Mike Garley on The Kill Screen: "This is in Fact How Doomsday Manifests"

Next month sees the launch of ‘The Kill Screen’ by the creative team of Mike Garley, Josh Sherwell and Mike Stock. A story about a computer virus which enters the real world – and starts to do some really, really weird stuff – the series marks the next big project for Garley following his previous series ‘Eponymous’.

I don’t really want to give away how the computer virus manifests itself (but if you read this interview you’ll start to find out!) but it’s a ridiculously smart concept for a series, played extremely well by the creative team. And in order to find out more about just HOW said idea came about, I asked Five Questions to Mike Garley himself! 

What happens in a computerised apocalypse? Read on to find out…

Steve: What’s the comic about? What’s the premise of The Kill Screen – what’s going on in this world?
Mike: A Kill Screen is the point in old computer games where the game becomes unplayable due to unpredictable gameplay errors and bizarre glitches.
We’re taking that concept into our world and exploring what would happen if humanity had reached its Kill Screen and this is in fact how doomsday manifests.
What we’re left with in The Kill Screen is the remaining inhabitants of this worldwide event, who are doing everything in their powers to survive in a world that no longer functions as it should.
The concept is pretty far fetching and lets us explore religion, technology, and society itself, but what it’s really about is people.

Steve: This seems like a story with a large-scale to it. How epic in scale are your plans for the series? You’ve created a whole world to play around here. Are you hoping to tell one long story, a series of stories in the world – what are your hopes for the comic?
Mike: We’ve got big plans, with loads of ideas and concepts to explore, but we want to make sure that we’re not taking a scatter shot approach to storytelling, so we’re intending to tell limited stories much in the vein of Hellboy. We have lots of different technology inspired baddies in there too, and they allow us to tell different types of stories too.
Our stories are character driven, with the majority of the stories focusing on a single character. The Kill Screen is just a backdrop for all our crazy shenanigans.
We’re self-publishing The Kill Screen for now, but would love to find the right home for it. Hopefully we can prove that there’s a big enough market for a comic like this to thrive.
Steve: What gave you the idea for the computer virus breaking out into the real world? It caught me off guard when I read the preview – and it reminded me of a bit in, of all things, Eternal Darkness, where the main character loses their sanity and suddenly the world starts to crackle and static interrupts the screen. On that topic – have you ever played Eternal Darkness? It’s amazing
Mike: Oh, that’s cool. We wanted to establish a realistic, relatable world before breaking away, so I’m glad that’s worked for you.

I haven’t played Eternal Darkness (I want to now though) but will definitely add it to my ever-growing list of games that I should have played, but haven’t!
I love games but due to how much I work, that even describing myself as a casual gamer may be a bit generous.
Saying that I’ve always had a fondness for them (same as horror films and comics), and this computer-based idea was one of a few that fitted together really well, creating The Kill Screen.

Steve: This is a book which really requires the creative team to be working in perfect sync with one another – writer, artist, letterer. How did you pitch the book to Josh Sherwell and Mike Stock? How have you enjoyed the collaboration between the three of you on the project?
Mike: It’s been great. It’s like working with two friends who can’t leave you even if they wanted to.
Mike Stock was an obvious choice as a long-term friend and collaborator. He’s incredibly creative as well as having similar opinions on design as myself. He’s also probably the only letterer I know who can put up with my incessant revisions.
Josh is an amazingly talented artist who’s got a fantastic future ahead of him. I was quick to step in his way… His comic PI Charles is fantastic and I was keen to hook up with him on something as soon as possible. A lot of the ideas in The Kill Screen needed an artist of Josh’s caliber to bring them to life, and after we bonded over talk of Resident Evil then we knew it was fate. Horrible, unrelenting fate…
Steve: When will The Kill Screen be out? What other projects do you have coming up, and where can we find you online?
Mike: We’re planning to launch the first of The Kill Screen (ILOVEYOU) at the London MCM on the 24th and 25th of May!
I’m working on a few projects, but there’s not a lot I can really talk about. I have a horror comic anthology that’s based on an undead samurai warrior, which is coming out in a few months, a giant-monsters kids-comic, a superhero webcomic, and I’m working away on a horror film. Unfortunately, like most creators I can’t really say anymore until a lot nearer each of the projects are ready to launch. I might be lying. But I’m not…
I have a website which you can find here and I’m on twitter here – which is well worth following as I’ve over thirty followers!

You should also check out Mike Stock and Joshua Sherwell on twitter  . They’re not as good, but whatever.

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