Interview with Damian Smith – Lord Shaper

Damian Smith is the Co-host of Kryptographik: a Podcast Covering Horror, Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy.
He’s also the host of Welcome to Heavenside, A Doktor Sleepless Podcast. He has generously sat down to share his insights into the genre.


[Nancy]: Would you tell us a bit about yourself?

[Damian Smith]:  Firstly I’m a comic fan and reader as well as a lot of Sci-fi and horror movies, TV and novels. But apart from that I’m a Podcaster and Blogger. My main podcast is Kryptographik , where My co-host Brian Matus and myself talk about anything horror fantasy and sci-fi but what our main focus is on is Comic Books and Movies. Then there is a spin off podcast, Welcome to Heavenside, which is part of the Reader Feed which is focusing on Warren Ellis’ Comic Book Doktor Sleepless and all the ideas that are in the book and where he could be taking the story. It only comes out every so often as finding time to record and edit it is the hard part at the moment.

Apart from all the recording that I do I’m also a Blogger for my own website The Furnace which in it’s original incarnation was a computer gaming website where I would post a range of computer gaming news. It ran for about 5 years until everything for the site started to die off so I made a decision to pull the plug on it and transfer my blog from over at to be under my online namesake. I used the blog for reviews and news about anything I’m interested in and as well as those I have had the opportunity to do the odd interview.

[NO]: What intrigues you about comics and graphic novels?

[DS]: I grew up reading comics and Graphic Novels as a treat from my father. Usually he would take me out to a news agency and let me chose something off the stand and as always with any little kid you would ask for the biggest thickest one so you could get the most out of it. With that I would get a lot of these DC Anthology reprints out here in Australia and that would be full of 5-10 page stories about everyone from Superman and Batman to Green Arrow and Captain Marvel Jr.

I wasn’t getting them monthly at this point so I was lucky to get the continuing storyline at that point.

From there I started to get into them more around 86 where I’m ashamed to say I was influenced by The Lost Boys to go out and search for a Comic Store where I was able to find one and also picked up some great Horror titles that were coming out from Australian publishers at that time. And I managed to meet one of those Authors about 2 years back and we have struck up a friendship.

As for what intrigues me with this is I’m a fan of getting the visual with the dialogue. You can get a lot out of one panel when it’s drawn to get the feeling and put across the feelings that you can’t just put down in words. Also with 2 young kids it’s hard for me to find time these days to sit down and read a novel but getting my monthly 22-48 pages I can read one issue before going to bed but with a novel I’m find it harder to get back into one after a week of not having a chance. Also with my son hitting 5 years old and getting into cartoons like Justice League and Star Wars I have had the chance to start sharing the comic hobby with him as well so it’s a good bonding point.

[NO]: What are some of the up and coming trends in the industry?

[DS]: Unfortunately with comics over the last few years we have been seeing a drop in the readership which in turn has seen the number of Comic Stores starting to drop off as well. This shows there is a downhill trend and that the major companies will have to find a way of being about to find alternative markets. That being said there are a number of new downloadable formats coming into existence like Comics by Comixology which is an iphone application which allows you to download a range of free comics as well as purchase any current title that is coming out within that week. Also for a multi platform product there is Longbox which is looking to be a great idea and there are a good range of companies that are jumping on board with it.

[NO]: What are some of the best story lines or best illustrated you’ve come across?

[DS]: This is a hard one answer… Everyone likes different things and I could go along the normal route with The Watchmen which I read at least once a year but there are some that go without much acclaim. For Storyline I’d have to recommend Andy Diggle and Garth Ennis’ runs on Hellblazer, Matt Wagner’s Grendel run from Comico, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (which was what opened my eyes to what you could find in comics), Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency and Doktor Sleepless and the one major book I always go back to is The Invisibles by Grant Morrison

Art is something that generally would come second to me as I seem to get more from the writers over artists. But that being said it was Simon Bisley on his Lobo run that had me noticing artists and from there I would follow his books like his Slaine run from 2000ad and then there was Tim Bradstreet who I first came across from the White Wolf Vampire RPG books and his art has became instantly recognizable to me.

