Today Black Ship had the opportunity to interview another comic creator from the massive MEGABOOK 4! An award-winning writer of comics, web series, and film, Timothy Compton talks about his work from the monster anthology and more.
Black Ship Books: How did you become part of M4?
Timothy Compton: I think I first heard about M4 on the website Careers in Comics. From there I contacted Mike and he offered to include Monster City in the anthology. We’re excited to be a part of this project!
BSB: Tell us what your story Monster City is about.
TC: Monster City is a horror-noir mash-up where classic monsters are gangsters in a corrupt city. We often pitch it as “Dracula as the Godfather.” More specifically, the story follows Dr. Ian Canton, a psychologist hired by the police to find a girl abducted by Dracula’s mob, The Order of the Dragon. To accomplish this he enlists the help of Mia Harker, a young woman who was once a member of Dracula’s cult, and the two unlikely partners begin an investigation which blurs the line between the natural and the supernatural as they are thrust into the middle of a monster-led mob war.
BSB: You developed the concept of the story with Sean Malone and it features Dracula along with several other monsters, but is Monster City a story set in a larger shared universe or is it a self-contained story within its own series?
TC: I would describe the world of Monster City as a shared universe because it is a setting where characters with unique histories interact with each other. The readers will come to it with a general idea of who, for example, Dracula is and know he has an identity that reaches beyond the pages of our comic. We’ll explore some of the backstories of our characters and how they have been modified for this series but they are all part of a larger, thematic picture.
BSB: From this story I assume that noir and horror are your favorite genres. Or do you prefer to write in other genres as well?
TC: Horror and noir are two genres which I think have great toolkits for telling stories. I enjoy them both and plan to use them for all they’re worth, but my interests cover a wide range of other genres as well.
BSB: Could you tell us a little about your children’s book Pickles in a Pickle and your other comic Ice Zombies?
TC: Pickles in a Pickle is a children’s book I wrote with Timothy Greiving a few years ago. I’d describe it as being in the vein of Curious George but with a bit of a wink for the adult reader.
Ice Zombies is an upcoming comic I’m working on. It will be centered on a young woman who encounters the undead while braving the Alaskan wilderness. I’m very excited about some of the particulars of the story as well as the art which is being created by Alex Kujawa. I won’t say much more right now but if zombies or the fear of unknown, isolated places resonate with you it will be worth checking out!
BSB: You write and direct the web series Invisible Man as well. What goes into the development of a project like that as an independent creator?
TC: Many things! Not only do you have to take an idea and develop it into the story it needs to be, but you have to wear many noncreative hats as well – accountant, travel coordinator, production manager, and so on. It is a daunting task but it’s not too dissimilar form creating independent comics, you simply have to be willing to walk step by step with a project and nurture its development from many different angles. There are challenges for sure but it does afford you a level of authorship over your creation which can be rewarding.
TC: I’ve worked on a variety of short films over the last several years but the most prominent project right now is a sports documentary called ’88 which I’m an associate producer on. The film will be co-directed by Sean Malone, my fellow producer from The Invisible Man, along with his brother Brad and will tell the story of the 1988 Arizona Wildcats Basketball team. There’s a trailer out now and filming is currently taking place.
BSB: What has influenced you the most as a writer and director?
TC: Questions and the big ideas which attempt to answer those questions.
BSB: Are there any other words of wisdom you would like to share?
TC: Perhaps not wise words but grateful ones: I’m thankful for the attention Monster City has received so far and hope it will be a story which readers find more and more rewarding as we press on.
BSB: Thank you so much, Tim! And to the readers, check out Monster City in M4 and be on the lookout for ’88, Invisible Man, and other works from Mr. Compton. And there are more M4 creator interviews to come!