Q: Be honest! How familiar were you with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when you first pitched for Unfashioned Creatures?
A: When I first heard about the open call for Unfashioned Creatures, the only exposure to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I’d had would have been clips of the classic film and a comic adaptation of said film by Dark Horse in 1993, with art by Denis Beauvais. So, I went to the basement, got the copy of Frankenstein we had, and read it in two days, making notes as I went along. I was impressed how much I enjoyed it and very happy with the story ideas that came from the experience.
Q: What’s your favorite take on the Frankentstein mythos? Least favorite?
A: Having had little exposure, I couldn’t really say I have a favorite, though I did enjoy Beauvais’s painting in that Dark Horse adaptation.
Q: Major inspirations for your art/writing? What led you down the comics road to ruin?
A: My inspirations are probably fairly common – especially being a child of the eighties – but Alan Moore opened my eyes as to what comics could be, and Neil Gaiman solidified my love of the medium with Sandman. From there, it’s a mash-up of various writers, but Greg Rucka and Scott Morse stand out, as well as Frank Santoro. Outside of comics, writers such as David Simon, David Mamet, Toni Morrison, and Ernest Hemingway are writers whose singular voices and way with prose is something to which I aspire. And, being from Maine, Stephen King and his oldest son Joe Hill are two authors who continue to inspire me because King and Hill (who eschewed his family name, in order to achieve his success through effort rather than any sense of trading on his father’s legacy) both proved that even I, as someone who grew up in a town of 3500 on the Maine-New Brunswick border, could achieve this lofty goal.
Q: What else are you working on now? Any long-term projects?
A: I always have various projects in the works. Mainly, I’ve been focusing on my prose in recent years, for financial reasons, and have a short story in the new steampunk anthology New Orleans by Gaslight, available from Amazon (plug, plug), and I am about to begin work on two young adult novels (one co-written with a friend of mine and another a solo project). I am also looking to try and find an artist for a long-form comic story involving time travel that I’m really excited about. I’ve finished the script for the first issue and am awaiting some feedback on that before I push forward. And, finally, I am polishing up a proposal for a non-fiction book examining Alan Moore’s & Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen, which is actually an expansion of a year-long blogging project I did last year, where I analyzed every page and every panel, in order to showcase the literary tools utilized by Moore & Gibbons in Watchmen, as well as those aspects unique to the comics medium that make Watchmen the best example of what can be done with storytelling in comics.
Q: If you could be any monster, who/what would you be?
A: The Yeti. I remember reading a story of the Yeti when I was in elementary school. I don’t remember the title or the author, but it stuck with me for years afterward, probably from living in Maine and being able to relate to the climate in which it found itself. Anyway, that would be it.
Something tells me Beckett has a Yeti story of his own brewing in that busy mind of his…
Hailing from Maine, C. M. Beckett has conjured up fictions for as long as he can remember.
UNFASHIONED CREATURES is a collection of over twenty monstrous, moving and mirthful tributes to Mary Shelley and her legendary tale, Frankenstein. An eclectic body of comic shorts, short-series and original art, sure to inspire equal parts terror and lols.
Matthew Erman compiled questions for this interview. Check back in the coming weeks for the next Q&A with more Fashioners!