In today’s Cross-Country ComX, Shane, Leigh, and Dustin invited the wonderful Morgan Quaid. For fans of ComX, Morgan is not a first-timer in our shows, as he also sat with us on our AusComX Show every Wednesday.
Morgan is here to talk shop with the boys and also discuss his ongoing Kickstarter, Enmity. For those not in the know, Enmity follows the story of Daisy, Lucifer’s estranged daughter, as she traverses the post-apocalyptic wasteland.
With that said, let’s get on to the show and listen.
Dustin: What Is It That You’re Working On Currently? I See You Got A Lot Of Instruments In The Background, Which Is Amazing.
“Yeah, a lot of music stuff – that’s always on the go, but that is kind of more behind the scenes,” notes Morgan. He reveals that, unlike other countries, he doesn’t always know where his work pops up. He just waits for it to show up and does so as requested.
Leigh then inquires further into his process, and Morgan details that he does all parts of the process for his marketing, from music to video ads. He does so because he loves pairing music with visuals, especially for intros and the like.
Morgan also frames everything on how they would look like as a trailer. The music that accompanies his project are intros and outros, together with songs that “the main character is likely to listen to.”
Community is Unity – Leigh Chalker, 2021
Morgan further discusses what he does for the community in general, both as a comic book writer and a musician. He notes that he refers people, especially musicians, to projects that he himself does not have a forte in. Morgan headhunts when others look for the right talent for the job as a way to give back to the community.
“I was talking to Shane, late last night after the Friday Drink and Draw and I was listening to those guys while I was drawing and an old veteran of the comics industry, Dave De Vries, was talking about how back in his day, they used to have to phone each other just to discuss with the artist what the writer was doing,” adds Leigh.
He praises Morgan for triggering him as the “Do It Yourself Man” for doing his own project and being there as a person that people come for suggestions and finding people who can help.
Much later in the interview, Leigh notes that, even with how many creators don’t reach the level of success of others, people just “gotta keep on trying.”
“You can do anything in your life,” Leigh notes. “Someone has a voice and it should be heard, that’s why I said earlier, community is unity.”
Morgan on Enmity
When asked about to define Enmity, Morgan indulges on the textbook definition of the word, which he then relates to his comic book.
“The central idea behind Enmity is the idea of Lucifer, but slightly off kilter to the devil that we know, essentially the devil Lucifer is the one that counterbalances good by whispering in people’s ear,” he replies.
“Lucifer is in that position where, like many of us, he’s been in the job that he just doesn’t like at all. He’s sick of it. He’s done it for thousands of years. It doesn’t seem to make a difference on anything. He doesn’t even talk to his boss. He just quits!
“Quits, goes on a bender, goes nuts on women and then, as a result of that, one of those women gets pregnant. 16 years later, we have this character named Daisy that pops up, who is his daughter but doesn’t know that she’s his daughter.”
Morgan adds that, with Lucifer leaving his job, a post-apocalyptic world blossoms from the ineptitude of his replacements.
“In this industry, original stories are what drives it,” Dustin says after relating the father-daughter subplot between Daisy and Lucifer. He notes how it’s interesting how the different uses and perspectives of a classical character use him effectively. He notes that value of using a classic trope character, but at the end making him your own as a creator.
By putting your stamp on the character, you make him your own even if he’s almost similar to another more famous iteration.
Dustin: Who Do You Got As Cover Artists?
“I’ve got three artists that I’ve worked with on other projects,” says Morgan. “They’re all overseas artists. Willie Roberts is my mate in Argentina that we’re working on another project with. He’s done one of the covers.
“There’s Moses May – he’s got another cover and another project that I’m going to be launching later in the year that he’s working on. I’ve got a few – they’re all indie artists and they’re all artists I’ve worked with for a few years on projects.
Morgan says he actively moves away from creating his favourite archetype of characters. Dustin agrees on making sure creators diversify their characters across multiple IPs, which is a common issue among many comic book creators.
Leigh: The Devil, His Daughter – You’re Obviously Someone Who Has Been Brought Up, Studied Theology Along Those Sorts Of Lines. What Triggered You To Bring This Into A Comic Book Format?
So I grew up in the Pentecostal Christian tradition right in there 150% all the way,” revealed Morgan. Went to universities, studied theology, Biblical Hebrew and Greek. Did the whole thing and as I was studying, I was one of those people that was thinking if this is true, and if this is objective truth, I want to know everything that I can about it.”
He notes that, as he studied, he moved away from the faith, which allowed him to open a whole new world. In his studies, he learned that Lucifer was not a traditional devil-type character. Rather, he was a “lawyer” type character that was trying to keep things honest.
Much of his ideas gravitated around the story of Job’s temptation by the devil. By doing so, his learnings works best for writing and comics.
When asked by Leigh if he uses real people as inspirations for his characters, he notes that he has some characters based on what he wants to be. He details how his characters do their own thing, like the bow of ice ships that just cuts through ice.
“They do their thing and the world rearranges itself to let them though. There’s something magnetic about that,” notes Morgan.
Dustin says that the book has quite a Mike Mignola, with almost similar art style and feel to Enmity. Morgan also says he somehow enjoys the irony between two things, from a sweet old lady who swears like a sailor to a 16-year old girl stuck in the apocalypse.
Leigh: What Was Your First Comic Book?
“This is the story that I’m telling because I can’t remember the real story but I think this is what happened,” started Morgan. “I was walking in Brisbane City, walked past Comics ETC which is one of those comic shops.
“Walked in, I don’t know why I walked in and saw a bunch of Image titles and I think Chew was among the first ones I picked up and my god, just fell in love immediately with the art style.”
Morgan says what struck him is the thought is the story is beyond superheroes. It allowed him to get the epiphany of enjoying comic books were more than their stereotypes.
Dustin further noted that Chew, and a few other indie comics, have spun the perception around for indie comics. Among these was The Walking Dead, which was in the dollar bin picks until it was picked up as a TV show.
The Long Game, Their Individual Fears and More
Leigh and Dustin discussed the merit of the long game. Leigh noted that he and Dustin are world builders, slowly building an entire world through their franchise. Dustin, supports this, detailing how no character is safe in his books, but that’s the idea.
He is looking to elicit an emotion from a reader, and justifies why characters die on his book. Dustin believes that keeping the world consistent and the creative control as indie stories is worth the work.
“There’s that fear that there’s too much stuff out there already,” says Morgan. “There’s too much on Netflix, but it’s all the same. When I think about myself, I’m always for new things to read. I never get full – I always want more. It’s never enough.”
“Bring your originality,” adds Dustin, talking about how the impostor syndrome gets to most people. “Don’t sink to that low that a lot of people do when they [think] they gotta use an idea somebody else came out with.”
There’s more to the entire interview that what’s listed here, with a lot of personal conversation and anecdotes from Morgan and the boys. There’s quite a lot of nuggets of inspiration and sagely advice you can get there, so watch the video if you want the full story.