From the outside, the Marvel Now Initiative would seem to be Marvel’s response or equivalent to the DC’s New 52 reboot of their series. The Marvel Now Initiative is being publicized as an “easy entry point into the classic Marvel Universe” – although Marvel stresses that this is not the equivalent of DC’s new 52. They also state that they are adding a digital piece to encourage new readers and working with this are their “cinematic cover designs” and “redesigned costumes”(Comic Book Resources). As someone who downloads her comics from Comixology, I can tell you that digital viewing – being able to zoom in on certain panels and text –  is great. The Marvel Now Initiative is not a clean slate, although issues renumber with 1, but more of a clearing of the decks- meant to make it easy for new readers to get caught up on sometimes fifty years of backstory in an easy and accessible manner.

I find myself viewing the Marvel Now Initiative, and The All New X-Men, in particular, from two different perspectives. The first, as always, is that of a geek girl; but the second looks at the new Marvel Now Initiative more objectively, and unfortunately, cynically.

The panel below, is the best, although certainly not the only, example of what The All New X-Men does incredibly well. This single page has to be one of the best combination of storytelling and artistic presentation that I’ve seen in years. In this scene, Jean Grey of the past has been brought to the future, and is asking what has happened to her in the intervening years. In order to best explain, Beast “shows” her inside his mind. This fractured image represents everything Jean Grey has been in the X-Men series and succinctly represents her entire story, from her start with the X-Men, to her time as Marvel Girl, and the Phoenix, her marriage to Scott, and her death. Each segment of this fragmented panel is a side of Jean Grey. Perhaps most powerful though, is the bottom right corner that shows our past Jean Grey bowed under the weight of all this knowledge.

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To me, this panel, and the amazing cover art, gives fans exactly what they want: sharp, amazing art, and once you’ve read the issues, you realize the storytelling is just as riveting. Marvel states that they are responding to what fans want, including the addition/bringing back of the original Jean Grey. The storylines focus on the original five X-Men being brought to the future to face off against their present day counterparts. The storyline for issues 1-6 of The All New X-Men is both complicated, and simple at the same time. Scott Summers is leading a mutant Revolution (big R) with Magneto, because he feels he needs to protect the rising tide of new mutants. The remaining X-Men (Beast, Wolverine, Storm, Kitty Pride) are still at the school, but don’t relish (except for Wolverine) the idea of having to fight Scott. Beast (who it turns out is mutating again, and dying) decides to violate the space-time continuum, travel back to the past and locate the original X-Men when they first became X-Men and bring them forward to help. Beast’s hope is that when young Scott sees what he has become, he will change the timeline. There is division in the ranks, with both new and old (past and present? Someone really needs to come up with appropriate time travel language) X-Men as to whether or not Beast’s actions will unravel the universe, or solve the situation. There’s a great battle between both versions of Cyclops, some great dialogue between past and present Beast as he cures himself, and some touching moments between Beast and Jean Grey. The story is solid, and engaging.

There are lots of things right with this series, if you view it as a fan of the comics.

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But, as with many other things, there is always a flip side. It’s hard not to see the Marvel Now Initiative as a money making/publicity stunt. In the wake of Marvel’s success in films, with Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011),  Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and The Avengers (2012), the cynic (including this fan girl) would say that Marvel is interested more in the money making potential and increasing their audience which will then feed into their movies, merchandising, etc. than in the purity of the story lines. When I presented this argument to my Dad, a long time comic fan, he told me that this was always how comics operated.

He may be right. But I wish it wasn’t so.

Marvel seems to want new readers to be able to start fresh with these storylines, but they ignore what has been the biggest weakness that has plagued the X-Men storylines for years, and other titles as well – too much mess and convolution. The amount of alternate universes, and alternate timelines, as well as a ridiculous expansion of titles, have made tracking characters and storylines for the X-Men, and other titles, a hopeless, tangled corpulence that has discouraged even diehard fans. I love the X-Men, but do a quick search on a comics site and you quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of X-Men titles.

So, let’s say you’ve seen the movies, and like the characters, or had a friend suggest reading these comics, so you decide to check out some titles. Looking at everything that comes up when you search X-Men, how do you know where to start? There is no arrow pointing start here. Despite Marvel’s claims that The All New X-Men is meant to be an easy entry, it still requires knowledge of past storylines and characters. Even as a fan, I had a hard time remembering some of the things that these comics referred to. The truth is, there is no easy entry point into the series, and the titles available are not accessible to non-comic lovers. This is perhaps one reason why comics remain such an isolated, cliquish group.

