The AusComX Show ep 11 with Lauren Marshall and Chris Gooch

he AusComX Show is back from our short hiatus and we're calling this now, it's Season 2 now! The AusComX Show is back and we got the cool kids on the block. Episode 11 will be a great combo of superb Australian indie comic book creators. In our first half, we'll have the amazing Chris…


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Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:09):
Hi, Shane here. Welcome to Oz Comex Show. We’re missing Jerome this week. He’s not feeling well. So Jerome, if you’re listening, I hope you’re feeling a bit better. So tonight we have Lauren Marshall and Chris go and talking about their comics and just what got them into comics. So let’s get on with the show. Welcome to the Oz Comics Show again. Okay. Our first guest tonight is Chris Goosh and I’ll just bring him straight on and we can start talking about comics. Hey man, how are you going?

Chris Gooch (01:13):
Good, thank you for having me.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:16):
Yeah, it’s a pleasure. I’m disorganised already.

Chris Gooch (01:21):
No stress.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:27):
Why is it not letting me move this? Okay, sorry about that. The one mistake I always make with this is I don’t keep track of the comments and then I end up putting comments on the screen that are about five minutes late and it just looks weird. Cool. So Chris, probably my first question would be what got you started in the comic industry here in Australia?

Chris Gooch (01:57):
Well, I mean it’s probably a pretty typical story. I always loved drawing. I always loved comics as a kid and then as a teenager and then when I finished high school, I started taking it more seriously. I went and studied fine art and didn’t so much contemporary art and put most of my effort into making, I don’t know, short comic stories and sort of trying to build up and get towards making eventually a graphic novel.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (02:19):
Oh cool.

Chris Gooch (02:20):
And my first steps into interacting with the local community, were going to squish face and doing a 24 hour Squish face was an open comic studio in Brunswick for

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (02:33):
Six years.

Chris Gooch (02:35):
So in Melbourne, shut down, we’ll probably reopen a bit later on, but that was maybe the first comics community experience I had. So going there meeting a bunch of people, I was 18 and just spending the whole night doing a comic book and then going to things like the Sticky Scene Fair, which is the biggest scene fair in Melbourne, which has a lot of comics there and meeting people and making things for that. And it wasn’t so much selling your stuff, although that’s always lovely, but just interacting with people and meeting other people that make comics. Yeah, I think that was how I first started getting into it.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (03:14):
Alright, cool. Sounds like a great way to get into it. Actually. Getting a comic to print. What did you find was the hardest thing to get that happening?

Chris Gooch (03:30):
I guess it depends which type of comics we’re talking about. So those early stages like making zines and self-publishing and stuff. Honestly the hardest thing was probably working up the nerve to go do the conventions of the zine fairs and sitting there and putting yourself out there in that respect and just finishing something and putting it out there. In terms of my other stuff, like the graphic novels, so I have three books out with an American publisher called Told Top Shelf at the moment.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (04:02):
I have those actually.

Chris Gooch (04:04):
Thank you for buying. I mean, I was lucky that someone could introduce me to them. I’d had a lot of rejection just because very difficult I think for an Australian who doesn’t have a huge social media following to make contact with these American publishers because the impression I get is that they pre Covid would’ve gone to all the conventions and they would remember a face to go with a name and stuff along those lines and that’s how they would sort of meet people who didn’t have a profile or weren’t in a known quantity of them. So that was the process of getting published with them. And then I did my first book and then after that I organised to do a short story collection and my second book at the same time and now I’m working on a third within as well.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (04:56):
Oh, awesome. That’s great man.

Chris Gooch (04:59):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (05:01):
And we’ve Rusty’s giving us a G Day. G Day Rusty. So I guess when you started and everything, so you were saying that you drew a lot, you liked comics a lot, but was there anything that inspired you to take that step to actually start creating your own? Or was it just sort of organic?

Chris Gooch (05:25):
I think it’s more in the sense that I knew I’d always wanted to make them, or at least it was early enough that I don’t have a proper memory of reading something and being like, this is something I want to dedicate a big portion of my life to or whatever. But as a teenager, as a young adult, there are definitely books that I’ve read that I’ve just like, holy shit, this is phenomenal. And the Dark Knight Returns, for example, that was like 14-year-old me, I was like, oh my God, this is so amazing. And everybody who probably read that book when they were a 14, 12-year-old probably has that relationship where they love it and then they’re like, oh, I don’t know. And they keep coming back to it. But that was one of those. And then a lot of manger as well. The first long form on maybe comic that I ever read that I got really absorbed into was Miyazaki’s his big epic that you can buy in those big fat two volume editions now. And I mean as much as I like Frank Miller’s illustrations and I enjoyed Darknet Returns, nothing compares to the scope of Noe Secure. It’s so fantastic. So I definitely had a lot of experiences like that where just like, oh my God, you are young. And even now just looking at it’s like how even how do people make this? This is so much, this is so amazing and you feel so connected to it and it’s very important to you, especially with that early stage with identity forming and whatnot.

But that’s about as close as I get to having a moment where I was like, oh, I want to do this.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (07:06):
Alright, cool. And we’ve got sped saying Good day. If I can get my mouse in the right place. Okay. So first I think when I ordered your books, I got ’em from, I think it was Booktopia from Memory. The first one that arrived was bottled. So tell us about bottled.

Chris Gooch (07:30):
So that was No, sorry, go.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (07:34):
Oh, I was just going to say just as a summary or just anything you want to tell us about the comic actually. Yeah,

Chris Gooch (07:41):
For sure. So that one came out in 2016 when I was talking before about working towards a graphic novel. That was when I was in uni. I was trying to build up to make something. And then in third year, so about three years out of high school, I spent just in the background about a year writing the first draught of the script. And then once I finished it, I went and got a studio space at Squish Face and just started drawing in. So it’s about maybe 250 pages. It’s one of those weird things where it’ll take you 40 minutes to read at most maybe. So it’s like years and years and years. That’s all comics, but years of life and years of drawing and then it’s all just done in 40 minutes. But in terms of what the story is, it’s sort of young adults lost in that sort of stage that I was in when I was writing it, which we’ve all been, I’m sure where the relationships you had coming out of high school or just that teenage period are starting to deteriorate and you are starting to change and the people around you are starting to change and you start to have that grow with these people that were a family of sorts.

You saw them every day at high school or every day after school or whatever. So it’s about those relationships breaking down or at the very end, the very end of a relationship like that breaking down and imploding and people being shit heads to each other

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (09:21):
Makes sense. I’ve got to sit down and actually spend that 40 minutes. So I look forward to that. Sounds like a cool little book that’s something you can really relate to as well by sounds of it. I remember all that happening, so yeah.

Chris Gooch (09:38):
Yeah, it’s definitely, it’s not autobiographical by any means, but I mean it’s meant to be somewhat personal.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (09:45):
Yeah. Well I was going to say, I think a lot of people have gone through that same situation or journey or whatever you want to call it, so that could explain the book’s popularity that everyone’s gone on a similar journey with that book. I just was curious, is there any reason you picked the two colour tone way of doing it? Is that for effect or is that some sort of to set the mood or

Chris Gooch (10:13):
Well, I mean I guess the answer is yes to both. That’s something for all the books I have out top shelf, it’s lime work, like black and white lime work with half tone. So sort of like the dots, you can see them on the screen here up the top examples of those with the spot colour, generally I try and pick a spot colour that I think matches the general mood of the comment or the story or whatever, but it’s also a practical choice. I really love the restricted colour and I want the pages and images to kind of pop as much as they can, but I also only have X amount of hours to dedicate to, and particularly I’m slowing down a little bit more, taking a bit more time now, but particularly when I was doing that one and some of the short stories that are in the collection, it’s like I had the attitude of I want to get this done. It was more about getting it finished, getting it out there than having every page be as perfect as it could be. So yeah, there’s a practical and a tonal style element I’d say.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (11:31):
Okay, cool. Yeah, actually, yeah, sorry, I’m just going over what I’ve prepared for myself so I didn’t get too lost. So what’s it like because been with Comex Studio, I’ve been dealing with a lot of short stories with people at the moment and I’ve seen the process behind making an eight page story or a 24 page story or a little trade paperback, but what’s it like making something that’s like 250? Did you say 250 pages?

