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Saturday, 25 June 2011

In Review: Glasgow Comic Con 2011

Glasgow as a city has something of a reputation - and some so-called supporters of its two football teams haven't exactly been helping matters recently. So, based on this, what were we expecting at the inaugural Glasgow Comic Con that took place last weekend?

The editors of Clint and Wasted going nose to nose over who's magazine had the most extreme content?

The Primeval fans on one side of the venue chanting S Club 7 songs trying to drown out the chants of the Doctor Who fans on the other chanting Billie Piper songs?

The police having to intervene in the standoff outside the venue when Marvel fans (armed with toy Thor hammers) taunted DC fans (with knuckledusters made out of plastic Green Lantern rings) over the failure of the Wonderwoman TV pilot?

Hardly - the first comic convention in Glasgow in some fifteen years was a friendly, good natured, if somewhat jam-packed affair.

It was set in the deconsecrated Queen's Cross church which was designed by noted Scots architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and, though less than imposing on the outside, the church proved to be imposing on the inside as demonstrated by the number of wide mouthed looks from attendees as they entered. The main church had wooden pews a plenty for the attendees to see the stage which was set in the old Chancel area behind the Rood Beam and all the guests and organisers managed to avoid the temptation to go into the pulpit. The back of the church had tables for small press and some artists while the majority of the dealers tables and the rest of the artists were in the small church hall at the rear of the building. The long narrow room of the building's library was also used to squeeze in some more small press tables.

While it was not the most unusual comics convention venue, the Ashton Memorial in Lancaster springs to mind for Lancaster Comics in 2006, it certainly made for a more interesting venue than London's Excel Centre or a generic hotel suite. However the dealers and small press rooms were cramped for the number of people attending and the event really could have done with a sales and signing area that was similar in size to the main church. It will be interesting to see how the organisers resolve this if the event returns next year.

The main programme consisted of multi-speaker talks which ran for an hour or so each and covered Getting Published/Small Press as well as the usual Artists Talk and Writers Talk. All were good humoured and well attended with signings on stage immediately afterwards. I missed the chance to look in on the Portfolio Reviews and the Writers Workshop taking place on the small upper balcony which, with its tiered pews, must have been an interesting experience.

While Chilean volcanoes prevented artist Frank Quitely from making it back in time from Argentina and writer Mark Millar's appearance was relatively brief (although he manfully ensured that everyone who wanted an autograph after the Writers Talk got one), the guest list remained impressive including artists David Lloyd, Gary Erskine, Jamie Grant, Jon Haward, Colin MacNeil and Stevie White, and writers Jim Alexander, Emma Beeby, Martin Conaghan, Alan Grant, Ferg Handley and Gordon Rennie.

The separately ticketed evening event was built around the presentation of the inaugural Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards (SICBAs). These were voted on by attendees to the Con based on creator nominations shortlisted by a group of professionals and fans. On the night the Best Publication was Burke and Hare, originally published by Insomnia, written by Martin Conaghan and illustrated by Will Pickering, Best Writer was Martin Conaghan for the aforementioned Burke and Hare, while Best Artist was Alex Ronald for Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht in Wasted. The Achievement In Comics award went to Alan Grant.

It does have to be said that the SICBA organisers need to get their awards more widely known and publicised beforehand for them to be considered Scottish rather than merely Glaswegian, however all were deserving winners with Vampire Vixens more than good enough to have its own publication while full marks must go to the Burke and Hare duo for managing to get stocks of their book back from Insomnia when the company collapsed in acrimony and so were able to continue promoting and selling it when the rest of Insomnia's stock appeared to end up in bargain bookshops.

Overall the first Glasgow Comic Con was a success, sold out on both dealers tables and attendee tickets long before its doors opened, and its organisers, Sha Nasir and John Farman, deserve a lot of praise for their efforts in bringing a convention back to Glasgow after such a long interval.

The Glasgow Comic Con website is here and the Facebook page is here.

There are a selection of photos from the convention available to buy as prints from professional photographer Juliebee's website.

Scotch Corner @ Kingdom Of Adventure in July

The daily Scottish art blog Scotch Corner made up of professional artists Thomas Crielly, Gary Erskine, Simon Fraser, Andy Hepworth, Jon Hodgson, Graeme Neil Reid and Alex Ronald, is celebrating its second birthday in style by, er, taking a break. Instead of posting themselves over the course of July they will be handing the blog over to a selection of guest artists including top names such as Roger Langridge, Anton Emdin, James Ryman, Bob Eggleton, Chris Weston and Mick McMahon.

