Mo Ali is an artist and writer whose latest comics Midnight Man is available now. Mo was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions.
How did Midnight Man first come into being?
It was Andy (Bloor) who came up with it – he’d designed this cool looking character and thought of the name; beyond that I don’t think he had any specific plans for Midnight Man so was open to ideas. He asked me to pitch a synopsis as we’d worked well together on some short comic stories and the rest, as they say, is history.
If I remember correctly, Andy referred to it as “one of the most insane treatments for a comic” he’d read at the time. Which was nice.
What were the influences behind Midnight Man?
Dashiell Hammett, Warren Ellis and John Woo. And some other bits and pieces thrown in.
You’re an artist as well as a writer. How does that change your approach to comics writing?
I usually have a good idea of what I want to achieve visually with my stories, so I guess my comics writing is reflective of that; specifically for Midnight Man I wanted to write something that would be fun and challenging to draw for an artist – or cause a nervous breakdown at the very least.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for small press comics at the moment?
Cost, and finding and retaining an audience.
What advice would you give for people looking to start out?
Make a comic – it doesn’t have to be the Next Big Thing™, just find a story to tell and get it written and drawn and out there, print or digital.
Don’t overanalyse, just get your hands dirty.
Who are the comics creators you admire?
I enjoy work by Leah Moore & John Reppion, Rob Williams, Si Gurr, Kek-w, Alex de Campi, Chris Graves, Tess Fowler, El Indio (Brad Tuttle), Jennie Gyllblad, Dan Wernëck, Emma Beeby, Jordie Bellaire, Declan Shalvey, Mike Mignola, Jon Tsuei, Sarah Horrocks, Gordon Rennie, Dan McDaid, Ashraf Ghori, Chris Weston…the list goes on.
What more can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
Hopefully if the stars align there’ll be a second Midnight Man book – GUN SPACE – but everything else is still work in progress.
What was the last thing you read that you’d recommend to someone else?
Johnny Viable And His Terse Friends by Steve Aylett.