Tea Time Thursday: Interview with Steve Tanner

Published on December 24th, 2009

Hey folks, welcome back to Tea Time Thursday, and its Christmas Eve as you know, unless you are a mole and weren’t aware. I guess this is therefore the Tea Time Thursday ‘Christmas Special’! So yes, as I’ve promised this interview for a long time, I won’t ramble for too long. I hope you enjoy this interview I got with Time Bomb Comics founder and writer, Steve Tanner, when I caught up with him at the Leeds Thought Bubble convention earlier this November.

[Assume that there were formalities, introductions and greetings at this point, as I have jumped straight into the main interview itself!]

Rob – Do you enjoy the Thought Bubble Con and how was this year’s experience?

Steve- This is the third Thought Bubble that we’ve done. We were at the first one which was very small. And each year we find that the vibe at Thought Bubble is very different to all the other Cons we’ve been to. There is something about Thought Bubble that is very well organised, and there is a really nice mixture of the ‘die hard’ comic fans, and those who have an interest without it becoming an obsession. So it’s one of our favourite Cons of the year by far.

Rob – Some of your comics here are historical ones (Dick Turpin & the Relentless Dead), and some strike me more as slightly Alan Moore style comics (Ragamuffins), so what are your influences?

Steve – When I first started getting into comics, it was in the early 80s, and at that time there was the British invasion, and with people like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Bryan Talbot, all those guys were becoming ‘in Vogue’ and becoming noticed. When I was in my teens, it was the era of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, all those really strong comics that are now considered the classics. It’s all to do with the telling of a proper story, rather than just several pages of guys bashing the shit out of each other, which is something that is easy to write, but boring at the same time.

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Rob – As a fan of your Dick Turpin comic, do you take particular interest in that tale?

Steve- I like historical stuff anyway, I find it very interesting. I read a lot about history and not just historical based comics. The period is quite an interesting period, and the character is quite renowned in Britain. What was interesting when I started researching the real Dick Turpin, was discovering how thoroughly objectionable the real person actually was, he was not a pleasant man, and certainly not someone who I wanted to write a comic about. I then found out that the modern interpretation of Dick Turpin was one that was actually pure fiction based on a novel published 100 years after Turpin was hung. So realising that the man with the infamous black trench coat, the man who rode Black Ness, and everything about his image was all fiction, it made me more comfortable to write about and deliver the kind of Dick Turpin story that is fictional and that people want to see.

Rob – So can we expect to see more from Dick Turpin at Time Bomb Comics?

Steve – You defiantly can. The follow up is ‘Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague’, which has been written and is now with artist Andy Dodd, who worked with us on the first Dick Turpin book. Basically, this one is Dick Turpin and his companion Tom King, set a year later after the events of ‘Restless Dead’ and they’re in London. It’s here that they have done a robbery and made a lot of money, and are living the high life, and it’s also here they encounter some vampire prostitutes. So it’s moving onto vampires, and again the setting in London makes it quite different to the first book. It was a real blast to write, I really enjoyed it. So anyone who enjoyed the first Dick Turpin book will defiantly enjoy this follow up. Once that one is finished and been published, we have a third Dick Turpin book lined up, which is based around Werewolves. So we’re covering, zombies, vampires and werewolves. But after that who knows, once we’ve got these three out of the way, we’ll take it from there.

Rob – So you also have a new comic out called ‘The Sisterhood: Morningstar’, how has that taken off?

Steve – Well it was our first full colour title, so it was a big step for us to do that, obviously in terms of expense. It’s something we knew we’d do at some point, but we wanted to wait and do it at a time when we found an artist who would excel at working in full colour. That was the key. And with Dan Barrett we found that, his work is exceptional, and it really adds to the story. In a nut shell the story for it is ’space, with nuns and guns’. It’s had some good reviews, and one review described it as being very in the style of an early 2000AD story, which for us was a really great and positive comment.

Rob – And the art (by Dan Barrett) for ‘The Sisterhood: Morningstar’ is not the usual comic book style one would come to expect, so what drove you to choose an artist such as Dan?

Steve – Well we first met Dan at the very first Leeds Thought Bubble, so it was two years ago he came up to us, and there was something about his art that seemed quite unique, it wasn’t a style we’d seen before. It seemed very detailed, and it had a certain manga twist to it, and it just seemed to work in the style of our comic. It’s story is a very dark and twisted one, and Dan’s style lifts it a little, it gives it a little bit of light. He draws the nuns as these very manga-esque, almost cartoony figures, and therefore you have very cute looking females doing extremely horrific things, and it’s quite chilling. His art style, I think, really works with that.

Rob – And you are showcasing a few future projects at the moment, anything you can tell us about those?

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Steve ­­– We’ve got lots of stuff coming out, it’s been great with the more and more submissions we’ve been receiving. For such a small company, I’m amazed at how many submissions we get coming through, I mean every week we get between twenty and thirty submissions. What it does mean though, it we can sort of cherry-pick as to what we want to produce. First off it has to be a good story, and it’s got to be a one shot. We’re not interested in mini-series or on-goings or anything like that. Coming out next though, we’ve got our first anthology book, called ‘Bomb Scares’, which features ten different horror stories and most of the creators for it had come to us through the shows like this one, or through the submissions. We do have Shane Oakley, who was the artist on the Wildstorm Comics; ‘Albion’ series, and that was brilliant to get someone like Shane saying to us, ‘here is my story, please use it’. Then next year, in May, we have a one shot called ‘London Calling’, which is written by Steven Walsh and with art by Keith Paige. Now Keith Paige is quite well known in British comic circles, as he is credited for drawing the Commando series, and he came to us because he saw our Dick Turpin book, and thought the spirit of the book was the sort of thing he’d be into, and he felt he wanted to do something for the publishing. It’s a great story, it’s very unique. It’s defiantly British in style, it’s quirky, it’s very original as well, it’s not like anything else that’s out there I’d say. We’re looking forward to seeing what the non-British market thinks of it therefore, as it is so British. Just to see how those who aren’t so immersed in British culture will take it.

Rob – Great, so how about any other Convention appearances this year? Where can people expect to see you next?

Steve- Well this Thought Bubble one in November really marks the end of the British Convention season, until 2010. We currently do four shows a year, and next year we’ll be looking at doing perhaps five. We’ll start the year off with the Inverness High-ex show, which is in March, followed by the London convention, then the big Bristol convention, following onto the Birmingham one, and then back here to Leeds in a year’s time from now.

Rob – So if people want to contact you, have you got a website to get in contact with or buy your comics?

Steve- Yeah, the website is TimbBombComics.com, very easy to remember. You can contact us easily on there. We also have a Time Bomb Comics group on Facebook, so people are also welcome to contact us through that. If anyone wants to send a submission through, it’s submissions@TimeBombComics.com, or just on the website, so once again, it’s very easy to get in contact with us. You’ll usually get a response back in about a week, as we turn around quite quickly on responses because we know that there is nothing worse than submitting your work and not hearing anything back from a publisher for months, or perhaps never even hearing back at all. We make sure that every person who contacts us, gets a response quite promptly.

Rob ­– Great, so thanks a lot for your time Steve, I hope you enjoy the rest of the convention.

Steve – Cheers Rob, and thanks for your support.

There you go everyone, I hope you enjoyed the interview, and do check out the website if youre interested. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and see you in the new year. Now do excuse me, as I’ve got to get my Christmas on and boogy on down! *Music stars* “Bring me my bottle of Champa…..”