How does even a dedicated fan keep up? There’s the obvious monetary expense of buying issues every week at $3-5 a pop. But there’s also the continuity issue. Marvel continues to cross titles, so that you can’t understand one without having read others. The All New X-Men, a Marvel Now title, has its basis in Avengers vs. X-Men, not a Marvel Now title. So right from the start, Marvel is starting from a place of confusion rather than a veritable ‘jumping on point’.

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As a fan, I wish that Marvel had taken the opportunity with Marvel Now and used it to clear the decks a little more. I wish that the amount of titles had been reduced further, and I know there are people who will disagree with me, but I really wish we’d gone down to a single X-Men title. One title, one story, one continuity. I think this would not only make these texts more accessible to new fans, but would also reward long time fans by giving them a solid product. If Marvel wanted to do short run character arcs, fine, but don’t make them required for understanding the main title. As a fan, I am reminded of why I stopped buying weekly issues in the first place, and instead relied on omnibus editions, if I bought them at all- it’s exhausting.

While I was excited to read The All New X-Men, and love the art and story, I am exhausted simply contemplating what it would take to become totally invested in this title again. Just writing this article required purchasing Avengers vs. X-Men: Collected Edition which collects Avengers Vs X-Men #0-12, AVX: Vs #1-6, Infinite Comics #1, #6 & #10 before I even got to The All New X-Men.

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But I have to tell you, my divided thoughts and feelings about comics is an ongoing battle- as I drove two hours to the nearest comic shop to peruse titles associate with the Marvel Now Initiative, I remembered why I love comics (and spent WAY too much money in that single visit). When Dad got me Avengers vs. X-Men: Collected Edition  for my birthday, I squeed as only geek girls can. As I read my way through all of these, I remembered why I loved comics,and loved these characters. But it also renewed my frustrations with comics, and comic titles. As Dad says, these are not new problems, and storylines such as Crisis of Infinite Earths, and the concept of retconning characters such as Hal Jordan and Barbara Gordan, have attempted to address these issues, although rarely to anyone’s total satisfaction.  Why can’t Marvel (and DC) actually reboot series? Why not say, we’re going to start fresh? How interesting would it be to see artists and storytellers like Gail Simone, Jim Lee, Brian Michael Bendis,  and Scott Snyder tell the stories of Jean Grey, the Avengers, Batgirl, Superman, and Batman with all the knowledge of past history? How much better, how much more cohesive would these stories be if they weren’t having to fill a gap in the canon from fifty years ago? If they could, release details when it was best for the story?

As a fan, this is what I wish I could see. But, I guess I’ll have to learn to live without that. For geeks, our relationships with comics, and their creators/owners is usually a complicated one, and this is not different.

So for now, I’ll continue to pour over my All New X-Men and reference back to my brand new Avengers vs. X-Men: Collected Edition. Enjoying every panel, every character, and every second. And I’ll try not to think about all the ways that this relationship can disappoint me, or betray my trust.

Bryan Talbot & the Anthropomorphic Tradition in Comics

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Bryan Talbot is an architect of the sequential craft: gifted in the art of dialogue, narrative story-telling and world building, as well as a master of illustration and aesthetics, he is a true auteur in every sense of the word and well-regarded by many commentators as a pioneer in the field. In a career spanning three decades, Talbot has traversed the comic book landscape in a way unparalleled by many of his contemporaries; charting a map from the underground comics of the 1970s – through mainstream houses such as DC Comics – Legend of the Dark Knight and Sandman – to creator-owned material, Luther Arkwright, A Tale of One Bad Rat, Alice In Sunderland. And now, his most recent adventures involving the talking badger, Detective LeBrock of Scotland Yard, the anthropomorphic bane of scum and villainy patrolling the streets of Grandville, Talbot has re-situated the Parisian streets to his own steam-punk milieu. In December 2012, Talbot released the third entry in the series, Grandville Bête Noire with at least another two fully scripted (Grandville Noel, a Christmas tale, and an untitled fifth instalment). For the moment, at least, Bryan Talbot lives and breathes Grandville.