Chris Gooch (12:09):
Yeah, I have these two different ways that I approach making the long form stuff and I try and sort of alternate between them just so that it doesn’t get mostly too boring for myself, so it feels like I’m changing up a bit. So for bottled that was two 50 pages. I wrote essentially what looked like a screenplay that had all the dialogue and stage directions and stuff like that, and it was about four or five chapters and then chapter by chapter I’d print off chapter one, note it down with what I wanted to divide up the dialogue and directions into panels and pages, thumbnail that, and then just illustrate the entire chapter. So going from that written screenplay type of thing to the page, my recent book, my most recent one that’s been published is called Under Earth, which is much longer. That’s like 600 something, five 50. It’s a lot of pages for that one. I had this aim of trying to make it more driven by illustrations, more organic, especially because there’s a lot of extended action sequences, running and punching and stampedes and jumping out of buildings and things like that. So I wanted to have that drive the page and panel on transitions. So for that I would write dialogue just in a notebook or on a blank, a four page real rough and then just go straight into the illustrations on my tablet, just using it digitally.

So not having that finalised script that I’ve gone over and revised and tried to make as perfect as I can. Just jumping in rough and doing a rough first draught in total readable, very simple thumbnails, but yeah, readable. And the process of that was I ended up having these big, big long draughts that I had to trim down and then I’d go through and I’d rewrite some of the dialogue and sort of tinker with it to try and because how it is with writing it you not really often I find until you get to the end of that first draught, you’re not a hundred percent sure what the characters are or where it’s heading. So going back through the second draught, there’s that great gaman quote where it’s like, oh, second draught is making it look like you knew what you were doing the whole time. It’s making consistency in character and making sure it’s all driving towards the ending that you now know what it actually is. So yeah, that’s how I approach making these long form ones. And it’s been a very long time since I did a short form thing, but it’s probably a similar process

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (14:58):
Depending on Yeah, well I’ve only seen those three of your books actually, so Brain’s abandoning me, forgetting what they’re called. I know Bottled and you said Under

Chris Gooch (15:13):
Earth and the Short Story collection is Deep Breaths.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (15:18):
Deep Breaths, that’s a short story.

Chris Gooch (15:20):
Short story collection.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (15:22):
Oh, collection. I was going to say I remember the book being just as big as the others. Yeah,

Chris Gooch (15:26):
Collection. Collection maybe the short stories Orange under oath is purple and bottled is red. Those are the covers

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (15:34):
Red. Okay, cool. So with the story that long, have you got any techniques you could share? We have a lot of people who actually write comics and draw comics and so forth who watch the show probably have a more majority of that than we do fans. Is there any techniques that you have that keeps the reader interested for such a long comic?

Chris Gooch (16:07):
Well, I like reading a lot of how-to books and stuff, so that’s just something I do to go to sleep is like I’ll listen to, I don’t know, a masterclass or whatever. I’m listening to one right now called How to Write Bestselling Fiction, which is fun. Oh

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (16:26):

Chris Gooch (16:27):
But to be honest, most of that stuff is all stuff you can take and leave. I think the best thing if you’re making stuff is always just to finish your first draught to make sure you get to the end. Don’t start illustrating it until you’ve at the very least have a totally firm idea of where you’re going and ideally written draughts. Otherwise it all spirals out of control and goes to shit. But I don’t know, maybe I don’t think too much about trying to grip a reader or engage a reader. Maybe that’s bad.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (17:04):
No, no, no. I mean you got a great story, so that’s probably more than enough. I was just curious if you had any sort of tricks into the trade type of thing. We had another guy on who talked about page turns, for example. Yeah,

Chris Gooch (17:20):
Oh yeah. The comments I make are pretty decompressed, so it’s not so much paying super close attention to how everything stacks up and then leading towards that one page turn, it’s more like manga getting sucked into a sequence that might lead to a specific visual or set piece. I always really liked this thing that Chester Brown said, whatever you think of him, he’s certainly not perfect, but he was always, several pages of talking heads will always be better than a page crammed full of dialogue. And I think for me as a reader and someone that makes, that applies not just to dialogue but to everything else. I don’t want to, if I’m going to read an action sequence, I don’t want to look at a full page spread of Superman punching Batman and that’s all you get. I want to have that sort of more manger experience where it’s ducking and weaving and speed lines and letting a sequence breathe, and that’s how I want to be sucked in. So I guess I try and emulate that when I’m making stuff.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (18:30):
So a real manger influence

Chris Gooch (18:32):
Is a bit just in terms of things being decompressed and letting them play out and stuff like that. But yeah.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (18:44):
Cool, thanks for that. What would you say about proper world building? I think you’ve already answered this one, proper world building to make a narrative smoother. This is what you are saying before, isn’t it, where you get that whole draught out, so exactly how it’s ending and so all the pieces make sense

Chris Gooch (19:11):
For sure. I think it depends in terms of, well building, I guess it depends on the genre you’re working in. For example, under Oath is a prison story. It’s set in a subterranean, hollowed out landfill where prisons get dumped and they sort of have to fend for themselves and they have the royal society down there. The way I approached that is one piece was a big touch point or whatever for that in the sense that a lot of the technology there is totally anachronistic the level of technology that they have. They have phones, but they don’t have equivalent levels of other stuff, if I’m making sense. He sort of just builds it out of whatever he wants to put in the story and that’s how I built the world. I went and just was trying to get through this long draught and just adding things in that I thought were cool and I wanted to happen in terms of world building.

And then I went through and I evened it out, but the my new comic is more like a horror monster horror thing and a lot of the feedback I’ve been getting from the publisher is you can’t, or we don’t want you to do the same thing you did last time where it’s not a big mishmash. It’s like because of the different genre and the different way you’re presenting it, things need to be more, well-defined, the world needs to have set boundaries and there needs to be more of an explanation of why these things are happening and how we got to this point. But I would just personally think that the best thing to do is to start with the story. If you are writing a fantasy thing, it’s always best to start with characters and stories as opposed to a big long, a thousand years ago there was peace and 2000 years after that there was war and that stuff is very difficult to have it drive an engaging story.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (21:13):
Makes sense. So the under earth one, is that like a dystopian type story? Sorry, I haven’t had the chance

Chris Gooch (21:20):
To No stress. Yes, it’s sort of specifically that. So the garbage city, it’s very much set in the detritus of our world, so there’s a sequence where characters are sort of mining out all the sort of a garbage and pulling out anything that can get the hands-on that’s been thrown out that can be found. There’s another character who sort of collects electronics and pop culture stuff from our time as a way to stay connected to the world that they vaguely remember and like Chu Dolls or Bud Simpson Sheets or things like that. And this is scene where somebody gets beat to death within a Nintendo 64 and stuff. So it’s meant to be near future ish, but there’s no laser beams or anything like that.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (22:11):
Yeah, I like that actually. Yeah, that’s nice. Change from a lot of near future laser floating cars, all that business.

Chris Gooch (22:21):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (22:23):
So what would you say, what’s the word I’m looking for here, the crucial elements for a successful dystopian story would you say?

Chris Gooch (22:38):
Well, I can only really answer as somebody who enjoys them as a reader or someone who watches things.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (22:45):
Yeah, yeah, that’s all I’m after. That’s all I’m after.

Chris Gooch (22:47):
Oh, perfect. Well, I guess character not being too incredibly depressing. I can’t watch the road. It’s just too grim and even, I don’t know, having a sense of humour or acknowledging the absurdity of it all is useful. I think Snow Pierce, it was a really big sort of just influence on me generally, but also for my prison comic. Have you seen it?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (23:18):
No, I haven’t actually. Sorry.

Chris Gooch (23:20):
It is at the same time a fantastic fucking groundbreaking, phenomenal movie and also a total mess and a giant piece of shit. It really just collapses at the end there.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (23:34):

Chris Gooch (23:36):
Even when it’s gone to shit, it’s still totally endearing because it’s trying so many different things at the same time. And I think if you’re going to do a dystopian world, one that we’ve seen so many before, it’s important to try new things in indulge in novelty, and I don’t want to watch another rip off of Ghost in the Shell or the road or whatever. I want to watch something like Snow Pierce. It’s on a train that goes around the world constantly. It’s fun and it’s a little bit silly and I don’t know, I think that’s what I’m after. Although I did love the platform, that Netflix film, which was so violent, so depressing, but at the same time, have you heard of this one?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (24:26):
I haven’t even heard of that one, otherwise watched it.

