My name is Phil Woodward and I am based in the UK. I am a writer, musician, manager, promoter, developer, logo designer and Collector of Souls……..Phew now breathe.
I am a writer of stories more than anything, with the medium of choice being merely an avenue to express my imagination. I love horror but it just so happens at this time my ideas are a bit twisted.
As a person, I pride myself on having three qualities that I live by: honesty, loyalty and integrity. In essence, these values shape the person I am and the person I have always wanted to be, in both my domestic and professional life.
- When did you first start writing? What led you to specifically writing comic books?
I’ve been writing since I left college and have been doing so for comics for about five years and this is where I’ve spent most of my time networking, making friends and developing ideas. I did a lot of logo work for comics which include The Nobodies by Baleriano Gaioa, Return to Armageddon by Baleriano Gaioa and Ayla Speaker for the Dead by John Holland.
I studied media as an educational choice, where I wanted to make films and TV but my love for comics navigated me down a windy path to where I am now. I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world….. Well, maybe the world.
I am very community orientated, setting up groups like Sequentially British and also the collective Close 2 immortality. I spend a lot of time networking with like-minded people but I do it because of my passion for creativity and the satisfaction in helping others to succeed as much as I want to succeed myself.
- Can you tell us about the newly founded Close 2 Immortality?
The collective was borne out of a shared vision held by each member. Chris Sides, Jon Laight, Jay Martin, Chris Travell and me, all with a notion that needed support. We all had tables at events and all promoted our book to the masses, but Individually there are lot of obstacles that can hinder independent creators – whether that be cost of production, time spent promoting and ability to attend events throughout the year, they all add to the person’s responsibilities.
We all became friends through the events and social media, where we would meet up afterwards and just talk about the universe where we found that not only were we all comic writers, but that we also had personalities that matched. We eventually all looked at each other and said “Lets Do This” … and C2I was born.
My hope from this venture is the ability to have my book at events for both those I can attend and those I am unable to, which, in turn, builds more visibility of my book. Consistent as well as constant updates and news via social media will create a better and more informed following for our products.
Strength in numbers is the key to an independent creator’s ability to move beyond small press. The biggest positive from collectives is to share success with likeminded individuals and to be a part of a community that strives to improve and better themselves, creating an evolving entity and recognised brand – a place I can call home
- Have you ever had to deal with blank page syndrome?
I have had the blank page syndrome many times and, for a while, would try and grind through it, but found that best practise for dealing with it was to just walk away and do something else. Take a break and take the dog for a walk, do the dishes, feed next door’s cat or even just take a nap. I have never had an instance where I was unable to write again upon returning to the dungeon of dreams.
It’s different for everyone and I know many who have their own ways of dealing with it, as it is a case of whatever works best for the individual; there is no real universal solution. I do a lot of pre mind exercises that help me with focus and to feed the hamsters in my brain. I listen to music and just relax for a bit, then just go with the flow.
- You are currently running a Kickstarter project for your survival comic, Post Mortem. Can you tell us a bit more about this fantastic concept?
The story revolves around the black market for organ harvesting, a dark and twisted underworld in which our main character finds himself trapped. It’s a story I have been developing with William Wismer for little over four years now and I have found our minds to be similarly unhinged.
We then turned to magic hands of Jaime Martinez (Roman Ritual and Cursed Land) and Santiago Ramos (Ranger and Dream Runners) to encapsulate our script in graphic detail, along with Mindy Lopkin (Toxic Storm, Terminus at Fentons Green and Username:Evie) adding the vital dialogue to the page.
Bringing to life the chaos and macabre we envisioned, it was imperative that the artwork quality of the comic expressed the high esteem to which we hold our story. We are grateful that their hard work achieved this and that together, we can unleash a comic to be proud of.
The story itself
What would you do if you woke up dazed, in an unfamiliar place, paralysed and incapable of making the simplest of sounds? With only the use of limited sight you bear witness to horrific events. Unable to establish whether you’re dreaming or facing a chilling reality.
