Martin Fisher: Risers - Dead, But Not as We Know it.
Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2007
By: Darren Schroeder
Zombies, can't live with them and you can't kill them, but the public love them. Martin Fisher does, and to prove it he has a a mini-series being published by the small indie company Alterna Comics called Risers. Promising to present our dead friends in a way that they have never been seen before. This interview was supposed to appear a few months back but due to my move to the UK and the death of a couple of computers it was sent to an early grave. I've used up some favours to make it rise from the dead just in time for issue two.
Darren Schroeder: What is your full name?
Darren: When did you first get into reading comics?
Martin: When I was younger I always brought the Beano and Dandy and then later on Transformers and Roy of the Rovers. Round about 4 or 5 I guess.
Darren: Do you read comics in public much?
Martin: Not really, just when I get home. I might read one from time to time on the commute to/from work.
Darren: How long have you been working in the comics medium?
Martin: I've been churning out scripts and ideas for about 2 years and Risers is the first series to finally hit. My first published work is a 10 page story called Night Forms that appeared in Something Weird, a quarterly anthology published in Australia.
Darren: Is there much of a comic creating community near you?
Martin: None at all. All the other creators I know are through the internet.
Darren: Describe your comic Risers for the readers.
Martin: Zombies with feelings and emotions, but instead of the zombies making victims, they are the victims themselves.
Darren: What your day job?
Martin: Postroom worker for a Japanese corporation. (Hi to anyone there who's reading this)
Darren: What does the term Small Press mean to you?
Martin: A publisher that is starting out in comics for the first time.
Darren: What sort of comics appeal to you?
Martin: At the moment I'm reading TRON, Transformers, Walking Dead, Star Wars Rebellion and Dark Times, Classic Battlestar Galactica and the Richard Donner run of Action Comics. Stuff with nostalgic value and what I think is great drama.
Darren: What was the most memorable comic you've read, and why was it memorable?
Martin: Many issues of the Walking Dead or like that, but Death of Superman was, because he died. Period! Superman was my fav superhero and I wanted to see just how they killed him off.
Darren: When did you become involved in making your own comics?
Martin: A few months ago when the publisher of Risers, Peter Simeti, was lettering pages of the comic for submission to another company. Since he was a publisher, I suggested to him about publishing it himself and a little time we had an agreement and now he and Alterna Comics are publishing it.
Darren: Where's the most unusual place you've read a comic?
Martin: In the queue for school assembly waiting to get into the hall when I was about 8. I was mainly just looking at the pictures as the whole thing was in Spanish!
Darren: Which writer has had the most influence on your style?
Martin: There isn’t anyone really, when I was looking at the script formats I just picked out stuff that I liked, things like Star Trek and Babylon 5, and I guess some of that could have slipped through onto the pages, but really I just do my own thing and see where it goes from there.
Darren: Why should someone buy your comic?
Martin: Zombies are always portrayed as flesh eating monsters with no heart or soul, they are there to kill you and that's it. Risers puts a different spin on zombies and shows them in a way that they have never been shown before. It's new and different and many people are looking for new stuff to see, and it may even ask the readers the question of "what would they do", "how would they feel" if they found themselves in this kind of position.
Darren: What do you think is the reason behind the recent surge in interest in Zombie films and comics?
Martin: I think people like to be scared, and zombies can be pretty scary. Plus it shows the frailties of what humans can become in the matter of seconds. These kinds of scenarios, when done well, put people in those situations ask them "what would you do". "How would you react." And teenagers like to see some gore as well!
Darren: What does term "small press" mean to you.
Martin: A company that is just taking the first steps into the big wide comic world, with the hope and promise of making something bigger and better of themselves.
Darren: What is the size of the print run for Risers?
Martin: As far as I know, the print run is about 400, but of course this can change depending on demand.
Darren: Are comics the best medium for storytelling?
Martin: It's pretty good. There's no budget and the only limit would be to the imagination. As for being the best, I'm not so sure.
Darren: Describe the view from your front door.
Martin: The side of another house and a car on our driveway. Charming view :)
Darren: What online comics forums/sites have you found most helpful so far in your comics career.
Martin: Digital Webbing has been a great help so far. Without that I wouldn't have met some of the people that I have. There's a couple of news pages like Comic Book Resources and Newsarama and Silver Bullet Comics that have also been very handy.
Darren: Zombie verse a ninja - who would win?
Martin: Ninja, hands down.
Darren: Who else worked on Risers apart from yourself and Peter?
Martin: Kurt Belcher does the art and the cover art and Steve Farfan does the inking.
Darren: How did you meet them?
Martin: I met Kurt and Steve through ads that I put out on Digital Webbing. I think I was very lucky to have met them when I did.
Darren: Did they bring things to the project that surprised you?
Martin: I was amazed at how good Kurt is, when I first met him I couldn't believe he wasn't a pro. He always hits the spot in terms of the art and brings Risers a unique style of art that really works with the subject. And Steve just brings that style out even more in the way that he inks. They are a great team :)
Darren: How many issues is this series set to run?
Martin: 5 issues with the possibility of more to come after.
Darren: Do your zombies eat the living?
Martin: Can you explain exactly why most zombies seem to want to do this?
Darren: These zombies can eat flesh, if they choose to. It's all down to the Riser concerned if they want to or not. It's an instinct that they can fight and eventually shake off, again it's only something they can decide. Some Risers just live with the idea. Why do zombies do this?
Martin: Just too multiple their numbers and give them something to keep on going, I suppose.
Darren: How much input did you have into the artwork?
Martin: I just let Kurt do his thing and suggest any changes that I feel should be in there, which doesn't happen very often because his instincts are dead on.
Darren: Who are the key characters in Risers?
Martin: Annette Thomas is the key character, as most of the events in the mini are seen through her eyes, and she is the audiences eyes as well. She' came back from the dead for reasons unknown (all Risers come back for a reason). She appears to be the first person to come back for no reason at all.
Ned is a man who is helping out Annette deal with being a Riser. He has his own reasons for this, which will slowly come out through the stories, and he has contacts on the outside world of other Risers. He is Annette's key person and most things in her life go through him.
Emily is a nurse who helps out other Risers in the building that they are in. She knows, along with Ned, that there is something different about Annette and she knows the reasons why he is drawn to her. She is someone who Ned can freely open up to.
Annette's family, her twin brother Rowan, her father Jim and mother Sally are quite key as they have to deal with her coming back from the dead in issue 1. They appear in other issues of the mini as they deal with their decisions.
Darren: Thanks for answering my questions Martin, and a big sorry it took so long to appear. I'll never start an interview just before moving to the other side of the world again. Honest!
Check out Risers at the Alterna Comics site or their page at Comicspace
If you have a comment or question about Small Press then feel free to contact me