In the comic book world the headlines are generally grabbed by the big two (Marvel & DC) although other companies manage different tactics which manage to pull the spot light on them. This is our second spotlight on independent comic book creators. I live just outside London and in my many years of being a comic book fan I have come across indie comic book creations from English based writers and illustrators but this time I was lucky enough to read Aylesbury Dead #1 which has been printed by local comic book store who are self publishing several titles on a quarterly basis.
Aylesbury Dead #1 was released in May 2012 and the second issue is in the works, the comic centres on Will who after several days of being sick wakes in his bed wakes up to a world of Zombies. The beginning reminded me of Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead, it was very humours and gave me a chuckle. I enjoyed the story as it progressed and introduced to the rest of the cast. The comic is very well put together with Will providing both art and writing duties. Once I read the first issue I got a chance to catch up with Will and hear more about Aylesbury Dead:
Geeks Unleashed: Can you tell us what inspired Aylesbury Dead and why you chose to set it locally rather than choosing a bigger and better known city such as London?
Will: Well to be honest it never actually crossed my mind.
All my friends and loved ones live in or around Aylesbury and I like working on comics with my friends, being the characters as I find it more fun to work on plus my friends nag me on my comic deadlines which helps me a lot.
Geeks Unleashed: Little is shown in the first issue of the main character Will as we are introduced to the setting and supporting characters. What kind of story arc and back story do we have to look forward to with Will?
Will: Well Will is a character loosely based on myself.
The AD character Will is a head strong young teenager that loves playing on his PS3, but after being ill wakes up to find his home town over run by zombies, the good thing about AD comic is that anyone can be the main character at any time. Will, will feature in other issues but may not necessarily be the main character.
Geeks Unleashed: How long as this story been planned out? Is this an ongoing or mini-series?
Will: In my head I have it planned to have 11 issues and if people are still excited about the comic, I may take the zombie infection to different places in the UK or around the world.
Geeks Unleashed: What other methods of distribution are you looking at for your properties? Such as digital.
Will: I would love to get my comic on to iPad or iPhone at some point but at the moment they are just being sold at the Dead Universe comic shop, in Aylesbury and by myself.
Very soon I will be able to sell them online as well, just chat to me on Facebook and I will send them to you.
Geeks Unleashed: Have you always been a big fan of Zombies?
Will: Hell yes zombies terrify me and I think that’s what makes it such fun to play zombie games and to watch Zombie movies, there was no way that I wasn’t going to make a comic at some time.
Geeks Unleashed: You do a lot of promotion on Aylesbury Dead including the locals and produced a lot of merchandise. Tell us more about that?
Will: I believe it’s good to update my Aylesbury Dead page as much as possible as I can’t get the issue out as fast as I’d like. I like my fans to at least know where I am on the different stages of the comic. As for merchandise I would like to get T-shirts’ and badges made and I’m working on a calendar for 2013 here’s hoping I can get it done in time.
Geeks Unleashed: You write and draw Aylesbury Dead as well as another comic Demon Gate and drawing Popcorn along with writer Ben Greatorex. Can you give us the low down on these other properties?
Will: Demon Gate was the first comic I got published, in the space of 2 years I managed to get 3 issues out and I’m selling, Demon Gate is a fast action comic where demons are trying to take over the world and it’s up to a small group of Demon Hunters to stop them.
If you like comics like Scott pilgrim, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece and Bleach you will like Demon Gate. Issue 4 should be out in 2013 the main character in Demon Gate is my son Leo Axtell.
He is only 6 at the moment so he is not allowed to read it, but it should be a good present when he is older.
Popcorn is about two guys in a cinema one is very lazy and the other is very smart and quick-witted, it is a very funny comic and always makes me laugh. Ben Grateriex is very good at writing stories there is only one issue out at the moment and we are working hard to get issue 2 out soon.
Geeks Unleashed: The art style is heavily influenced by anime. What types of anime and manga influence your work and do you have any favourites?
Anime, comics and movies were a big part of my growing up: I’d say Dragon Ball Z, one piece – Sharmon King and Bleach played a big part in my comic. But if I had to pick a favourite it would be Dragon Ball Z – mainly for the fight scenes.
Geeks Unleashed: The first issue of Aylesbury Dead came out in May with second in the works. Does it concern you that about building a fan base with big delays between issues?
It does concern me very much, but I’ve got two children to take care of, and I work at a cinema. So I do my best for my fans I would like to do this as a full-time job so that one day I can work from home and get the issues out faster….. now that would be living the dream.
Geeks Unleashed: Are you involved or working on any other projects?
At the moment no. Other projects are on hold as I want to get Aylesbury Dead 2 and Demon Gate 4 out as soon as I can. As I know people are looking forward to them, and I want to keep my fans happy.
Thanks Will and good luck with issue 2.