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Metal Made Flesh – The award winning cyberpunk comic series by Simeon Aston

The award winning cyberpunk space opera that has been likened to “Bladerunner meets Game of Thrones.”

“Chased to the brink of extinction, Humanity is forced to take refuge in Tuaoni, a sprawling city on the black market trading hub Equan Yas. Reduced to extreme poverty and treated as second class citizens by the planet’s inhabitants, humans must fight to survive.”

As we look at all things arty this month we thought it was time we catch up with our former BN1 mag artist Simeon Aston to see how his successful cyberpunk comic series is progressing. 

You started the cyberpunk comic book concept; Metal Made Flesh back in 2013. Where did the idea come from and how has it progressed since?

Metal Made Flesh started life as a short story I’d written in the mid 2000’s called Hunters. At the time I was living a superhero’s double life: working in a call centre by day and sketching brutal cyberpunk worlds at night.

Izobel Vice, Phaeon Nex (then called Aeon) and the war-machine Kalibos were all born in that period. They very quickly took on rich lives of their own and it was obvious to me I had to do something with them.

Flash forward to 2012. I was visiting London Comic-con, portfolio in hand when I met Jeremy. He was promoting a zombie movie he’d worked on. We bonded over shared interests in twisted cyberpunk tales, 80s sci-fi classics and Ghost in the Shell. He suggested turning Hunters into a series and over the next year we worked together to expand the idea into the series we have today.

The first short, Flesh, came out in spring 2013. After a string of convention appearances we kickstarted the first full novel, Metal Made Flesh, in 2014. Reaction to the first novel was overwhelmingly positive, and the second book won ‘Graphic Novel of the Year’ at the Edinburgh Comic Festival.

Since that first Kickstarter, we’ve had film producers approach us, jetted over to LA to meet movie stars, worked with the cream of the comics industry and hung out with rock stars like Nikki Sixx. It’s been a real wild ride!

Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength. We’ve released two more graphic novels, Blood and Oil, and Vengeance, as well as another short, Deception. The fourth novel, Damnation was released in December 2022.

What can we expect from the latest series Damnation?

Damnation is a trip through cyberpunk hell with embattled cyborg assassin Izobel Vice as she flees the clutches of alien crime lord Skata. Expect treachery, intrigue, brain hacking and lots of biomechanical mayhem!

How hard is it to create your own comics and any advice to anyone starting out?

Creating Comics is a real commitment of both time and brain space to produce something of quality. It’s not as simple as just having a cool idea. You must have a clear vision and be willing to put in a lot of hard work. Collaborations are a great way to keep a concept in check.

Be prepared for heated discussions.

An elevator pitch is always great too. If you can’t explain your project in 30 seconds then it needs work.

You connect with your audience in a way that they instantly recognise your inspirations, get your style, then mentally check in to see if it’s their Jam.

You also have to be conscious of the state of the industry, what’s trending, and how your ideas work with what is popular/marketable. This all depends on what your goals are.

You should never shy away from putting all your passion into your work, but you must also be mindful of the fact that not everyone enjoys your cup of tea.

Be prepared to negotiate.

What art styles do you follow and who has been inspirational over the years?

A lot of my art style comes from the 80s /90s Sci fi movies I grew up with: Terminator, Blade Runner, Aliens, Empire Strikes Back, Ghost in the Shell, Akira etc.

At college, between 94-97, I discovered HR Giger and Syd Mead. Their bold, surreal and detailed imagery inspired me. I was ‘all in’ with the idea of World building. Then I discovered Ralph McQuarry and the concept design of Star Wars. The idea of fusing multiple genres and cultures into a galaxy far far away blew my mind. From there, I fell deeper and deeper in love with concept art.

I have a clear vision of the Metal Made Flesh world living in my head… a series of dark, brooding scenes accompanied by heavy synths, dutch angles, neon lighting, and a little dry ice.

There can be a lot of pressure on some projects, but if you can get your head in the game where you’re having fun and owning it, you’ll produce work you’ll be proud of.

The key is confidence.

I try to always approach a project with excitement and confidence.. If you start with doubt, you’ll finish with doubt.

What was your largest commission and is there any other exciting work in the pipeline? 

To date the best and most prestigious commission was working with legendary comic writer Grant Morrison.

We worked on a 17 page short in Heavy Metal issue #281. Grant sent me a brief which basically said, ‘read the script, watch these movies and get into this shit!’ That was just the kick I needed to get into the project.

In the pipeline I’ve got Metal Made Flesh 5 – the final book in the series which is due next year.

How do I buy your comic series and do you do any private commission work?

You can buy Metal Made Flesh at www.metalmadeflesh.com. BN1 readers can get a 10% discount on all books until 28th Feb by using the code MMFBN1 at checkout.

I am open to commission work, contact me on instagram at the tag @astonart

Or instagram.com/astonart

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