However the Scotch Corner gang are not leaving their fans high and dry as they will be appearing at the Kirkcaldy comics and RGP shop Kingdom Of Adventure on Saturday 2 July 2011 beginning at Noon for a signing and sketching session which will then be followed by the recording of a podcast. Thomas Crielly, Gary Erskine, Andy Hepworth, Jon Hodgson and Graeme Neil Reid will be there in person while Simon Fraser will be appearing via Skype.

There are more details of the event at the Scotch Corner blog and more details of the venue on the Kingdom Of Adventure website.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Comic Friends Reunited date announced

It may be months away, but the team behind Comic Friends Reunited have announced this year's event will be Saturday 26th November 2011.

Taking place at the Phoenix Pub, 14 Palace Street, Victoria, London SW1E 5JA from Noon till 11.00pm entrance is free and comic fans will have the chance to enjoy a day of socialising and fun! Families welcome (there’s a garden for children).

"It’s a bit later than usual - we’re still experimenting with dates," says co-organiser Hass Yusuf, who's aide in this endeavour by Fiona Jerome, "but all you non-Londoners can use this opportunity for a bit of Christmas shopping!

"If you don’t know anyone there, don’t worry – we’ll introduce you to liked-minded people."

The only scheduled event is the Comics Pub Quiz (approx 8.00pm in the upstairs function room). This year the quiz is being set and presented by Nigel Feltcher and Gavin Burrows – should be fun!

• For more info please check out their soon to be updated website: http://www.comicsfriendsunited.com/

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Brighton's Kino Club premieres Jeff Lint documentary

Alan Moore in LINT THE MOVIEBrighton's Kino Club will be screening the world premiere of Steve Aylett's much anticipated and soon-to-be-cult film Lint The Movie this week, based on his books Lint and And Your Point Is? and featuring some well-known comic creators, including Alan Moore.

The complete film is, we're told, "mind-meltingly brilliant", documenting the life and work of cult SF author and philosopher Jeff Lint, creator of some of the strangest and most inventive works of the twentieth century. It stars Alan Moore, Steve Aylett, Josie Long, Stewart Lee, Robin Ince, D.Harlan Wilson, Jeff Vandermeer, Leila Johnston, Andrew O'Neill, Bill Ectric, Mitzi Szereto, Vessel [David Devant] and others.

Featuring clips from Lint's books, cartoons, music, comics and films, plus interviews with fans and critics, the film follows Lint's life from the days of vintage pulp, through his adoption by the psychedelic counterculture and disastrous scripts for Star Trek and Patton; to his status as an enigmatic cult figure.

Never-before-seen archive footage and recordings of Lint himself, and commentary by those who knew and read him, results in a compelling portrait of the creator of Clowns & Insects, Jelly Result, The Stupid Conversation, The Riding On Luggage Show, the CATERER comic, and Catty and the Major, the scariest kids' cartoon ever aired.

Lint’s was a career haunted by death, including the undetected death of his agent, the suspicious death of his rival Herzog, and the unshakable 'Lint is dead' rumours, which persisted even after his death. Like his contemporary Philip K. Dick, he was blithely ahead of his time.

The Kino Club is an independent Brighton based DIY cinema society championing new films, missing gems, perfect double-bills + themed nights of screenings, live music, talks and stalls.

Lint The Movie will premiere on Sunday 26th June, introduced by Lint biographer and film writer/director Mr Steve Aylett, at The Kino Club, West Hill Community Hall, Seven Dials, Brighton (UK), BN1 3PS. It's five minutes walk from Brighton rail station, on the corner of Buckingham Place & Compton Avenue. Doors open at 7.00 and the film starts at 8.00pm. (Last trains back towards London: 22.04; 22.15; 22.45; 23.02)

Tickets only £5; available online from http://www.wegottickets.com/ or from Brighton shops Resident Records (Kensington Gardens) and Dave's Comics (Sydney Street)

• More Info online at: http://www.westhillkinoclub.blogspot.com/

• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Hill-Kino-Club/192076120817478

Commando's Half Century

On 27 June 1961 DC Thomson published the first issue of Commando as a response to the combat picture libraries being published by their competitors. Today, some fifty years later, those titles like Battle Picture Library and War Picture Library are long gone but the Eagle Award winning Commando proudly marches on having just passed the 4400 issue mark and it continues to have wings in the air, keels in the ocean and boots on the ground.