Chris Gooch (24:28):
I mean it’s like there’s a lot of cannibalism and it’s very grim, but the premise is it’s in a layer to prison and every layer is just two people in a concrete thing and down the middle of the prison is this platform that starts off with a full course meal, like a feast, and then it spends two minutes on every platform and the people at the top gorge themselves and the people at the bottom get nothing.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (24:58):
Oh wow. That’s an interesting concept.

Chris Gooch (25:02):
In no way is that ever going to happen in real life. No, but it’s a fun level of social commentary. It’s not in any way pretentious. It’s like, yeah, we get it. It’s like a capitalist society, obviously it’s that, but it is premise where they have fun and it’s very much super indulgent in gore and cannibalism and all that stuff worth checking out if you can stomach that stuff. Yeah,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (25:34):
Definitely. Definitely. Sounds cool. Sounds interesting. Yeah, cool concept. Well, we’re talking about under Earth, so you might as well tell us a bit more about under Earth. Well, we weren’t talking about just then, but you know what I mean. So you were saying it’s like a prison where they’re dumped or something? Sorry. Yeah,

Chris Gooch (25:56):
Sure. No, no, no stress. So geographically it’s set underground under oath in a hollowed out old landfill. There are some maps in the book, the opening page, the opening end papers are a map, so I’m sure I can do my best to describe it. It’s like a big hollow out sphere, deep under the earth. And the opening sequence is somebody being sent there a prisoner. So basically they fly them down through this canal from the surface and just throw them out the helicopter or whatever and dump them in there and they’re left to fend for themselves.

It has its own currency. There are different types of jobs and of the narrative, it’s two parallel stories. So the first is this newcomer who meets a friend and gets involved in this sort of fighting pit stuff and does all that mining of old garbage that I talked about before, and the other story of these two thieves who get hired by these other people to rob the stuff and then the job goes wrong and it becomes a revenge narrative for them. And so remember how I was talking about the different spot colours? So the two narratives each have their own spot colour. So the first one is purple. Oh, that’s really cool. And the other one’s yellow and the narrative, it’s chapter by chapter, but in the middle of the book and at the end of the book they start to sort of cross over a bunch.

They’re both kind of having similar things happen to them and at the end of the book they’re in the same space together. So the idea, the next sort of iteration or the next thing I wanted to try with the spot colours was using it as a visual cue for cutting. Because with a film, you can really generally cut from intercut sequences very easily because there’s so much detail and there’s so much context in a single frame and our eyes will immediately pick it up. If it’s comic, everything’s simplified down to line work and there’s less detail, it’s harder to immediately just be like, oh, I know exactly what I’m looking at within that just single instant than you need to. So my aim was to, especially in these fight scenes at the end, have a six panel grid that’ll be like purple panel one yellow panel, two purple panel three, and just be able to cut and have the colour be that visual cue for the reader. Wow, I’ve lost my train of thought. We’re talking about under earth. Yeah, under, yeah. So yeah, two parallel stories intersect in middle and end with the different colours. And there’s also the other colour is this fire is red and blood is red, so they do have that other visual connector.

One of the feedback items of feedback I got from bottled was a friend was like, oh, I like it, but it doesn’t feel like it has a central thesis. It is not wrapped up in a single overriding theme or point of view or whatever. There’s different stuff that you put in there or that I put in there that I wanted to get through. But no, I mean to be cliche or to boil it down, there’s no single message or whatever. So for under oath, I wanted to try and do that. That was something that was important to him and I admire him and I admire his work a lot. So the central theme is people making a life in a broken system. It’s these prisoners, they’re trapped underground. Everything they do has some sort of cost to it. So for example, these people who are on their revenge trail to do it, they have to hurt people who didn’t necessarily do anything exactly to them. And same with the other guy who gets involved in the fighting pit. There’s no perfect way for them to live their lives. No, they’re kind of just doing their best, which is kind of how I feel a bit like everything’s a bit fundamentally fucked. You go to Kmart, it’s all child labour. It’s like I can’t afford to pay $70 for underwear, so I just get the child labour underwear. It’s fucked it. Anyway, that’s the central theme. I think that’s all I can think of to say about Under Oath, at least right at the

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (30:41):
Moment. No, no, that’s fine. That’s a really good description and yeah, I totally understand what you mean too. So yeah, that’s a really cool theme underlining theme for the book as well,

Chris Gooch (30:51):
Without trying to be super depressing about it either.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (30:55):
Oh, no, no, no.

Chris Gooch (30:56):
Yeah. Okay. Anyway,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (30:59):
Anyone knows that’s the case, I guess. Well, most people should know that’s the case and it’s you sort of just deal with it, I guess. So I guess my next question, oh, you were saying you listened to not self-help, how to educational, how to, that’s the word I’m looking for, how to books. Do you find any of them help? Is there any other learning materials you use to improve your comic writing and comic drawing skills?

Chris Gooch (31:35):
There are definitely a few how-to lectures that I really love. There are ones that I listened to when I first started making comics that are sort of in a similar sort of area for me as Nor Saka or really important books you read. There’s this really amazing talk that Alan Moore and Melinda Gaby do, I think at an art gallery. And it’s just like this two hour YouTube video and it’s them just talking about making art and how they do it and what they think about it. That’s fantastic. If anyone wants to search it on YouTube, I think it’s just the longest video that they’re in. So it’s pretty easy to find. I really, really enjoyed reading. I think it’s Manga Practise in theory. Have you ever heard of an anime or manga called Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure? I,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (32:26):
I’ve heard of other people talk about it, but I haven’t read it or seen it, so Okay.

Chris Gooch (32:30):
I have also not read it or seen it, just my little brother’s enjoyed it. He’s sort of like, it’s all right, you might like it, you might not. But he got this book off, someone recommended it and I was flicking through and I was like, this is great. So I had to buy it for myself and it’s this guy’s very specific rules that have absolutely worked for him. He’s incredibly successful and people really resonates with his stories, but he’s very much like, this is how I do it and if you want to read my book, you can just scream me by all means. But after this, it’s going to be just me explaining exactly how I make it and the rules that I follow. And I really love that because I find his rules to be kind of bizarre and just for example, one of his rules is that a character can never regress, can never go back a step.

They always have to be moving forward, which seems counterintuitive from every film how to I’ve ever read. It’s always second act is the lowest point. Looks like all is lost, but this guy’s like, nah, fuck that. It’s always moving forward and I don’t really agree with everything he writes, but I think it’s really stimulating and really fun to listen to someone being like, do it this way, do it this way. Because as soon as they say that, you immediately know. He says, A character must always move forward and if you’re writing and you’re a writer or whatever, you will have a response just like that in your head and you’ll be like, no, I don’t agree with that, or I agree with that. You immediately know what you think.

I like that. The one I’m listening to now is pretty good. It’s a little bit boring. It’s just off audible. It’s how to write bestselling fiction. It’s just basically a really good recap of most film and novel writing tropes or whatever the standard way to approach a character and plot structure and stuff like that, which with all of this stuff that I listen to, I think it’s a good starting point. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Guy has this really fantastic character sheet that he has and he fills it out for every character he makes. And it’s really specific to him and really fun. It’s just like, do they have scars? What’s their worst memory or their greatest fear or whatever. And it’s like often when I’m stuck or use that just because it’s really weird and fun and easy to get into as opposed to a lot of these other character sheets, which just seem very stale and it’s, anyway, I think those are the two that I would recommend the most. The Neil Gaman masterclass is all right, probably not worth however much they’re charging for it, but Oh, okay. Anyway,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (35:37):
So great plug there for that. So with these books that you’ve got out and you’ve got ’em through a publisher and everything, and not a lot of Australian comic creators get to do that, what’s your feeling on having this? Did you expect to have that level of success with your comics?

Chris Gooch (36:09):
Wait, I’m going to choose my words carefully.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (36:12):
Oh, okay.

Chris Gooch (36:14):
Both? No. So top Shelf from Hell is something they publish and that was maybe, that’s probably still my favourite comic ever. And I really loved that. And signing with them was amazing and it was fantastic and stuff like that. And I’m super grateful for Top Shelf. I think they’re a fantastic publisher, but I still have to work a day job. I don’t want to misrepresent any type of success that I have. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved, but there’s also no point pretending that I’m like Millionaire or anything like that. Covid makes it hard, but before Covid it was call centres and supermarkets and things like that.

