thecomplaintionist  asked:

When did you realise that comics would be such a huge part your life? You always wanted to work with comics?

Comics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandad originally got me a comic every week, initially the Beano and then when I was a bit older Look-In, and after some time my dad took over, getting me the UK Return of the Jedi comic, then Transformers and then Action Force/GI Joe. I also picked up a load of copies of the UK Secret Wars reprints at a second hand store, and various issues of the Secret Wars II UK reprint series (which was where I first read “He’ll Never Make Me Cry…”). I have vivid memories of sitting at the living room window waiting for my dad to come round the corner on his way back from the newsagents on a Saturday morning with his paper and my comic. It was the highlight of every week. I’d snatch it from his hands as soon as he walked though the door and devour every word, from the cover to the letters page. Someone at Marvel UK was a genius, because as much as they were serving up a load of titles based on licensed properties, they would also slip in some amazing back up strips, including Rocket Raccoon, Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu and Barry Windsor Smith’s amazing Machine Man series.

I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t want to work in comics, but I think the ambition was properly focused around the age of 11. Shortly before that my grandparents had moved to Scotland, and we would drive up to Glasgow to go see them. A local newsagent carried these different comics…comics that I realised where the original American comics that Marvel UK were reprinting, and so I asked my parents if I could get some comics to read on the eight hour drive up to Scotland. They said “yes” and I must have grabbed one of every Marvel comic on the shelf. I’d read them all by the time we left next morning…and I read them all again in the car…twice. And it was while we were in Glasgow one time that I stumbled across a shop called Forbidden Plant…which, in those days, still had a back issue section…and with the spending money my grandparents gave me for the holiday I started buying issues of New Mutant, Excalibur and Iron Man. While reading back issues of Iron Man I realised that I liked the art on some issues more than others, even though the penciller was the same…and realised that the art was better when Bob Layton was inking it. That’s when I decided I wanted to be an inker.

The writing bug didn’t really hit me until I was in my teens, and really took a hold when I first got online in the mid-nineties and was talking regularly with guys like Scott Lobdell and Ben Raab who were writing the books, and Matt Idelson who was editing at Marvel back then. At that time I wanted to work on the art side of comics, but had nothing to draw…and, naturally, these guys encouraged me to write something myself that I could then draw…which is how Shine came about. Shine was the first comic I ever wrote…I also pencilled, inked and lettered it myself. It was fairly awful…but I did dust off the concept years later for Eleventh Hour Vol 1 for a strip in which one reviewer said that I out Bendised Bendis.

I got distracted for a while…joined a church, got married, started a family…focused on a music career for a while…but ultimately when all that fell apart I found myself returning to comics. Older, wiser and now with experience and abilities that enabled me to actually achieve some of my goals.

But, yeah, to answer your question…heh…comics have always been a huge part of my life, and I’ve pretty much always wanted to work with them in some way or another.