[Interview] Artist Colin Lorimer Discusses His Post-Apocalyptic Graphic Novel ‘UXB’

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Bloody-Disgusting has been very vocal about our love for AJ Lieberman and artist Colin Lorimer’s Image/Shadowline series “Harvest”. The series is a disturbing tale about an alcoholic surgeon that finds himself plunged into the deep end of the seedy world of black market of organ harvesting. We named it one of the best mini-series of last year and proclaimed that the book was “pushing the boundaries of horror comics.”

Now artist Colin Lorimer has returned with a new original graphic novel from Dark Horse called “UXB”. The book, which lands in stores on October 2nd, is a dark, dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale about three brothers grafted to powerful “lifesuits”. They find themselves squatting in Buckingham Palace, where they are loading up on movies, video games, and porn. When the city’s scavengers discover their secret they rise up against them, and the brothers quickly discover their suits aren’t just for survival. Lorimer promises “UXB” will have “Blood, guts and a healthy dose of Sci-fi/horror. It is very graphic in its content and language, sort of Clockwork Orange meets Carrie type of thing. It’s a real mind-fuck that I think readers will enjoy.”

Bloody-Disgusting caught up Colin Lorimer to discuss his upcoming “UXB” graphic novel from Dark Horse, building a post-apocalyptic world, and the critical and fan reaction to “Harvest”.

Bloody-Disgusting: Tell us a bit about the genesis for UXB and how you developed the idea?

Colin Lorimer: I usually always start with a character name and this time it was Das Bombast. The ‘UXB’ (Unexploded Bomb) title came a little later. The basic idea was that we would have three post-apocalyptic survivors who even though had been thrown into ostensibly a new dark age with a world taking its final breath…they would still somehow have access to the only surviving multi-media system that would allow them to continue watching and playing TV, films and video games, and that would be their main sustenance. So, while everyone else was out looking for scraps of food for basic survival…these guys would be kicking back and watching Shaun of the Dead. It was just a completely ridiculous end-of-the-world scenario and I built on that premise. You could say it was some form of social commentary on the world we live in today, and to a great extent it is just that. But that’s all subtext, my main aim was to tell a gripping story. I also wanted to create something where I could indulge in my love of film and pay homage, so you’ll notice quite a few movie references. One movie in particular, The 1960 British movie Village of the Damned gets some serious love…

BD: The story revolves around three brothers squatting in London, who are grafted to powerful ‘lifesuits’. What can you tell us about these characters?

CL: The oldest brother Das Bombast (Real name: Wilfred Brian Atherton) has a penchant for movies, everything from Kurosawa to Kubrick. Das is the leader of the group. Pragmatic, austere and highly intelligent.

Muc Olla (Real name: Donnchadh Flaherty Atherton)He has a thing for soap operas and spaghetti westerns. Muc was adopted by the Athertons at birth. He’s the sensitive one.

Rifter (Real name: George Galton Atherton) enjoys porn and gaming, he also likes to burn and occasionally kill things. Rifter is slightly psychotic and dangerously unbalanced. Of the three he is the most damaged.

The brothers are antiheroes, being for the most part very selfish and quite unlikeable. The youngest brother Muc does have some endearing qualities and he may be the character that the reader finds most relatable. They do make some serious mistakes and some very immature decisions, but I do feel the reader will be rooting for them as the story progresses, especially when the past comes back to haunt them and the tables are quite literally turned, forcing them into action.

BD: Tell us a bit about this post-apocalyptic world the characters live in and how that comes into play in the story?

CL: Exactly. The post-apocalyptic world is really just a backdrop. I also steered well clear of classifying this story as steam-punk, which is so overused these days. The meat of the story revolves around the three main characters and how seemingly oblivious they are to their current predicament. We see the world through their eyes and like similar pop culture junkies we can probably all relate to their obsessions. Their main focus is still very much distraction… more movies, more video games, etc. One of the brothers, Rifter even starts using corpses, propping them up to imitate some real world style video game. They are so desensitized that they see this dying world as nothing more than a movie set. They just don’t get it! Their suits make them almost superheroes and as you rightly mention, almost god-like. I mean they are the most powerful people on the planet but they just don’t give a fuck. They spend most of their time bitching and looking for more stuff to consume, especially as they have apparently the only existing power source left in the world to watch this stuff on and their suits afford them this luxury.

