Three More Interviews With Lees & Laurie

Writer John Lees and artist Iain Laurie, creators of And Then Emily Was Gone, have been continuing to hit the interview circuit, with three more interviews published over the past couple of weeks.

First up, John did a solo interview with Comic Monsters.  Part of the Horror News Network, Comic Monsters has built a reputation as the number 1 resource on the web for news and views on horror comics.  So, it was great for them to show interest in And Then Emily Was Gone.  Here’s a sample of what they talked about with John:

Horror News Network: Can you tell us more about the main character, Greg Hellinger?

John Lees: Greg Hellinger is something of a broken genius. In his former life, he was a celebrated detective who operated a police taskforce for finding missing people. As we see in issue #2, he has a unique way of thinking that gives him invaluable insight into just where people might have gone when they seemingly vanish off the face of the earth. But 5 years ago, Hellinger had what was called a “spectacular nervous breakdown,” and ever since he has been plagued with these constant visions of horrific monstrosities that follow him around wherever he goes. And after all these years of being left a shell of a man, believing his brilliant, infinitely creative and insightful mind has turned against him, as our story begins he’s presented with the possibility that perhaps he isn’t crazy… and the implications of that are even more frightening.

You can read the interview in full here.

Iain jumped back onboard to join John in an interview with Sam Read of Geek Chocolate.  Sam is a great writer in his own right, you can read more about his work here, and this informed an interesting, insightful array of questions.  Here’s a taster:

SR – With And Then Emily Was Gone you’re taking readers into some dark, dark places; could you share some works of fiction that have done that for both of you?

JL – The first thing that springs to mind is the Winkies Diner scene from Mulholland Drive. Arguably the most terrifying scene ever committed to film. In general, the “dark places” David Lynch goes to in his work had a big impact on And Then Emily Was Gone: from the mystery man at the party in Lost Highway to the Black Lodge sequence in Twin Peaks. Just that nightmare logic.

On a similar vibe, John Carpenter’s under-seen and little-remembered In The Mouth of Madness has a creepy vibe that has really stuck with me years since I last saw it – it might be dated if I were to revisit it now! And finally there’s the “family dinner” scene from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which I like to hold up as an example of how sometimes the most horrific horror is just one degree shy of being hilarious, once you enter that realm of pure hysteria.

IL – I was a big Stephen King fan growing up so that’s influenced what I think of when I think of dark. David Lynch’s films. He’s my hero so everything I do is indebted to him. Dan Clowes’ A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, Dennis Potter and Nigel Kneale stuff, Al Colombia, Ben Wheatley films, The Shining… so many.

Read the full 2-page interview here.

Then it was back to just John again, for an interview with Amy Brander over at her blog, The Frog Queen.  Amy is a voracious reader of comics and graphic novels, and is prolific in sharing her thoughts with them.  After sharing some nice thoughts on the first issue of And Then Emily Was Gone, she followed up on that with an interview with John, which included these comments on the origins of Bonnie Shaw:

The Frog Queen: The spooky childrens’ cautionary tale about Bonnie Shaw, is this based on anything from your own childhood? 
John: No, I made it up. Though, funnily enough, I’ve had a bit of fun pretending that the story of Bonnie Shaw is an actual old folk tale from Orkney and Shetland. Over on the “And Then Emily Was Gone” blog, Visit Merksay, I ran a series of articles on Orkney folklore, posting up stuff about actual legends like the trows and the Black Dog, but then I seeded in stuff about Bonnie Shaw as if it was part of the same tradition. And when I go to conventions, I talk about how Bonnie Shaw is actually an obscure part of Scottish folklore that I dug up in researching Orkney, and that the character is “real.” Possibly the best moment was when I got talking to a con attendee who said he grew up on Orkney, and claimed to remember hearing about Bonnie Shaw as a child!
The full interview can be found here.
Thanks to Comic Monsters, Geek Chocolate and The Frog Queen for the interviews.  There are even more on the way, so stay tuned!

Coming Soon: And Then Emily Was Gone #2!


The skin-crawling horror saga continues! On the remote island of Merksay, Hellinger and Fiona cross paths with the highly eccentric locals in their search for Emily, unaware that they are being hunted. What secrets lie in Merksay’s dark hidden places? And more importantly, what’s in the box? Features a variant cover by superstar artist Nick Pitarra (The Manhattan Projects).


We warned you it wouldn’t be long before the next round of marketing began!  Was your interest piqued by And Then Emily Was Gone #1 enough for you to pre-order, or to request that your local comic shop stocks the book?  Well, especially once you get to the cliffhanger ending of the first chapter, you’re going to want to have access to your next fix of the story one month later.  And Then Emily Was Gone #2 hits comic shops worldwide in August, and according to Comic Bastards, “the second issue of And Then Emily Was Gone not only captured the same tone as the first issue, but it outshined it on many levels.”

