How did Phonogram come about?
"At a Bristol convention – I think it was the first time I was exhibiting my work – Jamie McKelvie came up to the table and showed me his portfolio. I told him he'd be good for an idea I had called Phonogram. I'd done little experimental things, but I wanted to see if I could write an ongoing comic, and the idea for Phonogram was there. In the end it took us so long to do and we developed it so much that we were in the position to pitch the idea to Image. We pitched it, they said yes, and we were away. The actual pitching of Phonogram was by far the most simple thing about it."
Which character did you enjoy writing the most in 'The Singles Club'?
"I like them all; that's why you write them. The idea of dragging myself through an issue I don't like – considering I'm not getting any money for it – that's a lot of work, isn't it? Seth Bingo was a lot of fun. Laura's a mopey old cow, but there was a kind of glossy momentum to writing her. Hers is the only issue that overran in pages, because she had too much stuff to say. Both Marc and Penny were tricky because I was very aware of being an early 30-something guy writing 19-year-olds, though I've never had anyone comment about me writing a young, very dappy girl."
"The first series was really aggressive and deliberately alienating. We wanted to get our core message across in 'The Singles Club', so we did it in a more friendly style. The point of Phonogram is that it doesn't matter what you love as long as you love stuff, or hate stuff. It's your own connection to the stuff you love and hate, that's what interests us. We had a point of view about pop culture that we wanted to express, and the style of 'Rue Britannia' was getting in the way. 'The Singles Club' was a deliberate attempt to get across that message."
You've said that financial concerns mean there won't be a third series. Is this the absolute last word on Phonogram?
"Even if money dropped out of the sky right now, I'd just take it away and spend it on cocaine... OK, I'd spend it on Monster Munch. The point is, we wouldn't do another series of Phonogram because we're both tied up for the next couple of years. And in a few years' time, well, I felt quite iffy about being a 32-year-old writing Phonogram, and a 40-year-old writing something directly following that, I wouldn't be very uncomfortable with. But never say never, because then you're not a liar. I think it's a shame. In an ideal world we would have done one or two more volumes. I suspect you'll see something a bit like Phonogram. I'm doing a bit for the CBGB comic anthology – basically a punk rock Christmas Carol – that's very Phonogram."
What's coming up next?
"I've done the Siege: Loki issue with Jamie. It's the best thing he's done for Marvel. I wrote it for him to play with, basically. His Hela is hot; she's a bit Lady GaGa. I am doing more Marvel, but I can't talk about it. They haven't been announced yet. The CBGB book is the next thing coming out. And I've got two Avatar series coming out. One is called The Heat, which is a miniseries. It's basically a cop action/drama set on Mercury. The second one hasn't been announced. It's big and hefty and involves lots of books."
"I've done it twice over already! You see people being in their career for 30 or 40 years and they've never done a project as personal for them as Phonogram was for me. I count myself as lucky."
How do you really feel about The Pipettes?
"Answering that question would spoil all the fun. Almost all the bands in 'The Singles Club' who are name-checked I like. Even the ones the characters insult. Even with bands I like, I can see how you could take the p*ss out of. Especially the bands I like."
Image Comics' Phonogram: The Singles Club graphic novel is available now.