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INTERVIEW: Matt Garvey, Writer of Transfer

This past month, I had the pleasure of reviewing Matt Garvey’s Transfer #1‘s an excellent sci-fi story with vivid visuals that kept me wanting more. Here at AP2HYC, we had the opportunity to sit down with Garvey and find out more about the comic’s origins, as well as Garvey’s comic book making process.

AP2HYC: In my review for a Transfer, I referenced a variety of movies and TV that I thought influenced the creation of this story. I have to know for sure, what inspired Transfer?

Garvey: Yeah, you mentioned Orphan Black & Quantum Leap when you reviewed Transfer, but I’ve never actually seen either. Transfer came about while my wife and I were travelling home from trip to London and we were sitting on the train. My mind was wondering and for some reason that Keanu Reeves‘ movie, Johnny Mnemonic just popped into my head. It was annoying me, because it was one of those movies from the 90s that should have been REALLY good, but sadly wasn’t, in my humble opinion.

I liked the premise of a courier transporting “something” in his brain, like it was some kind of advance hard drive, but sensitive data? Meh. The idea of a people smuggler, a Coyote, which was Transfer’s original title, popped into my head and concept just grew from that. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if you could transport someone’s entire brain in yours, then upload it a “fresh” body. Then I thought of the twist at the end of issue one and it kinda just wrote itself. So, when I got home I wrote the first draft in about 40 minutes… and I think it shows in the quality of my writing.

AP2HYC: Did you intentionally try and do something so tonally/genre different from your previous series Chunks?

: I want every new comic I write to be completely different from anything else I’ve done. That way I can’t pigeon holed me as “Matt Garvey, he just writes inappropriate toilet humour” but saying that, I always do try and inject a little bit of humour into my stories. Plus, I like to challenge myself to try and write a genre that I’m not too “familiar” with to help push me as a writer. I grew up reading superhero comics, which I know is sci-fi, but I’ve never really been a science fiction guy. Never really watched Star Trek, apart from the occasional movie and J.J. Abrams reboots and yeah, I like Star Wars, but if I’m honest, I’ve always preferred Spaceballs.

AP2HYC: Many of our readers are interested in the process of indie comic book making, what was the production of Transfer like?

Garvey: Well, I had Eder lined up to work with already, we just needed the right book. He did a test page for Cordelia Swift when I was finally looking to get that off the ground. His style didn’t match what I had in mind for that, but he was a nice guy and I really liked his stuff. Because I wrote Transfer so quickly It all just came together pretty quickly. His pages started to come back over the next few months and then I started work on putting the comic together.

I pay all my artists, so I try to keep my other costs down in other areas. This is why I letter my own comics, it gives me another chance to re-write the dialogue once the art comes back, just in case I think of something new or find something that matches the art better. But, for Transfer it need colour too. I’d did a little bit of colouring with CHUNKS, but it was mainly just flat colour, then turning it greyscale and keeping the occasional element on the page bright to try and make it pop.

My incompetence worked with it and people seemed to like it. So, with Transfer I thought I’d have a go at colouring a whole book, properly. The logic was that If I screwed up, at least the flats would be done, so if I needed a REAL colourist to come on board later it would be cheaper, because I had down the time consuming bit. I’d backed a Kickstarter for a Hi-Fi Color for Comics the other year, which really helped. That along with the amazing comic colouring videos from K. Michael Russell on YouTube, I learned some really nifty tricks that gave the comic a certain look and style.

AP2HYC: As far as good science fiction goes, the genre usually is a great tool for commentary on the actual world. What were you trying to comment on with some of the story elements of Transfer?

Garvey: Now that you mention it, it’s… not a thing. I’m not that kinda writer. I have no message about the state of the world we live in, Sorry. My stories are what they are, nothing more. I am sure someone could come in after and deconstruct them and theorise their “hidden” meanings and messages, but I’m not that clever. When I write, I just get an idea that either makes me laugh or I think “oooh, that would be cool” and I write that. Like CHUNKS, I HAD to write issue one because the jokes I had for issues two we REALLY funny. I was literally laughing like a ten-year-old, out loud as I wrote it.

AP2HYC: There is a very cinematic feel to how Transfer plays out. Many frames go without dialogue, and the visuals do the talking. Was this a conscious decision between you and artist, Eder Messiah?

Garvey: It was all in the script and Eder pulled it off brilliantly. I think that sometimes in comics writers can panic when there is a panel with no dialogue in it, let alone several. If we are honest, you should be able to still read an entire comic without the words… if it is draw well enough. Sometimes a good enough illustrated facial expression is all you need. I didn’t intentionally write Transfer to have a cinematic feel to it. I grew up watching a LOT of films, so maybe subconsciously that’s how I write, but that isn’t done on purpose.

AP2HYC: The story left me wanting more, where do you think Transfer will go from here?

Garvey: I’m glad it made you wanting more, a good comic should ALWAYS do that. Especially if there is a decent cliffhanger. Don’t worry, there is more coming, it’s a four issue mini-series and the twist at the end of issue two is even bigger than the first. I have an idea for how it is going to end, but as I’m writing it, its kinda taking on a life of its own and going a very different direction from what I originally intended. But we will all (including myself) have to wait and see how it ends.

For more of Matt Garvey’s work, check it out here.

What do you think Garvey and his work? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Dustin Molina