Announcing the creator of the highly acclaimed book, Surface Tension for Titan Comics (optioned for a TV drama series). Decades of BAFTA wining video game design work for SONY and others, please welcome the incredibly talented Jay Gunn.
With your background in games, how did you get into comics?
When I was a young boy I was always obsessed with comics and movies, very typical stuff really. In my formative years, I grew up within a perfect storm of counter culture – 2000AD was channelling the punk ethics of the 1970s, the VHS video nasties boom was thriving on the local high-street and the miners’ strike was in full effect. The films that I was watching and the comics that I were reading were far from wholesome but they gave me a great appreciation for risk taking and creative madness! I didn’t grow up with wholesome superhero comics from the States, my comic heroes were anti-heroes like Nemesis the Warlock and my film diet was Mad Max or ALIEN than Star Wars.
Many of the adults around me told me that video games and comics were a waste of time and the government at the time was saying that horror films should be banned – and so I embraced games, comics and horror films. For me, comics and games are where creative risks should be taken so I was drawn in that direction, I had no option as it had become my education.
I got distracted by making games for many years but I eventually turned my attention to making a comic with Surface Tension.
How did Surface Tension come about?
Surface Tension is a hybrid of many of the things that I loved when growing up – UK based science fiction (Wyndham, Kneale), weird horror (Carpenter, Cronenberg) and animation. I wanted to tell an entertaining science fiction story but I also say something deeper about how I feel about the natural world and how we take it for granted. I’m a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy that also carry a deeper meaning.
Just before I was about to start drawing the comic I was also diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer and obviously, this came as a shock. I decided that I would reflect that very personal situation in the comic itself and so this was reflected in the physical transformations that the characters go through. It’s great that comics can be both entertainment and also allow for very personal stories.
With Surface Tension I’m playing in the sandbox of pulp exploitation but I’m also saying something about the world around us.
What are you currently working on?
I mentioned that I grew up during the UK miners’ strike in 1984 and that time provides the backdrop to my next book – “Coal Face.” My father was a coal miner during the strikes and so had first hand experiences of that divisive and turbulent period of history. It was also the time of the home computer revolution and I was one of those kids obsessed with this new technology and the escape that it offered working class kids like myself. Coal Face is a story that is both semi-autobiographical and also fantastical. I’m very excited by the story and it’s going to be a very pertinent tale for what is going on today. I feel that we’re returning to a similar fractured society that we lived through in the 1980s, not only in the UK but across the world – it’s as if the fallout from that time is now beginning to bite.
What will you have for us at NCC this October?
Surface Tension is a book that people still seem to be just discovering and so I’ll be bringing beautiful signed art prints, sketch books and new and original art as well as sketching. I’m hoping that Coal Face will have had its official release in time for October so it will be fantastic to have that book there.
Make sure you stop by Jay’s table and pick up ALL of his incredible work!