INTERVIEW: Charlie Hodgson, artist from Dead Canary Comics

At LFCC, we had a chat with the guys from Dead Canary Comics, who have recently released the fantastic Trained Medic. We got the chance to interview DCC artist Charlie Hodgson and here’s what he had to say about LFCC, working with writers and much more…

A Place to Hang Your Cape: How was your experience of LFCC 2014? Anything you’d recommend or warn about?

Charlie Hodgson: On the whole LFCC was pretty good, we sold out of all our stock (We completely sold out of Trained Medic now, so we’re getting a re print with an exciting variant cover).
Having said that I didn’t really have much of a look round, since I was selling our comics like a desperate chugger, but I did manage to see some good artwork, by some of my favourite artists, which is really the reason why I’d go to a comic con, so I was happy with that.
I think the fact that it was split between two buildings this year was a bone of contention with everyone upstairs, as our building wasn’t sign posted and the footfall was massively different- since we sold everything we brought with us it didn’t affect us too much in that respect, but the lack of organisation on the part of the “organisers” meant that maybe we didn’t get to be seen by as many people as we could and since these things (in our minds  at least) are a way to promote Dead Canary Comics, rather than make money, that was disappointing.

AP2HYC: Can you tell us a bit about Trained Medic?

Charlie: Trained Medic is about a lone Paramedic wakes up in a wrecked ambulance on a deserted road outside a small English town, with absolutely no idea how he got there. In the distance a savage riot is raging out of control, he gets one last cry for help on his radio before he’s attacked…
Trained Medic follows our protagonist on a journey through the madness as he struggles with memory loss and his distorted sense of reality. The stakes could not be higher in this violent psychological action thriller!

It was a project that me and Chris (Baker), the writer, started around a year and a half ago as a way of being able to express ourselves creatively outside our work and to make something without limits that we could be proud of.

AP2HYC: What do you enjoy most about working on comic books?

Charlie: Right now I work as a storyboard artist in advertising and I have to produce large volumes of work quickly, which often means sacrificing the quality to get the work in on time and I know that all that hard work serves a purpose to help get the advert made and it is never really looked at again. So what I really like about comics is I can take all the things good with my job, visual story telling, drawing (obviously) and take the limiters off to produce something that people will want to look at and keep (hopefully!).

AP2HYC: Can you tell us about the process of working on a book and how you work with an author?

Charlie:  The process with working with Chris on Trained Medic, again isn’t too different from my normal job, in that we meet up and look at the script and I work out the layouts, although as its only the two of us calling the shots, its more of a collaborative process, where sometimes the script changes to fit the layouts or later on pages change to fit a tweaked script- we often agonise over the details and have arguments that last for days (the final sequence was a case in point). I actually wrote an article on our website as a case study of how me and Chris work to give everyone an insight into how we do it, here’s the link if you’re interested.

AP2HYC: What would you like to do in the future – what are your ambitions for your work?

Charlie: Comics take a long time to make, so although I’m definitely doing more right now, in the future at Dead Canary Comics, we’re looking to get artists and writers together to make amazing stories with high quality visuals and help guide the process rather than each of us spending 6 months to produce our own titles and nothing else. I think the time we’re living in now means we can easily collaborate with people all over the world and produce and distribute comics and art everywhere, it’s very exciting and something we want to take advantage of.

AP2HYC: What inspires you as an artist, whose work do you love?

Charlie: A lot of things inspire me as an artist from classical painting to photo journalism to fine art and all the way back to comics, but I think I get most inspired when I talk to someone or see someone who is passionate about their work and is just doing what they do every at waking moment, its obvious when you see it and it always motivates me. If I had to give names of comic book artists I’d say Brian Bolland, Chris Weston, Alex Ross and Steve Dillon.

AP2HYC: And, last of all, what are you working on next?

Charlie: At the moment I’m working on a short comic, which will be part of a larger collection (6 in total), that we are producing for and in conjunction with Dresden Picture’s The Fitzroy, a story about an alternative, post apocalyptic 1950’s British submarine hotel (bit of a mouthful!). Our comics are darkly comic stories about life for the residents of Britain, in this time, and how they cope with everything, with that classic “Keep calm and carry on” attitude. What’s exciting for us about this project is that we are working with artist from all over the world and so far the pages are looking great- if you want to see more have a look at the Kickstarter here. After this I’ll be working on the sequel to Trained Medic and kidnapping drama with Chris and Paul.

So, to check out the Dead Canary Comics website, just head over here. Trained Medic is currently awaiting a reprint but will be available here soon!

About the author

Grace Davis