BD: As an artist when you set out to bring this world to life visually was there a style you wanted to use to portray what was in your head or a benchmark of what you wanted it to look like?

CL: I wanted the real-world grittiness of a movie like The Road for the present day scenes juxtaposed with the clinical almost sterile feel of a movie like 2001 in the flashbacks and as the story progresses you’ll see these two styles slowly merging.

BD: How did Dark Horse Comics get involved with this series, and why were they the perfect partner to publish this?

CL: I met with Chris Warner at San Diego in 2010 and he really liked the work. So I kept in touch and just kept sending him the odd update with new pages. Then I believe Chris passed it by Mike Richardson and they decided to give it a shot in DHP. It all went from there. Dark Horse have been brilliant and I couldn’t be happier that ‘UXB’ has found a home with them. They really get what I’m trying to do and have been very supportive throughout.

BD: ‘UXB’ appeared in Dark Horse Presents issues #10, #17 & #18 as a serial. Was this just to give fans a taste of the book before the OGN is released or was it meant to be an ongoing serial?

CL: Exactly, the shorts were meant as a taster and in retrospect I guess some of the readers of DHP may have felt dropped into this world without the necessary back-story. I’m not a huge fan of constant exposition and would rather that the story developed organically and some guesswork and interaction from the reader was called for. But, they can rest assured that even though they will be taken for quite the roller-coaster ride, the pre-war flashbacks will explain how exactly the boys ended up in the suits with that weird medieval-like codpiece attached. It is very much a self-contained story. As things progress and build we find that not all is as it seems and in the end it all goes a bit pear shaped for the boys. The climactic scene is as over the top as it can be, like some crazy psychotic Peckinpah fueled nightmare.

BD: Give fans your pitch as to why they should give UBX a chance and pick up the graphic novel on October 2nd?

CL: If you’re looking for something a little different and not your typical post-apocalyptic tale you should really give UXB a shot. It will seriously fuck with your head and hopefully hit all of the right spots. Extremely violent, darkly funny, supremely weird and randomly horrific. A Clockwork Orange meets Carrie as written by Clive Barker and directed by Wes Anderson. I put an enormous amount of work into this one and if you liked the art on Harvest I strongly feel that you’ll dig the art on this one too. Add to the fact that there is a slew of extras, including omitted story pages, character designs and promotional art. All that wrapped within a 144 page HC for 20 bucks.

BD: You’re best known for working on the Image/Shadowline series Harvest with AJ Lieberman, about black market organ harvesting. How was the reaction from fans been since the book was released?

CL: I was amazed by the reaction to Harvest. When you’re putting your work out there, there is always some apprehension as to how an audience is going to react. But the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive from fans and professionals alike. So overall a very rewarding experience. Like most artists I only see my mistakes, or how I could have drawn such and such a panel a little better, but with the ever approaching deadline we can only do the best we can.

BD: Shadowline/Image reprinted Harvest as a oversized hardcover. The larger format really makes your artwork pop off the pages. The hardcover even includes all the behind the scenes material like pitches, character sketches, and thumbnails, which I thought was awesome. Who came up with the idea for the larger HC and the added bonus material?

CL: Thanks. That was all Jim Valentino. He really pushed for the HC and the fold out of all the covers to be included. I was behind him all the way on that one. We had tons of extra material, honestly we could have done a whole book of just extras…but yeah, I was happy with how well put together that book was.

BD: AJ Lieberman has had some success with his projects Cowboy Ninja Viking, and Term Life, being optioned for movies. Have you given any thought to a Harvest movie and are there actors/directors that you think would be able to do the source material justice?

CL: No idea. Maybe Nicolas Winding Refn for director and Gosling in the role of Ben. I was watching Drive when I was designing Ben so that would make perfect sense.