INTERVIEW: Montynero, Co-Creator of Death Sentence: London

In Comic Books by Bub Smith0 Comments

6 months to live, but you get super powers during that time?!?! Sounds like a hell of a way to go out. It’s also the basic idea around Monty Nero’s Death Sentence. If you haven’t picked it up yet (And clearly the only reason you haven’t is because you hate awesome things) do yourself a favor and grab it. Titan released a totally rad hardcover last year that’s worth every penny.

Now that you know about Death Sentence, it’s time to talk about the new ongoing series Death Sentence: London!  Coming in June from Titan Comics, Montynero continues his story of the G Plus Virus and judging by the trailer it looks intense. I could talk more about this adrenaline ride of comic book or you could just watch the trailer below.

I know right?!?! Looks totally badass. Co-creator and writer Montynero took some time out of his day and answered a few questions for us about the upcoming series.  Be sure to add this one to your pull lists!

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Slack Jaw Punks: Let’s start basic: Where are you from? How old were you when you first started reading comics?

Monty Nero: I’m from Dundee, in Scotland. About four. From as early as I can remember I loved reading and I loved art.

SJP:  What titles first spoke to you and let you know that the working in comics was what you wanted to do?

MN: Um, well I started copying the pictures from about seven or so. I’ve still got some of those pics somewhere. I think I first started thinking of it as a career at about thirteen, copying Spider-man comics. I got obsessed by Kyle Baker for a bit, which isn’t a bad way to start.

SJP: Death Sentence is a pretty intense premise. Where did that idea come from?

MN: Just from life. Six months to go, what are you going to do with your life? That’s the nub of it. I came up with the idea driving home from a comic con, when my wife was six months pregnant. So it seemed like we only had six months to do something personal, until the baby came, because every parent we knew kept giving us dark warnings that life as we knew it was over. Which was bullshit, as it turned out. Our daughter was a little angel and a boon to creativity if anything. But it felt very real at the time, the pressure. Kind of a do or die moment. And on the drive home I decided that if you add in the sexually transmitted element it makes the story more dramatic, because it adds an element of choice over whether you put yourself into this predicament or not. And so G plus was born – a virus that kills you in six months but makes your incredibly powerful. So you can potentially fulfill your dreams, or not – which it the situation Verity and Weasel find themselves in.

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SJP:  Death Sentence was a well received comic from fans and critics. Did this help with launching the ongoing series? Was it always the plan?

MN: Yes, it helped enormously. But it was a complete surprise. I had loads more stories but I didn’t expect to be able to publish them. It’s pretty exciting for the industry that a no-mark like myself can establish a viable creator owned series with brand new characters, right off the bat.

SJP: This time around the comic features relatively new artist Martin Simmonds. Why the change in artists? How did you get involved with Simmonds?

MN: As co-creator Mike always gets first dibs on any Death Sentence story. But he’s so damn good, he got himself about two years of high-profile work after finishing the first book. He’s working on something pretty exciting right now with one of my favourite writers. So Martin stepped up, and brought a whole new dimension to it. There’s a nice crossover in the things they both do, the essential Death Sentence elements, but then they both bring unique elements too. It’s a win-win for everyone.

SJP: Simmonds art is colorful and chaotic and really adds to the energy the comic conveys. How involved in the story process is he?

MN: I send him the scripts, he paints them with a skill and passion that leaves me breathless. He’s a great guy to work with, really easy going.and a top professional. Watching his art develop every issue has been a real privilege. He’s going to be HUGE!

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SJP: The first volume of death sentence featured some memorable characters specifically Monty and Weasel. Where do these characters come from and how much like Monty would you say you are?

MN: Um, from life I guess. Monty’s the least like me, Verity’s the most like me. I got tired of seeing the same kinds of characters in comics. I wanted something anyone could relate to whether they read comics or not. So I drew from popular culture, from whatever was going on at the time. You can recognise elements of all the politicians, the musicians, movie stars, artists and street hustlers that populate the comic from the news headlines. There’s stuff in the new series about Ferguson, and the London riots. But all the characters have bits of me in them too, the creative elements, exaggerated for dramatic effect.

SJP: Any chance we will see a return of Monty and Weasel?

MN: Yeah, for sure. Weasel’s one of the main protagonists in the new story, and Monty’s features in a four-part flashback story that runs from issue 13 to 16. There are lots in all these characters still to explore, plus some incredible new players with interesting new powers and philosophies too.

SJP: If you could pick your dream cast for Death Sentence the Movie, who would you cast?

MN: I like Zooey Deschannel for Verity but Mike doesn’t. And as he drew Verity with such verisimilitude I say he gets the casting vote. Weasel could be Ryan Gosling and Monty should be Russel Brand or Noel Fielding, someone like that.

SJP:  You’ve just been infected with the G+ Virus and got 6 months to live!!! How are you going out?

MN: I would make twenty or so graphic novels while using super speed to still spend hours every day with my family.

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