A Small Killing and Lost Girls [warning: spoilers]


By Barry Kavanagh, 17 October 2000

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[Warning: spoilers]

A Small Killing.

Yeah, one of my favourites, A Small Killing.

Actually, when I read that the first time, back in ’91, I didn’t like it, because the main character [who is] not perceiving the obvious, I must have found it annoying.

Well, the main character is an arsehole.

Yeah but I liked it the second time. So, that was actually last week. It’s kind of mysterious in a way, because –

– It’s a grower –

– Timothy, he seems to have gone against his innate nature but his innate nature’s obviously not to sell soft drinks to the Russians but it didn’t seem to be the ideals of his youth either.

That was a kind of thing that just purely grew out of being approached by Oscar Zarate, who’s since turned into one of my best friends, I mean, I love Oscar, Oscar’s great. He’s one of the warmest, wisest people that I know. But he kind of came to me and said “Look, you know, we ought to do something together,” and I said “Yeah, okay,” you know, I’d liked what he’d done with Alexei Sayle and him and Alexei have worked on various books. So we kind of came up with the story between us, it would sort of grow out of conversations. Oscar had got a very definite idea of what sort of book he wanted to do and he’d got this image of somebody haunted by a little boy, or somebody being followed by a little boy, and I think that was the image that he’d got in his head, he didn’t know any more about it than that. And he kind of threw it to me and I kind of said “Well, what if the little boy was him?”

You can tell that, even from the front cover.

Yeah. Yeah, that’s it, I wish that we’d probably masked that a bit more. But yeah, I think that it’s a very good work, I’m very pleased with it and yeah, at the time, I think people found it dull, because they’d just read Watchmen or whatever, or The Killing Joke and there’s a kind of “Well, when’s something going to happen?” It’s just about this self-obsessed advertising guy. Whereas actually, I’m glad that you found after a break of ten years that it’s – I think that actually it’s probably a more contemporary – I know it was set in the ’80s but actually at the time that wasn’t a view of the ’80s that was very widely held. It’s more one that people have come to in retrospect.

I think there’s a lot more people like Timothy now. Just in their thinking, attitude to work and life and so on.

Well I mean that was a type that was emerging then but perhaps hadn’t emerged clearly enough for people to really know what we were talking about. So, yeah, that’s another one, that’s one of the ones that got away, A Small Killing, it’s one of my personal favourites. But yeah, who knows? I’ve spoken with Oscar about maybe finding another publisher, getting it published again.

Is it out of print?

Believe so. I’ve done such a lot of shit [sic] that I tend to sort of lose track of it, most of it, you know, I can’t even remember a lot of it, you know? Yeah it’d be nice if we could get that one out again because I mean I think just in terms of Oscar’s artwork it’s a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

Yeah, there’s lots of – I love the way there’s completely different shades throughout the book, you know, there’s pinks and oranges at the beginning, then near the end it gets very dark green. It’s just lovely, the way it’s painted. And it goes through all these different phases…

That’s it, I agree, he’s got one of the most wonderful approaches to colour of any artist I’ve ever worked with, with the possible exception of Melinda Gebbie.

Right, does she – ? Was that the artist you did Lost –

Lost Girls.

Yeah. No, I’ve never seen an issue of that.

Well, there were two issues that came out before it – You know, that was Kevin Eastman, and Dennis Kitchen had took over from Kevin Eastman, it was when they both went out of business and Lost Girls, two issues had come out but it was left without a home. Very expensive strip to produce, because it’s in full colour. But now Topshelf have picked it up and that should be coming out towards the end of next year.

Well, I look forward to that.

That should be pretty good.

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