Creator Spotlight 2024 – JORDAN THOMAS

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started in comics?
I grew up in Worthing and most Saturdays from an early age my parents would take us to Brighton and we found Dave’s Books where they sold trading cards. I was into films from very young, so I’d get things like Terminator trading cards but then also started getting superhero ones as well, which started my love for that genre. Before I ever read a comic I knew all the A, B, C and D list heroes just from collecting the cards and it wasn’t until I was around 11 or 12 that I started reading comics regularly with the Ultimate Universe books at Marvel as well as things like 1602 and the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil run.
Actually writing comics was a gradual journey. I studied scriptwriting for film and TV at Bournemouth University and wrote a few comic scripts around that time for a very talented artist buddy of mine but it never really went anywhere. The world of comics publishing is very impenetrable to understand from the outside, so I never really considered that was a viable job, I’d have had no idea how to get a script or a short comic to someone on the editorial staff of a publisher. Then when I was in my mid-twenties I had some friends using Kickstasrter to self publish their comics and I got involved a bit and then started doing my own books, which led to making Frank At Home On The Farm with the wonderful Clark Bint. That series was picked up straight away by a US publisher and from there I’ve gradually been able to get more and more work out there and I’m lucky enough to be getting a lot of opportunities in comics right now.

What is it, in particular, about comics that you love?
When it comes to making comics it’s probably the immediacy. Having dabbled in film, that’s such a slow, laborious, often unfulfilling world. Whereas, in comics you only need a couple of people and a relevantly short amount of time and you can make something amazing. Of course there is still a lot of work involved, especially for those poor artists slogging their way through our innovative seventeen panel page, but it is a medium where you can wrap up an issue and 4 weeks later people are buying it. 
When it comes to just enjoying comics I think there is something really wonderful in the structure. The way panels work. How the page layout choices can control the pace of the storytelling. The range of stories and genres being made and the huge variety of art styles. There are legendary one-shot comics or even a short within an anthology like the classic Hellboy Pancakes story and then these epic runs. It’s all on the table.

You’re based in Spain, amid what seems like an idyllic society comprised entirely of comic creators. Tell us about that, and how we can maybe apply for a passport to your new comic/sun utopia.

My whole comic career has really all come about whilst I’ve been living in Spain. For starters the fact it’s way cheaper to live here is what meant I had the money to pay artists on my early self-published work. Because I wasn’t making comics or attending conventions whilst I lived in England my comics crew is much more made up of all the Spanish artists and it is a spectacular time right now for comic artists in Spain. In general they’ve always been very welcoming to me as a stranger in their midst and the country really seems to embrace the medium and celebrate it with a huge mix of big and small events throughout the year.

What are you working on right now / what do you have coming out this year? 
I’m trying not to think about all the writing I have to do as I’m in the middle of this really crazy convention filled six week sprint! Right now I’m six scripts into an 8-issue creator-owned series that hasn’t been announced yet but should be very cool. It’s the longest thing I’ve written in comics so far and it’s a real full-on sci-fi monster of a book and the artist is taking it even further than what I managed on the page; should be announced in July. I’m also fairly deep into scripts for two new mini-series that I’ll be doing with my comics husband Chris Matthews. Me and Chris just do what we want and then find a publisher to join up with us as opposed to asking for permission, so our work together is always something special. I’m also just waiting for the final greenlight from a publisher on a book I’m going to be doing with an absolute comics legend – so, that’s both very exciting and a little daunting. Then there’s a fantasy series I’ve scripted issue one of that me and an artist will be pitching soon. Beyond that I have a few very cool shorter pieces in both the licensed and horror anthology world’s, which I’ve been lucky enough to be approached by some publishers to do. So, a pretty full plate right now.
When it comes to new stuff coming out this year that I can talk about, my and Chris Matthews’ Mugshots series debuts on May 8th and will then be coming out every two months through October. This is a UK-set crime series and is the best thing I’ve ever written with just stunning art from Chris, so I hope people give it a try. If you like the work of Brubaker & Phillips or Darwyn Cooke’s Parker adaptations you should love it. I’ll have copies of issue one on my table at the convention here in Portsmouth. Then also the collected edition of The Man From Maybe, a very fun post-apocalyptic western I made with Shaky Kane will be out from Oni Press at the end of May.

What will you have for sale at the show?
As well Mugshots and the single issues of The Man From Maybe, I’ll have the collected edition of Weird Work, the sci-fi noir series Shaky Kane and I released last year through Image Comics, hardcover collections of Frank At Home On The Farm a kind of Lynchian/Cronenbergian English countryside set horror plus the Metallic Dynamite sci-fi anthology that features a set of six stories I wrote with beautiful art by the likes of Lucy Sullivan, Anna Readman and Shaky Kane, and Quarantine, a wild book I made in lockdown that features a different artist on every page, ranging from the coolest new small press talent to Sean Phillips, who take turns progressing a story of monsters, paranoia and a family getting too close for comfort.