At a special public lecture series to celebrate the twentieth year of Northumbria University’s institutional upgrade, Talbot addressed an audience who dared brave the snow-furred streets of Newcastle to hear him speak about Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition in comic books. Armed with nothing more than a beautifully designed slide show decorated with the aesthetics of comic books both old and new, Talbot invited us to join him on a ‘magical mystery tour’ across a history that extends across several centuries and features innumerable cultures and traditions. With panache and erudition, Bryan regaled the crowd for almost an hour without notes or prompts and one thing becomes inordinately clear: Talbot knows his subject, inside and out and performs the role of historian brilliantly.

One only need look at the spectacular graphic novel, Alice in Sunderland to recognise Talbot’s commitment to his subject. This is a work steeped in history and lore, painstakingly so. As a life-long resident of Sunderland, I was awe-struck by the level of depth and detail in Alice that taught me so much about the place of my birth and upbringing than that which I learned at school or in local literature. But more than that, Alice changed my mind about Sunderland in many ways as something to be proud of rather than embarrassed; for within the centre of Sunderland beats a fierce heart of tradition, myth and lore that Talbot deftly unearths as archaeologist, excavating the ruins of history and expertly detailing the shifting sands of time through the medium of the comic book. Simply put, it is a remarkable tour de force of sequential storytelling and a token of Talbot’s craftsmanship and ardour.

Employing what can only be described as an arduous research method, Talbot immersed himself in anthropomorphic history when preparing the first Grandville story. ‘There is nothing new about anthropomorphic characters,’ claims Talbot and offers examples to illustrate this: a 750,000 year-old cave painting in France depicting anthropomorphism; religious figures such as Ganesh, the Hindu Elephant God and the Greek God Zeus all possess animal characteristics (although Zeus turned into an animal to ‘get laid’ argues Talbot with a wry smile and his tongue rooted firmly in his cheek). In Ancient Egypt, Anubis (Jackal), and Horus (Falcon), for instance, are often depicted in art as human with animal heads; the Old Testament shows us an anthropomorphic snake in the Garden of Eden; and in West African and Caribbean folklore, the trickster God Anansi takes the form of a spider – and, in turn, influenced the Western version of Br’er Rabbit as African stories entered the American culture by way of the so-called slave trade. (Moreover, the ‘trickster Rabbit’ and the ‘trickster Coyote’ could very well be the archetypes behind such icons of popular Western culture such as Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote of the Road Runner cartoons.)

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According to Talbot, in all religions and mythologies, anthropomorphism has been a historical constant going back to the very beginnings of story-telling.

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The wealth of material henceforth is staggering – slide after slide of old comic books ranging from a 1782 broadsheet cartoon, The Loves of the Fox and the Badger, which satirised the political coalition between the liberals and conservatives as a ‘deal with the devil’; through Louis Wain, ‘the man who drew cats’ to Beatrix Potter’s The Fox and the Badger and many examples in between and beyond. ‘Has anyone heard of Teddy Tail,’ Talbot asks the audience and many, if not all of us, shake our heads in embarrassment. In an era before the merchandising blitzes of George Lucas and DC et al that we are all so familiar with, Teddy Tail was ‘a household name in the 1920s’ and featured in ‘dozens of spin-offs’ such as records that were broadcast on BBC radio, a syndicated comic strip in The Daily Mail and a multiplicity of ancillary products. Although not the first ‘furry newspaper cartoon hero’ – that accolade belongs to Tiger Tim (1904) – Teddy Tail was the first anthropomorphic character to feature on a daily basis.

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The overwhelming popularity of ‘Teddy Tail of the Daily Mail’, as he came to be known, led to multiple copies, facsimiles and variations; one of which we have all heard of: Rupert the Bear.

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For Talbot, Rupert the Bear is a key inspiration behind Grandville. By ‘doing Grandville’, Talbot claims, ‘I’m actually going back to my childhood’. Indeed, the first Grandville book features a murder in Nutwood, Rupert’s home town, and Talbot points out a beautifully illustrated scene where Rupert’s father can be seen mowing the lawn in the background.

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And there are many more so-called ‘easter eggs’ for the intertextual detectives among us who enjoy wandering the fictional wilderness in search of references, puns and pastiche. (My personal favourite is in Grandville: Bete Noire, where we see a drunken Paddington Bear walking in the street).

