Comic Book Yeti contributor Alex Breen recently corresponded with Paul Cornell, writer of the upcoming AHOY comic Con & On, to discuss his approach to satirizing the comics industry, along with his list of most influential creators he's met at comic conventions. Con & On issue #1 is in comic shops on July 12th and you can order a copy HERE.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Paul, thank you for joining me today. I had a chance to read an advance copy of issue one and I really enjoyed it! What was your inspiration behind creating Con & On?
PAUL CORNELL: I’d been keeping a pile of anecdotes from comic conventions, with the thought of maybe writing a murder mystery set at one, but then I just thought: why do I need the murder, with all this great real life material?
CBY: The story is billed as a Tragi-Comedy, which certainly fits the subject matter. Can you describe your approach to balancing the humor with the harsher moments of the comic convention experience?
PC: Well, I’ve got a bunch of comic creator characters at the start, some of whom are just starting out, some of whom are mid-career, and I wanted to show how things change in the industry across thirty years or so (and how some things stay just the damn same), so some of these stories are about success and some are about how people deal with failure. This is a satire, which means I’m trying to pointedly (and I hope ferociously) tell the truth with some rather bitter laughter. But there are also moments of triumph here, enduring love, and the fun, the reasons so many of us love these shows.
CBY: What was your research process like for this story? Were you using your own personal experiences along with notable comic industry stories?
PC: Yeah, I’m even in it at one point, because I thought there was one anecdote that happened to me that I could just show happening. There are stories creators tell each other that are reflected here, and through some representative characters that between them represent whole armies of creators (our three British comics creators are the cosmic one, the dapper one and the wild man) we take in a load of anecdotes.
"...Not everyone gets out of this alive. And I explore the idea of what happens after you get your big break… and you mess it up."
CBY: With the story spanning numerous decades of comic conventions, how many recurring characters can we expect to see return from the first issue?
PC: Just about everyone comes back every issue, though we do feature pages cutting away to everyone else involved in a big convention, from dealers to security to the people that clean up afterwards.
CBY: How would you describe your collaborative process with artist Marika Cresta?
PC: It’s great. She has amazing acting and her character designs were spot on immediately. She’s also done a load of research to get the feeling of what, say, the line waiting for Hall H in San Diego looks like.
CBY: If you're willing to share, are there any comic creators you met at cons that had a major impact on you as a creator?
PC: I always try to meet great creators from previous generations, so I got to know Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Peter David, Chris Claremont… such a privilege.
CBY: Is there anything you can tease for future issues of the series?
PC: Not everyone gets out of this alive. And I explore the idea of what happens after you get your big break… and you mess it up. I think that’s such an interestingly unexplored area. Especially when your peers soar to success.
CBY: When and Where can people order Issue One of Con & On?
PC: From your local comic store, right now. #1 will be out in physical and digital form on 12th July, just in time for San Diego!
CBY: Where can people find you on social media?
CBY: Paul, thank you so much for your time!
PC: Thank you!