Fraser Campbell has used Kickstarter to debut his engaging comics over the last few years.  A captivating writer sees Fraser often teaming up with colorist David Cooper and lettering/design by Colin Bell.  You can find them together on Sleeping Dogs with artist Lautaro Capristo, The Edge Off with artist Ian Laurie, and Alex Automatic with artist James Corcoran, and House of Sweets with artist Iain Laurie.

Alex mixed it up on Heart of Steel with Katie Fleming, Rebecca Horner, and Panel x Panels Hassan Otsmane-Eihaou.

Superhero, science fiction, horror, crime, Fraser has created his own corner of the comic book world under name Cabal Comics.  His Kickstarters always innovate and give interesting bonuses to the fans.

I was able to get a moment with Fraser to talk about his creativity during the next Alex Automatic Kickstarter, a Kickstarter that has since concluded.

Fraser Campbell

COMIC BOOK ORIGINS

JOESEPH SIMON 
Prior to comics, you wrote for  BBC Radio Scotland (for Sabotage, The Janice Forsyth Show and the Magic Glue.) You also produced Odds and Sods and the Cinderella Boys plays.

I find anything to do with the BBC to be very fascinating. I find it to be part of a whole other world. Not because I’m in the States and the BBC is the UK. The programming is obviously different than here. The structure of how the BBC operates is also different. Aside the differences between locations, I think the BBC’s structural/financial differences helps create a difference.  One that is very appealing.

Are you still involved with radio? Comedy (Sabotage and Magic Glue) and a music show (with Janice Forsyth) is far away from the superheroes, science fiction, horror, and crime of Cabel Comics. Did being part of the radio help inform your writing for comics?

 

FRASER CAMPBELL
I haven’t done anything for radio for a few years. At the time, it was a very good way to get used to creating to a brief, working to deadlines, working with collaborators and re-working stuff following the input of editors, so generally informative and useful for any kind of writing, including comics simply in terms of learning about the discipline of it.

 

JOESEPH
Caliber Press published a horror story of mine. I pitched it as a multi-media stage play at a 2,400 capacity nightclub where I worked as a door manager. It was accepted and then pulled. I pitched it to a theatre and was passed on.  I’ve always wanted to return to that kind of creativity. I’m a big fan of plays. What were your two plays about? How did they come about?

 

FRASER
The first one we produced was called Odds & Sods which was about a group of proverbial losers who hung around in a Glasgow betting shop. One character bets on a hugely unlikely accumulator (this is a bet involving several bets on multiple events where the winnings grow so long as you keep winning. However you only get paid if you win all the bets) and we follow him and rest as he starts to win one bet, then two, then…

It was a comedy-drama that I co-wrote and directed with my friend Tom Brogan, who writes plays, writes about sports and helps run a small theatre company in Scotland. We had a short run of the Play in the Ramshorn Theatre in Glasgow and it was an amazing experience.

My second play was also with Tom and it was called Cinderella Boys. It was another comedy-drama this time about rival football fans (and their long-suffering partners) in the 1970s getting together to watch football on the only TV in the tenement. It also ran at the Ramshorn, which is a converted church in Glasgow, a really wonderful place to put on a play. A wee side note, Cinderella Boys is set in the 1970s so I was able to use a clock that I inherited from my Aunt Bessie as set dressing. She had passed by this time but had been christened in that very church. My Aunt June and Uncle Bill had been married there. It was really nice to work in a space that had so many family connections.

I latterly had a third one-act play, Some Was Murdered Here, produced and performed at The Old Hairdressers in Glasgow. Again, it was a comedy-drama about a couple looking to rent a property that famously had a sinister past.

This spell I had working in theatre came about really because of Tom and his connections to that world. It was a really enjoyable period, I really enjoyed directing and was pretty decent at it, to my surprise. I’d love to try it again sometime.

 

JOESEPH
Where did it all start for you? What comics started your enjoyment of comics and what comics compelled you to become part of the comic book industry?

