An Interview with David Lloyd

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David Lloyd is best-known for his work on V for Vendetta. He also co-created Night-Raven for Marvel, worked on Doctor Who magazine, contributed to Hellblazer and many other series, and produced the acclaimed crime-noir graphic novel, Kickback, now available as an app from Panel Nine on Sequential. He currently publishes the multi-award-winning onscreen comic magazine, Aces Weekly.

For those who might not be familiar with you background, can you tell us a little about your beginnings?

North London working class, grew up loving the cartoons in the daily newspaper. Not academically strong, but was good at art and photography and English. Trained in advertising art and left after 6 years to try to become a strip creator and eventually succeeded after much rejection and study to become better at it.

Did you have an active imagination as a child? Do you happen to remember what you used to sketch most often when you first started learning you could draw?

Simple cartoon characters first. I drew on the back of surplus posters, cut up into convenient squares, that my Dad brought home from his work in a bus garage. My imagination was mostly fed by movies and tv but also Mad magazine and suchlike, and b/w UK reprints of US comic anthologies.

When did you know you wanted to work as an artist?

It was the only thing I could really be, but I remember seeing a kids tv show that showed actors portraying various occupations that might be aimed for in adulthood and one of them was a ‘ commercial artist ‘ – depicted sitting on a high stool at a drawing board. It looked like exactly what I wanted to do – so that was me set!

Did you develop a love of comics early on?

No. Tv and movies were my real love, but I admired and enjoyed those things I’ve mentioned, and Batman comics and suchlike when I chanced upon them now and again. In our house we mostly had the cheapest published British comics on a regular basis, because we didn’t have much money – and they weren’t very inspiring.

What was your very first favorite story?

My first was a favourite, if you mean of the ones that I did – the first that I got paid for was one I wrote and drew, so it was my first and the first favourite.

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How did you get the job at Marvel UK? What was running through you mind when you first heard you’d landed that?

I was not awed, if you’re implying that. Marvel was just another employer I was glad to be employed by. I got the job because I’d done good work for the Editor there athis previous place of employment, and he remembered I had.

Do you think comics in the UK differ much from comics from various other places around the world? Why do you think the appeal of comics is so universal?

Comics here have no industry left to speak of, though the creative ones still reflect the best qualities of our British creators, who, in the past, left these shores, in work terms, to serve the US market, because they weren’t appreciated by the publishers here for their individual creative personalities. Comics are different from country to country in the degree of appeal they have to their public, ranging from artistic acceptance in France, to being a cultural essential in Japan, to being pop entertainment in the US. Unlike film, which evolved similarly across the globe, strip storytelling grew in differing ways all over sadly. I’d like to see it as respected as cinema is on a worldwide basis, but I think it’s too late for that to happen now.

What are you feelings on the recent popularity growth of superheroes and comic characters in cinema?

I don’t care much personally. Don’t see them. Not sure they’ll create fans of the actual medium of comics if any of the non-comics folks seeing them are attracted to comics because of them. If they do, that’s good. Lots of V moviegoers bought the book afterwards and went on to read other graphic novels, so it can work like that -but how many were converted to a full appreciation of our medium generally through it is a mystery.

Are there any little known facts about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

I don’t know how much people know, so I can’t tell what anyone might be surprised by.

How do you think you career has changed most since your early days? What advice would you offer the artists of tomorrow?

I’m publishing now almost solely, so it has changed a lot now. Other than that…well, in my early days I just went from one job to another before I figured out that keeping a good bank balance always allowed me to choose what I did rather than be ruled by it- so that was a change I made, and one I’d suggest others in this biz to do, too, if they haven’t done it already. Advice? Work hard to be as good as you can be at what you want to do and grasp every opportunity to do it when you’re ready to.

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How did Aces Weekly come into being?

I saw how easy it could be to publish an anthology onscreen instead of paper, so I did. The initial plan was to put it on another platform, not one of my own, but it was decided having our own identity for the thing was valuable. It’s been, and still is, very hard work, but is very rewarding creatively to deal with all the fantastic Aces we have on board. We still need lots more subscribers and buyers of our great collections of strips though, so I hope your readers will join the pack! At www.acesweekly.co.uk.

Has offering the reader an exclusive comic weekly, offered more freedom to pursue story lines and images that might not be seen elsewhere?

Yes – my policy is to give invited contributors almost total freedom, so we have an amazing mix of the conventional and the unconventional, with the more unusual work often coming from well-known creators taking the opportunity to experiment.

What do you hope the public takes away from Aces Weekly?

Great, and often surprising, entertainment in comic art across a range of genres.

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Do you have a dream project you’d most like to complete before your time is up?

None particular, but there are lots of things I could do if I had the time – and the potential of this medium is still under explored.

What are your feelings on life and death and what comes after?

There’s nothing after so make the most of it.

Anything you’d like to say before you go?

Yes. Please subscribe to Aces Weekly and buy our collections. It’s the best at the best price, and has been created for the benefit of the creator and the buyer – not printers, distributors, shippers or retailers. We don’t need the purveyors of paper to tell our stories. We put great comic art onscreen not on paper, and it goes directly to you, from us, with love (smiles).

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