It is encouraging to come across and discover new talent in the arts. One such talent is that of Adam Cheal who is a writer and creator of comic books and graphic novels. He is a writer who has realized his dreams of working in a creative business and proves that you can never be too old or young to achieve what you have wished for all of your life. This Examiner.com had the opportunity to interview Adam Cheal on the eve of what surely will be a defining moment for him. His two books with Markosia Enterprises Limited are going to be given instant collector's status as they have been published as a special convention tie-in whose run will be limited to the books on hand for those lucky enough to be there to grab a copy for themselves!
Examiner.com-Can you give my readers an idea of who you are and how you began as a writer and creator in the graphic books/comic books business.
Adam Cheal-I was born and raised in the UK on a steady diet of horror movies. I have always been interested in creative writing but didn't start writing my own stories until relatively recently, when I was in my early 30's. I always dreamed of writing movies but thought it was just a pipe dream. When I read Watchmen by Alan Moore, I realized just how cinematic the comic and graphic novel medium could be. I saw this as something obtainable I could accomplish and set my mind to writing my first story. The rest is history.
Examiner.com-What can you tell my readers about your graphic novel, Toxic Storm which began as a four issue comic book in February of this year?
Adam Cheal-This book is very close to my heart and has taken longer to complete than I ever dreamed it would. I am proud of this book for many reasons. Firstly it is my first solo book and secondly, I love the characters and dark twisted world I have created. If I had to sum up what the book is about, to break it down to its simplest, I would say that is a tale of revenge and redemption. Both powerful emotions that I think an audience can relate to.
Examiner.com-One of your selling points in your website for Toxic Storm was that it is told in a true "80's Video Nasty style." That is a term that is truly relevant to the United Kingdom. Can you clarify for my readers what is meant by that term?
Adam Cheal-Well, it covers a broad term and I guess the best equivalent would be to call them B-Movie horrors. They typically have blood & guts by the barrel full and never let a good story get in the way of cheap thrills. They are perfect if you just want to switch off your brain, be entertained and see people killed in violent and inventive ways. Of course, I love them! The 80's were a much simpler time for entertainment and people treated movies exactly how they should-for entertainment. Seems to me that people have been concentrating on trying to be too clever and artsy for the sake of it. Not every film can be Oscar worthy, and nor should it. Sometimes its great to be taken on a ride of escapism and just enjoy the ride. This is what I hope I have achieved with Toxic Storm.
Examiner.com-I have seen the artwork and read the outline of your story, Toxic Storm. It is a graphic novel that is definitely very mature in themes that it explores. What are your thoughts on the idea on often mention notion that comic books/graphic novels are a bastardized form of literature and that adults should have outgrown them.
Adam Cheal-I feel that this is pure snobbery and a too familiar attitude of people that have never even taken the time to pick up a comic and read one. Comics are a unique medium which combines art and words like no other. I love it as a writer as it allows me to show the story and characters I want to show, exactly as I see them in my mind's eye. So for me, I would say they are a more accurate form of story telling as there is less room of misinterpretation by the reader. Lets also not forget the good that they can do for educational purposes and all those great movies based on comics. There are more and more people that are now realizing that comics are fast shaping the future of the Hollywood blockbuster.
Examiner.com-The themes explored in Toxic Storm appear to be perhaps somewhat influenced by films, specifically of the B-movie variety. Can you tell me what are some of your favorites and how(if they truly have) have said films influenced you in your own work.
Adam Cheal-I love 80's horror. Clive Barker is a particular favorite of mine. Hellraiser and Nightbread being two. Both have common themes of damned creatures lurking beneath the world which we do not see. While these so called monsters are meant to scare us as an audience, I find them more sympathetic and easier to relate to than the so called heroes of the movies. This is something you will see in all my writing, the heroes are somewhat waking the line between good and bad. I also really got a kick out of Return of the Living Dead. It just crazy good fun. Many of the films I saw as a child are etched into my soul- how could they not influence my writing style!
Examiner.com-There are supernatural elements and themes throughout Toxic Storm and Terminus at Fenton's Green, what attracts to utilize these themes. Do you have a belief there is truth to the notion of ghosts and other supernatural agents in our world?
Adam Cheal-I can't say if I am a true believer, but I am convinced there are forces we don't comprehend or understand working for both good and evil. I wouldn't say I believe in "ghosts" in the traditional sense. Deep down, I really do hope that there are real supernatural forces out there. I mean come on, they certainly make life a lot more interesting!
Examiner.com-Your story, Toxic Storm was first released as a limited run comic book series that spanned four issues. How did Markosia Enterprises Limited become involved in repackaging your comic book series as a hard cover graphic novel?
Adam Cheal-The book itself was released as digital single issues on ComiXology, but this was also through Markosia. I first pitched my idea for the book two years ago to Harry Markos at Markosia. This was at the first London Super Comic Con and also the first time I met him. The book was only six pages complete and the pitch was awful-of course he said no. I went back to drawing board, had pages redrawn by the current series artist "Renzo" and completed the first issue.
We rebuilt the entire series from the ground up and I re-wrote the entire first issue. At this time, I started working with Markosia on a book I created called the "British Showcase Anthology". It was my aim to bring UK artists and writers together to create an ongoing book of sequential stories to showcase some of the talent we have over here. I had two stories printed in that book. One was called "New Luna" and was a space horror with ecological themes. The other was called "Lycan Island" and was the first piece that I worked on with artist Russ Leach, who of course went on to work with me on "Terminus at Fenton's Green". Anyway, I digress.
While the BSA was still in production, I had completed the entire first issue of Toxic Storm. I asked Harry to revisit it for me. I think he was somewhat skeptical at first, having previously rejected it. But, he did look at it again and liked the revamped version. I was offered a publishing contract for the book and we made it happen.
Examiner.com-This leads me to the next question. How tickled are you to have two books that you wrote as part of a special London Super Comic Con release through Markosia Enterprises Limited?
Adam Cheal-This is definitely the highlight of my writing career. I feel truly honored to not only be a part of the show, but to have two LSCC exclusive books launching there. Since I went to the first London Super Comic Con, it was a dream and personal goal of mine to launch a book there. Now I have two over the same weekend. What's next? Global domination!
Examiner.com-The London Super Comic Con is about to happen again. What are your impressions of fandom when you are at these cons? What is it like being on the other side where fans ask you for your autograph and wish to have their photo taken with you?
Adam Cheal-I love the fans that attend these shows. They are what make these shows. Down to the collectors of original art to the fans dressing up for fun and competition, they each bring something unique and spectacular to the show. The atmosphere at these cons is like nothing else I have experienced and I would say comic fans are some of the best in the world. As far as how I feel about being on the other side of the table, I will let you know after the weekend! This really is my first full blown attendance as a creator and I am not 100% sure what to expect. But I am very excited.