 

FRASER
I’ve always had comics, they always seemed to be around when I was a kid. My parents, aunts, and uncles would always bring me comics and magazines to read. The first time I remember getting a Marvel comic was when my Mum got me a copy of Marvel reprint comic called The Titans because I had been good and quiet while she had been shopping. This was kind of 16:9 landscape comic that cut actual comic pages in half to preserve reprint material, but I didn’t know that at the time. I think the art was by John Buscema and the story had the Inhumans in it and Namor I seem to remember, but that might be a bunch of early reading experiences muddled together.

The comics that compelled me to get into comics were actually by my friends, mainly John Lees and Iain Laurie. In 2014 we all went to NYCC together and they were there to promote their comic “And Then Emily Was Gone” and they both kept talking to me about doing comics. Eventually, I got enough confidence up to try it.

 

TEAM WORK

JOESEPH
I imagine working in radio really tuned you into teamwork. Looking at your credits, you have released many projects with colorist David Cooper and lettering/design by Colin Bell. I can’t say for sure, but to my knowledge, that’s the first I’ve seen a creative team of a writer, colorist and letterer/designer with artists that vary based on the project. How did this come to be?

 

FRASER
When I made my first more recent comic Sleeping Dogs, I really didn’t know how to make a comic to the standards I wanted. I leant on help from people further along than me. I found the artist Lautaro Capristo via Iain Laurie and Colin, who I knew from seeing at comic marts and social events, was pretty much the only letterer I knew. Thankfully he agreed to do it! I asked Colin if he knew any good colour artists and he recommended David. We all get on well and enjoy working together, so we’ve done a lot of stuff together. Colin has taken a step back from comics lately, but I still use David on most projects.

 

JOESEPH
How do you guys work together?

 

FRASER
With my stuff, I’m not just the writer, I’m kind of the showrunner. Once I have a script, it’s up to me to put together the team to make the book and then to get the funding for costs, get it printed and launched etc. So generally, I bring the guys in when it’s their step in the process. I’m a fan of keeping everyone on the same page about progress and developments and I’ve found some collaborators like this and some just want to do their part and be done. David will usually discuss colour choices and styles with the artist, who generally has a view on how they envisage the art. I rarely get involved in that other than to ok decisions. Colin, or whoever is on lettering generally does far more than that and contributes design skills and elements and often sets the whole thing up for print as well.

INFLUENCES

JOESEPH
No writer is a newborn and thus every writer has influences.  Yours is a vast collection of coolness that speaks volumes for your spare time!!

House of Sweets: Hour of the Wolf, Dreamchild, Kill List films, Angelea Carter short stories, Swamp Thing, Eerie, Haunt of Horror, House of Secrets, and TV Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected and the Hammer House of Horror and Grimms Hanzel and Gretel.

Edge Off: David Lynch films, Hammett and other noir films, films with Jason Statham, Chandler, Bogart, Faulkner, and Hawks plus Inherent Vice, Get Carter, and the Long Good Friday.

Alex Automatic: Prisoner, Danger Man, Man from U.N.C.L.E, Department S, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Six Million Dollar Man, Machine Man and others.

And the list goes on and on. You must have a great collection of comics, books, and movies! You have a great ability to turn your influences into your own!

I suspect your influences came before your actual comic book writing started. Have ideas like Alex Automatic been playing in your imagination prior to your interest in comics, or after, once you started thinking about the kind of comics that you would like to write?

FRASER
I think the depth of my influences comes simply from age, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s one of the few benefits of getting older (I’m 50). So many of the influences regarding Alex Automatic are kind of hard wired in, having been staples of my childhood. There’s no real magic to it, I’ve either just stumbled across cool stuff or been turned onto it by other way cooler people. I think I can blend and use those influences pretty well, which I suppose is the trick. I’ve got a lot of stuff to draw upon, so there’s enough there to put things together in an interesting way. The Edge Off for example really stems from the premise what if David Lynch directed a Jason Statham film?

KICKSTARTER

JOESEPH
I have one Kickstarter under my belt, but I’ve pledged to hundreds of them. I think I’ve pledged to all of yours and I often see you pledging to others. Its safe to say you are a common face at Kickstarter for comics. What are your thoughts on the platform?

