We caught up with comic book creator Paul P J Johnson to find out more about his latest release Death Truck.
STARBURST: Death Truck shows a lot for the B-movies of the ‘70s and ‘80s. What was it about them that you wanted to put in your comic?
Paul P J Johnson: ‘70s and ‘80s horror movies are what I love, I grew up on a healthy diet of slasher movies and crime thrillers and action films, if there were crazed killers, giant monsters, over the top heroes, sexy women and everything exploded, I was there, glued to the screen, I loved it and I still do. So when I started writing and drawing comics for myself (I do a lot of books for other creators to) I just used everything id watched as a kid as inspiration for the universe that I'm creating, the Beat The Demon comix universe is getting wider, huge, especially now with the Razor Bastard movie in pre-production, stuffs going to explode. But I love the horror, grindhouse genre, you can just go wild with it, and I do.
Do you think there are any particular advantages to telling the story through a comic book instead of a movie?
I'd love to make Death Truck as a movie, I think if you put the book into the hands of Robert Rodriguez you'd end up with one hell of a crazy movie. What I'd do as I'm writing and drawing, is I watch it in my head, it plays like a movie, I can hear the characters and the soundtrack blasting as I'm creating. It would work as well as a movie as it does as a comic, only the budget on the comic isn't ten million dollars and I don't have actors to deal with.
Why did you choose a truck as your principal antagonist?
I have a billion ideas a day for books I'm working on and books I’m going to work on. I'd just finished Razor Bastard: Rise Of Dick Machine and I was thinking about what to do next, I have Razor 3, 4, and 5 written but I was exhausted by him, you work on a book doing the writing, drawing, inking, colouring, lettering and then putting it together, eventually you get sick of the sight of it and the characters. So I wanted to do something fresh.so late one night I was sat chilling, watching the horror channel, next up Duel, Spielberg’s Duel. I'd not seen it for years but it's a fantastic movie, and about halfway through I decide, I'm doing a killer truck book next. So that night, I sat up and pretty much wrote the whole of death truck.
Death Truck contains some wonderfully bizarre moments; when you wrote a scene would you build it around a particular moment already in mind or did they develop as you wrote?
Death Truck is insane, it starts at a ridiculous level and then escalates to beyond ridiculous. I know the review here says I didn't go far enough, I was like whoa - not far enough, ok wait till you read the next book, They Melt lol. I have tons of crazy stuff pop in my head every day, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, everything just flows when I'm writing a book, I have my beginning my middle and end already laid out, but yeah as I'm writing some stuff gets added, very little is taken out. There’s stuff I wanted to add to Death Truck and I could have kept going, but I’d still be drawing it, it would never be finished, there comes a point where you have to say that's it.
Do you think that the rise of digital comics has affected how you plan to market Death Truck to anyone who might want to buy it?
I'm the kind of guy that likes to buy things, comics, albums, DVDs, books etc. I'm not alone, there are people out there that want the physical copies of stuff, the smell of a new album as you take off the wrapper, and the smell of printed paper when you open a book. everything I do I self-finance, I don't do Kickstarters, my books come out in limited runs and they've sold pretty well so far, I think Death Truck will too.