Bryan Talbot is clearly enjoying himself with Grandville.

I must point out, however, that I haven’t done justice – not by a long shot – to the sprawling history lesson narrated by Talbot on the evening in question. I haven’t mentioned the T.M Coolidge advertisements; Billy Brock’s Schooldays; Crazy Cat By George Ferryman (which was seen a ‘high art’ in the States); Usagi Yojimbo (simply ‘Rabbit Bodyguard’); Omaha: The Cat Dancer (which Talbot describes as anthropomorphic ‘porn’); Bone; Blacksad; Mouseguard; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Maus; Hip Flask (to name a select few).

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Nor have I detailed the many ‘easter eggs’ and in-jokes that Talbot guides us through by way of an intertextual tour. I will say this, however: you will need considerable acumen to uncover them all. Call it ‘The Talbot Challenge’. Do you think you have what it takes? Personally, I admit defeat and look forward to Bryan pointing more out to me so I can revel in the brilliance whilst silently castigating myself for failing so monumentally. I almost want Talbot to leave Grandville be for a moment and commit himself to more research that will enlighten and illuminate as he did that cold, snowy night in Newcastle. For now, however, I turn to my beaten copies of Luther Arkwright and re-enter the world – or, rather, multiverse – that Talbot built.

ABOUT

William Proctor is a PhD candidate at the University of Sunderland, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies where he teaches  Film, Media and Cultural Studies. He is working on his thesis titled Beginning Again: The Reboot Phenomenon in Film, Comic Books and Television and he has published articles on the film reboot (Regeneration and Rebirth: Anatomy of the Film Franchise Reboot), the comic book reboot (Beginning Again: The Reboot Phenomenon in Comic Books  and Film) and has a chapter in the forthcoming collected edition Fan Phenomena: Batman (edited by Liam Burke). He is currently working on mapping fan reactions to the Disney takeover of Lucasfilm which will be published in a special fan studies edition of Participations in May 2012. William’s next project about The Walking Dead TV series will be published in a new edited collection by Lexington (edited by Carlen Lavigne) titled Remake TV. Additionally, he is organizing a two-day international conference to be hosted by the University of Sunderland on April 3rd and 4th 2012 (Adventures in Textuality: Adaptation Studies in the 21st Century) which includes key-note speakers Will Brooker, Jonathan Gray, Bryan Talbot and Christine Geraghty.

FREE ACCESS TO PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES BY WILLIAM PROCTOR:

Regeneration and Rebirth: Anatomy of the Franchise Reboot: http://www.scope.nottingham.ac.uk/February_2012/proctor.pdf

Beginning Again: The Reboot Phenomenon in Comic Books and Film: http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=163

I first presented the following article as a PowerPoint presentation at The International Comics Conference held by the University of the Aegean in Mytilini on the Isle of Lesbos in May 2005. In writing up the talk in prose form – that I’ve previously only done it from memory – I realised that I’ve always tailored it to the specific audience that I’ve had at any one time, usually focusing on some aspects and only briefly touching on others, as and where appropriate. Here, you have everything, some bits even slightly expanded and some reworded for clarity. During a talk it’s simple to communicate visual concepts, such as the position of compositional lines, with a wave of the laser pointer across the screen. In text form such things need describing in detail. Hence the somewhat lengthy nature of this “talk”.

Even though this was presented at an academic conference, I’m no academic myself. I’m just a storyteller. So please excuse the informal style and occasional anecdotes. They are all part of the story.

Bryan Talbot

Sunderland, 2013.

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This is a journey through some of my earlier work but I’m mainly going to be talking about the graphic novel, The Tale of One Bad Rat, first published in 1984. In both cases, I’ll primarily be looking at the use of style and storytelling technique.

Most Anglo-Americans will recognise, from the layout, title and typography of the cover, that it is a pastiche of the book cover style of Beatrix Potter, the British writer and illustrator of children’s books, who died in 1943. Beatrix Potter is one of the themes of the book but the story is actually about the psychological after-effects of child sexual abuse.