 

FRASER
I think it’s been a lifesaver platform for the small press but I’m disappointed in many ways by its failure to evolve. They’ve introduced innovations like Kickstarter Live (allowing you to do direct live videos to your backers) and Drip (which was their version of Patreon) and then abandoned them way too quickly. Meanwhile, users are denied access to a database of potentially thousands of potential backers by algorithms that make very little sense to me. The platform needs to do much more to help small fry creators in my view. They seem however to be more interested when big names use them on occasion. I’ve worked very hard to grow my readership and while Kickstarter is a great platform in terms of its basic function, it does not seem interested in helping me grow my audience. In fact, in that sense it’s becoming a hindrance.

 

JOESEPH
Does Cabal debut all its comics on Kickstarter?

 

FRASER
All bar my very first one, Sleeping Dogs which I financed entirely myself. I’ll continue to use it, as I very much appreciate the audience that has found me there, but in future, I’ll be looking at dovetailing it with other ways to get my books out there.

 

JOESEPH
I enjoy the bonus material that you present in your Kickstarters. From James Cocoran drawing an image of the pledger as a character from Alex Automatic to reserving a page in Alex Automatic: Prefect to do a commission sketch is really fun.

What cool requests have come through form these ideas?

 

FRASER
That’s more James’ department really. We do try to think up interesting rewards and extras. We have one where people pay to be in the next issue of Alex Automatic on the proviso that I’ll probably brutally kill them in the story. People seem to love that.

ALEX AUTOMATIC

JOESEPH
This is your longest-running storyline.  How would you describe this comic to new potential readers?

 

FRASER
Well, the basic pitch is this:

Alex Anderson is a Government agent who has been subjected to experiments to enhance his abilities by a shadowy agency known only as PRISM. However, the process has gone horribly wrong, leaving Alex frequently trapped inside the delusion that he is the indestructible cyborg super-spy hero of 1970’s TV show, ALEX AUTOMATIC. A TV show that exists entirely inside Alex’s own head.

I would describe it as a psychedelic action-adventure story that’s also a very personal story about alienation and mental illness. We’re using all those cool, fun production design styles, costumes, gadgets and outlandish villains those great old 60s and 70s TV shows and comics did to look at classic themes like heroism, honour, loyalty etc. in order to talk about whether or not these ideas have any value in a modern context. Or indeed if they ever had any value. The idea that traditional heroism has always been some kind of misdirect, a trick played on us all by the powers that be. But it’s mainly about a man who is trying to put himself back together have suffered tremendous trauma and in that sense we kind of use nostalgia as a fake-out ourselves. We use the trappings of yesteryear sure, but if nostalgia is a theme it’s less about an aimless passion for the good old days and more about the corrosive tendency I think many of us share to fret over a lost sense of self, to pine for the better, happier self you may believe you once were, but can never be again. A self you probably never really were to begin with.

 

JOESEPH
Alex Automatic is about alienation, disassociation and mania. I think these are very topical subjects for the modern age and people feeling these are increasing as the days pass. These are very powerful mechanisms that cause division. Has current events of late given rise to reflection in what you’re creating with Alex Automatic?

 

FRASER
Yeah, it’s very much a story about a person trying to make sense of the world he finds himself in and in that regard it’s very much an allegory for my own attempts to get through life day to day. I think modern life and access to all the information we have these days can leave you feeling very much like a tiny, insignificant person facing a largely uncaring if not hostile world, and one way to try and make sense of that is to write about it.

 

JOESEPH
In many ways, your idea of Alex being prone to a fictional 70’s TV show called Alex Automatic is interesting. What is reality? There are many theories contesting modern concepts of what reality is.  From Matrix spun theories to alternative Earths, what we come to think of reality today may be understood differently in the future.

People need to find things to ground them to common sense and truth. I suspect Alex has not found that yet. Alex seems to have a lot of enablers, who are his rays of hope?

 

FRASER
Yeah, it can be very easy to convince yourself that objective reality doesn’t exist. The idea that we all share an objective reality seems to be breaking down, with obviously many famous examples of people being hoodwinked into believing various ludicrous conspiracy theories. It seems that a lot of people consider it far better to pretend they are party to some kind of secret truth than accept what has become of them within various societal systems they simply don’t matter in.

I think as the story progresses you’ll some rays of hope for Alex, generally stemming from the efforts he makes to open up and connect and let himself care about people.

