Let’s Talk Comics #4- Joey Turnage and Something Real

Something Real

On this edition we look at the fantastic Something Real written and created by Joey Turnage, art and lettering by Ian Miller and Colours by Fredrick Mattsson! We review episode 1 one of Something Real and talk to Joey Turnage about his creative process! 

Right let us dive right in! What an EXPLOSIVE start to a series, I am hooked already it’s a wonderfully immersive twisting tale with a gorgeously dark art style.

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Something Real looks into the concept of dreams and childhood fears and where normally, these nightmares and fears are just figments of an over active imagination in this world, they are as real as it gets! First off we meet Allen, a normal kid in the clutches of a nightmare, he is cowering in his bed afraid of the creature in the closet. This is arguably a horror trope we’ve been presented with many times before but coupled with the excellent and dark art style we feel an immediate sense of danger and concern for poor Allen.

At first I couldn’t understand why Allen would be considering going with the creature beckoning him, but then the real horror show begins… We can suddenly see what Allen sees, which is not these creatures BUT another young boy, who uses Allen’s weaknesses against him. The creature see’s Allen is a lonely little boy and draws him in with false hope and the promise of friendship. Throughout Something Real  we are led on a twisting journey where reality and the dreamworld collide and we’re always checking over our shoulder for those creepy aliens! I was completely lulled into a false sense of security with Philip’s storyline, I accepted that he was on his way to school and all was fine.. BUT how wrong I was! Page 5


The creatures within the closet are gorgeous! They take on an “alienesk’ form, drawn in shades of pinks and purples with huge glowing yellow eyes and elongated limbs. (Nothing freaks me out more then elongated limbs i.e Wendigo/ Werewolves!) I thoroughly enjoyed the art style throughout, the use of space within and around the panels is genius. Especially in the page where Amy dances with Ben, they are vibrant and full of life. Not coincidentally the opposite of the nightmare panels which are primarily blacks, blues and pinks. 

Something Real ends on a cliff hanger and I need to know more! Joey has created a really enthralling world and a narrative reminiscent of the classic horror tales from the 80s. I love the use of the dreams/ nightmares vs reality motif and find it completely fascinating! The colours and the art style are sumptuous and compliment the narrative wholeheartedly. Joey, Ian and Fredrick have created a real stunner and I throughly look forward to seeing how the story progresses. 

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How long have you been writing?

  • I’ve been writing since before I can remember, but finally took a stab at comics last October. I had just gotten my first full-time job post-college and was finally feeling comfortable enough financially to hire an awesome artist like Ian for this crazy project.

What was it about the comic medium that drew you in?

  • Oh, I’ve always LOVED art. I used to draw all the time when I was younger. I’d write short stories and draw my own characters. I later realised that my level of art was nowhere near the quality of most, so that’s when I set my sights on writing. The composition and storytelling involved with comics is just so uniquely amazing.

“Something Real’ is steeped in all sorts of horror imagery, is there a specific horror tale that inspired it?

  • Classic horror cinema inspired this story the most, I’d say. Films like IT and A Nightmare on Elm Street were huge influences.

What is a typical day for you?

  • A typical day, huh? Well, I’ve got my full-time 9-5 job that starts off most of my days. After the boring adult stuff, I’ll often delve into some comics or video games. Oh, and food.

If there was a monster in your closet what form would it take? 100eyes? Sharp teeth? Tentacles? Spider legs?

  • Probably myself as a 12-year-old. I was a real-life *monster back in the day. *a$$hole

How did you find the process of funding via Kickstarter?

  • Kickstarter has been incredible. It’s not easy running a long fund-raising campaign, but I think most creators will tell you that it’s completely worth it. That money brings dream projects to life. The indie comics community is amazingly diverse now because of it.

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Who is more badass a vampire or a werewolf?

  • Werewolf, for sure. You won’t convince me otherwise.

If you could make any other story into a horror which would you choose?

  • So, here’s something to consider. John Wick is one of the best action movie franchises of all time, right? His nickname throughout the movie? Baba Yaga. Which, as you may know, is the Slavic equivalent to our mythical boogeyman creature. My pitch, exactly? SOMETHING REAL vs. JOHN WICK. Is it too bada$$ for Hollywood? Possibly. We’ll just have to wait and see if the studio will return my call(s).

What inspired the emphasis on dreams vs reality?

  • This takes me back to Elm Street and the influence that ol’ Freddy has had on me. Gaiman’s Sandman stuff was huge, as well. Dreams are crazy and I love the stories that they produce.

What is your advice for keeping the monsters in the closet at bay?

  • I feel like most monsters just want to be noticed. They act out in order to get people’s attention. Ignoring them may be your best option for keeping them at bay.

What is next on the agenda for you?

  • Well, I’ve had a couple of other projects slowly chugging along on the side. One of them is an action-packed western that’ll get its time in the spotlight once Something Real wraps up.

How do you manage writers block?

  • I think getting outside is your best weapon against writer’s block. Step away from the computer and get active. Shoot hoops, walk through the woods, just do something to jog your noggin a little.

What difficulties did you face whilst you were creating Something Real?

  • Luckily, my collaborators Ian Miller and Fredrik Mattsson have been super easy to work with. Ian’s been in the biz for 15+ years so he’s taught me a lot when it comes to the complicated process of creating a comic book.

What advice would you give to a budding writer?

  • My advice to any budding writers would be to jump in ASAP. If you want to write, then write. Believe in your work and promote the hell out of it.

What tools would you recommend?

  • I don’t know about “tools,” per se, but a healthy mental state is key to a writer’s strength. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family at all times. Oh, and I suppose I’ll label books as a strong tool for writers. Reading will always improve your writing.

Big thanks to Joey for giving us a peek into his creative process and for sharing Something Real with us! I would heartily recommend Something Real to fans of the horror and sci-fi genre! You can keep up to date with Joey, Ian and Fredrick here;

Joey Turnage –

Ian Miller –

Fredrik Mattsson @fedde_81

Check out Something Real on Kickstarter: 


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