[NO]: Why do you avoid super heroes?

[DS]: It’s not that I avoid Super Heroes, I do read some on a regular basis like Green Lantern, Witchblade, The Darkness and Deadpool to name a few but I have always found more of an appeal of other styles of comics. As I touched on briefly before I had my eyes opened by The Sandman in the 90’s and then all of the books that were coming out from Vertigo at that time. I have great memories of getting The Invisibles, Preacher, The Sandman, Books of Magic and of course Hellblazer that even though I was getting most of the Batman universe I would always save the vertigo until last so I’d end on a high point each week.

I think the main thing that would contribute to what I prefer in my comic books is that when I was getting the odd book with my father all those years ago some of the ones I would also pick up were 2000ad, Eagle and others from Britain which the majority of those books didn’t have much if any at all. So seeing Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper and the more adult sci-fi stories had me start to get hardwired for that style.

[NO]: Which genre has the most appeal to you?

[DS]: This is another hard question for me… I read a few different genre’s on a regular basis from the Post Apocalyptic world of Wasteland to the Nihilistic near Sci-fi world of Doktor Sleepless and then I would cross over to the clean war comics Titanium Rain which is set in the near Future and from there I’d dive back into my main love in comics which is the supernatural world of Hellblazer. And on top of all that I keep going back to Brian Lumley’s Cthulhu work as well as William Gibson and Neil Stephenson’s Cyberpunk work.

[NO]: Have you seen a change in the market in the last few years?

[DS]: Apart of the need of a Digital service that I mentioned beforehand I think the major trend that has changed since I started reading Comic Books is that there is a big swing towards the Graphic Novel market. I remember that if you missed an issue back in the 90’s you would have to hunt down the back issues as there wasn’t much of a market for Graphic Novels. And now with most storylines being released in a collected form we have a choice of how we want to read these. This has given most publishers another stream for income by letting them get into the book market as we have been seeing the decline of the direct market.

And the other big thing that has been getting a cross over effect to the comic industry has to have been the Manga explosion that has been going on for at least 5-6 years now. Anything that gets people reading I’m a fan of these days.

[NO]: Is there a storyline you’d like to write?

[DS]: I’m not that experienced with my writing at this point. I had my first 2 page short story published in the Revere comic that came out of Archaia Studio Press in 2006. It came about as Grant Bond had posted some upcoming pictures of what could be in the second storyline for Revere (That unfortunately never came about) and I looked at them and came up with an idea that I through together and posted up on Grant’s forum. Not long after I received an email asking if I would let them publish it which of course I said yes to.


Apart from that I have just finished what will be roughly a 7 page story for some friends and the first collection of their comic. But I can’t say much more about it at the moment until they announce it.

But back to the question about what I’d like to write… I have some ideas that have been beating around in my head for a while with the main one I’d like to do is a post apocalyptic Cthulhu tale. Taking some of the Brian Lumley mythos where you would have the Star Stones holding the outer gods at bay, we’ve had wars which have rocked the very world to the degree that some of these stones have been destroyed and there are continents that are lost to the otherworldly beasts…

I’ll get back to working on that and beating some ideas out of my head soon I hope!


You can find and follow Damian at:

Kryptographik Website

Welcome to Heavenside

The Furnace


Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm  Comments (5)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Interview with Damian Smith – Lord Shaper « Overbury Ink – view page – cached #RSS 2.0 Overbury Ink » Interview with Damian Smith – Lord Shaper Comments Feed Overbury Ink Writers Fed by Birds Blank – The Graphic Novel — From the page […]

  2. […] can check out the interview here. So go over and have a look and let me know what you think in the comments here or over at […]

  3. Great interview, Damian! I don’t know how you get it all done with a 5 year old running around. My cat looks at me like she’s being neglected whenever I pick up a comic! 🙂

  4. I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..


  5. I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: