Interview - Ben Templesmith

At Comic-Con, I tried to catch up with writer/artist/general extraordinaire Ben Templesmith. Unfortunately, because of the sheer insanity of the convention we didn't get to meet up. Good thing we've exchanged email addresses! Below is an interview with Mr. Templesmith about everything Templesmith, as well as his new work Choker.

Omnicomic: What was it like getting your break in American comics with Todd McFarlane and Hellspawn?

Ben Templesmith: Well, great really. A childhood ambition come true. I'd actually broke in twice since at the same time as this, I was working on a Vertigo book that ended up never seeing really, Todd is the technical real break I got, on Hellspawn I guess.

Omnicomic: Afterwards you moved onto SINGULARITY. How did you make that transition? Was this sort of a project that you always had in mind?

Templesmith: I love that you don't mention that other book. You know, the one with the movie. Not being sarcastic either, it's just refreshing to talk about the other works!

Singularity was actually the first thing I wrote, yes. I call it a "learning experience" these days. I think it still holds up reasonably, but I would do it very differently these days. I've learned a bunch, and back then, I think I bit off a little more than I could chew at the time. Got to be honest with yourself if you ever want to grow as an artist. I wanted to do it ever reading about potential doomsday scenarios, back when people just started to talk about nanotech. I mean, if we had nanotech, odds are other lifeforms out there much older than ourselves probably developed it long before us and could use it on a massive scale to shape environments to their will.

Omnicomic: WORMWOOD seemed to be a little lighter in its take on the destruction of the Earth. What was your thought process in creating a character such as Wormwood?

Templesmith: It's just an odd little book, now three volumes old, that collects all the things I was in love with as a kid, from the sense of humour of Black Adder (I hope) and the wonderment (yes, I said wonderment) of shows I grew up on like Doctor Who, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and such. It's pretty much the most successful thing I've written thus far. They can barely keep the first collection in print, with multiple printings.

Omnicomic: CHOKER is the next big thing you’ve got on the horizon. How did an Aussie get hooked up with a Brit for a comic?

Templesmith: The same way anyone else meets in comics and starts doing a book. Meeting at a con or via things like Twitter or even just email. I met McCool last SDCC and knew I had to do something with this guy, since if he could write as well as he talked, he was/is destined for greatness. He has a great evil sense of humour so the book we're doing is right up my alley and suits anyone who's already liked my previous work.

Omnicomic: Where did the idea for the book come from? Is this something you and Ben McCool worked up together?

Templesmith: Well I told him I'd definitely do a creator-owned book with him and he shot me his idea. I liked it straight away, so it was just a question of publisher, format, length and making time for it really. Omnicomic: As far as tone, where would you rate CHOKER on the “Templesmith F’ed Up Scale?” Templesmith: From what I can tell thus far, it'll have the coherence and mood of FELL crossed with the finer disgusting bits of PREACHER and the absurdity of WORMWOOD: Gentleman Corpse.

Omnicomic: The book is currently slated for a six-issue miniseries. Any plans to make it ongoing, or are you in a more of a wait and see mode?

Templesmith: Well, 6 issues is a big enough commitment for now. I have every confidence the book will do well but I'll worry about doing more after we see how this one goes. There's certainly room for more should people want it. Best case scenario is we do more minis in the future for sure.

Omnicomic: When will the first book hit stores? After that is it monthly, bi-monthly? Templesmith: The bulk of the work will already be completed before the 1st issue ships. We're planning long term. The book should hit Q1 next year and be monthly, barring any strange shipping problems. Omnicomic: Anything you want to plug while you have the floor?
Templesmith: Pretty much just that CHOKER is coming in early 2010 and so to, should be WORMWOOD: Gentleman Corpse Deviant Edition Volume 02 with luck.

Check out some character profiles from Choker below.