 

JOESEPH
No doubt superhero and action films have made great use of interesting rogue’s gallery. Introduce us to Alex’s rogue’s gallery.

 

FRASER
There are a few, real and imagined. The main villains of the piece are PRISM. In real life, they are an off-the-books Government agency looking at enhancing agents to improve their skills. In Alex’s delusions, they are PRYSM, an outlandish organization committed to evil and world domination. In reality, there are also a few operatives from other Governments keen to get their hands on Alex.

So, in the first issue, Alex is pursued by a Russian agency known as the Vucari who is being assisted by a German assassin called The Woodcutter and also by Wilke McCall, a PRISM commander who has to recapture him. In Alex’s mind, however, he is being chased by the evil Professor Zero, dreaded leader of PRYSM, who seems to exist entirely in Alex’s head. In the second we are introduced to Harry & Wylde, tow operatives from an anti-prism resistance force called The Academi. They turn out to be friendly. However, their intervention causes Alex to have an episode where he imagines he is fighting two PRYSM villains, a mysterious scientist called Bokeh and Professor Zero’s Number one henchman, Major Arcana. In the third issue, Alex has another delusionary episode and imagines he is a comic strip writer, haunted by a character he killed off years before named Johnny Jenkins. Who Johnny really is and Alex’s relationship with him is explained in the upcoming double issue.

 

JOESEPH
We are living in a world where robots, not as advanced as Alex’s delusions, do exist.  So much so,  U.S. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang partially built his campaign on the working force becoming displaced. What are your thoughts about robotics of today and the potential of tomorrow?

 

FRASER
I find futurism interesting but I’m no expect I have to be honest. It seems inevitable that automation will continue to change the way we live but as we’re seeing at the moment, it’s not the only force that’s going to change things. Obviously climate change and the way we produce food is by far the biggest threat to us medium to long term. Covid-19 and previous coronaviruses’ ability to spread and become a global threat are very much caught up in how we live and how we produce.

I think when most people think of AI, they think of job losses and labour being replaced. Obviously, this is already happening, with fully automated factories and the like. There’s also some interesting subcultures that are into artificial enhancements and some more sinister deployments, like companies tagging employees with trackers. Inevitably, as we’re clearly doing at the moment with the internet, a lot of new technology will be applied badly, to the general detriment of most and the huge benefit of just a few. I’m hopeful however that AI advances do come along to help people with conditions like dementia for example and I’ve read about how electronic deep brain stimulation has helped people with very severe depression. There’s always the worry that new technology will be used badly and using the internet as an example, that seems a fair point. But you have to remain somewhat hopeful.

 

JOESEPH
Alex is having trouble letting go of his delusions. People often resist change. I’m curious, its been asked where is my jet pack future? Instead of having delusions of the future, Alex casts himself back to the 70’s with a futuristic bent.  Almost as if he is going with the familiar and reaching out with his imagination. In many ways, that is human conditioning. Do you think humanity has trouble letting go of what is known so they can step into the unknown?

Absolutely. I’m not sure I’m answering the question you’re asking but I think it’s very difficult to move into contextless space, certainly creatively. I think the human mind naturally uses what it knows to nuance and mutate things, to make things incrementally different. There’s no Beatles without Little Richard and no Little Richard without Howln’ Wolf, if that makes sense. There’s always a cultural context. I think one of the reasons there’s just so much creativity around just now has been one of the hugely beneficial advantages of the internet (see, it’s not all bad!) and that’s massively increased access to other cultures leading to many more blends of various cultures to create interesting new things.

What is next for Alex?

 

FRASER
A break! James and I are going to try a new project in the coming year but we’ll be back with more Alex in 2021.

HEART OF STEEL

JOESEPH
We only been introduced to the Heart of Steel with one of four planned issues. What should readers know before the second issue comes out?

 

FRASER
Here’s the pitch for the series:

Desperate to save her dying brother, teenage cat-burglar Toni Doinel steals the only transplant heart available in the sprawling moon metropolis of Alpha City. However, the heart belongs to a notorious gangster, who’s not about to give it up without a fight!

