“It’s filled with scientific dreaming and twisted, sideways glances at other worlds” we talk Adventures in Science with Dead Canary’s Matt Fitch and C.S. Baker
After coming a valiant 2nd in our 2016 Indie Comic of the Year chart, the team at Dead Canary Comics have kept a relatively low profile in 2017, but it turns out that’s because they’ve been working on a new sci-fi themed anthology called Adventures in Science. As they set themselves to blast off into this new futuristic world we catch up with Matt Fitch and Chris ‘C.S.’ Baker to find out more about this collection of ‘dreamy’ and ‘twisted’ stories.
Adventures in Science is your new anthology, it feels like a throw back to old school sci-fi collections, so can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for the book?
Matt Fitch: We were raised on a diet of pop-culture sci-fi and this is our attempt to contribute to a genre we love. In the DCC camp we’ve always said it’s ‘our version of the Twilight Zone’. Each story is a self-contained ‘what if’, filled with scientific dreaming and twisted, sideways glances at other worlds.
Why do an anthology after the success of Last Driver? Did you have lots so sci fi stories floating around that you wanted to get out there or just a desire to do something different?
MF: This anthology has been gestating in the DCC creative room for years, before Last Driver was even conceived. We’re always writing, so the plan was that whenever we had some cash leftover from sales of our other books we would pump that into producing one of the many short stories we had sitting on our laptops, and when we had enough we’d put out a collection, so that’s what we’ve done.
C.S. Baker: Last Driver wouldn’t have happened without this book. Matt and I actually came into contact with Shaky through the Adventures in Science project. The relationship was solid and we all wanted to take it further and that’s when we started talking about Last Driver.
How did you pick the various artist to work on the titles you wrote? Was it a wish list of favourite artists (Shaky, Casper Wjingaard etc) or more of a picking the right artist for the right story?
CB: I have a short list of people in the UK comics scene I really admire. Artists all have their strengths in different areas. Shaky is an institution, Joe Totti is the hot young one-to-watch. For me it’s all about Krent Able. One day we’ll all look back and see this as the age of Able!
MF: It’s all about finding the right artist for the story. Take Caspar, for example – I actually first saw his work when he was sat drawing at the TPUB table at a con many moons ago and thought it would be perfect for a story Chris and I were working on (‘Blood on your Hands’, about a paraplegic military veteran who receives hi-tech limb replacements with disastrous consequences). So I asked if he’d be interested in working on it and before long it was a done deal. Caspar did a great job on the story, but it was so long ago now, and of course he’s since gone on to do covers for Marvel and released his own stuff through Image, that I think he looks back on it in the same way an actor might look back at a porno they did in the 70s before they were famous!
In a similar vein, how did you pick the extra writers to join your series? Did they pitch complete work or did you join them up with artists?
CB: All the stories were written by members of the core Dead Canary team, but we went through a very tough internal pitch process. So many stories hit the wood chipper. What you see here is the best of the pile so-to-speak.
You’re back working with your old mate shaky Kane, which seems like a very productive partnership, what is it about working with him that’s so appealing? He’s a perfect fit for a crazy book like this!
CB: I’ve worked with Shaky a few times now and each time is a joy. The story he illustrated for Adventures in Science, Campaign 2079, was our first time together. I guess the cover to the book was the last time. Matt and I basically just said “what do you have in mind, Shaky?” What you see is all Kane.
MF: I mean it in the nicest possible way when I say Shaky Kane is a mad genius. As well as co-writing the Campaign 2079 short with Chris, I edited Last Driver and did a lot of the design work on Adventures in Science so I’ve gotten to know Shaky over the years and he’s a great guy. I’d work with him on anything.
You’ve got an interesting mix of bleak and gritty sci fi along with some lighter stuff, what for you is the secret of good sci fi? Do you prefer it dark or funny? And do you have a type of sci fi story you prefer telling? (aliens, robots, dystopias, allegories for present day?)
MF: I once saw a quote along the lines of ‘The best sci-fi is not about the future, it’s about the time in which it was written’. It might have been an Alan Moore quote, actually… But anyway, the point is sci-fi at it’s best reflects the world we live in and tries to raise questions (and sometimes give answers) about that world. I think even the sillier stories in Adventures in Science at least attempt to hold up a mirror to society and our place in it at least in some way. As for whether I prefer funny or dark… I like a bit of both. There’s a story in Adventures in Science about a couple going back in time to take a vacation on the Titanic. It’s silly and was a lot of fun to write, but it’s also very dark and the protagonists are quite vulgar.
CB: I must confess that Science Fiction is not my favourite thing to write. I really wanted the DCC anthology to be horror, but then that’s life in a democracy! The one tale closest to horror in the book is ‘14 Arms to Hold You’, about a genetically modified octopus. It came about one night when, ironically, I went out for fish and chips. You gotta drive a ways and on that drive Matt called me to tell me about this fake news thing he’d seen. “Putin’s gonna drop octopus eggs in American lakes! They’re killers, Chris.” He told me more and more about this scaremonger story he’d read on some clickbait site (MF: It was the Daily Mail Online). I was hooked. Giant brutes with fourteen arms, you say? That one was fun, we both wrote the thing in a session over coffee! We were very lucky to get Jacen Burrows on it. That guy is one of the greats!
And finally your next project is Apollo with Mike Collins – another space themed book – how is work going on that and how does your work process on that compare to working on this anthology?
CB: It’s the next level. This book will be published by SelfMadeHero and going out to bookshops, libraries and hit a global readership. We have a fixed release date and all the responsibilities that come with this! I wish we could say more but all I can say is that the book looks amazing and we are thrilled. Mike is tremendous and we are learning so much from him. If you want to know more I’d suggest you add Matt and I on twitter and just constantly pester us for more info!
MF: Apollo is a dream come true. I’m a bit of a space geek, so being able to tell that story in comic book form has been a dream come true, and working with a veteran like Mike Collins has been a blessing. I’m very excited to unleash Apollo on the world.
You can find out more about Adventures in Science and order it at www.deadcanarycomics.com and if you’re a retailer then pre-order it with Diamond Code JAN187502. You can follow Matt @mattfitch81 and Chris @csbakercomics and find even more info on their books at fitchbakercomics.com