The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #9: PAUL BEDFORD

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #9: PAUL BEDFORD

Untitled1Let’s start our wrap of the PNP creators with our latest inductee: Paul Bedford, a name famous around comic book traps around Melbourne and the rest of Australia, for his suave personality as much as the madness that is The List.

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson hereAndrez Bergen was #4 here, Ben Gilboa @ #5, Chris Yarbrough, and #7 with Bryan Timmins, and most recently Brett Jones.]

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Paul, your friendly neighbourhood psych-horror writer… from Australia. It’s nice to meet you. Mind if I borrow your brain? Why? Well, I’d like to mess with it a little. How? OK, it’s your brain, so I guess you deserve to know. You see, I wrote a 200 page (very) graphic novel called The List (pencilled by Henry Pop and inked by Tom Bonin). It was my first foray into this medium, and has done OK for itself, winning a loyal following of sickos and receiving nice words from critics from all across the globe, as well as having its international film rights optioned. I never expected it to be the next Star Wars, but I’m very happy with the reception it has had.

What’s that, you say? What’s it about? OK, you asked: it’s the tale of a young man, The Son, who tattoos a list of words down his torso, claiming them to be the New Commandments given to him by an Angel in exchange for the life of his mother. He then stalks the streets seeking to fulfil each of the commandments (slicing them off as he does so) and subsequently plunging his city into a state of terror.

Along the way he visits some people from his past who weren’t so pleasant to him, is guided by his dead parents, and speaks with the Angel who chose him for this quest. However, the execution of the story is not so straight forward as it may sound. It comes to you in the form of a waking nightmare; it is surreal and heavy with menace and dread. It taps into your shadow and makes you want to stop reading while compelling you to see more.

And then it will hit you with a revelation throws you back through the story to leave you, like the multitudes of readers before you, questioning the veracity of all you just experienced. Aside from The List, I have written a few minis (life-observation stuff), and contributed stories spanning a variety of genres to several anthologies. When not writing, I’m a warehouse manager, proud dad to a maniac son, loving hubbie and dog owner (the stupidly spoilt Noodle Mcdoodle). Oh, and I’m stupidly addicted to Total War Warhammer.

Untitled2How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

I was previously with a publisher that collapsed, falling right onto its underbelly. Galo of Project-Nerd, who is a fan of The List, saw this, and was good enough to welcome me into the PNP family. I am most glad and proud to be here among a passionate and talented bunch. I look forward my book’s particular brand of insanity corrupting many more minds.

Why are indie comics so damned important?

More so than most commercial works, indie comics are unrestricted by corporate mandate, and thus, their stories are free to contain content that challenges us. Being challenged by story is its most vital role.

Who are your favourite three comic book artists, and why?

Bobby N (an Aussie writer/artist): Oxygen. Powerful, subtle, amazing observation on individuality vs. conformity. Shook me to the core. James O’Barr: my primary influence. Those who read The List will see its tip of the hat to The Crow; more with regards to the art and atmosphere than premise. The Crow is such a dark and personal story. Such rage and heartbreak. Incredible. Darren Close: Another Aussie writer/artist who produced one of my favourite comics of all time last year, Struggle — which was, amazingly, a 24-hour comic. A confronting, heart-wrenching, brutally honest account of one man’s battle with his personal demons who, in this telling, take on the form of his creation, Killeroo.

DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse, all of these — or something else?

Hmm. Can’t say I have brand loyalty. Never really thought of a publisher I prefer. I tend to go for the story. I will, however, take note of a publisher who is willing to take a risk with the stories they will release.

What style/genre of comics do you prefer to read?

Personal stories. I don’t mind if it is wrapped up in spectacle and plays before a grand backdrop, it just has to be personal; the plot must serve the character’s journey. Get me with your character’s plight, and I’m in.

In terms of your creativity, which styles/genres do you prefer to work with?

I write across a range of genres, and often they are mixed. Going firstly with my main work The List — when I was writing it, despite it having a few spooky moments, it didn’t feel like a horror to me; it felt incredibly personal, though it did bring up so much stuff that I would often feel nauseous while writing it. It was only when people started labelling it as psych-horror that I decided I’d go with it for the sake of convenience. Aside from that, I have written philosophical gear, fantasy, straight drama, and comedy. Of all genres, I’d say that fantasy it the one I enjoy writing most. Because I’m a great big f**king nerd.

13450792_10154248224376449_6531988040936640643_nWhat are your creative plans for the future — what can we expect from you?

In April of this year [2016] Henry, Tom and I were proud to release the first book of The List 2. It’s been great to see the response to it and already be receiving positive feedback. It’s also confirmation that people enjoyed The List. The sequel explores different themes to the first and ultimately reveals the true nature of the story.

The future of comic books — what’s really going to happen in this industry?

I can only see it getting bigger. With publishers and creators learning how to exploit the internet to get their work out there (and make it more readily available), more and more comic to movie adaptations, and geek/pop culture exploding and being accepted with no sign of slowing up, the future looks very good indeed for the medium. To support my contention, you should go and buy The List right now.