Toni’s daring heist puts her on a collision course with two estranged childhood friends, gang lieutenant Michael Roche and city cop Oscar Navarro. In one crazy night, Toni, Michael, and Oscar will discover what they are willing to risk for family, clan, and aspiration in a city where you carve out your stake any way you can!

The comic is a blend of sci-fi, heist, and humour with a kind of warmth to it I’m not normally associated with! There’s plenty of action but at heart, it’s a fun caper book that’s about what happens when the bonds of friendship and loyalty are tested.

 

JOESEPH
Science fiction is known for predicting the future. What do you hope actually comes true in Heart of Steel and what do you hope doesn’t?

Well, if we survive long enough I think it’s inevitable we’ll colonise. In this story, the poor have been shunted off of earth onto the moon. In reality I think it’ll be the other way around. The rich will fly off and us plebs will be left with the mess. Heart of Steal really uses the Alpha City (a moon base still affiliated with but largely forgotten by the authorities on Earth) to represent neighbourhoods and districts where people are left. Where they are let down and abandoned by the rest. There are communities like this all over of course. I honestly hope we don’t repeat this on an interstellar scale, but humans gonna human.

 

JOESEPH
Heart of Steel presents time off for your regular colorist and letterer. It is quite an interesting collaboration with you, Katie Fleming (100 Times, Vampire Cafe, and As We Go) a former Dublin resident now living in Japan with Rebecca Horner and Hassan Otsane-Elhaou. Hassan is a jack of all trades type of guy as a writer, letterer, filmmaker. A two-time Eisner nominated and 2019 Eisner winner for his fantastic magazine, PanelxPanel. How did this come about?

 

FRASER
I found Katie’s work through a mutual pal, comic writer Umar Ditta. Katie liked the idea so we locked in as an artist-writer team pretty quickly. I used Rebecca for colours because I honestly thought that given the story had a female lead it was probably right to have the creative team at least 50% women, and she came in and did an amazing job. Colin was originally on board but couldn’t do it so Hass came in and again, did a bang-up job.

 

JOESEPH
Looking at your map from the world of Heart of Steel, I am reminded of talking about division earlier. Do you think division creates boundaries?

 

FRASER
Very much so, that’s what they are for. They don’t crop up by accident.

 

THE EDGE OFF

 

JOESEPH
You tagged Edge Off as “taken meets Eraserhead”.  Mob Enforcer Lee Butler perceptions are fried from being spiked with new designer psychotropic drugs and has to save his daughter who has been kidnapped.

I encourage mental exercises in my daily routine but can’t imagine how it would be to be in Lee’s shoes much less under duress.

A trippy comic for sure. How was it to see the art team come up with the visuals for The Edge Off?

 

FRASER
The idea for The Edge Off was Iain’s in the first place, he came up with the title and the idea that I would write a fairly conventional action thriller script and we’d then try and break it apart and make something else with the pieces. That’s how it started and it evolved from there to include a couple of false starts before we were both entirely happy with the story. Once I had written the script, Iain really managed to get through the art in an inspired short space of time, which I think gave it a lot of energy. You never know exactly what Iain is going to do with your script, but you know it’s going to be spectacular and of course, seeing the art coming in was very exciting. Iain talked a lot with David about the colouring and David did an amazing job.

 

JOESEPH
This comic got a lot of incredible attention. With alternative covers from Frank Quietly and Garry Brown and quotes from Steve Orlando, Mike Perkins, Brian Level, John Lees, and Jason Copeland, any chance of a return to the world of The Edge Off or collaboration with Iain Laurie?

 

FRASER
Not to this particular world, I don’t think, but I’m always open to working with Iain. Iain’s been working on other stuff more recently, but we’ve been friends for a long time so he may be persuaded to come back to comics at some point.

SLEEPING DOGS

 

JOESEPH
Sleeping Dogs is, in speaking of Cabal Comics, your only superhero genre story. The story of a struggling bad guy who retires in an ironic twist to making a living handing out flyers for a comic book store dressed as an off-brand superhero. He tries to do good in his city. Shopping for the elderly, making sure addicts are eating, babysitting for people on shift work. But doing all that good doesn’t help justice come when his son is murdered by a local villain and Mal takes things into his own hands.

What are your thoughts on the superhero genre?

