The following is an interview with Dave Elliott, creator of and contributing writer for Monster Massacre: Volume 1 from Titan Books. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Elliott about the new sci-fi/fantasy/horror anthology, the amazing talent from the comic book industry that is involved in the project, and what intrigues him most about these genres.
This interview was conducted on September 9, 2013.
Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: The Fanboy Comics Staff and I are very excited about the upcoming release of Monster Massacre: Volume 1. What inspired you to collaborate with the comic book industry’s greatest talent for this sci-fi, horror, and fantasy anthology?
Dave Elliott: You mean other than the enjoyment of working with the comic book industry’s greatest talent? 😉
My first anthology was created in 1987. A1 was a six-issue series that contained mostly artists that were coming to rise in the industry at that time. Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Ted McKeever, Dave McKean, Garry Leach, as well as a couple of young upstarts named Warren Ellis and Neil Gaiman. Our motivation was simple. We wanted to start doing material that as creators we owned and controlled. At the time there were very limited opportunities to do this, and those that were usually came with strings attached like not being able to take your material elsewhere and sharing rights with the company doing the publishing.
Over the years things got better and better, so we moved on to other things, but now as the awareness of comics is growing again and beyond just the confines of the comic book store, we saw an opportunity and a need for a really good anthology.
BD: When working with so many creators around the world, did you provide each writer/artist team with certain parameters or guidelines for their stories?
DE: With Monster Massacre the creators I am working with like doing the type of comics the big two don’t do any more. Fun, pulpy stories in genres such as sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Once a creator has agreed to do a story, they are given a deadline and we agree on how many pages their story requires. Many creators use me as a sounding board to talk over their ideas, but it is as though they’re discussing it with a friend. I chip in ideas if they need it, but, ultimately, it is their call. This is about letting them have as much freedom and fun as possible doing the type of material they love. I firmly believe that people can tell when they are reading something the creator loves as opposed to doing just for a pay check.
BD: How often will new volumes of Monster Massacre be released, and will each new volume feature a new host of creators?
DE: We originally thought Monster Massacre was going to be an annual, but it has already moved up to twice a year. Every six months. So far it is looking like each book will be a mix or regular creators and certain characters they want to use along with new creators. Each book will also have a text story and at least two art galleries.
BD: Do you feel that both casual and hard-core fans of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy will find something to love in the anthology?
DE: Absolutely. I think comics are actually a very difficult medium to get to know. Every comic you pick up is in mid story or cross-over and knowing where to start or which creator to follow is a difficult choice. Monster Massacre (and its sister publication A1) will give people a chance to experience several different styles and creators in each volume. Every story ends with bios of the creators and where you can go to see more of their work.
BD: As a seasoned comic book writer yourself, what first drew you to these genres, and how do you feel that they have evolved throughout the years?
DE: When dealing with science fiction and fantasy, you are often free to completely create your own universe, including all the inherent laws of physics within them. That is an amazing amount of creative freedom to play god in. For me the world-building element is often the most fun. When you give characters the ability to do something, you must also make it seem reasonably believable that it is possible. The more fantastical the abilities, the more fantastical the world has to be, even if at first it seems quite normal.
Thanks to the success of The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, as well as the relaunched Star Trek franchise, we are starting to see a growth again of this material. It would be nice to see it as large and healthy as the superhero genre.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Monster Massacre and your body of work?
DE: The best place to see what I am up to is on my DeviantART page at DeevElliott.deviantart.com. There you can see a lot of the material in progress and where I tease much of the art. You can also find us on Facebook at AtomekaPress.