But I don’t know, I think in Australia we definitely have that sort of, everything looks rosier and more fancier over in America, not just in terms of publishers. I remember going to, I did this residency in 2015 or 16 or whatever just before Trump, so 15 or 16 and it was going to a small press fair called Cake, and I heard a lot about it and I really loved the time I spent there and there were a lot of fantastic artists, but there was also just a lot of people who were just sort of doing it as a hobby and his work was like, all right, just exactly the same as here. There’s a lot of amazing stuff and there’s a lot of just, I know some stuff that somebody made. Alright,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (38:00):

Chris Gooch (38:02):
I was going over there. I was expecting it all to be the greatest comic book I’ve ever seen. It’d be this super high quality, but it’s just like here and there. It’s the same thing. We just don’t have a proper established graphic novel publishing industry.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (38:21):
So took the romance out of it. That’s probably a good thing.

Chris Gooch (38:26):
Or at least that sort of starry-eyed, the centre of the world in terms of comics or culture. That’s definitely not true, but yeah,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (38:37):
True. That’s really cool. That’s really cool to know. Yeah, I thought the same thing myself. I thought the whole day job doing comics on the side was an Australian thing, but that’s interesting to hear that it’s also an American thing.

Chris Gooch (38:51):
Absolutely. And it’s horrifying for them. They don’t have health insurance.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (38:57):
Oh yeah. I always forget that about America. It’s hard to imagine. I’ve lived in Australia all my life to not have that just seems strange.

Chris Gooch (39:08):
And you have to work a full-time job over there to get it. I think. I’m not a hundred percent

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (39:12):
Sure. And even then you don’t get it. I actually know a few Americans and they’ve told me that it’s just one of those benefits that some jobs have. Not every job

Chris Gooch (39:22):
That is fucked.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (39:24):
Yeah, that is, isn’t it? Yeah. So it’s like, oh yeah, I’m getting this job and it’s not too bad, but I’ve got this other job and it’s got medical healthcare, so I want this one more. And I’m like, oh, that’s a horrible way to be. Oh, sorry, Lee. Hello Lee, thanks for joining us. So what would you say is, I don’t know why I’m reading this and I’m feeling I’ve already asked this. What was the hardest part of just comic creation in general?

Chris Gooch (40:03):
I mean, when I first started it was definitely putting yourself out there and that’d be

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (40:11):
A big thing here for everyone. A lot of people I know as well. Yeah.

Chris Gooch (40:15):
And I really like this. I can’t even remember what it was. Maybe some Twitter screen cap or something. Somebody saying, if you have decent taste, if you can engage with a story and tell when a story is good and when it’s working for you, when you first start writing, you’re going to write a bunch of shit and you’re going to be able to tell it’s not very good. I think that’s a really big hump to get over is to one, sort of realise that it’s not that big of a deal if you write something that isn’t the greatest ever and everything doesn’t have to be perfect. And two, accept that what you’re writing is the start of something and it will get better and you’ll improve. And the only way to do that is to push forward and put new things out. Nowadays though, I’m a little bit older and I think the biggest challenge is just how the fuck do I fit this into the rest of my life? I need to transition out of, I’d like to transition out of dead end jobs, but it’s very difficult when comics takes so much time. Sorry, I don’t mean be pity. It’s not ping or anything, it’s amazing.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (41:35):
Oh, no, no, no, no, that’s good. It’s all

Chris Gooch (41:37):
All good. But I’d say that that’s where I am now, 27, the biggest hurdle, and I don’t have any answers. A lot of people I know went into teaching or lecturing or stuff like that, or Patreon if you have a big following, but yeah, I don’t know. How do you make it work?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (42:00):
Wish I knew. I’m trying to figure that out myself. I’m trying to help other people figure that out as well. So that’s it’s nice little challenge for me.

Chris Gooch (42:10):
Yeah, the other thing is that making a full-time wage off of something doesn’t make it worthwhile. The best things are having a sense of community and making something and putting it out there. It’s just a life problem or a life hurdle. It doesn’t, it’s not such a big deal.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (42:30):
Just finding all the pieces to make it all fit together and so you can still do what you love.

Yeah. Well, I’ve ran out of questions, which is perfect timing at Crossover. Turn to the next person, so perfect. Yeah, we’ve timed that perfectly. Thanks Chris. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for talking about your books with us and talking about how you get through the whole process and everything. That’s been awesome. Very educational and thank you so much for coming onto the show. It’s really appreciated. Just before we go, I got your books from, I think, do you have a best place to go or would me saying just look up those titles on Booktopia is a good place to start?

Chris Gooch (43:20):
Absolutely that one. Or if you have a comic bookshop or a bookshop, if you like, they can order it in for you. It’s distributed in Comic Bookshops by Diamond and in bookshops by Penguin Random House. So it should be available if you’re willing to wait.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (43:35):
Okay, cool. So just those titles again.

Chris Gooch (43:39):
So 2016 250 pages is bottled my first graphic novel. Then 2019, I think it’s about 200 pages is Deep Breaths, short story collection. Then recently end of 2020 was my graphic novel called Under Earth, which is about five 50 pages.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (44:02):

Chris Gooch (44:03):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (44:04):
Nice. And they’re very quality books, unfortunately. Yeah, I’ve got to read them still, but they’re nice books.

Chris Gooch (44:11):
The publisher did a good job. Yeah,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (44:13):
They did a good job. They did a good job. So yeah, thank you. Thank you everyone watching. I hope you got something out of that and I’ll let you go. Chris, thank you for giving us your time and have fun getting your fridge. Thank you. Yes, thank you again and see you later.

Lauren Marshall (44:33):
Alright, thank you so much.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (44:35):
Bye. See you, bye. Okay, so that was Chris Gush and he’s had a lot of fun there talking with him. And now we will go straight to our next guest, which is Lauren Marshall. So we shall just press this button. Hello, Lauren. Hello,

Lauren Marshall (44:55):
Hello. How are you doing

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (44:59):
Good, thanks. Without Jerome tonight, he’s not well. So he said he was going to comment if he was well enough to even watch. It. Looks like he isn’t even well enough to watch Poor Fellow. So it’s just me struggling doing everything at once and trying to remember questions.

Lauren Marshall (45:15):
Good job. No, you’re doing fine. It’s going to be

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (45:17):
Good. So just bear with me. So I mean, what I did with Chris was I started right at the beginning because I’ve done an interview with you before, but for those people who didn’t see it or are meeting you for the first time, what got you into writing comics and graphic novels?

Lauren Marshall (45:39):
So I’ve always been a little bit of a quirky and nerdy girl. I think it sort of bottles down to rats here, rats in the bottles down to my brother. He was always so heavy into gaming. We got the Nintendo, the original Nintendo when it first came out, and it was just like Prodigy child doing everything and smashing battle toes for the first time, which is unheard of. But just growing up with him as an older brother and seeing what he liked and I still liked a couple of girly things here and there, but I just sort of kept gravitating back towards Transformers, ninja Turtles, street sharks, stuff like that. So they were awesome.

When I got older, even through high school, I was always arty. My mom, fantastic, I shouldn’t say illustrated, fantastic artists in terms of doing nude portraits and stuff like that. She was very heavy into charcoal, simplistic, but it was absolutely stunning work and I just followed in her footsteps. I was just naturally gravitating towards a creative lifestyle. And in high school did the art diploma, but that was all painting fruit bowls and I don’t know, drawing stuffed taxidermy or something, which is fine. I learned a lot from it. Colour theory, lighting, shading, blah, blah, blah. But any mention of doing illustrating or comics in general when teachers would just say hell no, but I’m glad I pursued it because I went and did my diploma in animation, which I got directly after high school, but because back then, which was 2006, 2007, the industry just was pretty non-existent here in Perth and I just wasn’t ready to move either eastern states or overseas. So went to more static animation in terms of 2D drawing and then just went from there.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (47:47):
Oh yeah, cool. Nice journey. So you went from that. So what was your first involvement in the actual comic industry?

