We’ve recently taken the opportunity to speak to Jon Laight, writer and creator and owner of Level 8 Comics about his new kickstarter project and Celebrity Big Brother…..
- Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do…
Hi there, I’m Jon Laight, the creator and owner of Level 8 Comics. I started Level 8 following the publication of my first comic, Brethren Born, so I could really push on and become more than a one ‘hit’ wonder. (Disclaimer: the word ‘hit’ has been used in the context of Jon Laight’s own little world). I am a writer/creator as well as being a full time member of the Fire Service.
2) When did you first start creating and writing? What sort of thing did you start with?
Being creative started at an early age, writing various bits and bobs at school and winning a competition for a poem I had written about Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine. Jump 30 years or so and I started writing a sci/fi novel in my spare time. Got to around chapter 6 with a pretty big word count, but then my first daughter came along and that spare time soon disappeared. Since then I have had another daughter, changed roles at work (Training Instructor) and writing a novel fell off the table. But then the idea for a comic starting to form and Brethren Born issued forth from the depths of wherever ideas come from. It’s changed a few times since, obviously, but as a first comic I am very proud of it.
3) It’s a bit different from being a Firefighter! What led you to writing comic books and graphic novels?
Like most comic readers, I always had a million ideas for a comic story and thought I could easily do better!! How wrong I was. My job makes you realise that life is a very precious and sometime far too a short a thing and as someone who very recently said to me “I’d rather regret the things I did, than regret things I didn’t” I decided to give it a real go. I tweeted a very famous writer about how I should start writing a comic and he basically said “If you’re gonna write a comic, write a comic, fella!”
Following that, I opened up the laptop, loaded up the word processor and got busy and I haven’t looked back since. As soon as I got involved in the small press world and met so many wonderful and supportive people, I knew it was something I wanted to do. There have been a couple of weird and ropey moments with a couple of people, but you get that in every walk of life. That’s what makes it so interesting and a challenge.
4) How do you deal with blank page syndrome?
Touch wood (not a euphemism), I haven’t had to deal with this monster yet. My mind is literally looking for ideas in everything, every single day and when I get one, I note it down and then come back to it. A lot of them are utter shite but every now and then a little grower kicks in and I develop it like a little new born Groot, until it becomes a great big kick ass monster of a story or character. There aren’t many better feelings than that.
5) Your Kickstarter project hit almost £1,000 in just a couple of hours, you must have been very happy about that?
It’s hard to describe the feelings before, during and after a crowdfunding campaign. The first time was amazing – we funded it in around 18 hours, which was a very emotional moment. I was at MCM London (my first con) so the champagne flowed that weekend.
The target this time was purposefully a little lower and we funded it in just 12 hours, which is so amazing. I hate saying the words “fan-base” (sounds so much like David Brent) but the small group of people who have message me lovely feedback, backed the comic again and asked when the second one is out, are all fantastic. They make it all the hard work worth it.
6) Give us a little known, interesting fact about yourself.
I’ve had two members of the 1966 World Cup winning England team stop the night at my house.
7) Do you have any plans or special events coming up that you are able to tell us about?
So many plans but I’ll try and keep to the interesting ones. I am now part of a new comic collective called Close 2 Immortality (www.close2immortality.com) and we are launching the brand at London Super Comic Con on 20th Feb 2016. We are a group of creators who have joined together to support, promote and share with other creators and the small press world, our varied links and contacts. We will attend conventions as a group, which saves on costs etc, but also provides a place for comic fans to come and be assured of a diverse range of comics, genres and other goodies. They can enjoy it all with people who love comics as much as they do. As a writer, I have several other projects on the go, which I’m really excited about, as well as beginning to develop and script Brethren Born #3.
8) Who is your favourite superhero or character and why?
Tough question, as I find it changes every now and then. I enjoy so many of them for so many reasons but just recently I have got to really like Groot as I loved the movie version. His double act with Rocket is usually really well written and funny but his powers and abilities are brilliant and he’s virtually immortal. On the face of it, it’s very easy to script but to get across his expressions and meaning must be really challenging.
9) What is your guilty pleasure?
Ultra crap TV…Geordie Shore, Ex on the beach etc. So utterly crap but great to have on in the background whilst writing.
10) Who do you most admire and why?
Comic world wise it’s probably Brian K Vaughan. I was lucky enough to meet him last year at NICE in Bedford and he was a super normal dude; very funny and has achieved so much. Plus, I love his writing and only just got round to reading Y: The Last Man and really enjoyed it.
Real world wise. it’s Scotty T for winning Celebrity Big Brother…the culmination of years of hard work to achieve the ultimate accolade.
One of these is a lie……