A lifetime ago…
A little over 20 years ago I had an idea for a comic. It was somewhere between Dungeons & Dragons, Conan and every fantasy novel I’d ever read. The inspiration actually came from the classic All Along the Watchtower. The line “There must be some kind of way out of here said the joker to the thief” was where I started. The Joker was Prince Bazar of E’Bi’Gum and the thief was Nico. Along with their friends; and Elf, a Dwarf, a Magician (you see where the D&D influence came in), a musician, a cleric and a crazy barbarian warrior they had some adventures.
The first story I wrote was rather rough to say the least. I photocopied it up and distributed it among my friends.
The Quest for Perfection used the framing device from Princess Bride – one of the most quotable movies ever. I liked it and loved the characters but I wasn’t happy with the end result. Roughly ten years later I re-visited the story and re-wrote and illustrated it from scratch. The framing device was dumped and it became a straightforward quest story with a bunch of adventurers and their encounters. Everything was done on A4 paper, even the letting and acrylic inks. My artwork had evolved and so had the characters. I was heavily influenced by Albert Uderzo’s work on Asterix and I adore his illustrations.
You can see the difference in the dynamics of the page and also the way the characters had evolved. The completed story ran to 86 pages – something I picked up from Asterix along with the change in layout. Originally I had emulated traditional comics but this time round it was closer to a newspaper comic.
I tried (in vain) to find an agent for my work and eventually I started to put it out as a webcomic. I never did finish the run though and the stories sat gathering dust for a long time.
Although the Quest for Perfection was the first story I wrote I produced a prequel showing how some of the characters met. That Was No Lady will begin serializing when Tales From the Lounge has run its course. Lady will be scanned from original coloured art, cleaned up digitally and then re-lettered. It will run 2013, and will be followed by Quest and then another half dozen stories.
Never being a happy bunny I’m in the middle of re-illustrating Quest. This time I’ve transferred to A3 for the pencils and inks. Colouring and lettering will then be done digitally using Gimp and possibly Corel Painter.
You can see the difference in the artwork again and it’s interesting to compare all three pages. The characters have evolved over the last 20 years. The linework is cleaner and looks so much better as I’ve improved as an illustrator. I’m hoping that people enjoy reading these stories as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. I’ve lived with these characters for the last 20 years – now it’s time to let other people meet them.