As you are doubt aware, the vast majority of comics produced in Britain and America are genre-based, specifically aimed at fans of particular genres. Superhero comics are the dominant genre but there are many others – science fiction, detective, cowboy, romance and horror, for example. While I was plotting this book it was only recently that comics had begun to be produced by people like Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman et al aimed at a mainstream readership: comics created to be read by 100% of the population, not just to the tiny percentage that comprises of readers of a particular genre.

As I realised that what I had in Bad Rat was a mainstream novel, I also realised that I would have to be very deliberate in the choice of style that I told the story in. It would have to be accessible to readers who didn’t have the acquired knowledge of ‘comics’ grammar’ that is intuitive to regular comic readers. Accessible to people who, perhaps, had never read a comic since they were children…

In other words, I had to let the story dictate the style.

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In a way, I have always done this.

I started my career working in British Underground comics – the comics influenced by the late 1960s and 1970s counter-culture – mainly for the Brainstorm Comix series published by Alchemy Press as a vehicle for my work.

The three comics at the foot of the image comprises the so-called Hackenbush Trilogy, published between 1975 and 1977. My first protagonist was Chester P. Hackenbush, the Psychedelic Alchemist. By this time, the psychedelic adventure story was already an established genre within underground comics and the plots of my Chester stories were basically that of Alice in Wonderland; Chester went on a “trip” at the beginning of the story, had his adventure, then “came down” at the end. This has now come full circle as my graphic novel,  Alice in Sunderland, that returns to these Lewis Carroll roots.

If you look at the cover of Mixed Bunch – an anthology – to the top left, you’ll see that this was the first appearance of my Luther Arkwright character in a short story very influenced by Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius stories.

For the moment, I’ll just point out the cover of Amazing Rock and Roll Adventures at the top right – and you can see that the style is very different. It’s a parody of old science fiction magazine covers. Pulp fiction style. You’ll see the reason for this shortly.

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This is a page from the first issue of Brainstorm and you can see that the drawing and inking is quite crude. My work in underground comics was my apprenticeship in the medium – I learnt as I went along and made all my mistakes in print.

Even so, Brainstorm was quite influential. The comics were read by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Jamie Delano and other comic writers years before they started their careers. Alan Moore even “Americanised” Chester into Chester Williams, a long running character in Swamp Thing, who even got his own title for a short while.

Currently there’s a London rap artist – an Eminem type – whose stage name is Chester P Hackenbush! Apparently he used to read and re-read his parent’s copies of Brainstorm when he was young.

In this first issue I was emulating US underground comic style – my version of it at least. You can also see a strong Jack Kirby influence in there.

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This is another page from the very first issue. The story here concerned Chester’s quest for “the ultimate reality” and here he discovers it. His ultimate reality is that he’s a cartoon character composed of black ink on white paper.

This sequence was plagiarised by Grant Morrison and used in his Animal Man comic.

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The first page of the second issue of Brainstorm.

 By this time, I had become more aware what I was doing and the artwork was a little more refined. I’d also been getting into old book illustrations by people like Arthur Rackham and Heath Robinson and was trying to create a synthesis of that and US underground style.

This is my favourite Chester story. The theme is the duality of life. You can see here that they are playing chess, black against white. Chester is reading Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and so on.

The story is also a partial pastiche of Alice through the Looking Glass – he begins his trip by passing through a mirror and returns through it at the end. And, like Looking Glass, the story is also a chess game that can be followed  by reading the symbolism in the illustrations denoting the advance of pawns, clash of knights, exchange of bishops etc.

It was also very self-referential: plot elements are pointed out and the characters, the hero, villain and heroine are introduced in their roles as such.

Yes, I was trying to be a smart-ass.

Anyway, this is the style that I told the story in. But I’d still change style if I wanted to project a different atmosphere. Here I wanted a 1950s EC Comics science fiction style, as done by Wally Wood.

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The image below is a panel from the third and final Chester story, which went under the wonderful title of A Streetcar Named Delirium!

As you can see, I stuck to the style I’d developed in issue two.

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Here’s a page from the sixth and final issue of Brainstorm – Amazing Rock and Roll Adventures – the cover of which I pointed out earlier, and you’ll see that the style is quite different.

The story, The Omega Report, concerned a plot by aliens to take over the world through rock music and the protagonist was Ace Wilmslow, Freelance Rock Reporter. His M.O. is that of a private detective and he narrates the story in a humorous Raymond Chandleresque style. So I wanted to draw the book in a way that evoked 1950s Film Noir.

