In the world of
Interview with Andi Watson
hasn’t been in the comics industry that long, but he’s already left his
mark. The creator of the acclaimed Skeleton Key recently completed a six issue
‘slice of life’ mini-series for Oni Press called ‘Breakfast After Noon’,
which he wrote and illustrated. BAN is arguably, the best mini series of the
past year, and I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Andi about the
road to Oni and life beyond ‘Breakfast After Noon’.
How did you break into the industry?
I did 3 issues of a mini-comic called Samurai Jam that I started at college. I
sent them to all the publishers I could find and eventually Slave labor got back
to me and offered to publish new SJ material.
What were you doing before you started creating comics?
I was studying for a BA Hons degree in Graphic design/illustration in Liverpool.
I'd always been interested in narrative...using words and pictures. At the time
I was very interested in fairy tales and Angela Carter's books...both ripe with
GHM: What inspired you to want to do comics rather than get into animation or some other type of creative medium?
I created my very first comic as the final project for my degree. I was
interested in print making, and pamphlets containing stories and that naturally
evolved into comic books. Comics are something you can create with a minimum of
resources...just pens, paper and access to a photocopier. You don't have to rely
on someone else to let you get at the "means of production" so you
have creative freedom. Animation relies on money and collaboration whereas
comics are about personal expression.
Were you always a big comic fan?
I read comics and books voraciously as a kid. The comics fell away in my early
teens but I got back into them in my late teens. I was never into super heroes
not in comic form anyway...the animated shows I was.
Who were some of your early artistic influences?
How early? As a kid I don't know, I was fairly picky about art styles...in the
Star Wars comic I didn't like Carmine Infantino but did like Michael Golden. As
a teen I adored all the flashy stuff, McKean and Sienkiewicz, and then art
school opened my eyes to the world of and history of art. I've always been drawn
to graphic styles and drawing.
GHM: Will you ever revisit those stories and characters, or are you looking instead to move past that?
If I have the right story then I'll go back and work with those characters...I
do like them but don't want to just go thru the motions. All along the way I've
tried to move forward and improve, which you can do in the context of an ongoing
series. It can test the patience of the audience (Samurai Jam is a good example
What was the inspiration for Breakfast After Noon?
Parts of my life and what's going on in the "developed" world right
now. A move away from manufacturing industry to "information
technology" and how that affects people and their place in the world. The
area local to me has traditionally relied heavily on manufacturing and has
GHM: Did you know the complete story before writing it or did you make some spur of the moment changes?
I had all the important moments mapped out before I started drawing, especially
the ending. It's important to know where the story is going from the start
because then you can add elements as you go along and they fit within the
Why do you feel the ending works the way it does?
I'm don't want to spell it out; I think it's pretty clear if you've followed the
run of the book. There is a hint of ambiguity and I don't want to spoil that for
How has the reaction on the book been so far?
Very good, I've been bowled over. I never expected it to strike a chord with so
many people. I'm very happy because I wasn't confident I could make it work when
Why do you think people have been so enamored with this book?
I don't know. Maybe it's because they recognize themselves or the world around
them on the pages? When I started I was researching specifically about the
Pottery industry and the history and techniques of ceramics. As I developed the
idea those elements faded more into the background as the characters and their
travails came to the fore.
GHM: You mention how there were ups and downs with Rob and Louise before we meet them in BAN #1 and there will continue to be afterwards. Any plans to write a prequel or follow up using them?
There's definitely a story about having the baby in there. At some point, who
Who was easier to write, Rob or Louise?
Both were difficult. Rob was difficult because he was reacting in a way that was
screwing up his life yet he couldn't stop. Louise was tough because she had to
be sympathetic and bemused by Rob's direction. If they didn't love each other
then there was no story: they split up, who cares. I had to make them care
enough to stay together and make things work even though it's difficult.
How would you define BAN to a new reader?
It's about love and work. How unemployment affects people differently. About a
young couple and how they cope.
What's your experience with Oni Press been like?
All good. I've got a good relationship with Joe, James, Jamie and Steve the
designer. I get on really well with Jamie, my editor, and the whole crew
surpassed themselves in getting BAN out there to people.
GHM: Your next project is called 'Hold the Back Page'...what can you tell us about it, when's it coming out, etc?
It's since been re-titled "Slow News Day" just to add to the confusion
;) It's six issues, bi-monthly, starting in July and published by Slave Labor
Graphics. It's about an American woman who comes to England to work on a small
provincial newspaper. She doesn't intend to stay because it's not a large London
based paper but events lead to her sticking around. I get to touch on the
differences/similarities between the UK and US.
What other projects are you working on?
I just finished colouring a Star Wars short story (that I wrote and drew) for
the SW Tales anthology. I've drawn an Atom story for the DC Bizarro World
anthology and a story for Grendel BW&R. Comics wise we're hoping to get BAN
out in French this year and I have plenty of work ahead of me on Slow News Day.
Are there any books or characters you'd like to take a stab at?
It'd be nice to work on a female superhero book. I've a soft spot for Batgirl.
If you weren't in the comics industry, what would you be doing?
Illustrator...which I do also.
What comics/creators do you follow?
Jaime Hernandez, Trondheim, Mitsuru Adachi, Seizo Watase, Dupuy-Berberian, Baru,
Avril, Phoenix/Carney, Ilya, Blutch, Serge Clerc, John Porcellino, Bruce Timm,
GHM: Do you have any interest in writing a different type of genre like sci-fi or horror?
I've scripted Buffy and Aliens Vs Predator. I have genre-oriented ideas as a
writer and hopefully I'll get to collaborate with an artist on them some day.
Who or what will save the comics industry?
Very simple...a wider audience. It's attracting the audience that's the
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
For more information about ‘Breakfast After Noon’ and Andi’s other works, visit the Oni Press web site at www.onipress.com.
Copyright©2001 Andrew Goletz