I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to follow on with Stephen Kok’s comic creating journey. He’s a hard-working, humble and very talented writer that’s created fabulous works that have touched and inspired people all over Australia.
Now, he’s gearing up for his biggest Kickstarter yet and a brand new comic called ‘5 Seconds’ that features a very unique super power. Here’s the interview I had with him about his new comic and it’s Kickstarter campaign.
Previously when I interviewed you I asked you to introduce yourself as if your introduction were a label on a figurine. This time, how would you introduce yourself as if you were an item on a restaurant menu?
Nice question! I would like to be an entree… I personally like clam chowder which might look simple but have complex flavours.
What comics or books have you been reading recently? Have you drawn any inspiration or ideas from them?
I read quite a lot but really enjoying Saga. It’s such an immersive experience. I recently finished watching the Legend of Korra which was a very well crafted story across the different acts.
Could you tell me a little bit about your new comic 5 Seconds?
It’s a slice of life story. Jake discovers the ability to glimpse 5 seconds into the future. Together with his friend Ellie, they go on an exciting adventure!
Your previous comic, Tabby, was a heart-warming tale about two families of cats, your new comic goes in a completely different direction. What inspired you to take this new approach?
5 Seconds was a story I had started before Tabby but I just could not figure out how to finish it. My first few attempts at 5 Seconds were pretty over the top, some initial plots had huge government conspiracies and aliens (was watching way too much X-Files at the time). It was only after Tabby that I settled on a much more simple premise and I think it worked out well.
Was writing 5 Seconds very different to writing Tabby?
Tabby’s focus on on visual story telling. There’s a lot more dialogue in 5 seconds especially between Jake and Ellie. It was an opportunity to expand the writing. I did a few re-writes on the dialogue to make it more natural.
How do you get yourself in a creative mindset? Are there any lifestyle choices, activities or habits you’d recommend?
Some times you will be inspired, some times you won’t. The current story I’m writing is based around a lot of Chinese folklore so Chinese kung fu movies have been great! More importantly, just get into the habit of writing. There are days you will power through projects and others days which will drag!
Working in a creative team with an artist would pose its challenges, what do you find is the best way to balance all elements of the relationship?
I give a lot of latitude to the artists I work with. They come up with different panel ideas that really wow me! In the end of the day, it’s a collaboration and it does take time to build rapport. It’s very important to bounce ideas back and forth.
Do you ever embed yourself, your family or your friends in the characters you write? If you embed your family or friends, do they notice?
Yes I do! That’s the most fun part and people do get a kick seeing their likeness as a background character. I will show them the roughs and sketches when they’re available!
NOTE : Meri will be making her first Tabbyverse appearance in a future 5 Seconds story!
I noticed you mentioned Creative Partnership Australia in your Kickstarter. What is that?
I have been very fortunate with this project is be assisted by Creative Partnership Australia. It’s a great program that will match any self funding but it makes it extra nerve wracking to reach the target. It’s really all or nothing!
Finally, if you had the ability to look 5 seconds into the future… Would you? Why?
I do like surprises but I know curiosity is going to get the better of me and I will sneak a peek!
They’re definitely worth looking into!
-Written by Meri Amber