This interview is of ministrybase, whose comics are: Ministry and others!
(interview conducted by Kroatz!)
Hi, I'm Kroatz and with me today is Ministrybase, better known as Lara Phillips, Lara is the artist and writer of Ministry. A dark comic that combines horror, the military and some high amount of experimental shots.
1 - First of all, tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, Iâ€™m a graphic design lecturer at Style Design College and an avid horror fan. I also collect cats â€“ my husbandâ€™s always complaining that I canâ€™t pass an abandoned kitten without giving it a home :)
2 - Ministry has been on the way for a long time now, do you have a set date in your mind for the final page? In other words, when will you be done?
Ministry is actually also a print comic so the pages have been complete for a while. I wanted to use Drunk Duck to bring it to a larger audience. I want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy the story. Hopefully the next 4 pages will be up in the next week or so. After that, Iâ€™ll run a series of side stories featuring Ministry characters while I work on Chapter 2 and 3.
3 - What is your zombie back-up plan?
Heh, how did you know I have one? Well, sometimes living in SA with our dodgy municipalities and violent crime is not so different from a zombie apocalypse. I mean, our areasâ€™ lights and water supply are often suspended due to poor government maintenance. I already have a water tank, gas stove, canned food, a good gun and a blue belt in Brazilian Jui Jitsu. So Iâ€™m pretty prepared if the dead rise.
4 - Some pages in Ministry are black and White, some of the earlier pages have greytones. The style in the comic varies, have you ever considered using color? Or coloring your pages afterwards? And why?
At first, using grey-tones and black and white was an economic choice â€“ itâ€™s cheaper to print. As the series went on, it became a stylistic choice. Later chapters will feature a splash of occasional color â€“ trapped in a black and white world, Hanson will dream of his dead love in vivid sunlit colors. Heâ€™ll see her blue-black hair, her dancing green eyes, the scarlet of her dress - only to wake in the grey world of Ministry.
5 - Is Ministry the first comic you made, or have you considered going for another story?
Ministry is my baby but I do have a couple of ideas on the backburner. Itâ€™s just a matter of finding the time between work and martial arts training.
6 - Do you think the horror genre is saturated? And are you still happy with the genre you chose?
I think the horror genre is saturated with mainstream hack and slash. Like any genre, thereâ€™s always space for a story driven not by the demons but the humans fighting them.
7 - Which aspect of the comic creation do you like best, are you a writer deep inside or do you fancy yourself more of artist?
Well, I originally began as a poet â€“ I remember when I was 11 or so, my teacher couldnâ€™t believe someone who had their work published regularly could also be flunking math. I just like telling stories. Whether Iâ€™m telling it as a writer or an artist or both is irrelevant to me.
8 - You live in South Africa, Since English isn't the most common language in your region (That being isiZulu) how do you go about writing your dialogues, and do you find it hard to think and write in English?
Iâ€™m South African but Iâ€™m actually of Jewish descent. English is my first language but I also speak Afrikaans, French (if you took it in high school, you got to skip an extra math session), basic Zulu and since my husband is Japanese and Iâ€™m an anime freak, some Japanese.
9 - Since you have progressed further in the story then just the pages posted on Drunk Duck, what can we expect in the future? And why should we keep reading?
Because I know where you all live! Just kidding :) As the story progresses, Hanson learns that the dead hold grudges. The Crowley labs are stained with the blood of innocents and that blood cries out for revenge. Hanson unwittingly becomes their weapon.
10 - Which other comics have been your greatest influence, or do you get most of your inspiration from other media?
Walking Dead, Arkham Asylum and The Invisibles have been my comic book influences. My biggest influences come from outside comics though. Stanley Kubrickâ€™s Shining, the work of David Lynch and of course, the classic horror stories such as Frankenstein that blend flawed humanity with immoral science.
11 - How do the people close to you react to the comics you make?
Well, Iâ€™ve always been considered a bit of an eccentric by my family but theyâ€™re very supportive. My husband is great - being an animator, heâ€™s also a huge help. My baby sister Bianca, a university student with a keen mind and smart mouth, has also been a sounding board on many occasions.
12 - Would you like Ministry to be made into a movie? And who do you think should be in the cast?
Not to sound pretentious but Iâ€™d love Peter Jackson to direct. In my eyes, he is a superb director and I adored the pathos in King Kong. Iâ€™d also consider Guillermo del Toro. The cast would be as follows:
Ray Stevenson (Rome) as Hanson
Natalie Portman (V for Vendetta) as Chris
Clark Duncan (Green Mile) as Commander North
Vinnie Jones (Snatch) as Mad Dog
Joaquin phoenix (Gladiator) as Hansonâ€™s younger brother and the Ministry assassin, Renwar
Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising) as Renwarâ€™s lover, Pix.
13 - Do you believe there are secret government facilities performing similar experiments as the ones in your comic?
Well, thereâ€™s evidence of such in the past â€“ Hitler had a marked interest in the occult (there are persistent rumors linking him to the Spear of Destiny) and the Soviets experimented with psychics. However, the occult nature of the experiments in Ministry is secondary to the human suffering they cause. Governments commonly treat human beings as commodities â€“ Ministry is largely about manâ€™s inhumanity to man.
14 - Besides Ministry, are there any other projects we can expect from you in the future?
I have a wonderful zombie idea in the works. Itâ€™s been haunting my nightmares for a while and Iâ€™m hoping to free it from its fetters and let it loose on the world sometime this year :)
15 - Are your main characters based off someone you know? Where did you get their design from?
My characters are based on a number of people and experiences, largely drawn from my body -guarding days. I see the Ministry itself as the main character and all the other characters are aspects of it. North is the super ego, Mad Dog the sense of humor, Chris the courage and Hanson its compassion.
16 - Why did you pick the name Ministry Base?
Because the little green men who live in my head told me to : ) Seriously, I liked it and it links well to my comic.
17 - Would you like any of your characters in real life?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, thatâ€™s a tricky one. Fictional characters are more extreme than real people â€“ they have to be. Most of my characters are dark and Hanson is a walking mess of guilt and anger. If I had to hang out with one, I guess it would be Pix. He has the best sense of humor and I always get on well with gay guys :)
18 - What is the best thing anybody ever said about your work? And what did that do to you?
My style was compared to Frank Miller when reviewed on the Altern8 site. That made me break out the champagne â€“ while I donâ€™t like all of the Sin City themes, Dark Knight Returns is what inspired me to become a graphic designer.
19 - Do you think brains should be part of a healthy diet?
Oh, absolutely. Fresh, leaking brains and large quantities of freshly brewed, heavily sugared tea :)
20 - Is there anything further you would like to add to this interview?
Thank you for your time and the opportunity. I had a marvelous time. Now if youâ€™ll excuse me, Iâ€™m off to re-read Zombie Survival Guide for the 100th time. One can never be too prepared :)
Thanks for answering my questions, I wish you many luck with your future endeavors!
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