COMIC BOOK YETI: Aaron, welcome to the Yeti Cave for a (hopefully) fun installment of Cryptid-Bits, our crowdfunding creator interview series. Your comic Ploughman is on Kickstarter until Thursday, September 29th. Can you tell CBY readers what Ploughman is all about?
AARON LOSTY: Hey gang! Thanks for having me. Ploughman is an Irish, Pulp Fantasy noir about an outlander who has crash landed in Ireland and only has four days left to signal for rescue or be trapped in Ireland forever.
CBY: What’s your comic creator origin story, meaning when did you first get into comics and what was it that made you want to create comics?
AL: I started in the usual places most Irish creators do and that's with The Beano and Dandy, Asterix and some looney toon comics my Mam had picked up in the States. I didn't really start buying comics regularly until I was in my late teens. When I was 14 or 15 the Watchmen film was coming out and my sister bought me the Watchmen trade. I read that and it completely went over my head. I think a year or two later I read The Dark Knight Returns and that hooked me in. Very cliché comic origin story I’m afraid. I was always drawing and made a few silly comics when I was a kid. My desire to work in comics initially started as a writer about ten years ago. It wasn't until I got the idea for My first OGN The Waves That Break that I felt like I should get in there and do the hard part myself and draw the damn thing. After Waves I was skint so I kinda had to keep drawing comics if I wanted to get them out in the world and now here we are. I couldn’t imagine a life where I’m not telling stories in some form.
CBY: Your collaborators for Ploughman are JP Jordan and Becca Carey. How did they become involved in this project and what do you appreciate most about what they bring to the projects they work on?
AL: Ploughman was initially JP’s idea. He had tweeted a couple years ago about his desire to make a comic which saw a big city vigilante dragged into rural Ireland. I suggested the name Ploughman and we started co-writing earlier this year. We then planned to do the art and colour duties ourselves. My art and JP’s colours, which seemed like a no brainer given the quality of JP’s colours. I imagine he’ll have a lot of people knocking on his door after this. Becca is my constant collaborator and elevates every project she's on. An incredible talent and the hardest worker I know.
CBY: Looking at Ploughman and some of your other comics like Blaze Beyond the Pale and The Last Scarecrow, do you think there is a throughline that connects your work?
AL: If we include my webcomic Clearwater I think there's a massive throughline of me trying to understand the concept of family and how families are affected by their environment. But truly I can't comment too much on what I’m trying to “say” with the work because I don't really know. I just wrote them. I don't know what they’re about. I’ll let the reader tell me that.
CBY: What do you think sets the Irish comics scene apart from other comics communities?
AL: Ireland is so small I think we’ve all done a favour for each other at some stage and we all know each other essentially. You want to be involved in the scene? Make a comic, show up to an event, boom! You’re in the scene. There are no big names gatekeeping or any notions. I think it's quite an inviting scene. If I wasn't so busy with my own work I’d love to be more involved with organizing stuff but the scene has some great people doing that already.
CBY: What are some of your influences for the Ploughman, whether that means other writers/artists or particular works?
AL: I can be very specific here because usually when I’m planning a comic I look at a lot of other comics to establish the atmosphere I want and then I’ll pick a short list to use as an anchor to maintain the voice of the art. For Ploughman I was looking at a lot of Darwyn Cooke’s, Parker and Catwoman, Javier Pulido, Matt Wagner’s Batman, David Mazzucelli’s Daredevil but mainly his indie work. I generally just write on instinct though and with JP to bounce off on the script, that went very smoothly.
CBY: As a writer and artist, what’s your process when you have a story idea? Do you outline or start drafting a script? At what point do you begin drawing the panels?
AL: It's always different from idea to idea but generally they start with a note or a paragraph saying “this would be cool” or a line of dialogue or maybe an interesting ending that could be fun to work towards. Maybe I’ve watched a movie or read a book that sparks a character or plot idea. I’m often writing several things at once and the process for building a story usually just involves me writing tons of notes until it feels like I’ve some meaty characters and then a plot they can dance around. More notes until I can write a list of events. The last thing I’ll do is write a script. Throughout the whole process I’m always drawing or making visual notes. I almost always write a full script for myself and thumbnail the entire thing before I start. When all there’s left to do is draw the thing, that's what I do.
CBY: What are the comics, books, tv shows, and movies that you are currently enjoying?
AL: I’m currently rewatching all of Samurai Jack and Batman the Animated Series. When I’m recharging as I am now I’m also a massive fan of watching films in our house we call High Calibre Trash. In the past week we’ve watched Carpenter’s Vampires and Christine, Liam Neeson’s films Cold Pursuit, Honest Thief and Ice Road. On the comics front I’m currently enjoying Alexis Deacon’s back catalogue having just finished his Geis trilogy. Obsessed with Manuele Fior’s work at the moment. And a bunch of old manga by Sanpei Shirato.
CBY: Tell me about any upcoming projects or friends’ projects that CBY readers should check out.
AL: Clearwater is my monthly ongoing webcomic which you can read on aaronlosty.com. I’ve another Kickstarter before the end of the year in November which I’m writing with an incredible artist attached. If all things go well this is going to be BIG. I’ve a short story in the Down Below Anthology organized by Limit Break Comics.
CBY: Where can you be found online?
CBY: Thank you so much, Aaron, and good luck with the rest of the campaign.