All the Chester stories were inked with Rotring technical pens. For The Omega Report I learnt how to use a brush, to give a heavier line and lots of dark shadows. If you look at the shading, you’ll see that it’s very crude. I leaned on the job. It took me three months to realise that I had to use a brush that went to a fine point at the tip!

I also used lots of mechanical tints (or Letratone) for the grey shading, again, trying to emulate the look of old black and white private dick movies.

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This is a panel and a page from my first serialised strip, Frank Fazakerly, Space Ace of the Future!  It ran for the seventeen issues of Ad Astra, the British equivalent of the American Omni magazine, covering science fact and science fiction.

The strip, a comedy adventure, was a parody of 1930s movie serials, such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers, so I used Art Deco design in the features of the space ships, robots and costume.

All the characters had Northern English accents (like my own) and each strip ended on a cliffhanger. It was my first experience of meeting a regular deadline.

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My first graphic novel was The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, begun in 1978 and serialised in various comic magazines. The first volume was collected and published in 1981, making it, along with Raymond Brigg’s When the Wind Blows, one of the first two British graphic novels.

With Arkwright, I was trying to create a graphic novel that was every bit as rich and textured as a text novel. It was a reaction against the vast majority of British and American comics at the time, which were bland and formulaic. Nobody swore, vomited, had sex or farted. The violence was unrealistic. These things were in adult text novels – why shouldn’t they be in comics? I wanted to take the underground ethos and put it into a full-length adult adventure story in which I dealt with areas that adults are interested in, such as religion, philosophy, politics and eroticism.

Most of the story was written and drawn at the time of the rise of British right wing politics under the government of Margaret Thatcher and with the growth of fascist groups such the racist National Front, so the story had a strong anti-fascist theme.

It is noteworthy that the book was structured as a novel, not as an episodic monthly serial. This was something new in comics.

It’s a story of parallel worlds and is as much in the historical espionage genre as it is science fiction. I’d become fascinated by the work of the 18th century illustrator and painter William Hogarth and tried to approximate his dense shading style and use of symbols within his pictures to give the story a sort of historical patina. This cross-hatching inking style is extremely time consuming. It’s a little like knitting. You work for a few hours and find that you’ve only covered a few inches of the page as you build up the depth with layer upon layer of fine ink lines. This page took three days to ink.

This is actually the first page of the second volume. Titled Transfiguration, the theme was that of enlightenment, the protagonist, Luther Arkwright going through a metaphysical metamorphosis, entering the pure white light of the void and being reborn as the next stage of humanity’s evolution.

So here we have an essay in light and shade: the light streams in through the window and the interior is filled with softly reflected light. The character is side-lit by the match he lights his cigarette with. And, on the wall behind him, is the Pre-Raphaelite painting by Holman Hunt I am the Light of the World – a reference to the messianic status that Arkwright achieves in the volume.

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My work on Luther Arkwright drew me to the attention of comic writer Pat Mills, a major contributor to the successful and then cutting edge British weekly science fiction comic 2000AD. He needed an artist for the popular Nemesis the Warlock strip, the original artist, Kevin O’Neill, having quit in order to work for America’s DC Comics. He needed someone who could draw in a retro-SF style (since known as Steampunk) to suit the Nemesis story The Gothic Empire.

I’ve always tended to mentally divide my work into the categories of personal and commercial. My personal work is that which I have both written and drawn, whose characters I have invented and own and whose stories are, to some extent, self-expression. I’ll spend as long as necessary on the creation of these books and spend as much time as I can on research. With Bad Rat I read dozens of books on Beatrix Potter and child abuse, and talked with abuse survivors. With commercial work I will do the best job that I can but as quickly as I can. These comics are written by other writers, plus I don’t own the characters so have less of a personal commitment.

With Nemesis I needed to give it a historical feel but didn’t want to spend forever cross-hatching the illustrations, especially as I was working to weekly deadlines, so, where possible, I used mechanical tints for the grey tones. I also inked the strip with a brush, which is much faster than using a pen. And, if you look closely, you can see that I have actually learned how to ink with a brush by now!

I worked for 2000AD for about five years, mainly on Nemesis but I also drew some Judge Dredd strips.

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