I’m so pumped to be hosting another interview this week with the amazing, Mike Garley!
I first met Mike when I received an email asking me to take a peek at his upcoming kickstarter project for Our Final Halloween. I immediately backed the project and couldn’t wait to dive in once it was completed! Since then, Mike and I have emailed back and forth on various projects, and I cannot wait to see what he does next!
Currently, Mike has a kickstarter running for The Samurai Slasher Collected Edition. Click here to learn more about that!
Let’s dive in to the interview!
Interview with Mike Garley, author of Our Final Halloween, The Samurai Slasher & MUCH more!
Who is Mike Garley?
Mike Garley is an EMMY-nominated writer who has written for Adventure Time, Wallace and Gromit, and Image Comics’ 24 panels anthology, as well as creator-owned projects The Kill Screen, Samurai Slasher, and Our Final Halloween.
Mike has also consulted on Transmedia storytelling for beActive Media, developed game concepts with Masters of Pie, and Wickety Splits, and has contributed articles to Comic Heroes, and The UK Scriptwriters Survival Handbook: or How to Earn an Actual Living as a Writer.
What is your first memory of writing for fun?
I struggled with writing as a kid. I was dyslexic but didn’t know it at the time, so like most kids I found myself getting frustrated. I do remember a random writing exercise where we were meant to write about ‘what was in our room’ but instead I found myself telling a story of trying to make it to the door and what could have possibly been behind it. But then I don’t really remember enjoying writing anything for about another fifteen years, I wanted to do something creative and decided – along with a friend – to do a creative writing course. And from that moment I’ve been obsessed with telling stories. I was always a massive fan of cinema, and the whole VHS store experience played a pivotal role for me as a child so it just seemed like a natural progression.
How many books/comics have you written?
That is a question… I’ve been writing full-time for about twelve years now, and have written maybe fifty published comics, some podcasts, a couple of books, several short films, some screenplays, a few games, and everything in between. Like with most writers for every project that I’ve worked on that has seen the light of day there must be ten that hasn’t.
What are some of your other interests outside of writing?
I am not a cool person… I loved video games as a kid, but that seems to have been replaced by tabletop games as an adult – being able to be away from a screen and interact with people (friends and family) is probably the main reason for this. I’m currently working for a miniature company (writing comics for them and helping them edit all their lore) which I’m really enjoying. I’m also painting all the models too, which I got into over lockdown. Me and a couple of friends would do that over Zoom and we found it a great way to chat. I also love football (soccer) which is apparently a rarity in writers. And then the obvious – reading and watching films. Not that I have a lot of spare time. I have three children and a little dog that keep me super busy.
Are you also a reader?
Yes. But not a big reader. I know, sacrilege. I love to read but I’m not a fast reader. And sometimes after a full day of writing the last thing I’ll want to do is look at more words. I’ll try and read a couple of books on holiday though.
What genres do you reach for the most?
I’m a bit scattershot in what I read. My favourite genres are normally horror and sci-fi but when I read I’ll normally be trying to read one of ‘the classics’, or I’ll be doing research for a project. That’s probably why it takes me so long to read to be honest. If I’m not that into a book than I’ll be more likely to just work on my own stuff instead, which is probably not the healthiest approach.
Do you have an all time favorite book/comic book or author?
Not really, there are authors and creators that I tend to enjoy but it’s the story that will pique my interest. Like I said, scattershot.
Comic Related Questions
You’ve had a successful Kickstarter campaign in the past with Our Final Halloween. Now you’re running a new project for The Samurai Slasher Collected Edition and you’ve got some killer items included on various pledge levels! Can you tell us more about the process of how this new campaign was put together?
The Slasher was inspired by my love of 80s horror. Horror played such an important part of my life growing up. It offered escapism and explored themes in such a weird and fun way that I was completely obsessed with it.
The Slasher is my attempt at capturing that magic. Over the last six or seven years I created three graphic novels, a Survive-your-own-Adventure book, a party game, and Late Fees – a semi- autobiographical comic – that explores my relationship with horror. It’s a deeply personal story about relationships… featuring a killer samurai.
This Kickstarter is me bringing all of that together. It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done and it is terrifying!
What are some tips you would like to share for fellow authors that may be considering putting a Kickstarter campaign together for their work?
Make sure you’re ready for it! You need to make sure that there’s an audience for it, which means promoting it before it even starts. Try to reach out to anyone that you think may be interested, and plan how you’re going to promote your campaign for the entire duration. You really want to make sure your campaign is simple enough that people have enough information to decide if they want to back it straight away.
And of course, I can’t close this out without asking more about the Samurai Slasher itself! On the Kickstarter page, it states, “The Samuari Slasher is an unstoppable killing machine who hacks, slashes, and stabs his way through anyone that’s stupid enough to get in his way. The comic is a mixture of horror, comedy, and the bizarre type of storylines that you’d expect to find in an 80s b-movie.” All of my favorite things! Did you have particular inspiration from things you had read or watched in the past that worked its way into this collection? Are there any fun easter eggs for readers to keep an eye out for? (We can leave this second one off if you’d like!)
The Slasher has a lot of influences. It’s a loving homage of what’s come before it, while attempting to create something new. I think it’s important that stories have something to say, and although I describe this book as dumb and fun, there’s more beneath the surface that has really resonated with people. Especially within Late Fees.
It’s definitely an 80s inspired modern comic, so there’s few easter eggs in there – but not a lot because I wanted it to stand on its own – for example in the Christmas special that you can see on the Kickstarter page the Slasher is pitted against Santa, and there’s a Predator reference in there. But that’s the fun of some of the extra content – there’s the freedom to take these weird detours and know they still fit the feel of the book and its readership.
Just one last question; Where can readers find you?
Thanks for reading!
And major thanks to Mike Garley for taking the time to do this interview while he’s been slammed with projects! If you haven’t checked out his works yet, I highly recommend doing so!