Music and mayhem just go so well together. LAST GANG IN TOWN is an in-your-face crime thriller full of sex, violence, cigarettes, alcohol, guitars, guns, hair dye, metal studs and likely a blown-out microphone or two. It’s a tale with its heart and soul in the London punk scene, crafted by a team known for turning common tropes on their head, and hitting comic shops with the force of a dropkick this December.
The final of Vertigo’s 12 new fall titles, we thought it was only right to gather up the entire gang behind this energetic new mini for a round of ten questions. (Though we suspect there may have been a few liquid rounds involved in prepping their answers as well.) Here’s what writer Simon Oliver, artist Rufus Dayglo, colorist Giulia Brusco, letterer Steve Wands, cover artist Rob Davis and logo designer Rian Hughes had to say about comics, music and LAST GANG IN TOWN…
Tell us, briefly, how you would describe LAST GANG IN TOWN:
Simon Oliver: A glorious mish-mash of a mess, one that defies gravity and the laws of nature to tell a true story that never happened, but really should have.
Crime and art, art and crime.
Rufus Dayglo: Revenge, punk life, good times, shit drugs, and great shoes!
Your main character could be the love child of _______ and________.
Simon: David Niven and Eva Braun.
Giulia Brusco: Anyone, and he/she wouldn’t give a damn.
Rufus: Probably Sid Vicious’ spunk running down the leg of Marianne Faithfull… after a smack binge.
If you set your series on the moon, how would the characters change?
Simon: They’d be dead, but wouldn’t weigh as much, so that’s a plus.
Giulia: They’d have to build a spike helmet to accommodate the hairdos and refrain from spitting. Oh, no!
Rufus: Bouncier. And full of cheeeeeese!
What was your first Vertigo comic as a published contributor?
Rufus: Mike Carey and Peter Gross kindly invited me to be a guest artist on THE UNWRITTEN…one of my favorite books (they must’ve been drunk!).
Steve Wands: SCALPED!
Giulia: SCALPED. And I felt at home since Day 1.
Simon: THE EXTERMINATORS.
Rian Hughes: Um… (Shelly! Help! Which was the first Vertigo logo I did? VERTIGO VOICES? THE INVISIBLES??)
When did you know for sure that comics were the thing you wanted to do?
Rian: Still not entirely sure…
Rufus: My Dad took me to see Star Wars, and when he bought me the comic book, and I knew that’s all I wanted to do (that, and marry Princess Leia…I’m still working on that bit).
Steve: I feel like I’ve always known, but was lost on how to make it happen for a long time.
Rob Davis: Been making comics since I was 8. Never had any intention of doing anything else. Was told to work in a meat factory at 16 by the careers lady, kept drawing comics, became homeless for a short while because of it (actually broke into my mum's house at 18 and the only thing I stole was the comic I was drawing), kept drawing comics until someone paid me and I could call it a job.
Giulia: When I was a child and used to read an Italian comic called Geppo, the adventures of a good Devil, quite literally stories of a little demon who had been banned from Hell because he was too good. Now he walked on Earth, hoping to learn how to do evil, because that’s what it would take for him to go back home… He planned all sorts of mischief, but in the end he could never bring himself to do wrong, to his dad Satan’s dismay. Worse, he’d end up helping those in need like a boy scout. No longer published, something to do with confounding children and offending the Church and such…Anyway, I decided going into comics was the moral thing to do.
Simon: When astronaut school kicked me out.
What music (or audiobooks or other background sounds) do you listen to while you work?
Simon: Soundtracks, I can’t listen to anything that has vocals. Sucks, but that’s how it goes.
Rian: Type Radio. Radio 4. Sam Harris podcasts.
Giulia: Mostly audiobooks. I need to catch up with contemporary literature, and working long hours means I hardly have the energy to read much at the end of a day. The music I listen to depends on the mood, it can be classic Die Moldau or anything Beethoven, Fela and Femi Kuti, David Bowie, Death Cab for Cutie, the Specials, Tool, Stone Roses, Joy Division, Pink Floyd or Thai Folklore, but it’s always Bad Brains under deadline!
Rob: Currently listening to cement mixers and children screaming. Available on CD and iChoons, etc.
Steve: I listen to and watch a lot of stuff in the background. To boil it down, though: hardcore, punk rock, and horror.
Rufus: I listen to a lotta Clash and Bowie while I work…which I ruin by screaming along… Music is essential to get work done for me…and a lotta Ramones…go with 4/4 drums to keep you powering along!!
How does inspiration most often strike you?
Steve: Usually after a few cups of coffee, and usually once the sun sets. My muse and I are night owls.
Rob: As a bloody godsend. Without it I'm just coloring between the lines.
Rian: All the time–random connections, insights…Too many ideas to write them all down…
Giulia: I see/feel things/people. I love them so much I want to own some of them, but also want to let them free. So I draw them or paint them, and make them part of me this way. I don’t know if this is inspiration, but that’s how I do spontaneous art. I splatter emotions with abstract colors on canvas: a form of healing therapy, I guess.
Rufus: After five Kit Kats and three cups of coffee…I don’t really believe in inspiration. Everything is inspiring if you’re in a good mood, so do what you love, and you’ll be inspired!
What is your favorite genre of comics to work in?
Simon: Ones I can use curse words in.
Steve: Horror. Crime, a close second.
Rufus: I feel lucky to be working on LAST GANG IN TOWN. It’s about Punk, it’s about a bunch of friends, it has humor… It’s everything I could want! And I get on really well with the writer. It’s a great position to be in!
In my heart I’d love to draw war comics like I read when I was a kid—Unknown Soldier, GI Combat, Sgt. Rock—but I’d never be as good as Gerry Talaoc, Sam Glanzman, and Joe Kubert. They are the reason I loved DC comics as a kid.
Rob: I take the Kubrick approach to genre–they're all different hats for the same head. My personal favorite genre is "What fucking genre is this?"
Giulia: Any, provided the story and art are inspiring.
What's worse: Being forced to sing an ‘80s anthem in a stadium or in a small room with your immediate family in attendance?
Steve: Small room. Fo Sho.
Rufus: The best defense is a good offence. I’d approach it like Johnny Rotten with bad flu, and howl like a motherfucker. I look forward to screaming Bonnie Tyler at you all…you’ve been warned.
Rian: The first would be an honor. The second is tolerated all the time.
Giulia: Me singing in a stadium? Do we really need another WMD?
What’s the most unusual part of your job, or something people can’t believe you do?
Steve: People not in comics find it hard to understand that I don’t write what’s in the word balloons. Then they ask, “So what do you do again?”
Rian: Spend as much time and care as I do kerning.
Giulia: I work fifteen steps from my bed!
Rufus: I buy lots of props to surround myself with (I like to have real life things in my books). My jacket is Joey’s in LAST GANG IN TOWN, I used to dress Tank Girl in my old combat gear…it’s like playing dress up all day. I often get changed in the studio three or four times during the day…and be different characters…and make sound effects as I’m working: explosions, gurgles and screams. It’s like being your own Wile E. Coyote cartoon!
Simon: Flying around the world in a private jet and summering in Monaco. (That’s because I lie and tell them I’m a professional backgammon player.)
LAST GANG IN TOWN #1 will be available December 23, 2015 in print and as a digital download.