Dave Charlton’s Guillotine is the first comic published under the University of Dundee’s new imprint Comicsopolis. Previously, the University Presses UniVerse and Inkpot have published student and alumni work. With Guillotine and Comicspolis, the University of Dundee is now expanding their publications to non-affiliated artists. Below is an interview with creator Dave Charlton and the first five pages of his new comic. Contact Dave at his website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in purchasing the full comic.
SCCS: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
Dave Charlton: I was born in Malawi, but lived most of my life in Brisbane, Australia and I now live in Montrose, Scotland with my German wife. Before you ask, we’re here because my wife likes the weather! I studied at the College of Art in Brisbane and worked for a few years as a freelance illustrator.
SCCS: Do you have a background in comics?
DC: I’ve never worked in comics before, but I’ve always loved them. Growing up my Dad had four shelves of comics in the toilet (like Peanuts, Giles Annuals, BC, The Wizard of Id, Tumbleweeds, Don Martin and later Calvin and Hobbes). This led to long queues for the loo! American style comics were harder to come by and I never really read superhero stuff, but I did get to read an occasional copy of the Beano or Dandy when visiting cousins and some friends of my parents had a chest full of Asterix, which I loved and still do. Later I have a clear memory of being blown away by a friend’s copy of Mills and Bisley’s Slaine: The Horned God.
When did you get into comics?
I got back into comics as a teenager in Australia, when another friend recommended Miller and Darrow’s Hard Boiled. There were a couple of comic shops in Brisbane and later the libraries started to develop a good collection of graphic novels. I loved Preacher and Transmetropolitan in particular, but it was years later when reading an early Hellboy collection that I decided I wanted to draw and write my own comics. Hellboy was so original and clearly Mignola, that made me feel like it was possible to do something of my own.
How did you get involved with Chris and Phil at the University of Dundee?
I met Chris and Phil in 2013 when I won the Dundee comics prize, with a short sci-fi comic called Winston (which has been included as a back up in Guillotine). They have been hugely supportive and encouraging since then. I feel very fortunate to have met them and also to have ended up here. Dundee has an amazing comic presence and community in comparison to anywhere else I’ve lived and I’m sure a large part of that in recent years is due to the work that Chris and Phil have done through the University of Dundee.
What is the premise of your new comic?
Guillotine is a parody of a police procedural, with violent cartoon animals, set in a post apocalyptic facist city state. The narrator, a detective named Flash, pleads for his life as he is interrogated about his investigation into a series of bizarre murders.
How long did it take you to complete it?
Embarrassingly it took me three years to complete Guillotine! I lost heart a couple of times and I got distracted a lot. I’ve never missed a deadline drawing for someone else, but seem incapable of keeping my own. That said, I did enjoy it when the work was flowing and filling the background of panels with references to my favourite sci-fi comics, films and books kept me amused.
What does it mean to you that the University has a new press for writers/artists outside the University?
I think it’s fantastic and I’m really proud that Guillotine will be the first Comicsopolis publication. I got a couple of other offers for publication in the end, but working with Phil and Chris and being part of a new press imprint just seems perfect to me.
When is the comic launching?
The launch date hasn’t been set yet. It will be some time after August. It has been printed though!
Here are the first few pages of Guillotine. Contact Dave for more!