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Interview

The Deep and Kent Hill

Creators from The Deep animated tv series, and publisher and author of bizzarro-humor genre novellas Kent HIll.

The creators of The Deep animated tv series appeared at Supanova. They talked about how the animated series was shopped around at trade fairs. Companies from different countries go to the trade fairs to bid on the rights to show tv series in their respective countries. Each country has different ideas of how the show should be, and they sometimes asked for changes to suit their country and sometimes different age-group target markets. The writers and artists received memos requesting things like fewer teeth in the shark, to cite one example. The Deep is aimed at children and their families.
Head writer Tom Taylor, art director James Brouwer, and other Australian artists from The Deep talked about their 26 episode CGI animated series about a family, the Nektons, who go on underwater adventures. The series is voiced by Canadian actors.
The Deep started as a comic book written by Tom Taylor, who has written for superhero comics, and illustrated by James Brouwer, who has worked in computer games, comics and animation. The first comic book more or less makes up episode one of the tv series, and the second comic book makes up the last episode. Then they wrote 24 episodes in between for the first tv series.
Most of the people working on The Deep series knew each other from the computer game industry in Brisbane. Originally, writer Tom Taylor, who has some theatre background, contacted James Brouwer, a computer game artist, about working on a comic book. Mr Brouwer said, Sure, show me the script. Tom Taylor sent the script and they ended up producing a lush looking comic book, The Deep, Here be Dragons, published by Gestalt Publishing, from Western Australia, in 2011.
The tv series is a partnership between Australian company Stark Productions and Canada’s Nerd Corp Entertainment, with most international distribution by Technicolor, except in Canada and Australia. The series was commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Seven Network. The Deep was pre-sold to German company RTL.
They said it was rare for comic book creators to transfer to the cartoon adaptation of their comic book. Tom Taylor said that one of the reasons he liked working with James Brouwer was that he was accessible at almost any hour of the night and ready to work on ideas.
Tom Taylor llked Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. And he liked the comic Hitman, a DC superhero created by Garth Ennis and John McCrea.
At Supanova, I also met Kent Hill, who publishes books in the bizarro-humor genre. He started publishing his own novellas about three years ago then started finding there were a lot of other writers with similar sensibilities and humor as he, so he started publishing them. His own books include Retirement Village of the Damned; Necropolis Twist; and the bizarro western Alien Smut Peddlers from the Future. Straight to Video, An Anthology of B-movie Awesomeness is a collection of short stories with a clever premise: he challenged authors to write a story that would go straight to video. At Mr Hill’s table, I bought Straight 2 Video: The Sequel, and Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You by Bradley Sands.
As for favorite authors, Kent Hill especially liked Joe Lansdale, particularly Bad Chili, which is the fourth novel in his crime mystery series featuring his characters Hap and Leonard. He also liked Charles Bukowski, and some lesser known favorite authors included Henry Kuttner, Jerry Stahl and Ian Spector (an American humorist who started the Chuck Norris Facts phenomenon).

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– copyright Simon Sandall

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