Damon started drawing spaceships when he was very small, and nothing much has changed since. Except now society insists he does things he doesn’t really like very much, such as graphic design, so that he can pay the bills.
Motivated less from a love of drawing than a desire to tell stories, his work has shifted over the years from cartoon strips to writing to short film and then back to comics again. Throughout this time, he has remained fascinated by exploring the ideas that science throws up for our species, so most of his stories involve astronauts being tossed into wringers and then tortured for a bit.
Comic storytelling has remained a huge influence on him, particularly since its flowering during the last decade. But while science fiction novels have busied themselves exploring the dizzying territory of science and its ramifications, Damon’s perception that comics remained more focused on the fantastical spectacle of the genre motivated him to try to fill the gap with his own hard-science take on what the future looks like.
Largely inspired by the short black and white sci-fi comics of the seventies, his work reflects this in its scratchy, inky style, and his palette, while more modern, features complementary muted and distressed tones. Today he is as much focused on finding and improving his drawing style as he is on making sure each panel clearly communicates the exact emotions and notes necessary to articulate the story he is writing. In that sense, he feels his work has taken on a much more graphic, communicative role, rather than one that is focused purely on aesthetics.
He now works nearly entirely on computer – penciling, inking and colouring with a Cintiq in Manga Studio and Photoshop, and he has even begun reading digitally, though he admits to still loving the weight of a newly printed comic in his hands. Coming up with ideas is still done IRL (In Real Life), and usually involves long showers and walks in the park.
Recently, in an attempt to find additional sticks to beat himself with, he co-founded the New Zealand comic anthology Faction, and then Earth’s End, a graphic novel publishing house. Since then, he has also launched High Water, a group that seeks to encourage creatives to produce climate-change-related art. This led to the publishing of a hardback collection of comics focused on climate change, also called High Water, which featured the work of Dylan Horrocks, Christian Pearce, Sarah Laing and Tim Gibson, among other comic luminaries.
Damon likes to dream of a society that values artists more than bankers, and a future where there are spaceships on the way to Mars and bases on the moon. So, pretty standard stuff really.