Interview: Stu Perrins, author of Chrono-Cat, Cosmic Debris, and so much more!

by Benjamin Williams
20th May, 2024
6 minutes

Stu Perrins is a comic author known for making some bloody good graphic novels. He authored the comic series Cosmic Debris and is the writer and co-creator of Megatomic Battle Rabbit. Or there's our personal favourite comic of his, Chrono-Cat, which was an awful lot of fun. Although, I have to say, I'm yet to find a Stu Perrins comic that I haven't enjoyed!

And it's not just me, either, as his work has earned him nominations for the British Comic Award and the ComicScene Awards. So, if you enjoy science fiction adventures and imaginative storytelling, his comics are definitely worth exploring!

You can follow Stu Perrins on his Twitter (it will always be Twitter to me), and Instagram accounts to stay updated on his latest projects, behind-the-scenes insights, and more.

Stu Perrins

What inspired you to become a comic writer?

I've always had the urge to create since I was a kid, whether that be my own stories or any of the bands I've been in. But my urge to start on my comic journey began like most people - when I was a kid. I quickly became obsessed with kids humour books like The Beano and The Dandy when I was very young, but the real love story started when I was about 9/10 when my Mum picked me up from school with a copy of 2000AD, which I had no knowledge of until that moment, and it still blows me again that my Mum saw it and knew I liked it - which I did, instantly.

Such rich worlds and characters and its only just occurred to me that if it weren't for Pat Mills my comic journey would of been a hell of a lot different - so if you if you don't like my stuff blame Mr Mills; it's all his fault.

Anyway, I just knew I had to somehow get involved so I started writing and drawing my own comic called 'Cyborg Squad', which is the kind of Transformers knock off that only a 10 year would come up with. I'd then get my Mum to photocopy it at work and then I'd then give them out to the kids on my street. 

Are there any specific themes or messages you aim to convey through your comics?

For the most part I always try and write stories that are not what they appear to be on first glance. For example, a book I wrote a few years back called 'Whatever Happened to the Archetype?' used an ageing superhero at the end of his life to discuss the way society views the elderly.

And Megatomic Battle Rabbit IS about a kid who finds a 6 foot talking rabbit in his Dad's shed but its also about how we should judge people on their actions as opposed to who we think they are based on how they look. It would be pretty easy to write a 'good guy verses bad guy - big fight - the end' story, but I aim for a little more if I can.

Megatomic Battle Rabbit

Even Cosmic Debris, which on the surface is a space opera adventure was predominantly written in the middle of the Covid pandemic, the George Floyd riots, the cost of living crisis and the Black Lifes Matter movement, and there are elements of the story that reflect those things - y'know like the way in which the upper classes look at us working class folk with a sneering '..and what are they up to?' attitude.

Can you share any challenges you typically face during the comic creation process, and how you overcome them?

The most common one is one that most creative types go through at some point - writers block or when the ideas in my head don't translate onto the page as well as I'd hoped. When that happens the worst thing I can do is sit there staring at the screen because eventually I'll just want to throw my laptop through a wall.

What I do when that happens is leave it for a few minutes and go for a walk and listen to either The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts, Mark Kermonde reviewing a film I know he'll hate or blast Manic Street Preachers at some obscene volume and for whatever reason the thing that wasn't working has by the time I get back home has gestated and has worked itself out.

I used to sit there driving myself mad, internally screaming 'I AM THE WORST!' - but man, trust me when I say there's more fun ways to go crazy.

Can you discuss your collaboration process with artists on your comics? How do you ensure your vision is realised on the page? Have there been instances when the artist has done something different, and it's turned out better than you imagined?

Generally speaking it varies from project to project. For example 'Cosmic Debris' started when I tweeted something along the lines of 'I'd love to write a steam punk Flash Gordon', and an amazing artist by the name of John E Murphy replied with 'lets do it then.'

Cosmic Debris preview

We threw a few ideas back and forth before I sat down to bash it into shape, and we're still throwing ideas at each other on an almost daily basis sometimes - just typical 'how are we going to take our the world' type stuff. And then there's things like 'Chrono-Cat' and 'Brightside' where I'd written at the very least the first issue before I started looking for someone to collaborate with.

I tend to write, at times, dense panel descriptions, but that's more for my benefit than the artist - these things are never set in stone. I know some writers are very rigid about that stuff, but where's the creativity if you're stifling someone else's?

Pretty much every project I've worked on the artist has said 'I was thinking that this page/panel would be better like this' and they're always right. MikoĊ‚aj Ostapiuk, who I'm working with on a couple of things, is the master of this - in fact, that guy has no idea just how good he is!

What can you tell us about any upcoming projects that we have to look forward to?

There's quite a few- Firstly there's issues 3, 4 and 5 of Cosmic Debris with my American brother John E Murphy and they'll be the trade to follow that first arc - we've a lot more stories to tell.

Then there are two projects that I'm currently working on with the afore mentioned Mikolaj Ostapiuk, the first of which is a weird, spooky, dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland called 'The Curious Case of Alice Kingsleigh', which is going to be a one shot story with Mv Toonz on colour duties and the second is a capes and capers love triangle adventure called 'Enter Alter Ego' which I am all kinds of excited about. I know I'm meant to say this but that is probably the best thing I've written. When I sent Mikolaj the script for Issue One, once he'd read it he just replied with 'I think you've just written the next Invincible', which is pretty high praise.

There's also a three part horror story called 'Man of G.O.D.' with Fred Hildebrand which is looking great and should be out later in the year.

Man of G.O.D. cover

My next published work is probably going to be 'Mr Mandrakes Marvellous Manual of Monsters' which I worked on with Arthur Goodman, and that's a kids picture book which I'm rather arrogantly describing as 'Monty Python for pre-teens'. I've never written anything with that particular tone so it was nice to exercise that creative muscle-  that should be out around September we think.

Mr Mandrakes Marvellous Manual of Monsters

Oh, and this is as good a time as any to announce the Chrono-Cat sequel, which will be called 'THERE AND BACK AGAIN!' which I'm working on with my Megatomic cohort and brother from a Spanish mother Israel Huertas, in which our hero will - actually, you can wait and see.

What advice would you give to aspiring comic writers who are just starting out?

I always saw to new creators that everyday they should take a few moments to read a page from the bible - it doesn't stop them, but it certainly slows them down!

But seriously, my only advice and really the only advice you need when creating comics is to just do it, allow yourself to make mistakes and enjoy it.

Finally, if you had to recommend one comic of yours to anyone new to your work, which comic would that be?

I hate this question, for the same reason every creative soul hates this question - its like picking a favourite child. I'm proud of all the stuff I've worked on. There's someone of me in all of them.

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