Creator Spotlight – Will Morris

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started in comics?

The most significant moment was attending a comic festival at the ICA in London called Comica. I was awe-struck to see so many folk making, producing and selling their own books and, even more astonishingly, people buying them! I was buzzing when I left that show. I set to work on making a dream-like comic about chasing an elusive t-shirt through the musty corners of a vintage clothes shop. I printed it up and started selling it at comic fairs. That was enough of a boost to make more comics. A later submission to a competition at Thought Bubble caught the eye of a publisher, which eventually lead to my first graphic novel, The Silver Darlings. The idea for Gospel, my recent historical fantasy miniseries, had been lurking in my head for years. With a couple of early page drafts in my portfolio, I had the opportunity to meet with Image publisher, Eric Stephenson at Thought Bubble. He liked them enough to ask for a story synopsis…I think I could have floated away from that meeting. It’s incredible to think that, that tiny kernel of an idea is now a comic on the same shelves that held the comics that inspired me.

What is it about comics that you love?

Gosh, that’s hard to distil down. As a reader, I love the magic of movement and storytelling the creators conjure. I love the diversity of stories that are being told and how I’m constantly surprised by the creator’s ambitions. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade, Persepolis by Marjan Satrapi, Hellboy by Mike Mignola, This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki and Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki are just a handful of the stories that have redefined my expectations over the years.

As a creator, I love to admire the craft. Especially, attempting to decode how artists create such vivid moments with their lines and shapes. 

You’ve drawn stories written by other writers and stories you’ve written yourself. How does that affect the final work, and does it change anything about the drawing process for you?

I really enjoy both experiences. Working as a part of a creative team, everyone shares in the storytelling. I can just settle down at the drawing board and draw the heck of the panels. At the same time, there are story ideas that make a home for themselves in my head and demand to be drawn. In terms of the drawing process, I think it can be useful to draw other people’s scripts because it encourages me to draw things I might not choose for myself. For example, in a recent script, I was dreading drawing a panel at a funeral, but I did it, and now I’m primed to draw all the funeral-themed comics that come my way.

What are you working on right now / what do you have coming out this year?

Coming up, I’m very excited about the collected edition of Gospel, which comes out on 21 June. Releasing on the very same day is Time Before Time #24. It’s brilliant to have illustrated a one-shot story within Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville’s extraordinary interwoven world of time travel.

What will you have for sale at the show?

I will have every issue of the Gospel miniseries, as well as copies of my seafaring graphic novel, The Silver Darlings and a range of prints and original art. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!