 

FRASER
I’m a big fan. There is scope to tell many different kinds of stories within it and whenever I hear people talking about it being tired or old hat as a genre, I always assume that’s because they haven’t found an interesting way to approach it. It’s probably fair to say that most superhero comics are not great, in the sense that most of everything isn’t great, but you see a lot of people talking about superheroes and the genre as essentially flawed somehow. It certainly isn’t. Tom King, Gabriel Walta, and Mitch Gerads managed to create Vision and Mr. Miracle comics recently that illustrate there is still plenty of life in superhero books recently. There’s still room to create innovative work. I think a lot of the criticism comes from people who either simply don’t like these kinds of stories or aren’t able to come up with interesting ideas in this area. The other criticism you get is that it’s a kids genre, the implication being what are grown adults doing still thinking about these characters? I’m always puzzled and somewhat wary of people who feel they need to entirely jettison any trace of childlike enjoyment and I’m also unimpressed by people who seem to feel the need to curate their lives in part by looking down on things other people enjoy and gate-keep what is or isn’t culturally sophisticated. It’s elitist, unimaginative, and points to a narrowness that doesn’t interest me.

Obviously, I think the flack superhero comics get makes me think of it as a scrappy, underdog genre that I feel compelled to defend

 

JOESEPH
This is the one comic I haven’t read of yours.  Was this before your activity with Kickstarter started?

 

FRASER
Yes, I financed Sleeping Dogs myself. Which took me very quickly to Kickstarter – comics are expensive to make!

 

JOESEPH
Obviously Marvel and DC are sold in the UK. Given that, the superheroes created there are uniquely their own. I always enjoyed that aspect of the superhero genre coming out of the UK.  What the UK created superheroes did you follow?

I grew up reading Captain Britain, Nightraven, Zenith, Nemesis, Slaine, etc. in 2000AD and Marvel UK comics.

I grew up reading Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Pat Mills, Garth Ennis, and many others illustrated by Alan Davis, Brian Bolland, Mick McMahon, Iain Gibson, Gary Leech, etc. People forget that a lot of “American comics” and a great deal of the lore that represents are really British, created by people lured over to work in the States in the 80s by Karen Berger.

Rebellion is doing an incredible job of reprinting the great history of comics from the UK. I’m hoping to see what they do with the superhero material. Understandably, tho, the potential of what they can publish is so vast and amazing, it might be a long wait! What from the history vaults of UK Comic history would you like do see back in print?

 

Fraser
I think there is probably quite a bit of “lost” stuff from the days of Marvel UK. A lot of these comics were reprints of American books of course but there were loads of original strips and lots of backups and shorts that many rarely seen gems by People like Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, Steve Parkhouse, Alan Moore, etc. I’d love to see a nice hardcover collecting all that.

HOUSE OF SWEETS

 

JOESEPH
Han’s, your main character in House of Sweets, comes across something he doesn’t quite remember writing. Have you ever written something, upon reading it after the fact, were questioning if you actually wrote it?

 

FRASER
Haha, no but I have written things down in the night then been unable to make any sense of it the next day. I think most writers have had that.

 

JOESEPH
A psychological horror story that themes of includes isolation and obsessions loosely based on Brothers Grimm fairy tales like Hanzel and Gretel.  Brothers Grimm, quite an interesting subject. People think, as we step forward in the future, that we are better than we were in the past.  The dumbing down or making Grimm’s Fairy Tales more tame in content. The stories were originally told in 1812! In the last decade, we’ve become more aware of how their fairy tales were originally written.

Could you imagine your story being edited by some future editor to be tamer?

 

FRASER
No, not really. There are projects where I’m very happy to work with an editor to improve it and polish it up but stuff like House of Sweets I think has to be personal and in some senses raw so it never even occurred to me to work with an editor on it. That said, it was a collaboration with Iain, so he had his say but that was always intended.

JOESEPH
Given that a story is told as well as it can, as a self-published product, readers are able to see a more true creation than that that is mass-produced.  Keeping in control of your creation also allows that for its continued publication.

I’m curious about your ideas on…

SELF PUBLISHING

JOESEPH
Self Publishing has been around for far longer than you or I.