This current batch of Commandos includes issue 4404, Misfit Squad, which was specially written as the 50th anniversary issue and includes an introduction by editor Calum Laird.

4403 - The Defector?
Story: Ferg Handley
Inside Art: Keith Page
Cover Art: Keith Page

Lt Levka Kosilev was a man of principle, a man who would repay a debt of honour. The Russian officer had only survived the dark days of World War II thanks to the actions of a brave American corporal and his squad. He knew how much he owed them. Some years later Levka — now an observer with the forces of the North during the Korean War — unexpectedly found himself in a position to settle the debt. To do so, however, he would have to defect. Could he do it?

4404 - Misfit Squad
Story: Mac MacDonald
Inside Art: Carlos Pino
Cover Art: Carlos Pino

Dave, Brian, Pete and Sid were undoubtedly the worst soldiers their C.O. had ever come across. He doubted they would ever get through their basic training. But Sergeant Rod Black thought differently, he could see something in the four that no one else could. And one night in June some 50 years ago he and his misfit squad got the chance to prove him right…or wrong!

4405 - Heads You Win/ Can’t Lose
Story: Cyril Walker
Inside Art: J. Fuente
Cover Art: Penalva
Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor
Originally No 368 (November 1968), re-issued as No 1091 (January 1977)

When Ned Dolan flicked a penny in the air and David Bradford called tails, it looked as though he had signed his own death warrant — for the loser was to become bait for a deadly German sniper. And Dolan had never — but never — lost a toss with this special penny.

4406 - A Stirling Called Satan
Story: R.A. Montague
Inside Art: Mira
Cover Art: Keith Walker
With an introduction by Beano Editor Mike Stirling
Originally No 869 (September 1974), re-issued as No 2159 (February 1988)

It was dead unlucky, that Stirling bomber. Flying low it would catch most of the flak, flying high it was certain to be pounced on by enemy fighters. Every time the crew set off on another mission they wondered if it was going to be their last. Even its number, five-three-five, added up to thirteen…

• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/

• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846

• Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.

Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes

Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Mystery of Tharg's 3rillers



(Above: The cover to Prog 1740 by Liam Sharp. Click on the image to see a larger version.)



Prog 1740 of 2000 AD (released in shops next Wednesday, 29 June 2011) is designed as a potential 'jumping-on point' for readers. Its line-up consists of a new Dredd story, fresh installments of three already established series and something called Tharg's 3rillers. The latter has been a bit of a talking point online, with fans speculating as to what Tharg's 3rillers might be. Of course, here at downthetubes we're fairly pro-active. Instead of speculating therefore, we sent intrepid reporter Matt Badham to speak to Tharg's human representative, Matt Smith, about what this new series is.

The following mini-interview was the result:


Matt Badham: Lots of discussions online about Tharg's 3rillers, which debuts in Prog #1740. Prevailing theories are that these are either three-page one-shots or three-part mini-series. What are they?

Matt Smith: They're three-part self-contained mini-series.

Matt Badham: Why have you come up with this new strand?

Matt Smith: I had a nine-part slot going free, and I thought, rather than commissioning a standard series, I'd try something a bit different - 3 three-part stories, complete to themselves, not tied to any other 2000 AD property. I thought readers (especially new readers) would appreciate something that didn't require knowledge from 2000 AD's thirty-four-year history. They're a mix of genres too - the first one (The Silver-Tongued Exploits of Cosmo Nibs by Tom Eglington and John McCrea) is an SF comedy, the second (Six Brothers by Alec Worley and Mike Dowling) is a supernatural crime thriller, and the third (Wolves by Arthur Wyatt and Steve Yeowell) is a dark future-war story.

Matt Badham: Can people send unsolicited pitches for Tharg's 3rillers or are they a way for you to nurture already established writers (those, say, who have got a fair few Future Shocks under their belt)? And what about artists?

Matt Smith: I'm not looking for any 3riller submissions. If they prove popular, I'll commission more as the schedule permits, but I'll punt them out to writers and artists that have already got a bit of experience.

Matt Badham: Are these 3rillers going to act as 'pilots' for ongoing series?

Matt Smith: Possibly, if the potential is there. I'd prefer the 'three hits of Thrill-power and you're done' approach - one story, bang, move on.

