Orson is only 12 years old but has already achieved my unrealised childhood dream of publishing his own graphic novel. Last Saturday saw the launch of his latest title, The Adventures of Hal Dekenzin, at Orbital Comics in London – an event that included not only freshly printed comics, but also a plethora of live drawing by the author himself.
Hal is a character of Orson’s own creation; a 19th Century super-sleuth battling supernatural forces of evil with tools gifted to him by his father. This first book of adventures follows him from childhood through to his early adult years, embroiled in a war with his nemesis, the New Jersey Devil.
To say I’m impressed by Orson would be an understatement. Not only has he managed to put together a hugely entertaining comic at the tender age of 12, he’s also amassed a gang of prestigious supporters to offer their endorsements on its cover. Anorak’s Cathy Olmedillas says: “With this comic you are witnessing the beginning of a great new career.” Joe Kessler lauds the “inspired lunacy from one of the world’s foremost twisted young minds,” and Isabel Greenberg put together a whole paragraph in praise of the young artist:
“Do you like excitement and adventure of the highest order? If you don’t you are boring. If you do read Orson’s book. It contains monsters, devils, the dead, the undead, time travel, garlic, Yankees and basically everything a person could ask for in a comic.” Agreed!
We spoke to Orson the day after his launch to find out more about how he makes his fantasies a reality…
Who is your main character Hal Dekenzin and what is his back story?
Hal Dekenzin is a Pinkerton and monster hunter. He lives in New Jersey, a town constantly tormented by the New Jersey Devil, an age-old monster.
Do you remember coming up with the character? If so can you describe the circumstances…
I came up with the character a long time ago, simply for fun! As I was into detectives at the time, I made one up, and wrote a small novelette of the character.
What’s the premise of his first set of adventures?
Well to say that would spoil the story.
This is your first ever graphic novel, how do you feel about completing it?
Well, it is not such a big deal, as I have done other comics before. But it is very exciting to have a proper book launch at a proper comic shop. And to have it printed so finely.
"Practise a lot and listen to your Dad or Mum."Orson
Do you and your dad compete over who draws what and which stories you want to create or is the process amicable?
No, I write the story myself, but sometimes in the editing process, if Dad doesn’t understand the story, we may discuss this in a heated fashion. Once this is over we try to make it as easy to understand as possible, so that even the most stupid people can understand what’s happening. (i.e my dad).
What advice would you give to other young people looking to create a masterpiece by the age of 12?
Practise a lot and listen to your Dad or Mum.
What’s next for Hal Dekenzin?
He will either head west or maybe somewhere a bit mountainous.
What’s next for Orson?
Well my upcoming comic is the Cortoonized version of Varney the Vampire, one of the oldest vampires of Britain…