Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bliss was it in that dawn

Regular readers will know that we have no truck here with narcissistically personal posts. So you just cut your toenails? Bought a stuffed pelican? Your baby son just puked on the rug for the first time? Honestly, the world wasn’t holding its breath to hear that.

But look, grant me this one indulgence, for here is my bright-eyed younger self at the moment I first conceived of creating my own comics. Inspired by the legendary weekly comic
TV Century 21, I started producing Facer Fun. All I can remember about Facer is that he had a skipping rope and he caused a ton of mischief - an early example of the authorial alter ego, as in real life I hated skipping and was terribly well-behaved. (Apart from when I toppled the school flagpole, nearly squashing half a dozen other kids, and avoided the blame by manipulating poor Christopher Fry. No, really, that was a one-off. All the rest of the time, butter wouldn’t melt.)

By age 9 or 10, I was into superhero comics and Facer had been replaced by Photon, who had super-strength, super-speed and could fly. I think he was probably not as interesting as Facer, but 10-year-old boys really aren’t into the “less is more” ethic.

By the time I was in grammar school (RGS Guildford: top school in the country this year for A-Level results, not fee-paying in those days) the superheroes had gone and I was doing EC-style horror comics presented by “Uncle Grimmy”, who had a cowl and a scythe and a hard white bonce. My drawing wasn’t half bad by that stage, either. If I hadn’t given all the comics away to friends I’d post some of the strips so you could see. Actually, maybe I wouldn’t – I haven’t seen them for thirty-five years and it might be the touch-up brush of memory that makes me think they were any good.

Then I did no comics for decades, apart from a few short funny strips starring Necromageus Knoll, a dodgy sword-n-sorcerer who looked liked Richard Nixon, and it wasn’t until David Fickling unveiled his plans for the DFC that my interest in creating them was rekindled.

Now, I wonder… my dad’s nickname for me as that fresh-faced young nipper in the photo was “Sputnik”, a satellite whose antennae gave it a rather comet-like appearance. Could that spark of inspiration have been the reason why we picked Mirabilis as our first DFC project? But enough twittering. Next post will be back to business as usual.

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