By Lee Davis, c. 2000, formerly on Smallzone.co.uk
Beware The Dope Fiend From Galway!Edit
As the man behind the comics: “I’m 23, engaged, with a two year old son. I’ve always wanted to be a comic artist, but I’ve worked in the family business for seven years in a locksmith shop, which I hate.
I draw every night for one hour, whether it’s a comic, submission samples or pin-up art. Then, after my hour’s up, my girlfriend drags me kicking and screaming away from my drawing table!”
At the start of the interview I said Emmett’s comic, Dope Fiends, was about three slackers. Now Emmett elaborates on this:
“Basically, Dope Fiends is my way of hanging onto my teenage years. The three main characters – Arnold, that’s me, Enda and Darren are actually me and two buddies.
The stories are all about chasing after chicks, getting pissed out of our minds, finding new and exiting ways to get stoned. There’s nothing deep or meaningful in there, it’s a funny book! My aim is to keep you laughing from cover to cover.”
Emmett’s been publishing Dope Fiends for three years now, five issues in total, however, he added:
“Five issues in three years, pretty pathetic huh?”
As to the future of Dope Fiends, he said he’s got a lot of ideas floating about, and he’s started scripting the latest issue. Though, he’s currently working on a number of art commissions, once they’re out of the way, he’ll get to work on issue #6.
Yet he said:
“When I do get to it though, don’t be surprised if it’s got a different title. I’ve found the name Dope Fiends can put people off reading it.
They probably feel they won’t get the jokes because they don’t do drugs. Not only that, but it’s restricting me telling the stories I want to tell. Any comic fan could relate to what goes on in Dope Fiends.”
Small press creators need feedback from readers about their work and Emmett is no exception. He said he gets letters all the time from people looking for back issues, or saying how much they enjoy the comic.
“I think that’s my favourite part of the whole process, knowing it’s appreciated by others.
“In the future I’d love to have a few solid titles out in a mini comic company sort of thing.”
Emmett is a keen fan of Andy Luke’s small press title, Bob's, which he said was a hoot and one he reads consistently. He said that Alchemist is always full to the brim with talent, and he’s recently discovered Mondo:
“It’s such a fun read. Every time I read it, I’m full of enthusiasm for small press comics. Ralph Kidson’s stuff rocks! Dek Baker’s Wargods is cool. I also read a lot of US small press like Not My Small Diary and Sunburn etc.”
Emmett is also fond of some mainstream books. He cites his current fave as Tom Strong:
“I can’t get enough of that.”
While he says Preacher, which has since finished, was his all time fave,
“Great ending too. Daredevil's excellent too,” He said and added Ultimate Spiderman to his list,
He also praised The Authority as:
“Bloody brilliant, Millar/Quitely ….great combo.” He said his favourite current writer is Ed Brubaker, who produces Scene of the Crime, Lowlife, Deadenders, and a stint on Batman. Finally, Emmett tacks on Punisher and Top Ten to his list.
Of course, man can’t live on comics alone, so what about films and music? Emmett said that when he’s working on Dope Fiends he listens to music from 1994, which is the period wherein the stories take place.
“Stuff like Warren G., R. Kelly and various rap/dance music. All mediums inspire me, sometimes in different ways. Good comedies like Something About Mary always inspire me to do Dope Fiends. Dawson’s Creek makes me want to write, and Coronation Street just makes me want to kill people!
I never read books, as I find I keep having to read the same line over and over for it to sink in. Stay away from drugs kiddies, they’ll rot your brains.”
And how does Emmett go about producing an issue of Dope Fiends? Starting with that initial creative spark, he said once he gets an idea there’s a mad rush to get it down on paper.
Then he proceeds to flesh it out provided he has decided on an ending, which is effectively how he sorts out the plot.
The next step, he said, is start at the beginning of the story and ‘act’ his way through each character, writing down how they react to each other, and what they say.
“I have my script! Next I’ll draw layouts for each page on some loose paper, then re-draw and pencil it onto the actual page. Because I ink my own stuff, I can leave my pencil art a little looser. But, before inking, I’ll letter the penciled art, fill in blacks, and finally ink the details.”
In terms of what tools and materials he uses, Emmett said he uses mechanical pencils, a large nib for layouts, and a fine nib for details. He mostly inks with a brush and adds details with a ‘Hunt 102’ nib pen and Indian Ink.
“I have a cool, wee gadget for lettering called the ‘Aimes Lettering Guide’. It’s very useful for spacing lines.”
In terms of dealing with that odd affliction, writer’s block, Emmett has a rather unique approach.
“I talk to my friend Enda, the same Enda from the comic. He is one crazy dude. He’s always got another great story up his sleeve of some bizarre adventure he once had.
The alternative to getting stories from Enda is to get out of my head and hit the town, and just try to remember what happens. I haven’t used that method in a while though, as I no longer do dope, and very rarely drink.”
So far Dope Fiends appears to be a one-man band, with Emmett handling both the scripting and art, but there is a part-time contributor called Christer Lindstrom, who sends stories in from Finland. As Emmett said:
“He’s a very talented guy, so I can’t say no to him. I am on the lookout for a computer letterer though, to give the book a more polished look.”
Emmett admitted he is addicted to the Internet. He said he’s on the Net before breakfast, he comes home for lunch, and just before he hits the sack.
“Needless to say, my girlfriend hates this and often threatens to kill the computer. I use it a lot to pester comic companies for jobs, find new places to sell Dope Fiends, like Escapo.com, and find picture references for drawing. I also sell cheap comics through a mail order catalogue, so I e-mail people with prices all the time.”
Shifting away from comics abit, but not too far from the Dope Fiends ethos, I asked Emmett what makes his ideal night out, and he said:
“I’ll answer this hoping my girlfriend never reads it… my ideal night out would be getting together with some fellow comic freaks in a Quiet bar, with no smoking, with good music playing, and we just talk comics and have a few drinks.
Then some big-busted strippers come in and do us! Yep… that’s ideal.”
Nice one, mate. Though I hope you meant female strippers. Now I had to ask if Emmett harbours professional aspirations in the comics field. He said:
“I’ve been sending samples off to publishers in the hopes of at least getting some tips on how to improve my drawing. But apart from the Marvel/D.C. straight out rejection letters, I did get one positive letter of interest. Most companies don’t bother to reply though. My goal is to have my own creator owned book along the lines of Preacher. That’s what I’m aiming for.”