A daring duo from Horsham pursuing their dream of publishing their own graphic novel and supporting other budding writers and artists, have started a new business - and are offering a discount to County Times readers.
Drew Dewsall and Kris Hazard have launched Gobsmack Comics, selling a range of cool clothing and collectibles to help fund their writing projects.
Drew said: “We’re building a community business, and we want to give back to the community as well by getting other people involved.
“The idea is to make enough money to publish our own work, and create a place where other writers and artists can have their work seen.”
Kris said: “If you paint watercolours there are groups you can join. There isn’t anywhere in this area to do that if you’re interested in alternative styles like manga or graphic novels. Where can you meet people and discuss your work? How do you get to showcase your work when it’s done? We want to change that.”
The pair are collaborating on ‘Dark Fractures’, a sharp suspense thriller about a group of teenagers who wake up in a mansion and don’t know why they’re there.
“It’s about getting something new out there that’s ours,” said Kris, 34. “It’s been a great learning experience, you find that you learn so much more by actually doing a project like this and getting better as you go along. This is our first project together, we’ve already got heaps of ideas for future projects - we just talk about it all the time about visual art styles and what we could do next. There’s so much in the mainstream now, Sin City was first about in the ‘80s and they’re still making the films now.”
While Drew admits to being a sci fi nerd, Kris’s inspiration is more cinematic, from the likes of Tim Burton and Joss Whedon.
Drew, 41, was bitten by the bug when he wrote his first novel - a hugely ambitious piece which took him six years to complete.
“Before I’d finished it about four films had come out which were along similar lines so I thought I really needed to change it. I thought about serialising it as a comic, but I couldn’t draw myself so looked around for someone to work with.”
Drew and Kris first met through the Horsham music scene, both playing for local rock bands - Drew with The Drone Rebels and Kris for bands including Everafta and Sonic Deluxe. A mutual friend mentioned to Drew that Kris was interested in artwork, particularly manga and graphic novel style drawing, and the connection was made.
“We both realised we are enormous geeks,” said Kris.
“Kris read my novel and said ‘that’s great, let’s do something else’,” joked Drew.
“It was a full on 500,000 word novel,” Kris added. “It was just so long, it was hard to know where to start, plus Drew had already invested so much time and energy into it that it was hard to start moving in and trying to change stuff.”
The pair agreed to start with a fresh project, a short story idea Kris came up with. After a year the piece is three-quarters done.
Kris has hand drawn and inked the pages to Drew’s storyline. They plan to colour it digitally.
But finding the time and money to support the venture has proved challenging - both have families and day jobs with Drew working as a telecommunications engineer and Kris for a plumbing and heating merchant.
The idea of funding their creative work by starting a new company was one which appealed to them both, and with Drew’s previous business experience he was ideally suited to set up and front Gobsmack Comics.
Selling both through his website www.gobsmackcomics.co.uk and taking stalls at major comic and sci fi conventions around the country, including Comic Con at Earles Court, Drew hopes the business will have wide appeal.
“We have cool merchandise which people just really love,” he said. “At the London Film and Comic Con we did really well and although there are lots of exhibitors at a thing like that, everyone has limited edition stock so the customers come round hunting for something special they can’t get anywhere else.”
Gobsmack Comics offers a wide range of merchandise including clothing, collectibles, comics and graphic novels - everything from Game of Thrones shot glasses to Evil Dead figures and Minecraft foam pickaxes.
“Right now we need to grow the business and get the word out to people that we’re here,” said Drew. “If people within Horsham order from the site we will hand-deliver to them within 24 hours.
“We really hope this will take off, and we can create a community where we can get our original work and the work of other local people out there.”
Gobsmack Comics is offering County Times readers a 10 per cent discount. Enter the code WSCT when placing an order online to claim your discount at www.gobsmackcomics.co.uk
For more information, email Info@gobsmackcomics.co.uk or telephone +44 (0)800-6891821.