Every month we are on the look out for the best Australian crowdfunding books to support, today we sit down with Daniel Reed for his latest book The Mycelium Complex.
Tell us about yourself? Well, I've loved comics for as long as I can remember. The first ones I recall reading were the old English gag strips like 'Whizzer and Chips', later I would go on to be a big fan of 2000AD. Strangely, my influence were more from English comics than the big 2, although I got caught up in the Todd MacFarlane craze when he was reinventing Spiderman and comics in general. Nowadays my faves are people like Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes, who both write and illustrate, I'm excited when I discover people who do both really well. How long have you been making comics for? My first comic was for a 'communications project' in year 10 English, that was back in 1989! I found it to be a heap of fun and got some 'pats on the back' for it, motivating me to return to comics later on. I grew more serious about comics when I returned from a 6 month back-packing adventure through India, Turkey and Eastern Europe in 2001. 'The Crumpleton Experiments' was the result of this, which ran for nine issues. What can you tell us about your new book and kickstarter "The Mycelium Complex" Its a story I've been wanting to tell for ages. I've had conversations with people in the past where they've justified violent behaviour by the violence they experienced themselves as kids. One such conversation disturbed me a little and stuck in my head, I'm still not really sure that I understand it. 'The Mycelium Complex' explores this topic but also maintains the less serious guise of an action packed sci-fi thriller, filled with freaky creatures, plot twists and a story that reveals its secrets gradually. The Kickstarter campaign is for Issue one. I am planning a 12 issue story-line.
How long have you been working on the book? I couldn't tell you how long the story has been simmering on low, 5 years or so maybe. I started plotting out timelines and thumbn
ails maybe a couple of years ago and when I began a rough draft of issue one the momentum really picked up. The final art began perhaps 4 or 5 months ago. What made you interested in working with the concept of Time Travel? All the main characters, Patrick and the crew of scientists have all been effected by events of the past, it seemed logical that the story should head in that direction (the past). While the story is in some ways influenced by time travel elements of 'The Terminator' or 'Doctor Who', there is also an element of that other great time travel story, Charles Dickens' 'A Christams Carol'. Your art style has changed in each book you've been involved with, do you like to change your art style to suit each story and theme? Very much so. I wanted 'Grubby Little Smudges of Filth' to look like one of those beautiful eighties movies we grew up with 'The Dark Crystal', or 'Time Bandits'. There were also influences of 'Cerebus' and 'Bone', which I felt suited the story. 'Evermore' was always a cross between a comic and a picture book, I knew that modern comic style art would not work well in that format, so I tried a more traditional illustrative approach. Maybe a little hand-made and folky. I wanted people to see the pencil marks and washes. Prior to 'The Mycelium Complex', I spent three years working on a huge 400 page project called 'The Boar', which was different again. Being a crime story, I went with a black and white style that had more solid blocks rather than the shaded hatching of my earlier work. I was looking for more of a 'film noir' look that is often associated with crime comics and movies. 'The Mycelium Complex' is definitely the best work I've done and is probably the closest I've come to contemporary comics style. Working in this way makes me respect the current Marvel and DC artists even more, the good ones really are super talented. You're currently an artist in lockdown, has that given you more time to make art or given you any inspiration for other stories? Certainly more time. My paying gigs have recently been through small U.S. based movie production companies which were hit pretty hard this year, so that avenue of work dried up pretty quickly. I had a painting commission and some other work but I was able to focus a lot of time on 'The Mycelium Complex', which is 100% labour of love. In regards to inspiration for other stories, I have a huge backlog of ideas already in my head so I'm trying not to encourage that at the moment. Inevitably new ideas pop up anyway, destined to struggle for Darwinian survival in the savannah of my brain.
Your Kickstarter was funded quite early, will you be adding any stretch goals if you hit a certain threshold? This is my first Kickstarter so I am working it out as I go. I am thinking of adding some new rewards, maybe a digital bundle of some of the graphic novels, or an add-on that could be some character sketches. Stretch goals seem cool too, I am thinking about it. Probably should decide soon, seeing as how I'm at the half way point. What's the next project you're working on? Currently I'm working on the art for a one off comic based on a Kafka short story. I'm loving every second of it, very moody and ominous but the writer has added a lot of humour to it as well. After that I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into issue 2 of 'The Mycelium Complex'.
To back this book jump onto the following link The Mycelium Complex
Follow Daniel on Instagram @dan_nautilus