And Then Emily Was Gone #2 is now available to order from Diamond’s Previews catalogue, and will be throughout the month of June.  Remember, if you want your comic shop to stock the book in August, THIS MONTH is when you need to let them know.  Even if they’ve already decided to stock the first issue, remind them that issue #2 is on the way too.  Here’s the order code:


And hey, remember that awesome 50/50 variant cover from Riley Rossmo for issue #1?  Well, remember that every issue of the series will have a superstar guest artist stepping in to do a cover along with series artist Iain Laurie.  Iain’s cover is presented above, and below, allow us to share with you the spectacular cover from Nick Pitarra, acclaimed artist of New York Times bestselling, Eisner award nominated Image comic The Manhattan Projects, with colors from series colorist Megan Wilson:


Cracking, eh?  Be warned… things get darker and creepier with this second chapter, as our heroes travel to Merksay and venture ever deeper down the rabbit hole in their search for Emily.  We hope you’ll join them.  Order code JUN141021… don’t forget!

And if you’re still on the fence about this series, here’s a massive juicy preview of the first issue which will hopefully sway you!

Thank You For Visiting Merksay!

Hello everybody, John Lees here, just chiming in with a quick message for any visitors to this blog as the month-long window for pre-ordering And Then Emily Was Gone #1 from Diamond Previews draws to a close.  May 2014 has been one intense month!  I’ve been sending out review copies, sitting down for interviews with various sites (more of those will be getting posted on here soon!), and contacting comic shop retailers across the country and beyond, doing all I can to beat the drum for this comic and spread the word.  I’ve been bombarding my social media pages with anything and everything about And Then Emily Was Gone, to the point where my friends must be sick of reading about it!  It’s relentless self-promotion, and I know it can be a bit tacky and embarrassing, but the big reason I haven’t shut up for the past month solid is because I believe in And Then Emily Was Gone.  I believe in the story, I believe in the characters, and most of all I believe in my dedicated, immensely talented creative team: letter Colin Bell, colorist Megan Wilson, and artist and co-creator Iain Laurie.  I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve all put into this book together, and now I want to share it with all of you.

What many people don’t realize is that a comic title will sink or soar, not on the week of its release, but three months before its release, when the purchase order from the world’s comic book retailers arrives.  That’s what all this marketing and awareness-raising has been about.  Because as much as we want readers all around the globe to give our comic a shot, they won’t have that chance unless comic shops all around the globe first decide to give our comic a shop and stock it on their shelves.  And so, while And Then Emily Was Gone #1 hits stores in July 2014, May 2014 has been the true battleground for its place on the market.  That number we get back in will determine how many copies are printed, how many towns and cities will have a place where they can buy this book, what our profits will be, how likely it is that we’ll have the numbers needed to see our series through to the end.  There’s a lot riding on this, and with this being ComixTribe’s first monthly comic the stakes are even higher.  I’m so incredibly grateful for the show of faith ComixTribe have put in me, and with all the promotion I do and all that banging of drums there’s a certain degree of doing all I can not to let them down.  I feel the same about my association with Iain Laurie: I’m so proud of our partnership and the work he’s done, and I don’t want to let him down either.  So, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I await that notification of our Diamond purchase order with some degree of worry and trepidation!  While plenty of promising signs point to this being the most successful comic launch of my career, you can’t know for sure until that order arrives.

But whatever the outcome and whatever the tale of the tape from that Diamond purchase order might be, I just want to thank you.  All of you.  If any of you care enough about our weird little Scottish horror comic to have read this far, I thank you for your interest, for caring about And Then Emily Was Gone.  That’s why we all write, isn’t it?  To tell a story that in some way resonates or connects with somebody else, to make it bigger than something knocking about your head.  We’ve had such great support and encouragement from readers, critics, other comics professionals, and all of that positivity has played a role in moving us forward in getting this book out there.  The journey doesn’t end here, far from it.  The relentless month-long marketing drive for And Then Emily Was Gone #1 may have drawn to a close… but that just means that the marketing drive for And Then Emily Was Gone #2 is gearing up to begin in June!  And come July, And Then Emily Was Gone #1 will be ready to hit comic shops, and with that will come a whole new wave of shilling and spreading the word.  And when July comes, I hope that I’ll be able to repay all your support and interest with a book that you’ll love: I know I love it!

One last time for good luck: the order code for And Then Emily Was Gone #1 is MAY141251.  If you want your local comic shop to pre-order the book, print out this handy-dandy form we made up, fill it out, and give it to them.  Get Emily… before she’s gone!


