“He’d tried to fix his woes with time travel and failed, so now it’s off into space, and beyond!” Mo Ali and Andy Bloor talk Midnight Man: Gunspace

Mo Ali and Andy Bloor’s Midnight Man has been been something of a cult favourite here at Pipedream HQ and every time we bumped into Andy at a convention we would pester him for news of a follow up! So when he let slip at this year’s True Believers: Summer Variant that issue #2 was nearly finished we were over the moon. And that’s very apt seeing Midnight Man is set to blast off into space in the all new Midnight Man: Gunspace that debuts at this weekend’s Nottingham Comic Con. We catch up with Mo and Andy to find out more about the mysterious Midnight Man, plus intergalactic planet babies and flashbacks to 70s TV series.

“I wanted to move MM into unfamiliar territory: he’d tried to fix his woes with time travel, so now it’s off into space!”

The new issue of Midnight Man is debuting at Nottingham Comic Con and it has a quite different vibe to the first issue – more space and less time travel – was that always part of the plan or has it evolved over time?

 

Mo Ali: It was indeed part of the plan – though I didn’t tell Andy about it straight away! I had the 3 titles and rough story outlines in my head when I wrote the first book, but had we not gone ahead with the second part then it would’ve remained a standalone tale. 

But yes, I wanted to move MM into unfamiliar territory: he’d tried to fix his woes with time travel and failed, so now it’s off into space, and beyond!

Andy Bloor: I honestly didn’t know what to expect with the second book, I know Mo and I discussed making it different to the first but until I read his synopsis and eventually the script I was as in the dark as anyone.

It feels like you’re expanding the back story more this issue with the Seven Sages and the tv scenes giving us an intro was it deliberate to keep issue 1 a bit vague and only now expand things?

MA: The first story had to function on its own, plus we had a finite length so we couldn’t delve too far into MM’s past; I felt it wasn’t that necessary for the first book to go too far anyway. This second book gives us a chance to expand upon his mysterious origins a little more; MM’s journey is one of discovery and self-understanding so the second chapter is all about that.

AB: First one was very much designed as an ‘intro’ to the character, and his world. Dropping the reader in mid-story and going full throttle. With that out of the way, you have the chance to slow things down a bit and develop the character and his background more.

We love the way MM doesn’t conform to traditional superhero structures and feels quite anarchic – is it important to retain that weirdness and humour?

MA: I think if MM was more traditional then people wouldn’t be that interested in reading it, to be honest with you. The anarchy and weirdness is part of his DNA and that’s reflected in the story structure. Plus, it keeps Andy on his toes, I wanted to write something that he’d find challenging and different to his past body of work.

“The anarchy and weirdness is part of his DNA and that’s reflected in the story structure”

 

AB: I love the fact that it does break with tradition, like Mo says it is a challenge for me (but in a good way) but one I find has certainly pushed me more than any other comic I’ve drawn.

The artwork looks amazing (and as dark as ever!) has The intergalactic detour created any particular challenges visually? Or did it free you up to do what you like?

Midnight Man’s encounter with Lady Noon was inspired by Mo and Andy’s mutual love of Sapphire & Steel

AB: I do worry if it’s sometimes too dark! The space scenes were certainly a challenge to do, I just hope I did the script justice really, Mo is a fantastic artist as well as a writer, when you’ve got someone like that guiding you it’s very good as his scripts are very visual but at the same time as with any collaboration, he’s open to me making suggestions if I find something a bit too tricky! I send Mo each page as they’re completed mainly to see if he’s happy with them – or if there are any changes.

 

What are your influences creatively – I can see references to Twin Peaks, the Matrix and obviously a lot of Kirby in there as well? While the scene with Noon reminded us of the diner scene from Heat as well as Classic D.C. Alternate reality storylines?

MA: Anything and everything really, from 2000AD, Sapphire and Steel, Jack Kirby, crime noir to pulp SF; it’s all a lovely mish-mash. This second book is a lot more metaphysical certainly so there are less overt influences and themes as well, and think part of the fun is for readers to find them.

AB: All that came from Mo, but the café scene was definitely a homage to Sapphire & Steel, one of my favourite ever TV series. I was very pleased when Mo told me that was in the script.

There are two characters that stand out for me – Lady Noon and Bob the planet – can you tell us a bit about where the inspiration for those came from and the thinking behind them?

MA: They just came to me – these two characters just showed up fully formed in my head when I wrote this story. Lady Noon is a mirror to MM, further along in her story and much more capable, and Bob was an idea I’d had for another story and he seemed the perfect fit for this book.

Are there any plans for a third issue or do we just have to be patient?

MA: There is an idea for a third book, it has a title but I can’t tell you it! 

If the second book is received favourably (as we hope that it is) then we’ll begin work on the third – you’ll just need to buy books 1 and 2 for it to happen though!

AB: I know little bits about the third book (and it sounds fantastic!) we are waiting to see how well book 2 does first but it is something we would both like to do, so please – as Mo says – buys books 1 and 2 for it to happen!

You can pick up Midnight Man: Gunspace at Nottingham Comic Con this weekend from table U11

Author: Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.