Matt Badham: Prog #1740 is a potential jumping-on point for new readers (or, I suppose, old readers who have fallen out of the habit of picking up the Prog). Please tell us what other strips are in that issue and why people should pick it up.

Matt Smith: Judge Dredd: The Dasterdly Deeds of PJ Maybe by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil; Savage Book 7: Secret City by Pat Mills and Patrick Goddard; Zombo: The Day the Zombo Died by Al Ewing and Henry Flint; and Sinister Dexter: Charon's Crossing by Dan Abnett and Anthony Williams. Plenty of action, irreverence, bullets and people's eyes being sucked out by balloons. Try finding that mix of elements in any other comic out there. Thirty-two pages for £2.25 (Earth money) - zarjaz value, as the Mighty One would say!



Matt Badham: Thanks, Matt, for taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions.



Matt Smith: My pleasure.


Update: There are more details over at the Everything Comes Back To 2000 AD blog.


For more on 2000 AD, go to their official website.

Major comics conference in Manchester in July

Manchester's Metropolitan University will host a conference on graphic novels and comics early next month, featuring American artist Melinda Gebbie, Hunt Emerson, French artist Edmond Baudoin and Professor Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle from the Sorbonne University, Paris.

A conference involving three comics journals, the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Journal of European Comic Art and Studies in Comics speakers come from round the world also include established experts such as Bart Beaty, Martin Barker and Ann Miller.

The main themes of this conference, which the organisers hope will prove a major landmark in the international study of comics, are space and time in comics and audiences and readership. "We also have panels on much else," they told downthetubes, "including comics and gender, architecture and Francophone Africa."

• More information can be found here: www2.hlss.mmu.ac.uk/conferences/graphic-novels-bandes-dessinees-comics

• Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics, 5-8 July 2011 at the Manchester Metropolitan University. If you want to attend or contact the organisers email d.huxleyATmmu.ac.uk, j.ormrodATmmu.ac.uk, m.screechATmmu.ac.uk, jroundATbournemouth.ac.uk, or c.murrayATdundee.ac.uk

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

War: The Human Cost anthology still on sale

A page from "A Tale of Two Faces"
by Sean Duffield & Nelson Evergreen
- a current story about nuclear weapons
and the double-talk of politicians
I didn't get the chance to plug War: The Human Cost, a 260-page anthology and 21 track music CD when it came out earlier in the year, but let's make up for it now.

Four and a half years in the making, part funded via support generated through Indie Go Go to get the final donations, the book features 74 contributers from 19 countries, including some big names and lots of upcoming talent. £1 of every book sold goes to Campaign Against Arms Trade (www.caat.org.uk) and it's on sale now for the special price of only £10 for facebook users, £11.99 elsewhere.

The book is the work of Sean Duffield of Brighton-based comics creator group Paper Tiger Comix.

The comic strips include well researched stories from around the world such as Tibet, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, which cover everything from human rights struggles, war veterans and Post Traumatic Dtress Disorder, political imprisonment and torture, child soldiers, refugees /asylum seekers, peace campaigns, the arms trade, corruption/ conflicts of interest, military spending, propaganda to humour and satire.

Contributors, who have all donated their work comprise the cream of underground and international talent and well known respected artists from the comics world such as Spain's Rodriguez (Ché: The illustrated Biography), Peter Kuper (World War 3 Illustrated/ Speechless), Alexsandar Zograf (Regards from Serbia), Lawrence Elwick, Nelson Evergreen, Ulli Lust (Warburger), Mazen Kerbaj, Ben Jennings (The Guardian), Alejandro Alvarez (The Bush Junta), Paul O'Connell, Dr Parsons, Abu Mahjoob and many others.

Some of the stories are more historical, going back to previous generations (Vietnam, World War 2, Spanish Civil War etc) and the very personal/ moving stories of those involved.

"My motivation behind creating this project was to put together a work which would help raise money for worthy causes," he explains, "but also to provide the reader with an educational and engaging collection of comics, art and illustrated factual and pieces surrounding themes of war, but from an emotional and humanitarian angle.

Think of it like a WikiLeaks; getting the real stories out there, but with mostly personal accounts and emotive art."

The CD features well known artists who support the project, such as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Sly and Robbie, DJ Spooky, Blue King Brown, Zion Train, The Levellers, Big Youth and Twilight Dub Circus, The Groove Corporation and many more.