Lauren Marshall (47:59):
Supernova, actually I went to, it was either Comic Con or Supernova. I went to one of the shows that we had in Perth and I dragged mom along because I didn’t have any girlfriends that wanted to come along with me, funnily enough. And I stumbled across Julian Dele and I saw his work, the Perth show, and I asked him about it. I was like, oh, how did you get a spot, blah, blah blah, and didn’t realise how easy it was. So I knew Supernova was coming up, so I popped my name down and the journey sort of started there. It was more just testing the fan art type of things. Not so much actual comic work in terms of sequentials or anything like that, but the reactions really good and a lot of people, I think I got a bit of a kick out of others really enjoying it and just being themselves. And then you just see a full spectrum of people. You’d see these big giant buff, macho guy and a girl just frothing over Goku. You’d just be like, it’s an eclectic mix and just absolutely love it. So I think it’s just the unity and people that love one thing. It was nice to see. So I just kept pursuing it, I guess.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (49:13):
Alright, cool. So you pursued it. What did you find was the most difficult thing to get into comics yourself? So actual sequentials

Lauren Marshall (49:26):
Learning it, I guess. I think

I was always just heavily into just doing one piece and one really good piece. Whereas with Sequentials, it’s all about telling a story and whether it’s time or experience, you’re not always probably going to be at the level to make every panel look like a cinematic piece. And it’s all about creating a story, keeping the reader engaged and actually using the right emotions, body language, stuff like that. Actually learning that the mechanics of characters and how they would move and studying that. It was a lot more information in that than a lot of people think. But in terms of, whilst it was a challenge, obviously I think I got a lot out of doing animation because obviously doing animatics and storyboarding, which is basically just sketchy sequentials, just not really fancy learning that you actually have to actually study the human body. Like nonverbal communication is such a huge thing in terms of telling a story without any words. If you can’t do that, then there’s no, the words help, but if the static image just looks bland and there’s no emotion in it, there’s no point. Right? So it’s about actually nailing each panel and them telling the story and making sense.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (50:58):
No, that’s true, that’s true. Do that very well actually, by the way, we learn Lana Lucas so still. So yeah. And just as a bit of a nod to Jerome, he loves asking this question, if you are out there Jerome and you’re just too unwell to a text, do you have a ritual that you have before you start drawing and so forth working on a comic?

Lauren Marshall (51:24):
Oh God,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (51:26):
He loves to ask this. He loves to ask this. So I just thought I’d throw it out there

Lauren Marshall (51:30):
In terms of getting, starting to work, procrastinating, staring at the wall for a good half an hour, flicking through, oh nice. Whatcha

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (51:43):
Doing some on my rituals?

Lauren Marshall (51:46):
Hey, they work sometimes, but if you get jealous enough of another artist and you’ll be like, alright, I’m just going to show you one and bust something out, so watch out Mr. Instagram, 1, 2, 1. I’m going freaking come at you. Look, I don’t have a specific one, right. Sometimes you just have to get it done. The amount of, so I work at nine to five, which is really, I go to the gym first thing in the morning. I get up at 5:00 AM go to the gym for an hour, go straight to work, get home about six o’clock. So I’m not home for most of the day, so I don’t really have time to be able to think about it, but because I’m constantly going all the time, I’m sort of in that frame of mind where I just have to keep creating. It’s my life, it’s what I’ve worked towards every day.

But I think it’s more, getting out of working all the time is a ritual that I need to look at, but there’s things that you need to do, creating a workspace around you that motivates you and reminds you of why you’re doing something. So putting posters up on the wall behind me or actually getting equipment and new art products that you’re willing to try, always keeping yourself fresh I think is good. I’ve just ordered some deleted nib pens, like actual dipping ones to give a crack, get back into the traditional side of things. I find I get a bit bland. I’ve been doing digital for a long time over a year now and not really touching traditional anymore. So keeping my mind fresh and revisiting old techniques and stuff and just seeing, because traditional and digital work really well together, obviously, and seeing which format works better. So to be honest, I don’t have a ritual. I just kind of keep going and keep lashing

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (53:39):
My most, but Ome likes to ask that question, so I just sort of throw that out for him. He’ll be watching us tomorrow if he’s not watching it tonight. So at what age, if you remember, did you start drawing?

Lauren Marshall (53:59):
1111? Wow.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (54:02):
See, I can’t remember when I did. So I’m impressed that people remember what age they were.

Lauren Marshall (54:07):
Yeah, it’s probably around the age 11 ish, I should say. Not specific, but I do know that we had moved to SIE for Dad’s work and because we had moved around so much as kids, we kind of had to find something to keep ourselves, not so much occupied, but for mental health reasons and stuff like that. So art was always a thing for me and I just pursued it after that. It was also watching Toy Story for the first time, and then I just knew that this is the avenue I want to create things like this. The first toy story. So that was when animation piqued my interest and just continued on from there and

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (54:50):
Did all that. That makes me feel old because I was quite old when the Toy story came out. I was going to say, I’ve actually got, I know that I was drawing at least in 87, so that made me 12. No, 11, because I don’t turn 12 until the end of the year. So I’ve actually found this book of all this art that I did when I was That’s

Lauren Marshall (55:11):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (55:11):
11 years old. So it’s funny that you say 11, it’s really bad art too.

Lauren Marshall (55:18):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (55:19):
Anyway, we’re here for you. Not for me.

Lauren Marshall (55:21):
Improving art, that’s always a thing. It’s never bad.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (55:26):
Maybe cr

Lauren Marshall (55:27):
Not bad.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (55:30):
If it wasn’t such light pencils, I could actually show it up to the screen, but you wouldn’t be able to see any of it. I must been using two H or something.

Lauren Marshall (55:37):
Yeah, it’s nice to reflect on it though, I think because it’s

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (55:41):
A good laugh. It’s a great laugh. Once I found it, some of the characters I designed, I was very, what’s the word, patriotic. They’re all Australian. They’re all, they have names that are Australian towns and Australian animals and everything’s Australian. With the occasional New Zealand sidekick. It’s quite amusing. Yeah. So anyway, this is about you, not about me, which, oh no, I don’t think I like that question. It puts you on the spot. Is there any particular Australian creators that you follow more than others?

Lauren Marshall (56:22):
Well, to be honest, I’ve really connected with a lot of Australian creators recently in terms of indie comics. But in terms of people that I’ve connected with the community from the conventions, and I used to do every single one. I used to pay my own way to go to all the conventions around Australia. So you kind had to create a close knit community to survive for one, but also to let your hair down because dealing with people for what, 12 was it like 10 hours a day or something ridiculous. It drains you. But yeah, Sean, Keenan, Julian, mark. I think we’ve lost touch because of the conventions. There’s not so much going on anymore. I’ve learned a lot from them. We use sharing tips and stuff like that. God, I could make a huge list of the people that we used to hang out with. Austin Ler, whilst he’s not completely in the comic industry, he’s still an Australian creator, an illustrator working in concept art and stuff like that, which kind of ties in a lot with what we do anyway. Yeah, it would, but you kind of bounce ideas off each other and because there’s such an eclectic mix of styles and avenues that they work in, it’s good to, like I said, bounce ideas across because you could spark something by chatting to them. So I’m always open to conversations and collaborations and stuff like that. So I think that the community from the conventions was surprisingly super tight and supportive.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (58:14):
That’s awesome. Hopefully they come back soon. They’re sort of coming back and then sort of not, and then sort of coming back,

Lauren Marshall (58:20):
Getting cancelled, cancel and then coming back and then not, yeah.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (58:25):
Yeah, it’s very annoying. So I know that you are a illustrator in your day job, is that right?