Two New Interviews With Lees & Laurie

Writer John Lees and artist Iain Laurie, the co-creators of And Then Emily Was Gone, have hit the interview circuit to talk about the series and its upcoming release.  Two of the best comics websites on the Internet have already posted up their interviews with the creative team.

First up is Multiversity Comics.  Currently in the midst of their 5th anniversary celebrations, Multiversity has become revered for the high quality of its reviews and in-depth comic analysis, so much so that it has been hailed as the “AV Club of comics.”  Vince Ostrowski of Multiversity sat down with Lees & Laurie for an interview last week, focusing on the process of creating and marketing an indie comic in today’s competitive environment.  Here’s a snippet:

John and Iain, what types of art and stories have influenced the work that’s gone into “And Then Emily Was Gone”?

JL: Iain can talk more about the art influences than me, though I must say that Iain Laurie’s own “Powwkipsie” was a big inspiration for some of the more horrific imagery I attempted to craft in my scripts.

As for story influences, it’s something of a hodgepodge of the weird and Gothic.  “Twin Peaks” is the obvious cultural touchstone.  Iain and I are both Lynch aficionados, and are in agreement about “Twin Peaks” being one if the greatest TV shows ever.  There was a real desire to capture that off-kilter, dreamlike quality Lynch handles so well.  There’s a good deal of “The Wicker Man” – the seminal British horror classic, not the Nicolas Cage abomination – in the mix as well.  Iain and I are both huge admirers of English director Ben Wheatley (we joke about him being the dream choice to direct the “And Then Emily Was Gone” feature film), and there’s definitely an element of his blackly comic filmography here, particularly “Kill List”.  British TV series “The League of Gentlemen”, legendary Victorian horror writer M.R. James… I could go on!

IL: Everything I do is beholden to David Lynch. Hes my absolute hero and his work is a constant daily inspiration for me. There are other things though, most of which John has mentioned but also British comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, Scottish artist Peter Howson, satirist Chris Morris. Those people drive everything I do. In terms of drawing Charles Burns, Dan Clowes, Frank Quitely, Paul Pope, Rafael Grampa..they’re all in there.

For the full interview, visit Multiversity Comics.

The second interview was with Comic Bastards.  Long a major supporter of creator-owned comics, the brilliantly-named Comic Bastards have earned a reputation for their well-written, effusive reviews, and for having arguably the best comics podcast on the internet.  Dustin Cabael had a chat with John and Iain, with this interview focusing more heavily on the comic itself and how the two work together.  Here’s a taster:

DUSTIN: How did you guys end up working with each other?

JOHN:  It was meant to be!  Working with Iain Laurie has been on my comics bucket list ever since I first became aware of his work back in 2011.  He’s an incredible artist, and we have rather complimentary sensibilities as storytellers, and I long had a feeling our creative union would create a wonderfully monstrous offspring, like the child in Rosemary’s Baby.  After a couple of near misses of collaborating on other projects, the stars just aligned for And Then Emily Was Gone to happen.  I’ve specifically written this for Iain, to the point where no one else could draw it.  So much of the plot beats and sequences in the script are me attempting to emulate some of the recurring motifs in Iain’s art… either that, or just me writing stuff I want to see Iain draw!

IAIN: I saw The Standard and was really impressed, as it looked like a comic trying to be a comic rather than something desperately trying to look lo-fi and indie. I was doing a lot of experimental stuff and had been thinking of doing something more structured and less difficult and I thought, “That’s the guy!” We nearly worked on something else that didn’t happen but in doing that we realised we have very similar tastes… although Johns a better person than me. It’s very much Good Cop/Grumpy Cop.

JOHN: I wouldn’t say I’m a better person, I just hide my wickedness more effectively.  Look beyond the grinning face and you’ll see the soulless eyes of a killer!

For the full interview, head right over to Comic Bastards.

Thanks a lot to both Multiversity and Comic Bastards for taking the time to talk about And Then Emily Was Gone.  And remember, it’s not too late to have your comic shop order the book in: order code MAY141251!




Help Your Comic Shop Find Emily

We’re now into the month of May, and in this month’s edition of the Diamond Previews catalogue, comic book shop retailers all around the world will be able to order copies of And Then Emily Was Gone #1 for their shop.  We want to do our part to raise awareness, and so the plan is to ship these flyers out to any comic shops that could potentially be interested in stocking the title:


So, we’re asking you to help your local comic shop in the search for Emily Munro.  Are you interested in picking up a copy of And Then Emily Was Gone #1 when it is released in July?  Let us know the name of the comic shop you visit and what city it’s located in, and we’ll add it to our mailing list.  Additionally, you can help out by visiting the shop yourself, showing the retailer this poster, or letting them know the order code – MAY141251 F – noted above.  We want to make sure that everybody who wants to read this comic gets the chance to do so.  Join us in the search for Emily: time is running out…