Without beating around the puke-covered bush, this is one of the most horrible, brilliant, obscenely magnificent publications ever to plop through the door of It’s Nice That. Kyle Platts, whose work we came across at the Camberwell Degree Show last year and totally swooned over, has created a whole comic book and has published it through the good people at NoBrow much to the delight of all his fans.
Dealing with backstreet abortion, BetFred addiction, nursing homes and video games, this big dribbling mess of alarmingly brilliant illustration is going to skyrocket Kyle to fame. He kindly let us ask him a few questions about the publication.
So this book is quite an achievement! Tell us a little about it.
Thanks very much! The book is an amalgamation of all the things I enjoy in comics – humour, violence, obscure characters and for those who read a little deeper, a bit of social commentary. As someone with a short attention span, I thought what it would take to keep myself engaged in a narrative for more than one page, so I’ve kept these comics short and punchy.
How long has Megaskull taken you to complete?
It’s taken six intensive months to make, constantly inventing characters and scenarios. Every page took hours to draw and separate for Litho printing. I was pretty strict with myself in terms of quality control, I would say there is probably a whole other book’s worth of ideas in the bin.
I developed a lot as an illustrator in these six months. I can see a difference in the comics I created at the start of the project, and the ones I created much later on, in terms of composition and my ability to tell a story.
What is it about the book format you prefer to individual prints and images?
There are so many elements to design, I love creating the front and back cover, the end papers, and the spine. I get a lot of satisfaction from working towards a larger outcome. When you see the finished product it is so gratifying!
Did you read any comics as a kid?
When I was 11 years old I discovered 2000 AD comics. They were the first comics I had ever seen with such gratuitous violence. When I think about it they probably had more of an influence on my work than I realised. But before I discovered comics I was always drawing, especially in school when I was supposed to be working. I’d rush through the written work so that I could accompany the text with little illustrations. History was my favourite, I loved drawing all the battle scenes.
The people featured in Megaskull are not often the most glamourous or desirable characters, how do you come up with them all?
Well that’s probably because they are all based on real people, I am interested in finding humour in the unfortunate, not in a sadistic way, I just have a great affection for dark humour. Most of my content comes from things that I see as being morose elements of our society, like talent shows, betting shops, and payday loans companies. I make lots of notes in my sketchbook – I might see something funny happen at Camberwell Green, and then I will think about the worst case scenario that might make it even funnier.
If you could give Megaskull to one person to read, who would it be?
I’d be very embarrassed to do so, but I would love to give a copy to punk poet John Cooper Clark. He’s had a big influence on the comics I make, I love how he can make such melancholic material so humorous. I saw him at Latitude this year, he’s still razor sharp!
Are you hatching any plans for future projects or giving your hand a rest?
I have just given myself a bit of downtime back in Sheffield where I’m from, but there are already a few projects that have been in waiting that I need to get on with. I will be creating limited edition comics for Blast Skateboards, a new skateboarding company set up by my friend the Illustrator Matt Bromley.
One will be given away with every board. Me and two friends (Lisa & Tida Finch) have been plotting a new project, I don’t want to give too much away but it involves illustration and fashion. It’s going to be fun. The whole year I have been longing to doing some painting, so maybe I will get a chance at that in between now and the next Megaskull.