Dodgy here. Darren Close, Victorian based comic creator best known for creating the cult classic Killeroo took the time to have a chat!
What got you into comics?
Batman #429. The Joker had killed Robin, and Batman was going to take him down, and was going to have to fight Superman to do it.
That was it, game over. I was hooked.
When did you say to yourself “this is what I wanna do, I wanna make
I went to high school with Damien Shanahan, who self-published both an ANTHOLOGY book with his friends, and a PIZZA MAN series as well. It was his inspiration and encouragement that made me go from reading comics to making comics I think. Firstly with an A5 mini-comic called ECLIPSE and later with Killeroo.
Do you have a particular writer and/or artist you admire?
I grew up on late-80s/early 90s Marvel books primarily, so I’ve kinda followed the Image Comics founders since, particularly McFarlane and Larsen with his SAVAGE DRAGON comic. But since then I’ve broadened my palate, and enjoy a wide variety of artistic styles, from Sean Murphy and Mignola to Sienkiewicz, Wrightson and Sandoval.
I’d have to say I’ve always given more importance to the artistic side rather than the writing side of comics.
There’s a whole bunch of local creators that I tend to follow as well, such as Bobby N, David Blumenstein, Ben Michael Byrne to name but a few. There’s a vast ocean of talent in Australia, it’s exciting to be a part of it!
When did the idea of making a comic book about an anthropomorphic kangaroo come into your head?
I was studying Graphic Design at La Trobe Uni in Bendigo, and there was a quarterly magazine the university published. It had a comic in it called SPACE RATS and it was bloody awful, and being a bit cocky – I thought I’d come up with something of my own to compete with it.
I think it was around the time that there was a controversial local news story where some guy had shot a kangaroo with a bow and arrow, which had enraged me, and I thought it would be great if kangaroos could fight back. So I drew a little one-page story about how some Uni students out spotlighting (hunting roos at night) ended up biting off more than they could chew, with a talking kangaroo and a machine gun turning the tables on them – paired with a savage killer possum that ripped their intestines out.
It was pretty stupid really, and not particularly better than SPACE RATS either! I only did the one-pager, but years later I dusted off the character for a collaborative comic book called BOOK ONE, and it just went from there.
Is there any cool new things on the horizon for Darren Close/Killeroo in 2017?
I’m looking forward to the awesome FESTIVAL OF THE PHOTOCOPIER coming up in February, but other than that I have no other conventions lined up for 2017 at this stage.
I’m focusing more on publishing more books, with two trade paperbacks of KILLEROO: GANGWARS, an all-ages book called YOUNG RUFUS ADVENTURES, and a few more books, including another autobio story (in the vein of my STRUGGLE book).
Recently, you have had other creators write and illustrate Killeroo. Who would you
love to write/illustrate your dream Killeroo book?
To be honest, Killeroo needs a long run of myself drawing the book before I consider anyone else for the job. He needs continuity and regular output, and while collaborating with others can be a lot of fun – it’s not something you can control very well if you’re not doing it yourself.
I still seek out pinups from my favourite comic artists though, I recently scored one from Gerardo Sandoval (VENOM) which was pretty awesome.
What do you do in your spare time?
So far this year it’s mainly been drawing, but I also love a good poker game as well. Movies, Netflix, catching up with friends, the usual stuff.
If given the chance to write or draw for a Marvel or DC book, what would it be?
I hope to make it MORE than a chance before I depart this Earth, but I’d have to say that at present – neither of those publishers appeals a great deal to me. All the constant reboots, rebirths and mega crossovers have kinda turned me off from their books at the moment, which is a real shame. I was a Spider-man fan since McFarlane was on ASM back in 1988, but these days the character just doesn’t seem like the same character anymore.
Hopefully this will change by the time I’m up for a bat. 🙂
If the guy on You Tube who punched the Kangaroo (see above) in fact punched Killeroo, what would be the consequences?
You never would have heard about it. He wouldn’t be around to tell the tale, let alone film it!
What does Australia Day mean to you?
It’s lost a bit of its appeal to me these days, ever since the Cronulla riots the Australian flag doesn’t seem to stand for pride anymore, it’s been hijacked by racists and xenophobes. I also think Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is deplorable, and the fact that we’re commemorating “invasion day” remains as something divisive rather than unifying.
The recent BBQ LAMB ad I think far better reflects the kind of Australia Day I’d like to see, maybe shifting the date to May 8 (M8 – MATE) would be more appropriate.