The following is an interview with writer Montynero (Vertigo Cyan, The Amazing X-Men Annual #1) regarding the upcoming release of his new spinoff series, Death Sentence: London, from Titan Comics. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Montynero about what led to the series, following last year’s release of the Death Sentence trade paperback, his work with new artist Martin Simmonds, and what readers can anticipate from the continuing story!
Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Last year, the Death Sentence trade paperback was released to rave reviews, no doubt spurring the June 2015 release of your new series, Death Sentence: London #1. What should readers anticipate from this new, ongoing series?
Montynero: More of the same crazy stuff, but with greater depth and a wider scope. Weasel and Verity have the G-plus virus, and it’s making them more powerful every day – but time is running out for them. They’ve got to figure out the point of their lives, personally and creatively, London is ravaged by the virus, and we see the situation in America, too. The FBI sends a special agent to uncover a potential conspiracy behind G-plus, and he becomes a major character with an intriguing story arc. We meet loads of great new characters – different powers, different philosophies, different agendas. And, when they all meet up – it’s explosive.
BD: When we spoke last year, you had recently become a new dad, which had partly inspired Death Sentence. Has fatherhood continued to inspire or impact your creative process for London?
M: Oh yeah, there’s nothing as inspiring as new life. The enthusiasm and optimism my daughter brings to each day is a real tonic. Her zest for life, the way she savours the moment, the questions she asks. And, the way she learns so quickly influenced the way the virus develops for Verity and Weasel. Kids truly teach you as much as you teach them. Becoming a dad was the best thing I ever did, after getting married, of course.
BD: Artist Martin Simmonds will be joining you for the new series. How would you describe your creative process in working together?
M: Very easy. He’s a top pro, very down to earth, unpretentious, and accommodating. The bottom line is he’s just really talented, so nothing is a problem for him. A couple of times he’s gone back in and repainted pages to make them better, which would take me ages, but he seems to rattle it off. I don’t interfere in his process at all; he’s miles better than me. I just stand back and applaud. I love watching an artist get better every issue and stick with a comic for a consistent run, and Martin has already painted five issues of this with escalating expertise. It’s like watching a young Bill Sienkiewicz develop or something. He’s going to be huge.
BD: By expanding the Death Sentence universe with this series, do you feel that it will afford you greater tools as a writer to develop the world and its characters?
M: Absolutely. I know exactly what’s happening up to Issue #16 right now, and I’ve planned three years ahead, so it makes for a richer, deeper reading experience. We can get into characters and scenes with a lot more potency. Volume 1 was my first time writing a 22-page comic, and I had loads of ideas I wanted to try which people seemed to like, but I was learning, too. If you look at the storytelling techniques, they vary issue to issue. I don’t like standing still, I like to push myself, and see how different approaches feel on the page, so in each issue of Death Sentence you’ll see something a little different. Doing that without degenerating into self-indulgence, making sure you still deliver a kickass story for people is a challenge. But, the response so far tells me we pulled it off. So, we’re going to keep doing that issue by issue. If you’re interested in the medium of comics, Death Sentence is the place to be for the next couple of years. It’s going to be a wild ride.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects in the works that you are able to share with our readers?
M: A few unannounced projects. Other than writing those, I’m focused on Death Sentence, painting the covers, making the back matter, writing the scripts. I put my heart and soul into it. We’re incredibly lucky to have a hit on our hands, so I don’t want to mess it up now. Establishing a viable, creator-owned series when no one knows who you are is really difficult. The only thing you have on your side is quality, so we put a lot of thought into crafting every moment.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Death Sentence: London and your body of work?
M: I’m always interested in what other people think, good or bad, so readers are very welcome to feedback at montynero.com or @montynero on Twitter and facebook. Volume 1 is collected in a deluxe hardback with a thirty-page director’s commentary. And, in the single issues, which you can get on ComiXology, there’s a five-page bonus series every issue, breaking down how you create your own comics, make deals with publishers, share out the cash, market your work, etc. In truth, I wrote it for myself, so I could remember how the hell we pulled off Death Sentence in the first place. But, other creators tell me it’s a valuable resource for them, too. It’s well worth a look.