One of the emerging talents on the Irish independent comic book scene, Wayne Talbot has both written and co-coloured The Broker, which we recently reviewed; a story all about conspiracies and heroes in our troubled, social media obsessed age.
Set The Tape‘s co-fearless leader Tony Black sat down with Wayne to discuss The Broker, the comic book scene, and what comes next…
What was the genesis of The Broker? When did the idea first come to you?
I was getting tired of seeing stories where the villain was being fetishised. There weren’t any proper bad guys anymore, they were constantly being portrayed as misunderstood anti-heroes. With The Broker I wanted to create a character that knew what they were doing was evil, but they didn’t care. They reveled in it. It kind of evolved from that.
There’s a strong political undercurrent to the entire story – was this always intentional, tapping into the zeitgeist?
Very much so. A lot of my favourite stories have a strong social commentary. Movies like They Live or Dawn of the Dead. Books like 1984. Comic books like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns take parts of everyday life and look at them through their own particular lens. All of these stories influenced the storytelling in The Broker.
Was Catelyn always the main character? Did you always envisage a strong female in the role?
Yes, Catelyn was always there. I wanted the misdirect from the first part of the story with her brother. That was her motivation. I’m very lucky to have quite a few strong women in my life, there is a piece of each of them in Catelyn.
What were the inspirational touchstones? We talked about 80’s dystopian action films in our review but what well did you tap?
As I mentioned previously films like They Live and Dawn of the Dead definitely had a influence on tone. Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is another one I adore. Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira is burned into the back of my eyeballs I’ve watched it so much. Movies from outside of the 80s also had an impact on my writing of The Broker. Films like Soylent Green, The Matrix, Blade Runner! The list is endless. They tend to show what humankind can achieve when they are really up against it. Having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s I was very much a punk/grunge kid. Anti-establishment to the last. My reading choices also influenced The Broker as well. It is essentially my 2000AD pitch if they ever wanted me to write/colour for them.
The Broker has a strong creative team on the artistic side – how did you all come to collaborate?
The team involved in the book from start to finish were unreal. I was extremely lucky to have them on the book. Ruairi Coleman and Timothy Brown came onboard when the first ten pages were initially published through the Lightning Strike anthology. Editor Ciaran Marcantonio brought Ruairi on to the book, and Ruairi brought Tim. Miriam Abuin also came on at that point as letterer. Lightning Strike then stopped publishing its anthology, so I was left to try and get the final two installments published myself. I decided to combine it all together and publish it as one book. This wasn’t something that happened straight away. Fast forward a year and a half and I am attending Thought Bubble in Leeds. I was chatting with Ruairi at the show and he was telling me how busy he was working on Star Wars comics for Panini, so unfortunatly he wouldn’t be able to return for the remainder of the book. Faith intervened the next day when I meet Brian Corcoran in person for the first time (we had spoken on Twitter before that). Brian had entered the 2000AD artist search, he finished up in 6th place if I’m not mistaken. He showed myself and Ciaran his portfolio and I was blown away. I sent him The Broker script and he was on board. I decided to take on the colouring job myself. I have an animation background so I have some ability. And thanks to my wife signing me up for a comic’s colouring course online, and also some guidance from comic book royalty like John McCrea, PJ Holden and the always fantastic Jordie Bellaire, I built up my skillset while Brian was busy drawing pages. Miriam returned once again as letterer and Ciaran put on his editor cap once more.
What’s next for you? And would you consider a sequel to The Broker?
My next book is a horror western call A Town Called Kill. I am taking on the writing, artist and colourist duties myself for this one. It will be a challenge, but I am really looking forward to putting it together. I have The Broker sequel outlined and it will continue Catelyn’s story and what she does next. I’m hoping to persuade Brian to return for that. We shall have to see how that goes, because his star is on the rise. The guy is talented.