Lauren Marshall (58:35):
Yeah, so I work for short batch printing. So short batch printing. We do custom apparel and so we do the hand screen printing with silk screens, but I handle some of the design illustration and sales there, which is good because I go to a creative workspace. The company is incredible. We co, well, we’re owned by another company called Media Engine and we do video production and logo design, flyers, all kinds of stuff. And it’s just a bunch of different creators around, which has been super insightful because whilst they’re real corporate techniques and real sharp and clean and illustrations completely different to doing type or your logo designs and fly designs and stuff like that, it’s just opened completely. You think you might know something and then you come into an industry or you come across someone and they’re just like, you’re dumb. They wouldn’t say that to you obviously, but you’re just like, wow, I actually know absolutely nothing about this industry or the skillset that’s required to do it. So I’ve learned so much by working with them and now that I look back on, say, Lana, the first issue, I look at it and I’m like, I could have elevated this so much more if I took the time to learn, say illustrator like Adobe Illustrator, which it was too confronting for me to even touch back then. But anyway, going back to short batch, we do, like I said, customer apparel, but I get to play with different venues, a lot of breweries and stuff we come across. I

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:25):
Noticed that on bars,

Lauren Marshall (01:00:27):
Gyms, and then the sky’s the limit in terms of drawing what I can for them. They’ll give me a concept of what they kind of want to go towards. One I got recently was called Stein and Swine, so obviously incorporating beer with a ball almost. So it’s just like, it’s good. It’s a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun because it’s not something that I would typically pick for myself to draw, and technique wise, I can apply that and learn from it. So amazing job. We have two more machines so we can just chill out whenever we want and have a can of Coke and it’s kind of like one of those companies that you just kind of pinch yourself that you get to work there. So incredible.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:01:12):
That’s awesome.

Lauren Marshall (01:01:13):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:01:14):
I think I’ve had one or two of them in my entire working career. Maybe just one of them actually.

Lauren Marshall (01:01:23):
This one, you get to

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:01:25):
Do what you, oh, this one? Yeah. Well this is a job, isn’t it? Now it’s become a job. This one be the one where I pinch myself big time. Big time. If you had to ask me three years ago would I been doing this, I wouldn’t have ever imagined it, especially the live shows because this type of thing still semi freaks me out. But a few months ago, it totally freaked me out.

Lauren Marshall (01:01:46):
Now look at you. We just had a big old yarn online,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:01:54):
So I’ve got a list of things to keep me on track now I know Lana Luca, have you done any stories that are totally yours because I’m not familiar with

Lauren Marshall (01:02:10):
That. You

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:02:11):
Wrote and Drew,

Lauren Marshall (01:02:13):
I’m not a writer. The spelling mistakes I make in a day. Yeah, I’ve got a creative brain. I can think about ideas in terms of, I’m quite hands-on in terms of the story for Lana anyway, it’s just articulating that into a story that makes sense and that is well written. Definitely not my forte. I know my strengths, it’s not one of them, it’s definitely not writing, but in terms of creating ideas and arcs and stuff like that, climaxes, whatever, I can definitely visualise it. I’m more of a visual person, so that’s why I get a writer to come in because I don’t think it would be as elevated as it is if I didn’t. If it was just me, it wouldn’t happen.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:03:05):
That’s fair enough because I don’t have talent in either of those fields, so I have to get two people. So, oh, this is a good question. Oh yes. How do you balance with your female characters? Because a lot of people don’t do this, the badassness and still feminine.

Lauren Marshall (01:03:30):
I just look in the mirror mate.

Oh no. Hey look, I like to think of myself as a bit of both, but look, it wasn’t really like a representation thing at all. It was just a character that I really identify well with Tank Girl that she’s kind of loosely based off that sort of style of character and I feel like, look, she’s still sexy, right? But it’s not big old knockers in your face, not something that you, people love it. Look, I don’t mind it, whatever, but I didn’t want that to be the sole focus of her as a character or any of the characters. There is obviously a nymph in Lana Luca, but she doesn’t scream it almost. It’s more about the body language and stuff like that, which is what I like to focus on. Thank you. It was a good answer. That was quick. Yeah, it was a good answer. Like I said, it wasn’t a representation thing, but I’m glad I hit that nail on the head because there isn’t enough representation. But I just really wanted to portray someone that I looked up to and Lana is sort of a manifestation of all the things that I do love rabbits and being strong and purple pretty much. So it was more about that side of things, but

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:07):
Big on the purple. Big on the

Lauren Marshall (01:05:09):
Purple. We leave it not so, yeah, I’m glad that other people see that. That’s what I was trying to achieve, so that’s a bonus for sure.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:23):
I agree with Darren on this one. Can’t wait until

Lauren Marshall (01:05:30):
It would be good. I just need a time machine so I can juggle everything that I manage to time say yes to.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:36):
No cloning. That’s what it’s all about. Cloning,

Lauren Marshall (01:05:39):
That’s what I’m trying to learn. I’ll go send my shell of a human being to work and they can deal with her and I’ll just keep my full self. Sorry,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:48):
That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to learn how to clone as well so I can get all this Comex stuff done. Well, you’re not a writer, so it is probably more visually. Is there anything that inspires your, well, we’ll say Lana Luca, because it’s weird to say, inspires your characters. That doesn’t really say much. Lana Luca, was there anything that inspired her? You’ve said Tank Girl so far.

Lauren Marshall (01:06:13):
Tank Girl. Yeah, Jessica Rabbit, another one watching Watch Rabbit as a kid. I dunno. So she’s super sexualized, right? But she also had that don’t F with me type thing. Yeah, exactly. I gravitated towards too. But yeah, what I said before, it was just about someone that I envisioned and felt like I had a part of within myself as well. But in terms of the other characters, there’s a few, there’s Chase and there’s also a couple of other characters like Dee. I feel like Dee is based off Bruce Willis. I don’t know why when I was drawing him, I just gravitated towards him because Bruce is rugged and he still got a bit of a soft side, but you have to dig real hard to find it. So that’s it. He is a bit of a silver fox, that one. But then say Chase, chase is sort of like the male protagonist.

He think a constant teen, almost sort of that hardship detective, a little bit rough around the edges and just trying to get ahead. But he keeps pushing the limits a little bit too far, which kind of shoots him in the foot a little bit. So I’m looking forward to developing them a little bit more, which issue two will be, it’ll kind of shed some light on a couple of extra characters plus a new one. There will be a new character involved, which funnily enough is a little bit based off my husband. And though we did sort of give a little teaser of him from what I was going to have as the second cover, but I dunno whether it was the colour combination, his hair and stuff. And people were like, it looks like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. And I was like, okay, I’m going to take that down. I definitely don’t want Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. That’s definitely not what I’m going for. So just going to take that back, revisit it, and put it back out into the world when I make sure it’s not going down that pathway.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:08:36):
So you’re saying he’s not a shaggy from Scooby-Doo?

Lauren Marshall (01:08:39):
No, he probably still likes food. He’s probably not scared of everything.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:08:47):
Thanks Peter.

Lauren Marshall (01:08:49):
Thanks Peter.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:08:51):
So, oh, I got totally off track then. I had a question and Oh yeah, when you started, this is the same thing I asked Chris before when you started, what did you find was the hardest thing yourself getting into comics?

Lauren Marshall (01:09:10):
Look, I’m not sure to be honest. Not sure. I

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:09:14):
Just knew it was all hard. It was all easy.

Lauren Marshall (01:09:16):
It was just all fun, I guess.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:09:20):

Lauren Marshall (01:09:20):
Cool. I never really thought of money. Obviously money’s always a struggle. I mean, that’s sort of a given, but I didn’t really face too many setbacks in terms of people not supporting or me just getting confused or other hurdles coming in place. I mean, life’s life, right? Whilst my journey hasn’t gone as quick as I want it to or my skills to be exactly where I want them to be, I’ve enjoyed every part of it, almost

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:09:57):

Lauren Marshall (01:09:59):
And I’ve made those tough decisions. I moved to Sydney to be by myself so I could learn from professionals in the industry. And I got to the point where I got very depressed. I was not happy being there, but I enjoyed the fact that I learned a lot. And whilst emotionally it wasn’t great, I just knew that that’s what I needed to do. And I’m glad that that’s what I did, and it’s made me more comfortable with myself as well because I had to become someone that not only motivated myself, but also pushed myself and was a friend to myself as well, which a lot of people I find, especially in this industry, struggle with being their own friend and being their own, cheering themselves on and being like, yeah, you got this bitch, you can do this. You need it. You do, because you’re going to come up with these setbacks.

You’ve got social media and stuff where Instagram’s like you’re losing followers every day or you’re gaining here of followers every day. Or new social platform comes out TikTok, I don’t know what the hell that is. I don’t have time to scratch my own bum. tiktoks another app to deal with, an admin as well, doing your website. I haven’t touched my website, I haven’t touched my store, but it’s all about just making sure that I enjoyed it and I still do. I know I work, what is it? I get to work at seven 30 and I sometimes finish at nine when I get home. But it’s the joy of it. I just really enjoy putting work out there and supporting others. So I think it’s keeping that consistency and making sure I don’t lose track would probably be the hardest thing, which fortunately I haven’t come across yet.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:11:46):
Yes. Oh, here’s one of those general questions. See, this always amuses me. I have a horrible memory as a child. Can you remember your first comic book?

