Who is Luke Molver and what inspired you to become a comic artist
Luke Molver? He’s the human being I use as the breathing apparatus for my imagination.
My inspiration comes from two loves, I suppose. The first is storytelling. When I was little, my granny used to read me all sorts of old fairy tales, Greek and Norse mythology, all kinds of crazy stories from all over the world. Coincidentally, I also found myself with grand passion for drawing. When I was in pre-school, the teachers were a little concerned about the horrific monsters with horns and wings and fiery eyes, but hey – they left me to it ‘cos I didn’t cause trouble. And the other kids left me alone ‘cos I was too weird to bully.
Anyhow, I found myself with two particular passions, illustration and storytelling, but it was only when my dad bought me my first Judge Dredd comic that a realized: If pictures speak a thousand words, then putting them together would be pretty darn powerful. It’d be a comic. Henceforth, I decided that drawing pictures in little boxes with words next to them would be far better than ever getting a real job.
What shapes your the signature aesthetic?
Visually, I enjoy working in black and white. A lot of my stuff involves quite dark content; science-fiction, crime noir and sometimes a bit o’ horror. I find a black and white style very effective in conveying mood and atmosphere in the pages of a comic. Frank Miller’s Sin City series are good examples of black and white storytelling in print, and a big influence on my work too.
Also, in my freelance illustration work, most corporate clients tend to prefer a clean-cut, flat colour style. I like to differentiate my own personal projects from my corporate work, and I find a gritter, monochrome style in my own stuff helps make that distinction.
Also, being a self-publisher, black and white is a heckuva lot cheaper to print.
How important is being a storyteller when you’re an artist?
It’s the most important thing. All art is some kind of story, in some way. You can’t be any sort of artist if you don’t understand how stories work.
You’ve got quiet a portfolio of work and collaborations. How do you select the projects you get involved in?
I try and do the projects that I think I’d enjoy. Obviously, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to make rent and buy bread, and in such cases I’ll bite a bullet and do some actual, soul-sucking graphic design work (make no mistake, if you’re in commercial design, you work for Satan). But yeah, sometimes you have to, and I’ll occasionally design the packaging for some new vegetarian diabetic low-calorie toothpaste or something equally ridiculous to feed the slavering maw of the little consumer.
My point is, I don’t ever want to stop enjoying what I do. So in choosing my projects I try to make sure they don’t turn my passion into some humdrum job.
You explore many dark themes and interpretations in your work? Why this choice of expression?
Because in a world of eternal darkness, we will have no shadows left to fear. And hell, there’s enough butterflies and fairies and goddamn kittens for the world to choke on, I prefer to explore more darkly nuanced themes. Themes that may make others uncomfortable.
Also, most of the personal work I do are comics that I’d enjoy reading. I tend to forget about what others may like. (Which is why it’s a constant surprise when people actually like my stuff!)
What have been the highlights of your career?
Probably getting the first chapter of my own comic ‘Nero’ out there, last year. I did it all myself; wrote it, drew it, inked it, printed it, published it, sold it… made no money, but hey, we cartoonists ain’t known for our business acumen. But I think that was one of the few moments in a life already tragically misspent where I’ve actually been quite proud myself.
Paper, digital and film. Which medium do you feel expresses comic art the best?
Paper and digital. Because, well, film’s not a comic, is it? Although the two may share certain similarities, comics and film remain quite different beasts. Hollywood never understands that. All these new Marvel superhero movies? They’re crap. But don’t get me started there, that’s a story for another day.
In my own work I employ both the old school pen-to-paper methods as well as digital techniques. I’ve got mad respect for graphic artists and comic book creators who do all their work by hand, but realistically, in this age of technology that we live, it’s hard to stay away from the digital.
What are you currently working on?
I have just received the fresh print run of my new comic ‘Remember Emma’. It’s a cyberpunk noir-thriller set in a futuristic city of Durban about an ex-con with who’s trying to track down his sister’s murderer. But the dude is losing his mind, and he can’t be sure what’s real anymore… Thrilling stuff, I hope! ‘Remember Emma’ is part of an extended comic book universe I’m creating called ‘Nero’, set in a futuristic South Africa.
I’ll be launching ‘Remember Emma’ at the Open Book Comics Fest in Cape Town, on the 20th and 21st of September 2014. Come check it out if you’re around, there’ll be a whole lotta talent, local and international… here’s the website:
Outside of comic art, how else do you enjoy expressing yourself creatively?
I’m a rapper and a blues musician. Well, I rap and I sing the blues, maybe calling myself a musician is a bit of a stretch. I also enjoy playing the piano, but I don’t have a piano so every time I come across one elsewhere I play it very badly.
Where can we find out more about you?
Wow… well, if you’re not sick of me after this interview check out my website, leave a comment and maybe even order a comic book! I also occasionally do commissions (if I like them), so contact me if you’ve got a cool idea you’d like illustrated (and only if you can pay me). No pictures of babies, dolphins or kittens, please. Here’s my website:
You can also find ‘Nero, by Luke Molver’ on Facebook, so hit me up with a ‘like’ or two if you dig my stuff. Thanks guys.
Also, keep an eye on the night skies, because when I’m not making comic books, I’m flying around the city fighting crime in my underwear.
Until next time, earthlings.
Interview Q & A by: Simphiwe Xulu @Mr_MediaX