Luke has very kindly taken some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us….
Please introduce yourself and your business to our readers
Hello! I’m Luke Melia. I live with my wife Vivienne in Oxfordshire and work full-time, but in my spare time I write comic books. I’m published and self-published, and I run Dreamspace Comics – a company I use to publish my own works. At the moment, I have three books out there that I’ve written :–
- Oculus – An epic 220 page graphic novel focusing on a police mystery in a world where a new technology allows you to see life through somebody else’s eyes.
- The Strange Investigators – A short one-off (though I hope to write more) about three young people who are trying to make a go of their new organisation that investigates the paranormal and the strange.
- The White Room of the Asylum– This is my most well known book – a graphic novel about a recently deceased man who left behind as series of audio cassette tapes that tell of his time in an asylum. There, he discovered The White Room– a dream-like place that he shared with other residents of the asylum, where they were free to create anything they could think of.
When did you first start doing this? What led you into this area of work?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write. It began as movies, TV series’ and novels, but it wasn’t until I started trying to write comic books that it felt like the right path for the stories I wanted to tell. Their episodic nature and the diversity of the genre worked well for the stories that I had in mind.
Give us one unusual little-known fact about yourself.
Hmmmmm…. I can do a rubix cube in under three minutes… I was one of the zombies in cockneys vs zombies- are they interesting? I clearly need a new hobby…
Do you have any plans or special events coming up that our readers would want to know about?
On Saturday 5th March I’ll be doing Oxford Comic Con. It’s my first comic con as an exhibitor so it should be a good experience.
At some point towards the end of this year our new comic collection Dreamspace Horror Shorts will be out too – one to look out for!
If you weren’t doing what you do, what do you think you might be doing instead?
If I could draw, then it would be great to be an illustrator. I’ve seen how the guys I work with can translate the rough descriptive text I provide them with into these great sequential panels and it looks like a lot of fun to do. Failing that, I’d be Batman.
Who is your favourite superhero or character and why?
The Punisher (I know he’s not really a superhero…).
Punisher is a very challenging character to write, simply because of how basic he can appear to be once you get past his origin story. Here is a guy who goes out looking for people involved in organised crime and he kills them. He has done it for decades, there is no end goal for him, he just keeps doing it simply because it’s what he does – he is a machine. He has nobody he cares about and nobody in his life.
Reading Garth Ennis’ Punisher stuff (in particular the Max series) taught me a lot about writing, because he managed to make the stories consistently brilliant without being unfaithful to the character. Since then I’ve stuck with Punisher throughout.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Probably Hot Toys… for those who don’t know what they are, they’re high-end collectable action figures of comic book/gaming/sci fi characters. I often pose and take photos of them…. it’s probably the most nerdy thing I do, but I enjoy it.
Who do you most admire and why?
In terms of comics, probably Garth Ennis, as mentioned above, for his Punisher stuff, although pretty much everything he has written has been excellent (Preacher in particular).
Also Robert Kirkman for his Walking Dead series. Even after all these years of writing it he still manages to keep it surprising, he never takes the obvious route, and he keeps it focused on the human element of the story.
What’s your favourite project that you have been involved in?
Making our first book Oculus was an absolute blast. I made it with two very talented guys (Vinny Smith and David Anderson) and it was a first for all of us. It was a huge project that we worked constantly on for 18 months, and it was incredibly exciting to see it go from being an idea in my head to a full graphic novel.
How about a recommended read that you haven’t been involved in?
Damnation by Rees Finlay and Jonny Pearson. I won’t say anything about the storyline, as it’ll give a lot of the book away (reading it blind is the best way) but in a few pages they manage to tell a deep and personal story that articulates a lot of what I’d like to say with my own work, but haven’t found a way to do so yet.