“I really love stories about underdog heroes that have no business going up against such impossible odds” Joshua Saxon on why his hero is a milkman in new comic Milky
We discovered the fantastic Milky comic through the fine folk at Mixam, who posted images of the series on their social media. It turns out Milky creator Joshua Saxon was inspired to print his comic after reading our guide to printing your indie comic with Mixam, and so were compelled to get in touch. And what we discovered was a hilarious new book which we described in our Kickstarter review as ‘Simon Pegg movie The World’s End as if re-written by Mark Millar’. Keen to find out more about why a milkman needs to save the world we caught up with writer Joshua Saxon to find out more!
Your series sees a milkman take on a horde of invading aliens, what was it about a milkman which made you pick him to be your hero?
Joshua Saxon: I really love stories about underdog heroes that have no business going up against such impossible odds, let alone saving the galaxy. Star Wars works for me in that Luke Skywalker was just a farmer, Rocky was just a street thug that went the distance… So I deliberately set out to create the most redundant character I could think of. With a Tesco on every corner, I think it’s fair to say the milkman is pretty useless nowadays. Milky doesn’t feel like he matters and has zero self-esteem. But the man’s got heart and he’s special in ways he doesn’t yet understand…
The book has quite a quintessential English setting and lead character, was that part of the inspiration?
JS: A typical piece of advice for writers is to write what you know. While this is a story about a milkman facing down an alien invasion, the characters are based on real people and their fears from when I worked as a newspaper reporter in a similar part of England. Also, you don’t see many sci-fi stories set in English villages, so I tried to offer a look and feel that comic book fans hadn’t seen before.
Milky reminded us a bit of Hitchhikers Guide, but with the humour of Worlds End or even Kevin Smith. But what books and films inspired you when making Milky?
JS: A few people has drawn comparisons to Shaun of the Dead. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg going all the way back to Spaced are definitely huge inspirations. Kevin Smith’s knack for writing dialogue that sounds like it’s coming out of the mouths of real people is also something I hoped I could emulate. I’d also say comic book writer Mark Millar was a big influence. He writes relatable characters and throws them into a fantastical world, so stuff like Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman are some of my favourite comic books…
We love the over the top humour in it. Did you set out to make it deliberately funny and a bit outrageous or is that just your sense of humour?
JS: I think humour is an important part of all good stories. It connects people, and that’s a big theme of this particular story. I suppose it is my sense of humour; I think it’s healthier to laugh at life rather than get angry. But I never really saw Milky as a comedy. It does deal with darker themes like prejudice and misogyny. I feel like the humour is more akin to something like the Guardians of the Galaxy film. It’s funny, but the thing opens with Peter Quill’s mum dying of cancer right in front of him!
How did you team up with artist Gian Fernando and what was it about their style which made you think it was the perfect fit?
JS: Gian and I met in the Millarworld forum. We’d both submitted an entry for Mark Millar’s anthology of short comic stories. Neither of us made the cut, but a bunch of people realised we were all here with our fingers crossed that we’d be chosen, rather than teaming up and making our own thing. I had this fun, sci-fi script I’d been working on and Gian said he liked the sound of it.
The story features humour, but I didn’t want it to have a zany style. I wanted the world to feel real and Gian’s attention to detail felt right for it. He said he’d never done a comedy script before, so wasn’t sure his style was a good fit. But I thought his art was perfect and I’m so glad we teamed up. The artwork for Milky has received a ton praise. Not just Gian’s linework, but DC Alonso’s vivid colours and Unai Ortiz de Zarate’s awesome covers.
Is this your first comic? And can we look forward to other books from you once Milky is finished? How long is Milky planning on running for?
JS: I’ve made a living as a writer since I was 17, but this is my first comic book. Milky is a four-part story, although there’s definitely room to tell more stories with some of these characters. When I started this, I really had no idea how the indie comic scene worked. But when I discovered platforms like Kickstarter that allow you to connect directly to an audience without the need for a publisher’s permission to bring your story to life, I realised, “Wow, I can keep doing this forever as long as people are interested!” So yes, there’s definitely a follow-up cooking…
You can back the Milky Kickstarter here and pick up issues #1 and #2.