Talking Horror with the Mind Eating Zombie behind DarkOz Comics, Darren Koziol

On Episode Four of Flipside Focus I talked about Cthulu from DarkOz, the man behind this title and a series of horror books especially Decay, Darren Koziol was kind enough to join me for an interview.

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CC: Okay Darren, What is DarkOz?

DK: DARK OZ is an independent Australian comic book publisher, mainly producing anthology comics – DECAY and Retro Sci-Fi Tales. Well over 100 top Australian creators have contributed to these comic books so far. These comics are the biggest and best showcase of Australian talent around, with around a dozen to two dozen creators featured per issue. Both new emerging talent and established professionals work on DARK OZ comics. There’s been over 150 creators in total featured, with several international guests on top of all the Aussie talent.

CC: What inspired you to make anthology series the way they are?

DK: I’ve always loved anthology comics – you can pick up any one issue and it is full self contained, there’s no commitment or worry of missing an episode. DECAY and Retro Sci-Fi Tales were inspired by the old Warren comics like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, along with comics like Heavy Metal and 2000AD. Making an anthology also gives the comics a lot more variety, and dozens of creators can have their work published every issue – plenty of new emerging talents have had their first work published in DARK OZ comics. It’s also a lot easier to find several artists to draw several short stories, rather than find one artist to commit to one long comic or an ongoing series.
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CC: In a few words, can you describe your titles?

DK: DECAY is a Mature Readers horror anthology, containing every type of horror you can imagine – the A to Z of horror. Some issues are a little light-hearted, others more extreme (DECAY #17, the ‘Ozploitation’ issue, is the ‘worst’ issue so far, ultra sick and ultra violent – and it’s the best seller!!!). Retro Sci-Fi Tales is an old-school inspired science fiction anthology for fans of pulp and retro science fiction. The Vampire ‘Sisters’ have had a number of short stories in DECAY and are now getting their own title, to be launched at San Diego Comic Con with a bumper 28-page story first issue.
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CC: For American comic fans who are going to SDCC16, what do they expect from your booth?

DK: For San Diego I’m taking a series of new comics, collecting the ‘best of’ material from everything I’ve published so far. The best horror stories from DECAY are being collected into a new anthology series titled ‘Ozploitation’, with lots of Australian settings, locations, animals, cars and the creators behind it all too. The best science fiction stories from Retro Sci-Fi Tales (and some from DECAY) will be in a new science fiction anthology called ‘2525’ – imagining the future as if we’re living in the past. There’s also the one-shot ‘Cthulhu’ anthology, collecting material from DECAY #12. And the all-new first issue of the ongoing ‘Sisters’ comic is getting its worldwide exclusive release at San Diego Comic Con.
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CC: Where will you be in SDCC?

DK: I’ll be at my DARK OZ table which is at location L11 in the Small Press area of the main trade hall – just down an aisle from Heavy Metal Magazine.
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CC: what music do you listen to when making a new title?

DK: When working I generally don’t have any music or other distractions playing. But when I do it’s a huge variety – movie soundtracks are great, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Taylor Swift, classic rock and new music, all sorts – depends how I feel at the time.
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CC: What comics are you reading at the moment?

DK: Crossed, 2000AD, Heavy Metal – there’s heaps more that I’m buying but I just don’t have the time to read them all (I keep hoping for the Zombie Apocalypse to start so I don’t have to go to work and I can just sit in my bunker catching up on all my reading, film and television collections)
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CC: Which international comic writer/artist would you like to work on one of your titles? And why?

DK: My all time favourite comic book writer is Pat Mills, the creator of 2000AD, Nemesis the Warlock, Marshal Law, etc etc etc. And my all time favourite comic book artist is Kevin O’Neill – know for his work on Nemesis the Warlock, Marshal Law, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc etc. I’d love to work with one or both of these guys, or have any kind of contribution from them in my comics. I was talking to Pat Mills recently and he was very impressed with the comics I’m making. (Listen to a Undercover Capes Interview with Pat Mills HERE)
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CC: If a writer/artist is looking for a start up with Darkoz, how do they apply?

DK: Send a script in any time, my email details are on the website. Keep your story short and punchy, as exciting as possible on every page. Make it original and fully self contained – don’t create a new universe or ongoing character. I’m not making too many comics at the moment though, as I fund this all out of my own pocket and in my own time, so space is scarce and there’s a lot of competition.
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