I remember it being called a vanity press, at a time when the media was biased against self-publishers. Now it is far more accepted and becomes a greater reality for more authors than ever before.

How is self-publishing thought of in the UK?

 

FRASER
I think increasingly well. The market is becoming very fragmented and the book and comics markets are in many senses plodding dinosaurs struggling to keep going. As such, many small publishers are pivoting away from having any real infrastructure. No staff no production facilities, all they really offer is their publishing/marketing expertise and access to the market. That’s not to be sniffed at I suppose, but my point is you can achieve a lot of what a “real” publisher can these days entirely on your own. And may are. Lots of people are finding big audiences out here while completely bypassing traditional models.

 

JOESEPH
What caused you to step into the self-publishing arena?

 

FRASER
Initially probably not having the confidence to approach publishers. Now, it’s in the knowledge that I can do just about as much with my own book as anyone can. My next big task is making inroads into bigger markets.

 

JOESEPH
What are some of the problems facing a self-publisher in the UK?

 

FRASER
Sheer volume of great completion. But that’s also a very good thing because you have to be absolutely on your game and make sure every book you put out is as good as you can make.

Other problems are lack of access to book/comic markets, lack of money to promote, the same old problems really.

But I think self-publishing really is as viable as any model these days, simply because the publishing industry as it was has really contracted. I think most creatives hope to be “discovered” or at least picked up for some work by a major publisher. Many seem to think this means they are then going to be successful and that they’ll have somehow “made it” and that’ll be them, pro comic creators for life. That’s just not how it works. There are very few people with genuine week to week careers in comics. Most work is by project and once something is done, if you don’t pick up another gig then you’re off the treadmill. Also, there’s not much money. I think a lot of people will be stunned by page rates offered even to seasoned professionals. There are also LEGIONS of people out there ready to rip you off, many of them calling themselves publishers.

 

JOESEPH
What is in the future of Cabal Comics and Robert Frazier

 

FRASER
Hopefully just to keep going and get my books out there.

 

JOESEPH
Best way for fans to keep up to date with what you do?

 

FRASER
I’m always hanging around on Twitter at @FraserC69

 

JOESEPH
In addition to Editor Harry French, You have been joined by others on these projects during your Kickstarters. Alternative covers, prints, and other facets of your Kickstarters. We started this interview talking about collaboration. Let’s end it mentioning the others you have collaborated:

 

FRASER
Oh, there are so many:

Lautaro Capristo, Joe Mulvey, James Corcoran, Shaky Kane, Alasdair Wood, Nick Pittara, Iain Laurie, Alfie Gallagher, Frank Quitely, Garry Brown, David Rubin, Katie Fleming, Rebecca Horner, Martin Simmonds, John J. Pearson, Victor Santos, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, David B. Cooper, Colin Bell, Allan Swan, Paul Harrison Davis, Mo Ali, David Dell’oso, Harry French …and loads of other who have done promo pin-ups and stuff.

 

JOESEPH
and one last question: What, to you is the recipe for a successful collaboration?

 

FRASER
Good communication is really important, I guess that’s the obvious answer. One thing I have done well is to surround myself with talented people to help make me look good. That sounds like a joke and it kind of is a bit tongue in cheek but it’s also true. Obviously, if you can you choose who you work with you want people who care as much as you do. It also helps a lot if you like the people you’re making a comic book with. It should be fun, you know?

_________

True words Fraser and thank you for the interview.

Fraser has a new Kickstarter out! Knockout and Tigerstyle – A 70’s Throwback!
Two fast and Furious Prizefighters team up to bring down Harlem’s notorious underground fighting circuit with art by Adam Falp!

Take a look at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamfalp/knockout-and-tigerstyle-1

 

For more on Fraser: https://alexautomaticblog.wordpress.com/

https://www.firstcomicsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Fraser-Banner-600x187.pnghttps://www.firstcomicsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Fraser-Banner-150x47.pngJoeseph SimonInterviewsFraser Campbell
Fraser Campbell has used Kickstarter to debut his engaging comics over the last few years.  A captivating writer sees Fraser often teaming up with colorist David Cooper and lettering/design by Colin Bell.  You can find them together on Sleeping Dogs with artist Lautaro Capristo, The Edge Off with artist...