Lauren Marshall (01:12:04):
Oh God, probably not.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:12:06):
Probably not. You like me. You like me. It’s like, I think it was this one.

Lauren Marshall (01:12:10):
Oh God, I have so many. Right? I’m just looking at my little shelf over there. I’ve got a lot of art books. I started collecting Pixar art books and Dreamworks art books, the concept stuff in it. So I’ve got them. But I would say the first comic book that I particularly went out to buy and has stuck with me is Black. Sad. Which Black, sad is stunning. Stunning book. Let me see. It’s right here. I think I talked to you guys about this on Off Air from the Drink and Draw, but

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:12:43):
Oh yes. I thought I heard the title somewhere. Somewhere. Oh, very nice. That’s a nice big book. I wish

Lauren Marshall (01:12:48):
I could pronounce the guy’s name Juan, but I can’t pronounce anyone’s name, last name. I’m not going to even try. But all the stories, whilst they’re quite political, they’re quite, they’re still in the war. So you know what actually, I think Black said sort of influenced Lana as well, to be honest, because it’s very same tone set, rugged investigator type guy trying to find his way or running over these different scenarios and it touches on K, k, K, but it’s all anamorphic, it’s all animals. It’s like, I shouldn’t say anamorphic. The actual animals mean saying that they still have hands and dress like humans and stuff like that, but it’s phenomenal. It’s all watercolour. It just, it’s stunning. Absolutely stunning artwork. So I would recommend it to absolutely anybody. There’s a particular scene in it, which is like him doing a barrel roll and trying to dodge some other enemy, trying to shoot him. And just the sequence of the panels and how he’s drawn it, that particular eight panels is going to stick with me for the rest of my life because that’s the kind of storytelling I want to do. So I would say that would be the comic that I will remember as the first one that just was like, this is what I want to do.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:14:19):
That’s really cool. Well, I guess while we’ve got you here, you have, well first of, we’ll start on Laal Luca, is there anything you’d like to talk about with issue two? Let people know when it’s coming out, anything like that, where it’s at?

Lauren Marshall (01:14:41):
So I am still working on an issue of Bolt, which is actually in its final stages, which is awesome. So finishing off inking, they’re getting flattered. And then colouring and wording, which is anybody who works in comics, I think layouts take out a lot of time and making sure that you nail the script. So that’s why this one’s taken a little while because I just wanted to make sure that it was correct. And yeah, Andrew’s just been such a champ. I mean, this hasn’t had a particular deadline, so he’s been very understanding with other projects and stuff like that. So this is definitely, I want to get this done before I do anything else and get it in his hands. We can share all these goodies to everybody body, but then as soon as that’s done, it’s sort of Lana’s football, the story’s done, and it’ll just be about making sure that I’ve got the Kickstarter to go out. I still don’t even know if I want to do a Kickstarter or whether I just self-publish it and just sell it, which might be easy to handle, but in terms of getting it out into the world and people actually aren’t seeing it because a Kickstarter is pretty much just like a platform to get your work out there as well, that people wouldn’t, particularly

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:15:55):
A big marketing platform, I’m saying to notice.

Lauren Marshall (01:15:58):
But it is a very stressful thing to do and manage whilst I’m doing not only a full-time job, but also still working on other projects and handling that. But

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:16:09):

Lauren Marshall (01:16:10):
95%, I’m probably going to do it anyway, so just I’m a sucker for pain, but, but no, she’s pretty much ready to go and as soon as I ink a couple of pages and get them coloured and pop ’em up as a preview, then it definitely be before end of year. I’m aiming for a September Kickstarter release, so that’s what, month and a half away. I know I said August, but,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:16:37):
Oh wow. Yeah, I had

Lauren Marshall (01:16:38):
A couple of things pop up, but as usual, life is life. So yeah, fingers crossed that it sticks to plan this time.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:16:48):
Awesome. Well, I guess the other project that I know of anyway is Young Rufus

Lauren Marshall (01:16:54):
Young. Yes. It’s been an absolute blast working on that one.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:17:01):
Yep. So you are just one short story, how many pages?

Lauren Marshall (01:17:07):
I did six pages, but I also did a pinup, and then there’s also some sketches and colouring book stuff that we’ll be doing as well. But the mix of artists, because I’ve seen a lot of it already, obviously for reference and stuff like that, but super mixed bag and it’s cool. I know some people have flagged saying that having a mixed bag of artists can be confusing for people, but because it’s full wrapped up stories, right? It’s one story, one artist, one story, one artist, and then continuing on from there. So I think it’s really good because one, you get to see a wide variety of different artists that you can see their style and their storytelling, but it keeps it fresh. You might look at something and then be like, oh, I would never buy artwork from, or a story that’s drawn this way, but then you might look at it because obviously you’ve bought it for something else. You see the style and you could be like, hell yeah, this is actually kind of cool. And then it leads you down to the artist, different work and stuff like that. I think that’s a real smart way of supporting, but also keeping it fresh. So yeah, Darren’s done a real good choice in terms of doing it that way.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:18:29):
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It looks like a really good book. I’m looking forward to it actually. And I saw a bit of your work on a live that you did. I dunno how many times you did it. I just caught one of them.

Lauren Marshall (01:18:43):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:18:44):
One where he is on the bicycle, on the

Lauren Marshall (01:18:46):
Bike, so that’s the pinup. So that will be more of a singular piece. I had more time to do that one, which was good. Kind of envisioning and capturing the different characters personas and having a good play with that because obviously fresh characters are good for me to work with and especially indigenous characters. That was awesome. And after working on this project, and no, I don’t really, I’m not very inclusive of other people of colour and stuff like that, so it was a good eyeopener for me and a learning curve. So yeah, it was really good and learned a lot about different ethnicities and their facial structure and stuff like that. So loved it. It was super good learning curve.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:19:37):
Alright, cool. And you look like you had a lot of fun on that live stream that I saw you on as well. So drawing it, I can’t narrow down which one it was because I know you did more than one, but I only a

Lauren Marshall (01:19:48):
Few. I just ramble on a few. It’s more for the company. I think I just sit in my room, my dogs can’t talk back to me. Sorry.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:19:58):
Sure they can. So I guess my next question would be something along the lines of, oh yeah, this is a question from Jerome mixed in amongst mine. He’s curious how the process worked that you got recruited for Rufuss. Was there anything in particular or just Darren reached out.

Lauren Marshall (01:20:25):
Darren said, how are you going? You want to do some work for me?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:20:28):
Okay. Yep. So nice and simple. There you go, Jerome. Nice and simple.

Lauren Marshall (01:20:31):
No, I think actually it was from me and Darren started talking probably under 12 months ago and only more consistently recently and checking in on each other and stuff like that, which has been awesome because like I said, my girlfriends and stuff like that, family, not super into comics, they’re not really super nerdy. They do appreciate it. They support me where they can. But in terms of talking shop with them, I don’t really have anybody to turn to be able to talk like that. So same with you guys. I drink and draw and stuff. I’ve learned a lot and the support’s been awesome. So after I did sketch biz on Kickstarter, Darren reached out and said you want to do, because he was running his other kiry book at the time. He said, do you want to do a little crossover print? It’s like, if you support this one, you support her one, you get this bonus print. So I sketched it, Darren inked it, and then I coloured it. So it was a nice little coed piece and sync style and stuff like that. And then from there Darren just reached out and said if I would like to work on it. And I said, ah, hell yeah. So pretty simple.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:21:50):
Nice, nice. And that’s got a Kickstarter going? Yeah, that’s why he is going along with without 11 days

Lauren Marshall (01:21:56):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:21:57):

Lauren Marshall (01:21:57):
Days. So yeah, young, what is it, Darren, if you want to flick up your URL, I think

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:22:05):
Darren’s watching. So yeah, just whack it in the comic

Lauren Marshall (01:22:08):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:22:09):
I think I’ll put it everywhere. I think it’s Young Rufus,

Lauren Marshall (01:22:15):
That’s the one. But yeah, it’s already funded and stuff, but it’s more one, there’s bonuses that you can get obviously, and then you’re supporting other artists. Everyone in the book will get supported and stuff like that. So it’s more about, and obviously because full blown Australian, it’s true Blue Comic, which you don’t see too much of and it’s also ties into a lot of the older Kroo stuff. A lot of people think it’s going to be quite kiddish, but it’s actually quite, the stories are actually quite mature and into a lot about his upbringing and why he’s that. So I think it’s more for backstory stuff for those hardcore killer roof fans.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:23:00):
Yeah, and I think all we’ve got left now is a Jerome question and then we’ve got to wing it. So Jerome would like to know, if you were talking to mainstream ip, Australian American, whatever, European whatever, who would you really love to get your hands on? Do a drawing for a sequential comic?

