An Interview With Murky Depths Terry Martin
Today folks we have Terry Martin, the managing editor of Murky Depths, one of the finest genre periodicals out there.
GNOH – Hi Terry how are things with you?
GNOH – Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Started life on local newspapers when I left school, thenmoved into graphic design, which is what I’d wanted to do all along. Have doneloads of other jobs but packed up my final 9 to 5 to concentrate on Murky Depths.
GNOH – Who taught you to knit? And do you still have that knitted tie?
My mum. Unfortunately not
GNOH – What is the appeal of Paintballing?
Creeping around in woods. I guess it’s that old woodcraftthing that’s in my rural blood.
GNOH – Are you at liberty to tell us how you managed toupset Adam Woodyatt?
Not sure I’ve ever mentioned who it was from Eastenders andI don’t know if Adam Woodyatt still plays paintball, but it was years ago. I’dsplit my team into two for a five-man tournament leading the new recruits. Theywere a little in awe of the whole affair – up against some of the top teams inthe country – and when we met this Eastender’s team they took us all out inminutes. At the end of the game the Eastender said something like “Why do wehave to play against rubbish like this?” Which wasn’t a particularlyencouraging and supportive thing to say in front of my green team. Anyway, Ipublished this in Born To Die as a part of the tournament report. Later thatyear I had a dealer table at a tournament where I was selling Born To Die. Mywife was manning the table while I was out guesting for another team. ThisEastender came up to the table and demanded that all the copies be removed andthat he was going to contact his solicitor. My wife told him to go away. Ithink her first word began with an “f” and the second an “o”. He thenapproached one of the hard men of the paintball scene to ask him to beat me up.There’s another story here because I’d also upset this hard man in anotherarticle in Born To Die! Thankfully he’d seen me playing that day, wasimpressed, and came up to me to shake my hands and say I was okay. So, heturned round to this Eastender and said, go away, he’s a mate of mine. Closecall though!
GNOH – What caused you to start the paintballing fanzineBorn To Dye? Is it still on the go?
Caused? I’ve always played around with fanzines. It’s in theblood. I don’t think paintball in this country could still sustain Born To Die.
GNOH – Can you tell us about your time as a bouncer?
Those were the days when I used to do weight training. I’dalways been 145 Ibs and lost 7 Ib when I started weight training only to gain 21Ib of muscle! So, although I’m not that tall, I could pull of the securitygigs. My main bouncing gig was at the Lyceum in the Strandon a Sunday night in the heyday of punk. I also ran a mobile disco at the timeand until then hadn’t appreciated the raw energy of punk music. Saw some greatbands. Tried to remove Harvey Goldsmith from a box – didn’t know he was thepromoter. Met Paula Yates at a Boomtown Rats gig – before they were married, Ithink. Refused Bruce Foxton (The Jam) entry back stage, and likewise all ofDire Straits. Had my head trodden on by David Coverdale – I was in the pits fora Whitesnake gig. Was particularly blown away by Talking Heads at the Lyceum,Blondie at the Hammersmith Odeon and David Bowie when he was doing a soundcheck at Earls Court.Sharing a splif with The Skids when I was on changing room duty. Catch me in abar one day and I’ll tell you loads more!
GNOH – You are the managing editor at Murky Depths, can youtell us about the magazine?
I wanted to publish something unique. There were loads ofmagazines out there of varying quality. I wanted Murky Depths to have highproduction values and stories and artwork that pushed boundaries. While the mixof comics and prose short stories is not necessarily unique, its presentationis. I’m tempted to say “was” as Issue #18 is our last issue although we’ll becontinuing to publish novels and anthologies and there will be a Best Off MurkyDepths some time next year. But back issues will be available until we sell out– and there are some great offers at the site just now http://www.murkydepths.com
GNOH – How would you describe the magazine, who is thetarget audience?
Genre fans of Science Fiction and Horror, Dark Urban Fantasy– the darkness is sometimes dark humour. I’d say anyone over 16 – hence theMature Content label – but I’ve had at least one person say their sixteen yearold son was scared when he read it!
GNOH – Does the magazine have a mission statement?
It was to give non comic lovers an appreciation ofsequential art. Gareth D Jones used to review Murky Depths but never reviewedthe comics because he didn’t like them. He’s since had a comic published inIssue #15. Nuff said…
GNOH – It has a very distinctive feel, and look, how did youcome up with this?
Like I said, Murky Depths had to be different, and giving itthe American Comic book format helped to do that – unfortunately a lot of Yanksthought it was a typical digest magazine and didn’t give it a chance.
GNOH – How long does each issue take to produce?
It’s a quarterly but probably takes the best part of twomonths. Readingsubmissions, commissioning art, lettering the comics, laying out the magazineall takes time. Then there’s sending out subscribers’ copies and single issues;paying contributors and royalties; delivering to shops; arranging printing;keeping the accounts up to date, etc, etc.
GNOH – You have published some very well known names in themagazine, how do you handle the submission process? Is it invite only, or is it an open policy?
A bit of both. I like to have a “name” every so often togive Murky Depths a higher profile. I have an editor in the States, AnneStringer, who sifts out about a quarter of submissions, and send the rest backto me with a score. I then choose which ones to go in Murky Depths. If I’m onthe fence with a story I’ll send it to Debbie Moorhouse, who also works on GUDmagazine – we’ve know each other (online) for years – and she’ll give me anintelligent opinion. I’d have struggled without the two of them. They’ve beengems.
GNOH – Is there anyone you would love to publish?
GNOH – Dead Girls seems to be one of the great successes ofthe magazine. What is Dead Girls about?
Buy a copy and find out… Nearest category? Cyberpunk.
GNOH – Why do you think it has been such a success?
Richard Calder’s story and Leonardo M Giron’s artwork justblend together so well.
GNOH – Have you ever seen anyone in the street wearing aDead Girls T shirt?
Not yet. But I’m sure I will…
GNOH – As well as the magazine Murky Depths also publishesnovels. What prompted this move?
Small press magazines are always going to struggle – bookshops are reluctant to take them and WHSmiths wouldn’t because of the content.Scaredy cats! But paperbacks are cheaper to produce yet you can give them ahigher mark-up. Next question.
GNOH – How well have Sam’s books been received?
She has built up a brilliant fan base and is a publisher’sdream. Her Waterstones signing tours have proved very successful and a lot ofthe time enables me to sideline the distributor whose 57.5% discount is akiller. She’ll be working on the next book soon. And we’ll be publishing it.
GNOH – How was the current team assembled, did you advertiseand hold interviews for the positions?
The team all act on a consulting basis and I invited themfrom knowing their expertise.
GNOH – Can you tellus any dirty secrets about your team?
Yes. But I won’t.
GNOH – It has been on the go since 2007, looking back at thelast four years, what have been the highlights?
Winning the British Fantasy Award last year. Getting greatreviews in SFX Magazine. Just generally hanging out with top authors andartists.
GNOH – Looking forward can you tell us about any of theupcoming issues?
There won’t be any more but Lavie Tidhar’s I Dream Of Ants will have its ownstandalone comic – for those who have been following the series in Murky Depths – and he also has an adult“children’s” book coming out next year with amazing art by Paul McCaffrey, sowatch out for Going To The Moon.We’re working with Juliet E McKennaon a project and we’ll be launching something that’s a bit of a departure atnext years SFX Weekender, so watch out for that too. And, of course, there’s Dead Girls. We’re now planning to gostraight to a trade paperback, so those people who have bought the limitededition Act 1 should have a real collector’s gem. The trade should be availablemid 2013. While Murky Depths might bedown, The House of Murky Depths is going from strength to strength.