• Samples of the work featured in the project can be found on Paper Tiger Comix Facebook page and MySpace page

Monday, 20 June 2011

Comics and more at the Lass!

(Above: They won! A rather natty promotional image for the Lass O'Gowrie pub in Manchester.)

Word from Gareth Kavanagh of the award-winning Lass O'Gowrie pub in Manchester of various comics-related events that are likely to be of interest to downthetubes readers:

First there's Warriorcon on 2nd July with Dez Skinn and guests. This celebrates cult anthology comic Warrior, the original home of V for Vendetta.

On 3rd July there's Vworp 4, a Doctor Who con that includes some guests from the world of British comics. These are Martin Geraghty, Adrian Salmon and Dez Skinn, all of whom have been closely involved with Doctor Who Magazine's comic strips. The con also features various other figures from the world of Who, such as Katy Manning (Third Doctor companion, Jo Grant) and Andrew Cartmel (the programme's script editor during Sylvester's McCoy's tenure).

And, as part of the Lass's Pub Fiction slot, some comic creators will be giving talks:

On 19th July, John Reppion of the Moore/Reppion writing team (Raise the Dead/Albion) presents a talk on different incarnations of the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, real and imagined, in his own writing, the work of others and beyond.

22nd July sees an audience with Al Ewing, a British comics writer with extensive experience in the small press and 2000 AD.

And on 23rd July, Bryan Talbot discusses his graphic novels Grandville and Grandville Mon Amour and the venerable and on-going tradition of anthropomorphic characters in illustration and comics from which they have emerged.

These events are all part of the pub's annual Lassfest, which runs from 1st July - 1st August. This showcases all aspects of the arts, with live theatre, readings, stand-up comedy and much, much more. Go here and scroll down to see what's on when.

Major SF signing at Forbidden Planet London

Forbidden Planet London will host one of its trademark multi-author signings later this week, playing host to Ben Aaronovitch, James Barclay, Elspeth Cooper, Stephen Deas, Jaine Fenn, M D Lachlan, Tom Lloyd, John Meaney and Chris Wooding.

The event marks the release of Elspeth’s new book Songs of the Earth, gathering a host of science fiction and fantasy talent and bringing writers and fans together to promote interest in new and different kinds of fiction.

"This is one of our trademark multi-author events," an FP spkesperson told downthetubes, "bringing our guests out from behind their tables and giving their readers a chance to meet them and talk to them about their work.

"An array of fantastic books will be on hand to be picked up and signed – including works by every one of the writers present."

• Nine Authors, One Event takes place at 6.00pm on Thursday 23rd June, Forbidden Planet 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London. For more news about our signings please go to: http://www.forbiddenplanet.com/events

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wyatt's World

Megazine 311 - Cover by Brendan McCarthy
The latest Judge Dredd Megazine (on sale now) contains an interview Matt Badham conducted with ace comics writer Arthur Wyatt. As is often the case with these things, there were unused quotes, so in a with-permission cross post from Matt's own blog, we're presenting those here as a mini-interview with the permission of both Arthur and alien editor the Mighty Tharg.

(Megazine #311 also contains four pulse-pounding strips, interviews with Steve Dillon and D’Israeli, film reviews and comes bagged with a ‘floppie’ that reprints work by Pat Mills, Tony Skinner, Carl Critchlow and John Ridgway)

Matthew Badham: When did you decide that rather than being ‘just a fan’, you wanted to be a creator?

Arthur Wyatt: Well, it might have been when I was very earnestly doodling Nemesis the Warlock or the ABC Warriors on schoolbooks in imitation of Kevin O’Neil or the Biz [Simon Bisley], but I don’t really think that was going anywhere. I actually started writing comics and being involved in the small press scene around about the time I was heading off to university, during the ‘dark times’ when I’d left 2000 AD behind for a while. Serious, densely written Vertigo-style books were very much the model I was following, with the odd EC comics pastiche or SF piece in between the angsty slice of life works; slices of life being of course that much more difficult to portray if you’ve only really lived a little of it.

Then I pretty much put that all away, got a degree, got a job, moved to London, forgot about it until I picked up Prog 2001, saw the submission guidelines for Future Shocks (always a favourite) and decided to give it a go.

We found this strip called 'Down the
Tubes
' on Arthur's web site
and couldn't resist re-posting...
Art by Adrian Bamforth
Matt: Was your ambition to write for 2000 AD, or to be a comics writer generally?

