Richard Starkings is the creator and writer of HIP FLASK and ELEPHANTMEN. Born and raised in England, Starkings worked for five years at Marvel UK’s London offices as editor, designer and occasional writer of ZOIDS, GHOSTBUSTERS, TRANSFORMERS and the DOCTOR WHO comic strip. He is perhaps best known for his work with the award-winning Comicraft design and lettering studio, which he founded in 1992 with John ‘JG’ Roshell. Starkings & Roshell also co-authored the best-selling books COMIC BOOK LETTERING THE COMICRAFT WAY and TIM SALE: BLACK AND WHITE.
What made you decide to work in the medium of comics?
I always loved comics — at the age of 9 I started reading a comic called COUNTDOWN featuring strips based on TV shows like DOCTOR WHO, UFO and THE PERSUADERS. In some ways I preferred them to the TV shows they were based on. That comic inspired me to draw comics and cartoon strips myself and from that young age I started identifying the artists and styles I liked.
Years later, I remember reading an article in Dez Skinn’s WARRIOR magazine in the 80’s about breaking into comics. I was on a train from Weymouth to London and I kind of realized at that moment that it was possible to get a job in comics and committed myself to that goal. I never seriously considered anything else.
What part of the process is the most challenging or frustrating to you?
As a writer, you’re dependent on your artist to make real your imaginings. So it’s important to find artists with whom you are sympatico. Finding those creators can be very rewarding and challenging all at the same time.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring comics creator, what would that be?
Write! Draw! ALL the time. Write about life, draw from life.
More about Richard Starkings and Elephantmen on hipflask.com