CREATOR SPOTLIGHT: JAY GUNN – SURFACE TENSION

WE ARE ALL MADE OF WATER.

Surface Tension #1 is The Walking Dead meets Princess Mononoke!

This May sees the release of Surface Tension #1, a new creator-owned comic book series by Jay Gunn. Advanced reviews describe Surface Tension as “mysterious and intriguing”, and “Princess Mononoke meets The Walking Dead“. 

This genre-bending ecological fable with elements of horror and fantasy is difficult to define with one exception – the quality of both art and storytelling is outstanding. There is no doubt that Surface Tension is “set to be a monstrous hit” (Laura Sneddon, Comics Beat).

I sat down with Jay to discuss his new series, the influences behind it, and what readers can expect. – Owen Johnson, Senior Press and Marketing Officer. 

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 COVER B. Order Code: MAR151532 

Why comics?

Creator owned comics are one of the few visual mediums where you can still present complex ideas and themes and also be entertaining without having to sacrifice integrity or vision. I’ve always loved comics when I was a kid, 2000ad blew my mind. Now I get to read comics on a wide range of subjects and cultures. There’s more to comics than just super heroes.

How did you some up with the idea of Surface Tension?

It came out of a debate that I had with a friend. At the time I was quite pessimistic about the human race and was of the opinion that the planet would be better without us. My friend was convinced that we would eventually learn to live in harmony with the planet.

 I decided to take this debate and make it the backbone of a story, turning the two differing opinions into fictional characters, both of whom have the power to save or to destroy the world. Who would win and would the winning outcome be for the best?

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Interior pages from Surface Tension #

What can readers expect from the mini-series?

Lots of monsters, melting people, mystery and suspense! Actually, the book works on two fronts – on the surface it is a sci-fi horror romp that has lots of action and tension. Secondly, under the surface, the book is positing lots of questions to the reader; about our place in the world and do we deserve to survive when we’ve done so much harm.

There are lots of twists during the story, nothing is as it first seems. The book is not a typical ‘post apocalyptic comic’ there’s so much more to it than just zombies. The reader will be taken on a great adventure, it’s going to get very crazy in later episodes!

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Interior pages from Surface Tension #1. 

What are the key influences on Surface Tension?

I’ve always responded positively to science fiction or horror that are parables or have something to say. John Wyndham’s novel The Day of the Triffids or Miyazaki’sPrincess Mononoke are good examples of the sort of balance that I was aiming to achieve with Surface Tension.

 I also put a lot of my own life experiences into the book. When I was a child my family lived near to a massive chemical plant that exploded and decimated a nearby village. I was then fascinated with how nature reclaimed that poisoned land. Just one of the many elements that influenced scenes in the story.

Pat Mills described Surface Tension as, “written and drawn with passion” What does creating this comic book mean to you?

I poured a lot of myself into this book and I thought, if I only ever get the chance to make one book then I wanted it to ‘mean something.’ Not just for me but for the reader. We live in turbulent times and I didn’t want to make a book that is a simply a reflection of our capacity to hate. I wanted to make something that inspires hope, even in the darkest of times.

I had a life threatening illness when writing and drawing this book and there was a time when I wasn’t sure if I would actually see the end of the book. I decided to put that life changing experience into the story, you can see it in the way some of the characters evolve and change.

The fact that I achieved my goal, beat the illness and created a book that I’m very proud of was all the passion I needed. The story reflects that journey, it tells us that we should never ever give up.

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