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Q&A With Luke Halsall - Creator of Mind Hacker

Comics, as with all media, has a fair bit of idea rehashing. That's not a bad thing as new takes can be superior or even just as entertaining as the original idea. When Joe was passed a copy of Mind Hacker, by Luke Halsall, last year he was elated to find that what we had was originality in a wonderfully bonkers tale of the lengths a cat doctor (not a vet, a doctor who is a cat) will go to, to avoid a mandatory computer training course. It's fun with bold colours and bold artwork that are a delight.

Joe also met Luke at Thought Bubble and picked up Out Of Time, which we'll have a review up for soon - spoiler alert, Joe is a fan! But with that in mind, we had a Q&A with Luke about Mind Hacker and his comic plans for the future. He's clearly a talented writer and so it's always good to find out more.

Joe Thompson and Luke Halsall
Joe found the Mind Hacker table at Thought Bubble

What made you decide to go from a comic fan to a comic creator?

Luke Halsall: It’s storytime I was at university and started to have ideas for characters. Before I knew it, they started to have their own stories. One night I just reached for my laptop and started to type. I originally wrote prose and went to a writing group but my first love was always comics. Before long I started to make connections in the local scene via Twitter. Here I met Gordon Robertson via Daniel Clifford. Gordon decided to set up a group called The Glasgow League of Writers where we would meet and workshop scripts. This opened so many doors to various contacts and friends. From here I was a comic creator.

How do you balance pulling such diverse characters into a cohesive story so well?

Luke Halsall: Thanks! :) I am not really sure, to be honest. I think you have to have the story in your head but also be aware of certain things that make a comic work like page turns, good dialogue, letting the art speak for itself, etc. I hope that is what I do. Again I am very grateful you say that.

What comic creators and series give you inspiration?

Luke Halsall: I think my two biggest comic creators who inspire me are Jack Kirby and Grant Morrison. I absolutely adore both of their work and could read them again and again. I love Geoff John's and I find the work of Jonathan Hickman astounding. I would say a lot of my work is definitely inspired by two non-comic work also: the work of Douglas Adams and Doctor Who.

With Mind Hacker, there were some very bold colour choices. How much creative freedom did Chris Manson have with that or was that how you always envisioned it?

Luke Halsall: From what I remember that was Chris’ idea. My previous book, Out of Time, used a similar approach. Again I cannot take any credit for that because it was the artist Cuttlefish’s decision. It worked amazingly well in my opinion. When Chris and I started to talk about Mind Hacker I remember him mentioning that he would use a similar style. It was an amazing idea of his as they are kinda stepchildren so to speak.

Do you have any further plans for Mind Hacker?

Luke Halsall: I would love to do more. Working with Chris is phenomenal. He is a wonderful talent and I am grateful for the work he did. At the moment I think I can say you will have to wait and see.

What can you tell us about your future comic plans? 

Luke Halsall: My next book is The Anomaly Squad. It will be Kickstarted soon, hopefully in March. The premise is that on a Tuesday morning all the heroes suddenly vanish. All we have are the leftovers. The Anomaly Squad.

The Anomaly Squad

The Anomaly Squad consists of:

  • Little Miss Hittie: imagine if the Bride from Kill Bill and Mary Poppins had a daughter.
  • Monochrome: a man stuck in a 1920s silent film.
  • That 90s Guy: obsessed with the power of positivity from the 1990s but has the attitude of a sulky teenager.
  • Franco: a vampire who hates that goth stereotype.
  • The Curator: a transforming man/clock who works in a museum.
  • Daryl: a life-sized snubber duck

It is up to The Anomaly Squad to find out who took the other heroes and bring back order.

I am also working on a piece for the Scottish Comic Book Day anthology and hope to have another book out for Thought Bubble called Retconned.

The Anomaly Squad preview 1

The Anomaly Squad preview 2


For more information and to keep up to date with what Luke is working on, check out his Twitter page @LJHalsall. There's also a Mind Hacker Facebook page (@mindhackercomic) and an Instagram page (@mindhackercomic). And ready for the new comic, there's an Anomaly Squad Facebook page (@anomalysquadcomic) and an Instagram page (@anomaly_squad_comic).

If Luke Halsall isn't on your comic creator radar already, you definitely need to correct that.

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