An interview, quick-fire question style, conducted a few years back alongside Mike Maddox - writer of Radio 4's MayFlies, Doctor Who's Circular Time and Lion's The Graphic Bible :

If you could be a superhero, who would you be?

I always wanted to be Blade the Vampire Hunter, but I’m really a dreadful coward and scare easily. I’ve always had a soft spot for Captain America, and was very excited when Captain Britain came along., hoping Marvel would bring us Captain Cameroon, Captain Saudi Arabia, Captain Dominican Republic and so on. But they didn’t.

It would have to be a superhero with the abiltity to fly or become invisible. Bearing in mind that if I could fly I can be any number of amount of superheroes, yet with invisibility I would have to be the Invisible Girl. Mmmm... having breasts seems like a definate advantage so I'd opt for the invisibility option.

Your favourite six stories/eras/titles/issues, whatever.

V For Vendetta
"Gaze into the face of fear!"......"Gaze into the fist of Dredd!!"
Who is Donna Troy? ( New Teen Titans #38) - totally redefining comics for me
Harry Twenty on the High Rock
Smith and Weston's Killing Time.
Miller and Mazzucelli's Daredevil

Grant Morrison’s Animal Man.
Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing.
Brian Bolland doing the Dark Judges stories in 2000 AD.
Frank Miller’s Daredevil.
The Numbskulls.
Steve Parkhouse and John Ridgeway’s run on Doctor Who magazine.

What comics did you read as a kid?

I was introduced to comics not through the Beano and Dandy but through the hard hitting "Titans" reprints that Marvel brought out - printed in that really long format with two comic pages per page. Followed by "The Mighty World of Marvel" which really got me hooked on to Captain Britain with the silhouette teaser ads it ran. Then came Star Wars weekly and Dr Who weekly - especially when it contained the Gibbons fourth Doctor stories and Steve Dillon's Absalom Daak-Dalek Killer. I discovered 2000ad round about the time of The Apocalypse War - although I do remember buying the second issue and fooling everyone with the bionic stickers.

Mainly TV tie-in stuff. TV21, Countdown, the Daleks, that kind of thing. I mean, you had artists like Frank Bellamy reinventing Gerry Anderson, and it doesn’t get much better than that really. What else… The Trigan Empire in Look and Learn. But all that went out the window when “The Mighty World of Marvel” UK reprint titles were launched in the early seventies. The first few issues had Lee and Kirby’s FF and Hulk, and Ditko’s Spiderman. I have never really recovered. Johnny Storm shouts “Flame on!” and bursts into flames, Spidey grapples with guilt and the Thing and the Hulk throw office blocks at each other while fighting. And then there was Warlord. “Cop this, sausage noshers!” shouted D-Day Dawson as he brought the Bren gun to bear on the Nazi brutes.
But long before all this, I really loved Twinkle.

Are comics actually any good?

It’s like saying “Are films any good?”, or “Are paintings any good?”. Bit of a nonsense really. Saying that, just like any other artform/media, 95% of them are probably a pile of pooh. It’s like Telly. Every now and then something beautiful and astonishing and challenging comes along that takes your breath away, but the majority of it’s rubbish. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it- I’m very fond of rubbish.

Of course they are.

What do you like best about comics?

Pretty much everything, when they’re done well. In a good comic, each page is a joy to read, each picture tells a thousand words.

Drawing a rollicking good story when I'm pencilling. When I'm inking I don't normally get to see the script, so sometimes the pages I receive end on a cliffhanger - even halfway through the book. There's always the hope that the reader will get as much excitement from the finished product as you have from creating it. That and the conventions.

What do you like least?

This sounds like the anorak from Hell, but I don’t like the paper a lot of them get printed on, and the computer colour process. I really do think that publishers went overboard when the technology became available in the early/mid nineties, and now colourists swamp artwork with a million trillion zillion shades of colour when they really don’t need to. I actually prefer the soft, muted tones of some comics made with older technology. Also, I hate it when continuity gets in the way of stories.

The price hike in the last ten years or so which discourages kids today from buying them, I could also break into a long and tiring discussion on distribution - which causes a lot of problems when one distributor controls 95% of the market - but I won't because its,..erm.. a long and tiring discussion. But in general I love comics!


JC said…
I know I am a cheesy american dude, but what strikes me the most in this interview is your comment regarding the price hike and how it discourages kids from getting into comics. One of my favorite posts on your blog was regarding your day at the library with the kids and the picture you posted that was drawn for you by one of the kids. We Americans tend to be soft...but that is very cool in my book.

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