Creator Spotlight: 5 Questions with Shane Smith

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This week’s Creator Spotlight we bring you something for your Melbourne OzComicCon this weekend, in a graphic novelist with an extensive body of work including The Lesser Evil, Peaceful Tomorrows, Aurealis Award nominated The Game, All The King’s Men and James Flamestar and the Stargazers to name just a few.

So take 5 and catch up with Canberra-based (and OzComicCon Melbourne guest) Author, Shane Smith!

James Flamestar and the Stargazers by Tim Irving

What are you reading right now? I’m currently reading Lian Hearn’s “Tales of the Otori” series of novels. It’s a really interesting blend of epic fantasy in the Tolkien vein, but with a feudal Japanese flavour stirred through it. Beginning with “Across The Nightingale Floor,” the series is an intriguing tale of destiny, betrayal and desire.

It’s great to see Australian writers doing something a little different with an entrenched (and some might say stagnant) genre, and I’m thoroughly enjoying what I’ve read so far.

Who or what is at the core of your books? Why are they important? At the core of all my writing is human drama, emotions, growth, and a parable for the trials of contemporary life. Most of the lessons I’ve learned from writing are ones in which I come to understand the mysteries of my own soul a little better. I learned everything I ever needed to know from fiction – it’s the prism through which I understand the world. To me, it seems natural that writing stories would help me to understand myself and grow as a person.

For example, “Undad” and “Undad Volume Two” tell the tale of a family man who unexpectedly turns undead and endeavours to regain the love and respect of his wife and kids while maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle. At its core, though, it’s a story about depression, about the struggles of being a family man and a role model when you’re (literally) dead inside.

Apart from your book what should everyone be looking out for in local Australian Pop Culture? I’m currently looking forward to Ryan K Lindsay’s Black Mask series “Beautiful Canvas.” Ryan recently took out both an Aurealis Awards and a Ledger Award for his excellent Dark Horse miniseries “Negative Space”.

He’ll be at Oz Comic-Con Melbourne this weekend, as well as a special book signing event at All-Star Comics this Friday evening. Definitely, check his work out if you get a chance.

Major prediction for Pop Culture 12 months from now? I think we’re watching the slow rise of the non-superhero comic right now.

All the Kings Men anthology preview

Heroes have made the jump to the big screen and in a lot of ways, they are starting to leave their decades-long legacy in comics behind. For the last couple of years, titles like “Saga” and “The Walking Dead” have been dominating the sales charts, and it’s becoming increasingly rare to see a Big Two title on any awards lists. I think I heard that comic projects are statistically the most likely category to succeed on Kickstarter (and the proportion of successful projects is on the rise), which points to a groundswell of interest in independent titles, and an increasing number of people seeking comics outside of the Marvel/DC duopoly.

Creators with a long history of acclaimed work in superheroes are starting to jump to creator-owned titles with tremendous success (Tom Taylor and Brian K Vaughan for instance). Where all this will take us in the next twelve months is hard to say, but I think the trend is in place, and it’ll keep steering that way for a while yet.

Best last thing you ate? I’ve been taking a sabbatical from sugar for the last few months in a fruitful attempt to drop some kilos, but the third week in June is birthday central in my house (with two of my kids and my wife all celebrating birthdays within a five day period), and the diet took a rest for that week. I tried my hand at making a double chocolate honeycomb coconut cheesecake from scratch, and while the final product looked like it was.

I tried my hand at making a double chocolate honeycomb coconut cheesecake from scratch, and while the final product looked like it was akin to a misshapen cookie offered up proudly by a six-year-old chef, I’m pleased to report it tasted great.

And that’s 5! You can catch Shane at OzComicCon in Melbourne this weekend and pick-up some of his work including the Undad books (or ask about the forthcoming “The Winds of Change” and “Triumviratus” titles) or via his official site if you can’t get to Melbourne.