¦ Features ¦ Nigel
Kitching Interview Part 2
2ADR: How would
you say the world of comics differs from your previous work in the world of advertising?
from The Light Brigade
N K: Ah
yes, my work in the World of Advertising… how easy it would be (and has
been in the past) to make this previous career sound ever so glamorous. The first
thing I should tell you is that the office was in Darlington. This should give
you a clue as to how grand this job actually was. I spent most of my time doing
press ads for local hi-fi retailers and garages. More than once I have produced
the headline ‘Super-Special Summer Savings’. I suppose I did work
on some biggish jobs – I once lost the agency quite a bit of cash by changing
all the prices on an ad so they were wrong. It’s a long story but rest assured
it wasn’t my fault. I really wasn’t a great talent but there was one
thing I could do that gave me the edge. I could do the whole job – I could
meet up with the client take the brief, work out how to spend the budget, produce
the artwork, write the copy, book the space – the lot. And let’s face
it, creativity wasn’t required and wouldn’t have been appreciated
But the main difference
was that when I quit I got away from all that shitty office politics stuff.
2AD R: Your
first comics work was Nimrod, although your first professional work was for Harrier
Comics. How did these come about, and was your initial experience in the world
of comics all you’d expected?
N K: Nobody
should know about Nimrod… where did you get this stuff?
Nimrod was a strip for a
fanzine whose editor worked in a comic shop in Darlington which was how I came
to meet him. It was a sci-fi thing rather inspired by Kirby’s New Gods.
Actually one scene in the first episode is so close to a scene in Miracle/Marvel
Man I’d really like to believe Alan Moore ripped me off…
Harrier: I don’t really
remember how this came about. I had been sending illustrations to fanzines and
I think this came as a result. Harrier can only be counted as ‘professional’
work because I was paid for one page - £9, I think it was.
I really don’t know
what I expected really. I had the idea that I was taking the first steps towards
real comic book work, I suppose. I really wasn’t any kind of overnight success,
was I? A friend tells me that I am just stubborn and there may be some truth in
2ADR: Your next
work was on The Light Brigade with a pre-Sandman/Miracleman Neil Gaiman, for the
aborted Borderline anthology. It ended up being produced in the self-titled Trident
anthology. Was the cessation in activities hard to deal with in a strip already
someway towards completion?
N K: I’d
drawn 12 pages of the Light Brigade when we finally realised that there was actually
no financial footing to Borderline. I’m sure I was bitterly disappointed
when it all fell apart. Funny how you don’t remember these disappointments
clearly over time. Maybe it isn’t really healthy to dwell on such things.
2AD R: What
was it like to work with a pre-fame Neil Gaiman, and how did you find coping with
writing on your own after the second issue?
N K: Neil
is just Neil. He’s full of himself and, as Jonathan Ross says, his own biggest
fan. Some people don’t like that but it doesn’t bother me. When Neil
and I were working on The Light Brigade one of the first things he made clear
was that we would share the copyright 50/50. Only right, of course, but I liked
his attitude. When Neil wasn’t able to continue writing The Light Brigade
he had a replacement writer lined up which didn’t please me as I figured
I could write my own stuff. Still, Neil didn’t force the issue and so I
took over. Early on Neil would edit my scripts but I soon realised that I really
needed to handle the strip in my own way and I was better off taking control.
Neil and I are quite different writers. For one thing Neil’s a very successful
But I like Neil Gaiman.
He was always very helpful to other people and introduced quite a few people to
DC who went on to get work there. He introduced me to DC with a very complimentary
opinion of my artwork. The editor in question looked through my stuff with the
strained patience that you often see in this kind of situation. Once Neil was
out of earshot she gave me a steely look and told me my work was too ‘off-centre’
for Vertigo. Which was ridiculous, my work wasn’t too off-centre it was
just too crappy.
2AD R: You also
drew The Saviour for Trident, written by Mark Millar. How did you find this as
an experience, and what was Millar like to work with as a writer?
N K: Mark’s
a nice guy. Not at all the sort of person you would imagine from his writing style.
His scripts were always very professional – everything you needed was there
and it all worked as far as the artwork was concerned. He’s the sort of
person who can get straight down to work first thing in the morning without all
that desperate staring blankly into the mid-distance business that I go in for.
When I stayed with him once I saw him finish up a proposal in no time at all.
It was like all the ideas were there perfectly formed in him mind. Quite different
to me again.