When I was thirteen, I first discovered Tank Girl. It was in a library a mile away from my house, I’d decided to go and visit it for the first time ever on my own because all my friends at the time lived too far away to hang out at the weekends. I hadn’t gone to the library for any other reason than I was extremely bored on a Saturday, and I wanted to get out of the house, bitter that everyone else was hanging out together and that I couldn’t join them because my mum wouldn’t give me a lift. While browsing, I saw that the bottom shelf on one of the aisles was titled “graphic novels” and there it was; Tank Girl: The Odyssey.
When I picked up Tank Girl, I’d never heard of it before, but the art drew me in immediately, there was something so different about Jamie Hewlett’s style to everything else I had seen at that point, and the insanity of it all just spoke to me. Here was something that said “superheros suck” and just was unashamed of itself, everything about it made me fall in love with it. After that, every few weeks I would journey down to the library, read another volume of Tank Girl, and whatever else may have been there. Let me say right now, whoever was in charge of selecting those books was a genius. Transmetropolitan, Watchmen, Mort, and of course Tank Girl. As I got older, I got into sketching, mostly of buildings, as my main passion in life is architecture, but my entire drawing style was informed by these books, great British artists who had seduced me with their colours and firm middle finger to realism. By the time I reached 6th form college, I had reached somewhat of a dilemma, I wanted to abandon my initial passion for architecture for a thinly veiled attempt at being a lazy sod in graphic design, but my parents pulled the old fashioned “get a real job” lecture and begrudgingly I took on my initial choice.
I’ve been studying for coming up on seven years now, by the time I had graduated from the Part one of my course, I had accumulated a huge collection of comics from my local store in Leicester, ranging from Marvel’s regular heroes that I had naively scorned growing up, to new Tank Girl, sans Hewlett, but still just as great.
The past two years of my study have revolved around what’s going to happen in the next forty years, what’s the world going to look like? Considering how far removed today is from a hundred years ago, it’s not hard to imagine 2052/3 is going to make today look somewhat sepia by comparison. Ten billion people are estimated to be on the planet by then and that’s being conservative about it. Doesn’t sound so bad compared to the seven billion we’ve got knocking around right now, but consider this: most of us are moving into cities now, so what do you expect a constantly expanding city to look like in forty years? What about fifty? Arguably we’re making a hash of it now, so we’re gonna be screwed by then right?
So why am I telling you all this? What grand point am I arriving at? Well, mostly that to me, the greatest thing about comics is that they tell great stories when it’s not about punching someone or saving the world, it’s when an artist can tell a story about people, and tell a hundred words of narration with a single facial expression.
I guess that brings me neatly to now, where I am writing my own comic based on my work, illustrated by an extremely talented artist I met totally by chance, who I guess, took pity on me and decided that he would try to illustrate my insanity. If anyone can do it, this guy can. Ryan has been working on me with the comic since January, getting to know my work, what the end product will be, what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and finally, what the comic will be for all of you.
I love comics, I think I’ve made that much clear, and now, hopefully, I can be a part of the world I love with my own creation, something that started out as a meagre suggestion by a friend, something that went like: “dude, your work is so sci fi, it would make such a cool comic if you set a story in it” (yes, he really started a sentence with dude) I suppose there is an air of blade runner, but hopefully with more grass, and less final director ultimate, wait no seriously we won’t do another cut.”
I guess what’s interesting is that this effects all of us, and nobody wants to discuss it, or even acknowledge that it’s happening, at least not on a platform that would reach people who aren’t specialists in the field. So what do I want, why am I doing this? Well, I’m doing this because I want to present an idea, a thesis if you will, to make people aware of an impending paradigm shift in everything we take for granted, but without lecturing them, giving them a great story, something beautiful and amazing, something that might move them, or make them care about somebody that isn’t real, but more than anything, I want to make a comic, I’ve been reading them long enough, it’s about time I got to be a part for something, not of something.