Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Interview – Stephen Downey – Artist (Cancertown, Torchwood Magazine)

Wayne Simmons's first interview features Belfast-based comicbook artist Stephen Downey!

WS: Tell us a little about yourself: what contribution are you currently making to the horror/ sci-fi genre?

SD: I’m a Belfast-based artist that mostly draws comicbooks. Most of my work as yet tends to focus on the monstrous or gory.

superhero sample

WS: Your first major release was Cancertown (Insomnia Publications). What’s it about?

SD: Cancertown is a story written by English writer Cy Dethan. It tells the tale of Vincent Morley, who suffers from a massive brain tumour that enables him to travel between London and the monsterous alternate version that he dubs ‘Cancertown’. Morley, with the help of a little burnt girl called Bugfuck, sets out to retrieve the lost people who fall into this horrific place, but the monstrous residents of Cancertown have their own plans…

Cy wrote a brilliant script that was really fun to draw and my artistic collaborators, Mel Cook on colours and Nic Wilkinson on letters, really brought a lot of atmosphere and style to my black and white artwork.

It was great seeing my first major work (I’d drawn a few pages for the Belfast anthology Small Axe a few years previously) in such a well presented and put together graphic novel available in both comic stores such as Forbidden planet and a lot of the big book stores like Waterstones and

Cancertown spread

WS: Recently, you got involved with the BBC’s Torchwood Magazine. How did that come about?

SD: I met the Torchwood comics editor Martin Eden at BICS, a comic con in Birmingham, last year. I had drawn a few superhero sample pages as well as showing some of my Cancertown and Slaughterman’s Creed pages. Martin really liked my work so we kept in touch and a few months later, when he needed an artist for an 11 page story, he emailed me. I’d been a fan of the show and jumped at the chance to add something to the Torchwood mythos, including a new villain, Mr. Q.

It will be on the magazine racks in the UK inside the Torchwood Magazine on August 19th, then reprinted in the US early next year.

Cancertown spread2

WS: So, what is

SD: acts as a showcase for Northern Irish creative talent. It started because a lot of my friends are creative types and interested in different media. Some of them are studying film, others are musicians, writers and artists and we felt having a place to showcase creative media from Northern Ireland would give us an incentive to produce more collaborations as well as show off work from other local creators. We sometimes have themed months, but usually it is open to anything local creators want to submit. is open to all NI creators, and we try to hook people up with collaborators, for eg find an artist to create illustration for some prose. Everone keeps the rights to their own material so any NI residents can email if they have any pieces to submit. 

WS: What are you working on now?


For more interviews and book reviews by Wayne Simmons, go to

Belfast born, Wayne Simmons, has been loitering with intent around the horror genre for some years. Having scribbled reviews and interviews for various zines, Wayne released his debut horror novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, through PERMUTED PRESS. The book was received well by both fans of the genre and reviewers alike. In April 2010, the rights to DROP DEAD GORGEOUS reverted back to Wayne. An extended version of DDG will be released through SNOWBOOKS in 2011.

Wayne released the zombie apocalyptic horror novel, FLU, through SNOWBOOKS in April 2010.

In what little spare time he has left, Wayne enjoys running, getting tattooed and listening to all manner of unseemly screeches on his BOOM-BOOM Box…

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