Let’s Talk Comics- Stu Perrins and Clockwork Inc.
Written by Stu Perrins
Art by Ron Gravelle
Set in the distant future where rips and tears in the fabric of space are a real problem, Clockwork Inc is the biggest maintenance centre in the galaxy and our hero/ antagonist Roger Hanover, works for Clockwork Inc in the trans-dimensional clean up corp. I like the character design of Roger, the chiselled jaw, dark floppy hair and goofy grin remind me of the likes of Nathan Fillion! Stu and Ron have created a really great looking loveable rouge!
Growing up, Roger always dreamed of travelling across the galaxy and discovering new planets and new civilisations! One fateful day Roger discovers one of these tears and he sees an opportunity to change his life forever, and change his lie he does! But is it for the better? You’ll have to decide.
Clockwork Inc has a very distinctive art style! The use of the outer space ‘background’ to the pages is an interesting technique that I’ve not really seen all that often. Ron is bold in the layout of his pages, he does not stick with the traditional panelled lay outs and it fits with the narrative perfectly. The level of detail in the illustrations is incredible especially the scenes in the city with Roger as a boy. You can see a lot of time, effort and careful consideration has gone into each panel. Clockwork Inc has a hyperrealistic feel which is a welcome break from other ‘fantastical’ comics, the art style and colour palette remind me of leafing through old photographs in a history book!
I was pleasantly surprised with Clockwork Inc part one and two, it proposed some interesting questions relating to time, space and parallel universes and took us on a wild ride from start to finish. The ending of part one is a particular shocker, but I shan’t reveal anymore and ruin the surprise. Stu has created a very real and tangible world and narrative that I look forward to further exploring!
We talk further with Stu on his creative process and the thinking behind Clockwork Inc:
- Who was the inspiration for Roger Hanover?
When Ron and mine’s previous collaboration, ‘Whatever happened to the Archetype?’ was coming to it’s logical end we started throwing around ideas for our next project, one of which, which Ron came up with, was at the time called ‘The Inter-galactic Inter-dimensional adventures of Roger Hanover’. He went on to tell me that he imagined Roger to be mixture of Dr Who and Malcolm McLaren and I was like ‘Whoosh! Yes! This is the next project! Let’s go!’ I instantly knew exactly how Roger spoke, carried himself and although he was a bit of shitbag, he still loved his Mum y’know?
- Is the idea of space travel/ parallel universes something that has always interested you?
Yep, always. Whenever life goes wobbly or things don’t go the way I’d like, I always think ‘I bet the other Stu Perrins from Parallel X is have a lovely time…the bastard.’ And I blame that completely on a childhood of Dr Who, Marty McFly and Bill and Ted.
- When and how did you get into comic book writing?
The first comic I created was when I was nine years old. It was called ‘Cyborg Squad’ and was the sort of Transformers rip off that only a nine year old could create. I used to write and draw it myself and then get my Mum to photocopy it at work and i’d hand it out to the local kids.
- How did you come to collaborate with Ron Gravelle?
We met through twitter when I was looking for an artist for ‘Whatever happened to the Archetype?’ . He got in touch and we hit it off immediately and seemed to have the same ideas and likes and dislikes. That said, i’m still perplexed as to why he left it 8 months of knowing me before he casually mentioned that he worked on the Ed Norton Hulk movie and had done some set design for Lady Gaga.
- What is a typical day for you?
It’s pretty much me 24 hours of juggling being a husband, a Dad, a comic writer and Cat owner, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- How much involvement did you have with the art style/ overall look of Clockwork
To be honest, my scripts can be quite dense, but that’s more for my benefit than anything else really, so it’s not like it’s set in stone. I may have an strong idea on how a scene may look but ultimately I like to work in a fully collaborative way, and Ron has to draw these things, so if he has an idea that he thinks may work i’m like ‘yeah, go for it.’ I trust him completely- he’s a top fella.
- What would you say was your favorite work of science fiction?
Without a seconds hesitation ‘Time Bandits’. I could watch it and never get bored. Terry Gilliam is a huge hero of mine, so anything he has a hand in I love, but Time Bandits is the one I love most of all.
- If you could visit a parallel universe, what would your perfect universe be like?
One where i’d met my Wife at least 10 years earlier than I did in this universe and one where chocolate and cheese make you thin and turn you into an Adonis over night.
- Where did the name ‘Clockwork Inc” stem from?
I’d love to be able to tell you that something cool like it came to me in a dream or something. But, the fact is It just popped into my head and I thought it sounded ace.
- If you were to make Clockwork Inc the movie, who would you cast as Roger Hanover and why?
Chris O’Dowd, because nobody quite does ‘I can’t be arsed’ like that man. Although that said, it’d probably be Chris Pratt, by law he has to be at least considered for a film role, doesn’t he?
- What, if any, difficulties did you have to overcome in the creation of Clockwork inc?
There wasn’t one I can think of off hand, but I did have a slight worry in the weeks running up to the books release that it might come off as an anti-God essay. I’m not in the slightest bit religious, but I do believe it’s a person’s right to believe in what they want to believe, ‘whatever gets you through the night’ type stuff. So, I ran the concept of ‘God rushing the creation of the heaven and earth in six days, which is why he (?) made such a cock up of it’ past a very hardcore Christian friend of mine and once she’d finished laughing she said ‘It can’t be anti-God, if you’re stating he exists.’ So, that put my mind at ease a little. I’m still annoyed that the Pro-Trump lot aren’t baying for my blood though.
- What is your advise for battling ‘writers block’
Write something, anything else. Don’t sit there forcing a scene, skip it and go back to it. Forcing it will any result in producing a bunch of crap that you’re only going to delete tomorrow any way. So chill out, write something else, then go for a walk and go back to it later.
- What advise would you give to aspiring comic writers?
My advice would simply be ‘just do it.’ Got an idea you love? Get it down on paper. Just because you aren’t yet Alan Moore or Mark Millar or Grant Morrison, that doesn’t mean your ideas are any less valid or exciting or cool or kick ass or whatever than the ‘names’ it’s your idea so it must be a valid, exciting, cool, kick ass idea. AND always allow yourself to make mistakes.
- What is next for you?
I’m working on a four part mini series with Spanish art wizard, Israel Huretas for Fair Spark Books called ‘Megatomic Battle Rabbit’ . It’s something Israel and myself are incredibly proud of and although on the surface it looks, and is, a fantastical story it’s also the most autobiographic story I’ve written and the art is insanely good. I have nothing but love for Israel and his work, a lovely fellow with some serious skills- god knows why the big two haven’t snapped him up yet.
- Where can we pick up copies of Clockwork Inc?
Print copies are available from Amazon and the usual suspects.
- If you could take any existing tale and make it into a sci fi space adventure, which would you choose and why?
Some Agatha Christie type murder mystery might be interesting idea, y’know a small crew aboard a space vessel find one of their team murdered. Exactly, I think I might go and write that now……
Big thanks to Stu for taking the time to talk us through his process and give us an insight into Clockwork Inc! I look forward to seeing the further works from Stu and you can keep up to date with him here;