The Indie Index – Interview with Cy Dethan
Who are you and if you were to have any super power what would it be, and why?
I’m Cy Dethan – writer of comics, freelance nihilist and recovering professional magician.
As for picking a superpower (assuming that immortality and total invulnerability to all forms of physical harm are off the table), in order of preference:
1) The Midnighter’s ability to analyse and predict the outcome of any situation.
2) Karnak’s ability to find the flaw in any object, concept or strategy.
3) Uh… something awesome with lasers, I guess?Or Satanic Sex Powers, maybe. Either’s good.
Your first break was with Starship Troopers in 2006, how did that come about?
Arse-backwards. I was playtesting a miniatures wargame for Mongoose Publishing, based on the Roughnecks TV show (a spin-off from Starship Troopers). The company, as it turned out, also had the licence to produce Troopers comics, so I threw in a pitch. That ended up as about two years’ worth of comics work in their monthly gaming magazine, Signs & Portents. When their licence expired, I moved across to Markosia to take over their ongoing series. Right place, right time.
You seem to have a lot in the pipeline for 2018, can you divulge any information about any of your projects?
Okay, let’s see… right now I’ve got a book called Phantom Lung & the Garden of Dead Liars in the works at Markosia that’s been ticking over for a while. Hopefully the artist will be free to work on that fairly soon. I’ve just received the contract for another book, but I don’t have the green light to talk about that just yet.
I’ve got a story called Murderbox with Roland Bird in the next Bomb Scares anthology from Time Bomb comics and another for an upcoming volume of Jimmy Furlong’s S**t Flingers.
There are also two more one-shots and a graphic novel in the works for Barry Nugent’s Unseen Shadows project, three or four tentative collaborations brewing and about half a dozen graphic novels I’m currently shopping around.
I guess it actually does sound like quite a lot when you list it all out like that, but it’s the nature of the business to have a lot of creative balls in the air at once [insert generic “balls-up” joke here].
If you could only write one genre for the rest of your career, what would it be?
I honestly can’t say that I ever think consciously about genre when I’m writing or developing ideas. A lot of my stuff tends to get racked in the horror section, I suppose – but if I had to pin down a single genre to work in I’d probably go for crime.
Torsobear was quite popular on Kickstarter, why do you think that is?
I’d have to say that Brett Uren’s the main reason for that. Brett’s got a perfect combination of unrestrained enthusiasm and raw talent, which is precisely what it takes to push through a complex, multi-team project like Torsobear. When I first saw the plot bible he sent me, I was just blown away. He managed to keep a chaotic mass of creators focused through three volumes of the series, and I never once saw him losing his excitement.
What do you feel you did differently for Torsobear to gain the attention that it did?
I wish I could claim any kind of credit for that, I really do. I wrote three of the stories and did my part in promoting the series – but the real work of grabbing people’s imagination was done by Brett. That goes for getting other creators excited as much as for getting attention from backers and readers.
One piece of advice that you would give aspiring indie creators?
Your talent is a lock pick, not a battering ram. The comics industry is guarded by ranks and ranks of people whose only job is to say no to you – because the moment they say yes they’re risking someone’s money. I’ve almost never met a writer who broke into comics in any major way via hammering out blind written submissions.
Plug your work.
You can find pretty much all my creator-owned stuff on Comixology, or through Markosia’s site (www.markosia.com). I strongly recommend checking out the Unseen Shadows site (https://unseenshadows.com) for a glimpse into the universe that Barry Nugent’s building over there. Brett Uren’s Torsobear site (www.torsobear.com) is the internet’s #1 destination for Fluff-Noir fiction, while Simeon Aston and Jeremy Biggs’ Metal Made Flesh project (www.metalmadeflesh.com) has provided me with some of the most intense and rewarding creative experiences of my time in comics. My website and blog are in great need of modernisation, but you can find them at www.raggedman.com and www.cydethan.com, respectively.