At­tic Stu­dios

Home to the ram­bunc­tious and ribtick­ling, Bri­tish in­die pub­lisher At­tic Stu­dios is a trio of tal­ent and taste­less gags. Miles Hamer caught up with comic col­lab­o­ra­tors Dan Har­ris, Kris Carter and Jim Bamp­field to find out more about Lou Scan­non, Bruce Outb

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COMIC HE­ROES: So, how did you guys and the stu­dio get to­gether?

Dan Har­ris: Jim and I met in a prod­uct de­sign stu­dio way back in 1997. We first got to meet Kris in ’98 when our GNVQ course did an in­tro­duc­tory course to An­i­ma­tion with Kris’ Foundation course. We got on over a love of Star Wars and then, the fol­low­ing year, all started an HND in An­i­ma­tion to­gether. Years later, when Kris found out I had this huge uni­verse built around

Lou Scan­non, it seemed some­what in­evitable that we would end up do­ing some­thing to­gether. Who knew then about all the fame and riches that it wouldn’t lead to?

Kris Carter: At­tic Stu­dios is named that be­cause we used to do our first year an­i­ma­tion work in the at­tic of the cam­pus build­ing. Also, my home stu­dio is an at­tic, and that’s where we keep most of the stock...

CH: Lou Scan­non seems to come from a dis­tinctly Bri­tish tra­di­tion of bawdy, quirky space hi-jinx. What in­spired its cre­ation?

DH: I have a thing for in­ap­pro­pri­ate hu­mour. I’m some­what sar­cas­tic and rather cyn­i­cal. Is that syn­ony­mous with be­ing Bri­tish? Per­haps... Gen­er­ally, though, the way we break it down is like this: if it feels like it’s Red Dwarf- y, that’s Kris. If it feels some­what Monty Python

es­que, that’s Jim. If it feels rather dark and/or twisted? Prob­a­bly me. Put the three to­gether and we seem to have some­thing that works.

CH: The Lou Scan­non uni­verse feels lively and pop­u­lated. How much of the backstory and world had you worked out be­fore start­ing, or is it more spon­ta­neous than that?

DH: I had the en­tire uni­verse planned out looooong be­fore is­sue 1 came out. I had a start, mid­dle and end for the en­tire thing. Lou Scan­non was orig­i­nally my third year film as part of my BA in uni. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 2002, I still loved the uni­verse and didn’t want to just let it go, so I started to flesh out the backstory.

Jim Bamp­field: As the say­ing goes, a mon­key hit­ting keys at ran­dom on a type­writer key­board for an in­fi­nite

amount of time will al­most surely type a given text, such as the com­plete works of Wil­liam Shake­speare. But at around sup­per‑time on Wed­nes­day he will have writ­ten Lou Scan­non.

CH: Can we ex­pect any more Druid In­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter its ini­tial run?

DH: Ab­so­lutely! This comic is a mas­sive labour of love for me! Once the ini­tial sto­ry­line is done, I hope to be able to do a lot of one-shot is­sues as well as on­go­ing story arc ones. The best way I can de­scribe what I want to do with it is like Mig­nola did with Hell­boy: a bunch of is­sues that are one-off, stand­alone sto­ries and then oth­ers that are three-to-five is­sue arcs.

CH: Tell us about Bruce Out­back.

KC: Aus­tralia’s great­est de­tec­tive, sent back in time to solve un­solved crimes with the help of his koala! It’s fun, a bit more kid­die-ac­ces­si­ble than Lou or Druid. It’s also a heart­en­ing ex­am­ple of the kind of non­sense you can forge into an ac­tual comic when four grown men and women get trashed and brain­storm in the back of a taxi.

CH: Your comics steer to­wards hu­mour. Why’s that then?

KC: Cos we’re hi­lar­i­ous. Ac­tu­ally, no, it just seems to be the way we write stuff. If some­thing makes you laugh, you re­mem­ber it more. And if some­thing we write makes us laugh, we want to write more of it.

CH: Would you con­sider a move to­wards more tra­di­tion­ally “se­ri­ous” tone or sub­jects?

KC: Ab­so­lutely. I think all three of us have other ideas per­co­lat­ing away that would suit darker, more som­bre sto­ries. Dan’s “Bunker” strips ( pa­­ris) are def­i­nitely more se­ri­ous, but even then that’s not to­tally de­void of hu­mour. That be­ing said, I don’t think we’d ever write some­thing that didn’t have at least a glim­mer of hu­mour in it.

JB: Well... I do have this one idea. A small boy wit­nesses the bru­tal mur­der of his par­ents. He de­cides he must ded­i­cate his life to the pur­suit of jus­tice. But how will this im­pos­ing fig­ure of re­venge man­i­fest it­self? He is with­out in­spi­ra­tion un­til one day a large emu bursts through the study win­dow and... Well... I’ve given away too much al­ready.

CH: How es­sen­tial do you find print and at­tend­ing con­ven­tions?

DH: I love do­ing con­ven­tions and think they’re the most im­por­tant part. Peo­ple in­vest in you. Show­ing your pas­sion and en­thu­si­asm and giv­ing them some­thing to be­lieve or in­vest in... you don’t re­ally get that digitally. Peo­ple will come back to you digitally but they’re less likely to take that ini­tial punt on you that way!

KC: We all pre­fer the phys­i­cal feel of a printed book to read­ing it on-screen, and the bulk of our sales come from meet­ing fans and new read­ers in per­son at con­ven­tions. Dig­i­tal’s great, but we’re not fore­go­ing print for as long as we can avoid it.

CH: What next for At­tic Stu­dios?

DH: We’re hop­ing to keep pump­ing out Lou Scan­non books, and fit Druids and Bruce into the gaps as we can. Ide­ally, we’d love to get the stu­dio to a point where it is the day-job, but that’s eas­ier said than done. KC: I’m cur­rently in the process of putting fin­ish­ing touches to a card game I’ve been work­ing on with two of our friends, one be­ing a reg­u­lar col­lab­o­ra­tor, Gavin Mitchell, the other be­ing a proper doc­tor and ev­ery­thing: An­thony Car­avaggi. JB: To­tal World Dom­i­na­tion, the first per­son on Mars and a spot of tea... Oh, and a bis­cuit.

“I had the en­tire uni­verse planned out long be­fore is­sue 1” Dan Har­ris on Lou Scan­non

Be­low: Art for Lou Scan­non and Druid In­ves­ti­ga­tions by Dan Har­ris.

Above: Say g’day to Bruce Out­back by Kris Carter.

Be­low: The At­tic Stu­dios line of ti­tles.

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