Arthur: Well, as I say, for a while I was really into the idea of doing some kind of portentous Vertigo thing, or writing an Aliens story, since I loved the Aliens comic. Or writing a Hellraiser story because I’d read a bunch of those and let’s face it, they were all the same bloody plot (someone is obsessed with something or other… which turns out to be a Lament configuration! “Aiie!” Pinhead shows up! Hack, Splash!) So it’s easy to conceive of doing one.

These days I’m pretty focused on 2000 AD, so even if it wasn’t for that comic I’d probably be doing something very similar for someone else. Of course, 2000 AD-like is a pretty broad category.

Matt: Are there any settings or characters in your one-offs that you’d like to revisit for longer stories?

Arthur: People fairly often mention Rapture Ready as something they’d like to see more of, but I don’t really see where it could go from there. [For a synopsis of Rapture Ready, see this review of 2000 AD Issue 1576] One of the great benefits of a short story is you can end with a hard cut-off and have everything after that left unknowable. And really some things are much better as a spooky unknown full of possibilities than nailed down.

Edmund Bagwell’s next gig for
2000 AD is on the new Indigo
Prime
series written by John Smith
I’ve some vague ideas of how Cargo Culture — another story I did with [artist] Edmund Bagwell — could be the cornerstone of a setting where humanity has spread across the stars via an alien hyperspace network that’s now been cut off, and what happens in the places that have effectively become backwaters. [For a synopsis of Cargo Culture, see this review of 2000 AD #1664]. I might turn that into a pitch someday.

Matt: You wrote the final series of the 86ers, set in the Rogue Trooper universe. The 86ers was created and, until that point, written by Gordon Rennie. What was it like taking on someone else’s series in terms of having to write in their ‘voice’? Or do you think that’s a ‘non-issue’?

Arthur: It probably helps that to a certain degree it wasn’t Gordon’s, being part of the Rogue universe. I’d never try that with something like Cabbalistics Inc. [also written by Gordon] that’s so closely tied to an author. And I think there probably was a bit of a shift in voice between Gordon’s 86ers and mine.

I certainly kicked it into action mode as soon as I could, with more explosions and cosmic Kirby crackle aliens crammed into the pages than his carefully plotted intrigue. I think it was a bit of a side-effect of watching a lot of mid-season episodes of Battlestar Galactica where people moped around and wept, and emoted all over the place without really doing much. Careful readers of the first part of Samizdat Squad may notice a similar reaction against the boring bits of James Cameron’s Avatar. [Samizdat Squad is Arthur's new strip for Judge Dredd Megazine]

Matt: What’s your process when it comes to writing, in terms of planning to scripting, and does it differ for one-offs and longer series?

Arthur: My process is basically lots of little boxes scribbled down and joined up in a diagram; first of episodes, then of pages, then, when I’m writing a strip, of the panels in the pages. If I am feeling particularly high-tech the scribble might be replaced by incomprehensible notes on my iPhone: bulleted lists that say cryptic things like ‘Door opens’ and ‘Gas boom!’.

Of course, at some point in this process I need to write things up as a synopsis and pitch it. With something like a Future Shock I probably have gotten to the point of knowing what happens on each page and all the major panels — the big impressive story points — if not the details of what joins them together. I probably over-plan, but I kind of need to get all the details sorted out in my head before I can write a synopsis.

Shako the polar bear, oh yeah!
Art by Cliff Robinson
With a longer story, I'm a little looser. I probably just plan what happens in every episode and the gist of each page, and what a few big panels in each episode are going to be. Also with a bigger story you have a little more room to improvise.

Matt: Having dabbled in the Rogue Trooper universe, are there any other classic thrills you’d like to revisit?

Arthur: There’s my pitch for Shako: 2012, which I’m sure would be drawn by Henry Flint or someone, and maybe be the star attraction of a Christmas prog. You see, it’s 2012, and the icecaps have melted, releasing Shako from where he has been entombed in an icy slumber. Now he is on a rampage, the space capsule he has swallowed giving him strange powers to control wildlife (caribou, penguins, etc…) and turn them against the feeble hu-mans that might stop him.

Only one woman stands in the way against Shako’s terrible quest to destroy the human race: President Sarah Palin.

• Arthur Wyatt's archive of his comic work is at www.arthurwyatt.co.uk

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