Today it’s the turn of David O’Connell in our series of daily interviews with some of the stars of the Paper Science. David appears in Paper Science 7, which hits stores this week and is available to order online.
Matthew Sheret: This is your second contribution to Paper Science – what tempted you back?
David O’Connell: I love the newspaper format and would like to use for a project of my own but haven’t got around to it yet – I’m quite happy to piggy-back onto someone else’s project in the meantime. Paper Science has been a great showcase for comics: large-scale yet easy to tuck under your arm or into your bag, colourful with high-quality contributions but still with a rough and ready feel to it. Plus, I could never refuse anything to a gentleman such as Mr Sheret.
MS: Is there anything you’ve particularly enjoyed about working in the newspaper format?
DO: I like that you have to think much harder about how the finished comic will look. Newsprint isn’t so forgiving with respect to your colour choices as a higher quality paper and it adds a texture of its own that isn’t always predictable in its effects. You have to consider the craft more, but there’s still an element of guesswork to it that makes it exciting.
MS: In the last few months you started editing another anthology, ink+PAPER; what tempted you to put on the editorial hat?
DO: It looked like a fun chapeau to don. I also thought there was a place for a book where story and text were on a more equal footing with art and style, something you can read over a few cups of tea rather than something you’ve finished before the kettle’s even boiled. Another idea was to show comics as part of the wider graphic arts world, combining comics with articles on photography, design and craft, so that overall it has a feel of a zine crossed with an old-school comic annual. I was thrilled by the stories people produced for it, the way it turned out and the response it’s received so far.
MS: Do you think that the current crop of UK anthologies are doing a good job of showcasing creators, or is there more to do?
DO: They’re great books and they’re doing wonderful work. But us independent comickers live in a bit of a bubble – we all follow each other on twitter and facebook, attend the same events and read the same blogs. A new publication can seem like a huge deal to us because it’s the only thing everyone on our twitter feed is talking about, but we forget that everyone outside that small subgroup doesn’t even know it exists.
In putting together ink+PAPER I’ve been swamped with submission requests – creating a good book is relatively easy with the wealth of talent that’s out there at the moment. But getting it seen by anyone beyond your small subgroup is the hard part, and that’s where the work lies. And it’s work that is boring, repetitive, time-consuming, financially unrewarding, completely uncreative and requires personality traits with which most comickers are not naturally gifted. I’d love the hand the whole distribution thing over to somebody else – is someone out there prepared to run a small-print-run indie comic distro that deals with non-comic bookshops and outlets? Let me know.
MS: After issue 7 Paper Science is going on a bit of a break for while, but if you could pick a theme for a future issue what would it be and who would draw the cover?
DO: “Life in the gutter”. Cover by Louis Roskosch
David’s work can be found online and at a great many comic shows throughout the year. Find out more about ink+PAPER over the anthology’s website. Paper Science is available now. Tomorrow we catch up with Hemlock creator Josceline Fenton. You can follow the Paper Science 7 interviews so far here on the blog. FPI would like to thank Matthew and David for taking the time to talk us through the new issue.