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Interview: Kody Chamberlain – Tag June 27, 2006

Posted by HC in Independant, Interviews.

HorrorComics.co.uk caught up with Kody Chamberlain, artist on Boom! Studios’ TAG to talk about the book and his work.

Can you tell us a little about Tag
Tag is a 3 issue miniseries from BOOM! Studios written by Keith Giffen and art by me. It’s a horror story about a curse that gets passed from person to person.

The official blurb compares Tag to The Ring? In what ways is it similar?
I think it’s mostly about the tone and the style. It’s creepy, there’s a bit of a mystery that needs solving. The characters aren’t just dealing with the horror of what’s happening, they’re also dealing with their relationship. The candle is lit at both ends.

Were there any scenes that gave you chills even when you were drawing them?
I really like the scene where our main character gets tagged. I had a blast drawing that one and it was the one scene where I knew exactly what I was going to draw just from reading the script. There was just an energy about that scene and then the flashbacks that followed that really inspired me.

Did you get this gig after your stint on 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales?
I do think the Bloodsucker Tales work helped land the project. But I had also done a page of art for Fear the Dead: A Zombie Survivor’s Journal. It’s a book filled with incredible zombie art by some of the best in the business. I was honored to be asked to contribute and that was my first experience working with the gang at BOOM! Studios.

How did you find working with Steve Niles on 30 Days?
Steve is an incredibly creative guy. He’s got an encyclopedic mind when it comes to horror. I was a fan of the original 30 Days of Night miniseries long before I had ever met him, so it was a real treat to get to work with him on the book. And since that was the first horror work I had ever done, it was a real learning experience for me. Because of the nature of Ben Templesmith’s work before me, being so progressive, there was already a lot of experimenting going on in the book and I felt that it was ok to try new things and play with the style and coloring a little more than I might on a more traditional book. I really had a blast working on the book and I picked up a lot of techniques along the way.

Did you always want to be a horror comic artist?
I’d say so. Horror and crime specifically. When it comes to reading comics, I’m a fan of almost everything and every style. I have a very broad sense of what I like as a reader. But when it comes to drawing, I do prefer the darker side of art.

Who is your greatest inspiration when it comes to comics?
I have a very large list of inspirations and it seems to grow every week. I think if I had to choose a few of the top creators I always come back to, they would be Will Eisner, Mike Mignola, John Buscema and Frank Miller. I pull out their work constantly and discover something new every time.

Horror comics are going through resurgence at the moment. Why do you think this is?
I think the shadow of the Comics Code is finally starting to lift from the industry and fans are starting to accept other genres into the mainstream of comics. I think the superhero dominance of the industry is really harmful because it tends to limit the scope of what’s expected from the medium. For many years, there was no distinction between genre and medium. That makes it hard for non-superhero books to find an audience, and it makes it hard for fans to find something they might enjoy. But I think that’s starting to change and we’re at the early stages of a comic book renaissance. We’re starting to see true mainstream genres like crime, horror, romance, westerns, drama, fantasy, and others growing in popularity and I think that’s the real key to a healthy industry. Diversification.

What can we expect next from you?

I’m working with Joshua Fialkov on a book called Punks and we’ve been shopping that around a little, and we’re finally starting to see some progress on that. It’s really a special book for us and finding the right home for it is important. The basic concept is to do a punk comic in the collage style of punk rock flyers. I’m actually using traditional cut and paste to make the pages, nothing but an x-acto blade and a glue stick. No drawing involved. It’s very experimental and very cool. I’m also working on a crime noir project I can’t really say too much about right now. We’re still working out all the details on that one, but I’m really excited about it. Hopefully we’ll be able to announce it at Comic-Con International in San Diego. A few other things are at various stages of development, but probably a year or so away.

If someone was to turn Tag into a movie, who would you cast as Mitch?
Giffen describes Mitch as an ‘everyman’ and that’s what I think of when I’m drawing him. The actor would have to have that look about him. Just off the cuff, someone like Edward Norton (Fight Club, Rounders) or maybe Giovanni Ribisi (Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan). He can’t be a pretty boy, and he can’t be extremely heroic. He’s got to be an Everyman, someone we can all relate to.

If you could Tag anyone in the world to share Mitch’s curse who would it be?
I think I’d tag Steve Niles, because I know he would really enjoy it.

Thanks to Kody for his time. Be sure to check out his website here!



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