along. She realizes that maybe being alone isn’t the best existence and that there might be someone’s help she needs.
GHC- Was there a conscious decision to write a story with a strong female lead? Did you find it difficult at all to find her voice as a writer?
GLENN- Yeah definitely. I like female characters, I don’t think there’s enough of them in comics and I’ve used them a few times in my stories. From Alex Quick to Lucy Letwood I’ve created a bunch of them with GrayHaven and even in Sparks I’ve created another female lead who is investigating a murder (I’m sensing a pattern arf arf) who is very different than Steph or Jenna in many ways. At first I think I was trying to make Stephanie too much like other characters than herself. After I stopped writing her like Holmes or Greg House I started to discover who Stephanie Hawkins was. She’s a girl who isn’t like those other characters because this situation has been forced on her. It doesn’t mean that years of being a self imposed social outcast won’t have had their toll but yeah there’s more to her than I think people will realize.
GHC- You’ve gotten some pretty great reviews out of the box for the series. What’s coming up next in the story?
GLENN- Thanks! I’ve been thrilled with the reaction its getting and frankly a little surprised and very flattered. Coming up we have more information about the girls and of course the mystery. Anyone that knows me knows I like setting up my little domino’s for stuff down the line. I like to do stuff long term. Of course Murder At Oxford is its own story and there is a beginning middle and end but there’s some stuff that we can get to the future if we get to my long term plans. We’ll also have a new artist who I think is going to impress a lot of people. They’re an amazing who I’ve wanted to work with for a while and I really couldn’t ask for someone better to continue Stephanie and Jenna’s story with me. Stay tuned, the wait will be worth it.
ORDER LIVING WITH DEATH #1-
LIVING WITH DEATH REVIEWS-
The Pullbox- http://thepullbox.com/2013/09/29/lwdmao/
ABOUT OUR COMICS-
The Gathering is an ongoing anthology with each issue focusing on a different theme. The stories are not interconnected so if you’re a fan of Westerns but not Romance you don’t need to read one before the other. Likewise you don’t have to read Horror 1 or 2 to pick up and enjoy Horror 3, etc. Most of the stories within the Gathering are aimed at general audiences. The stories fit the theme but there is no gratuitous violence, gore, language or sexuality.
Limitless is a more ‘mature’ imprint featuring the anthologies like The Dark or Erotica. While not overly gratuitous the content in these books is aimed for readers over 18.
Hey Kids is an anthology primarily aimed at younger readers though suitable for all ages. We wanted stories like Fairy Tales and Super Heroes that would be perfect for ages 12 and under.
One Shots like Kid Robo, and Decompressionism typically are collections of work that originally appeared online but are not limited to collected work.
Phase Two encompasses our self-contained titles featuring a single story (either one shot, mini or ongoing) by a set creative team such as Dober-Man, Living with Death, 1159 or Run Like Hell.