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INTERVIEW: Tony McDougall, Creator/Writer of Hero Killer

I’ve had the luck of reviewing the first two issues of Tony McDougall‘s deceptively deep new comic series, Hero Killer. Along with reaching the quality levels of the big name comics, the story takes a hard look at the superhero genre while offering some top notch storytelling.

I went deep on the first two issues here and here, theorising on the mysteries behind Hero Killer. With that said, I also had the luck to chat with McDougall to ask him about the real meaning behind his writings and his beginnings in the comic book world.

A Place To Hang Your Cape: Many of our readers are aspiring comic book creators and like to know the paths it takes to get something published. That said, what are your beginnings in the comic book world? And what was the process to get this most recent comic, Hero Killer, made?

Tony McDougall: In terms of my beginnings, I guess it all started with my fandom. I was big comics fan as a kid and then in my late teenage years I stopped reading for a bit, but got back into them in my early 20s and have never looked back. In terms of writing, I went to San Diego Comic in 2010 and decided I really wanted to be involved in comics, so I begin dabbling in writing. Having researched and asked for advice at conventions, I decided the best route to go down was to find an artist (there are plenty of forums for this), and then pitch to publishers together. Most publishers have similar submission guidelines, so it’s easy to put together a general submission and then tweak it for each publisher. That was pretty much how it went for Hero Killer.

I found Martinho who is the main artist by putting an ad out on a forum. We discussed the project did character designs etc and then when we were both happy with the direction Martinho got six pages and a cover done, which tends to be the standard for a pitch. I then found Justyna on Deviantart, via a colourist group. I decided that I would give lettering a go as then we wouldn’t have to add someone else to the team and it allows me to do a final edit. Finally, we ended up pitching to Markosia as I know Harry (the publisher) as they are UK based and we felt Markosia offered a great deal and good exposure for a team starting out.

AP2HYC: I’ve reviewed the first two issues of Hero Killer, and I have spent a bit of time trying to analyze the deeper meanings behind the story. I simply need to know. Is Hero Killer a commentary on superheroes at large? Or is this just a story about a serial killer hunting down superheroes?

McDougall: Firstly, I’m really pleased you’re looking into the deeper meaning of my work. To be honest it’s a bit of both. The original inspiration was that I wanted to write about boredom. The killer to me is someone who is bored and unsatisfied and needs to somehow fill a whole in his life. As I developed the idea I saw a real opportunity to make superheroes vulnerable, so that became a big part of my writing as the story developed.

AP2HYC: What do you like to write about? There seems to be a somewhat self-reflexive nature to both Hero Killer and your previous work, Reality, and I have to wonder if that characteristic is intentional or just something I’m reading into?

McDougall: It totally is. I’m so glad you spotted that. In all of my writing, I really try to make the characters look at who they are and how they fit into to the world. I feel through writing I’m doing the same and I believe that most people go through life looking at who they really are.

AP2HYC: Who are some of your favorite writers, artists, creators, etc. at the moment? Don’t just be restricted to comic books, let me know any artists who are inspiring you.

McDougall: Over the last few years, Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder have been real inspirations for crafting such great stories at the big two. I’m a huge fan of Robert Kirkman for what he has achieved. He’s essentially turned The Walking Dead into a media empire. Outside of comics and in TV and movie world I’m a big Aaron Sorkin fan. I would say that The West Wing is my favourite show of all time. He’s such a clever writer. I think he’s a once in a generation type talent.

AP2HYC: Post Hero Killer, are there any projects in the works?

McDougall: I’m always working on new stuff. I have an original graphic novel coming out called The Fight We Never Saw. It’s an alternative history tale where Muhammed Ali and Teofilo Stevenson fight. For those that don’t know, Teofilo was a Cuban boxer that won three gold medals at super-heavyweight at the Olympics while Ali ruled over the pro ranks. The never fought as Cuban boxers weren’t allowed to turn pro due to their socialist beliefs. I also have another comic out with Markosia called No Romance that is actually about dating from a guys perspective. I’m also working on various pitches and you can usually see me at shows hassling editors and publishers about them.

I’m sure we all wish McDougall luck as he tries to get his works published and hope to see more comics from him in the near future.

Have you read Hero Killer? Are you a fan of the series? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Dustin Molina