We’ve got to know some of our creative members pretty well over the years and Eamon O’Donoghue is no exception.
An established commercial illustrator specialising in fantasy and sci-fi characters for book covers, packaging and pin-ups, Eamon’s laid back demeanor and relentless enthusiasm masks a serious and thoughtful creative with a passion for perfection.
Born in Cork, Ireland. Eamon came over to the UK to work for what was meant to be a couple of years, then he met a girl…
He was inspired to become an artist by the fantastic box illustrations on popular 80’s children’s toy line Masters of the Universe.
In his own words; ‘They were like rennaisance paintings to me’…
Eamon’s own iconic artwork now features in comics, novels, books, advertising and on book covers, packaging and websites the world over, occasionally featuring those same enduring characters that made such an impression on him as a child.
In this interview Eamon tells us about his latest project: The Gatekeeper – An original concept for a graphic novel and film set on a post apocalyptic Earth.
So… what is it?
Well, the official line would be:
THE GATEKEEPER IS THE STORY OF A LIVING WEAPON CREATED AT THE END OF TIME IN ORDER TO ERASE THE MANY MISTAKES OF MANKIND IN THE HOPES OF SAVING OUR ONCE PRECIOUS PLANET.
It all started in 1997 when I was asked to do a comic book for the student mag; Grapevine. It had a mad-max style character to it. In 2001 it was published as a self-titled monthly comic book.
Set on a post apocalyptic Earth way, way in the future – The Gatekeeper is an original sci-fi graphic novel.
The lead is a lethal, living weapon… solitary and deadly – she’s there to clean-up and stop the rot.
It sounds as if you’ve been working on this for some time, how did the Gatekeeper first come about?
I suppose it’s born of my frustration with humans in general i.e. What we can do Vs What we should do.
There’s also an environmental theme, it’s about atrocities we’ve already committed. Too greedy, too selfish, too ego-driven – there’s a religious element too.
Although I’m not a writer, I definitely know what I’m saying!
There’s so many visions of the future out there, what was your inspiration for this concept?
There are too many influences – I’ve read a lot of sci-fi books and comics, seen a lot of cool films.
I suppose I tend to like writers who focus on psychological and social aspects of the future most, but the context of Gatekeeper is quite different.
It’s set way, way into the future… nuclear war, crazy genetics, artificial intelligence… all sorts of apocalypses have been and gone, leaving the Earth as nothing more than a barren dust bowl scattered with the dying embers of lost civilsation.
I was conscious of the fact you have to be careful when dealing with a female hero, Ripley from Aliens is one of the only examples I can think of where they really pull it off… i didn’t want to fall into the same trap and have my female lead be Lara Croft or Resident Evil’s Alice.
My first priority, as an artist and comic fan, was to put something out that was as original as possible given the familiar subject matter of a post apocalyptic world. Something not derivative… and I like to think I’ve achieved that… however I still get a little edgy whenever a futuristic film or comic with a similar setting comes out… fearing if they have the same idea!
So, where do you see it going from here?
In a funny way this latest incarnation of the Gatekeeper is as much a pitch as it is a graphic novel in it’s own right, because ultimately what I really want is to make a fully fledged major motion picture!
It’s an odd and ambitious way to go about things but I can’t think of a better way to get ithe story and artwork out there to let people fall in love with it and hopefully back it as a movie.