Your grogginess slowly subsides. Regaining some awareness, you realise that you’re living a nightmare. Repeatedly, you attempt to scream out, but only a tiny murmur escapes your lips. Your vision comes into focus and it dawns on you instantaneously that those blurry events are being performed on you.
Where does Post Mortem lead us? Broken visions torment his mind while he is plunged into a blood soaked hell, leading our main character down an uncertain path with nothing but a barrage of terrifying questions on all sides.
Bodies eviscerated, stripped of their innards and a battery of murderers stalking the halls. His only course of escape lies within a cloudy past, and even if he succeeds, he may not be the same man.
An eerie concept which cements the foundation of our first issue. A story of survival and mortality all entwined with some vile surgical procedures. Amidst disturbing illustrations, this gruesome ordeal establishes a new waypoint on the path to pathological fear.
- Give us a little known, interesting fact about you.
Now you’ve done it. I would probably go with my appearance on a television series when I was 10. I was an extra on Mind the Baby Mr Bean and in several scenes and some that were cut, dammit; I was part of a bunch of kids all wearing police hats running out of the gift shop.
It was a great thing for the family, as my mother can be heard calling bingo and my father can be seen playing bingo. So all in all, you could say it was a full house…. Umm…. taxi….!
The best part was the clothes…..shell suits anyone?
- Do you have any plans or special events coming up that you are able to tell us about?
We are attending many conventions this year from most recently London Super Comicon and MCM Liverpool to Birmingham’s ICE and Comic Festival, as well as MCM London, with many more to come.
We turn up in force with majority of the team and try to build a really good atmosphere around the tables and try to do things away from the norm. We even dress up as characters from the books… (well that’s what we tell Jon.. hehe).
We have plans for a few new releases as well as a collective made anthology that we can’t wait to put together. The biggest plan of all is to keep growing and building on top of the foundation we have in place to make this something we can be remembered for.
- Who is your favourite superhero or character and why?
Someone asked me this recently and being the person I am and the genre I love, I don’t really gravitate towards mainstream characters and when I do I tend to look at those characters with a bit of darkness in them.
Characters like The Crow, The Punisher and Jesse Custer all have massive appeal to my dark nature. Growing up, my mainstay of comics were 2000 AD and Judge Dredd was my favourite character but the likes of Zenith and The ABC Warriors were also up there.
Books like Crossed and Revenge are more likely to find their way to my bookshelf than many superhero comics. That’s not to say I don’t like them it’s purely I like it messed up more than heroic.
- What is your guilty pleasure?
My wife is an avid reader of books and will plough through as if consuming them, but she likes to read with me. The likes of Harry Potter and Hunger Games are her go to books and I have to say I have enjoyed it. Can I admit that?
She also reads a lot of romance books but there has to be a line – one that I don’t intend on crossing any time soon. It is reciprocated with her not being able to watch or read horror, so we have something in common.
My own personal pleasure would be finding clips or full episodes of cartoons from the 80s and early 90s that I grew up on. The likes of Centurions, MASK, Visionaries, Jason and the Wheeled Warriors to name a few. Putting them on in the background and just letting the inner child out……What am I saying…he’s always out.
- Who do you most admire and why?
In terms of people I know, I would have to say my father. He was for me the benchmark on behaviour, professionalism and kindness that I was thankful to have growing up, as it made me the person I am today.
With regard to celebrity admiration, I would be hard pressed to pick an outright most admired but for me Keanu Reeves is someone that’s very humble and grateful for life in general. He has had so much tragedy in his life and he lives life more like a regular person than a famous high lifer; he gives to charity and is more interested in the art of something rather than the pay cheque.
I can’t leave it there! Because I’m a horror writer I will have to now appease the horror addicts and pick someone from that genre. I would go with Stephen King. He is not just a great horror writer, he can slip in and out of multiple genres without even blinking. Some the most influential books I have read were King’s work, including The Stand.
Thanks, Phil, for such in depth answers – it was a pleasure to speak to you.