Lauren Marshall (01:23:33):
Oh, I want to do a turtle cover so bad.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:23:36):
Okay, that’s cool.

Lauren Marshall (01:23:38):
I Ninja Turtles, like I said, that’s what I grew up with. I’d love to do a Transformers one as well, but geometric stuff and then doing precision work, not my jam. I’ve tried, didn’t work. Or actually, funnily enough, Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog would be a huge thing for me as well. Oh really? Which I reckon I could nail a cover or sequential work. So without deployment animation, obviously when you’re an animator, typically you have to animate someone else’s character and you have to learn how to draw it left and centre. You get a model sheet, you say you have to draw it like this, and you have to draw it their style, not your style. So we actually had to do that. And I chose Sonic as my character. So it’s something that if someone goes you and draw something, I draw Sonic because I just know how to draw it.

It’s in the back of my head. It’s easy ingrained in there and I just do it onto the paper. So that’s kind of like a nostalgic thing for me, which I would add if that mainstream stuff, that would be my jam. In terms of Aussie stuff, I always wanted to work for Alt Comic. They’re Perth based, a Perth based publisher. But luckily enough, I actually got the opportunity this year, so I did four pages for T Guard, which hopefully the coloured pages will be popping up soonish. I think I shared a little panel from it yesterday for it. So this guy just throwing some old chickens around and it was like a,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:25:17):
Oh yeah, I saw that one

Lauren Marshall (01:25:19):
Disaster. But that one was really cool and that was a nice little job that popped up because I didn’t reach out to them. They reached out to me, which was really nice because it’s Perth based on Perth. And then also I’ve seen other talented artists work on it. So in terms of Aussie, that was sort of like a milestone for me and I did it, which was good.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:25:48):
That’s awesome. Cool. So I think that pretty much wraps up what we’re going to talk about. You’ve talked about Lanie, you’ve talked about Rufuss, talked about, what was the other one? Bolt.

Lauren Marshall (01:26:03):
Bolt, yeah. The Amazing Bolt. Electrifying Bolt, sorry. The Electrifying Bolt.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:26:08):
The Electrifying Bolt

Lauren Marshall (01:26:09):
More. Another kid one, which is good. I’ve done one issue already, which I’ve had to refer to the old pages and it’s sort of real cringe worthy for me because that was one of the first proper comics I’ve done. And yeah, she’s good, but she’s not great. So it’s good to elevate that, right, revisit an old piece and then elevate it up even more. And yeah, I think others are going to be a few issues released when Supernova or ComicCon or whatever actually comes around. So we’re just sort of trying to create a big backlog of issues that we can put out to the world and say, look, issue 2, 3, 4 is already out, grab ’em all away here type thing. So creating that law and that world and helping Andrew do that, it’s been a pleasure.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:27:05):
Cool. Just for my own personal reasons, does he go all the way around to all the different conventions? Do you know? You’re not sure

Lauren Marshall (01:27:14):
Back then? Probably, but now probably not. Same with me at

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:27:19):
The moment. It’s all over the shop. It’s hard to

Lauren Marshall (01:27:20):
Do anything. One, it was cheaper back then, the tables weren’t as much. I think they’ve doubled in price since then.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:27:27):
Oh wow.

Lauren Marshall (01:27:28):
Yeah, and then also flight’s not great, but yeah, I imagine he’ll be Dipping’s fingers into a few different states and when we get the chance,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:27:38):
Oh, if he doesn’t come to Brisbane, I’ll have to find another way to get them.

Lauren Marshall (01:27:41):
Yeah, yeah, no, there’ll be online and stuff like this website you can go to. Cool.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:27:48):
Awesome. Well thanks Lauren. Thanks for coming on. No problem. It’s real pleasure chatting with you about everything I’ve shared the young Rufuss link. I hope I got it right. Darren’s not correcting me, so I’m hoping that means I got it right or it means he’s not watching one or the other. So I’ve put that out there. Lana Luca coming soon. Bolt coming soon. Thank you very much. Yeah, so have a great night and real pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much. You

Lauren Marshall (01:28:20):
Too. Thank you so much for having me. And yeah, well done.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:28:24):
Absolute pleasure, absolute pleasure.

Lauren Marshall (01:28:26):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:28:26):
To talk to you.

Lauren Marshall (01:28:28):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:28:35):
Well everyone, that was a nice show. I’m going to end this show. Usually we end it with a review of comics that we’ve read, but I’ve been working so hard on a particular Kickstarter that I’m just going to click the right button and bring up the link to X studio will take you to the Kickstarter I’ve been working very hard on instead of reading comics. And I will show you a picture, actually, that’s probably the easiest way to do this. It’s this Kickstarter here, the comics presents and presents new R. We have two books, presents and presents New art, like I just said, repeating myself. And we have the presents as a colour edition, four stories, eight pages each, 48 page book all up when you include all the extra pages.

And then we’ve got the Noir, which is black and white, four black and white pictures, also pictures, stories also. Also eight pages by four. So if you get both books, you’re looking at eight individual stories all by different creators, all in their own styles, all in their own style of art, all in their own style of storytelling. So it’s a great way to get a taste of all the different type of genres and just styles that are out there in Australian comics at the moment. These are all Australian creators as Comex is all about Australian creators and Australian artists and Australian writers. So yeah, check out the Kickstarter, it presents dot comex studio and check out the different pledges that you can give. You can get one of the books, you can get both the books, you can get all four covers. There are four covers to each comic done by each of the four artists.

They include all the main characters, I should say, from the stories and yeah, let’s see if I’ve got any examples of them. Yeah, here we go. Here’s the colour ones. Oh, hello. You can see me. So here’s the colour covers. We’ve got one from Rob Lyle, ed Kiley, Peter Wilson, and Isaac George in order of going across the screen there. And then we have noir or black and white, which we’ve got Lee Chalker on the left there. Then we’ve got Dave Dye, Duncan Vic and Tony Menzie. That’s his cover. So they all have stories inside the books and they have each done a cover for the book itself. So there are sets where you can get all four or eight if you want both stories, all eight stories. And yeah, let me have a look. We are sitting at $2,758, so that makes us, let’s do some math in my head. $242 off the first goal, which is to give you all these, let’s see if I can find the screen where we were. And I haven’t actually put up a picture of all of them. So here’s just one of the prints we’ll be giving as part of the stretch goal by Dane, gta. G Ter, sorry, I think I pronounced that wrong. Sorry, Dane.

Yeah, so there’s another four of them printed by other artists. We’ve got Nick May, Dana Lawson, Nick, not Nick, sorry, Ryan Vela. And I’ve got the picture in my head and I’m trying to remember who it is. Oh, it’s just gone blank. Oh, sorry. Ben Sullivan. Sorry Ben. So yeah, so check out that Kickstarter, x studio and check out, get your friends to pledge, get your family to pledge, get your dogs to pledge, and we’ll see if we can’t get ourselves up to that $3,000 mark. And I hope that’s about everything I’ve been saying there. Inspirational gaming already backed. Nice, nice. Thank you very much. Very impressed. So did you get your dog or your cat to pledge as well? That’s what I’m asking. So thank you very much for coming to the show. I’ll get that picture off my face if I go to the right button. Thank you very much for coming. It was really fun talking to Chris and Lauren today or tonight and yeah, have a good night everyone. Thank you for checking out the Kickstarter. If you’ve gone over there, thank you for pledging. If you can’t pledge, that’s fine, share it. I’m happy with shares as well. That will help spread the word, which is all we can ask. Thank you very much and have a great night. See everyone.


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