It’s been fun asking comic creators, writers and bloggers for their ‘Perfect Comic’ and many of them are finding it tougher than they expected. So we thought we’d best have a go ourselves – and I have to admit it isn’t easy. But here goes (and if you want a go yourself e Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I decide to go by gut feeling and memory, so forgive any interpretation of facts! Cover has to be Bolland. Or McMahon. Or Dave McKean. Or a Chris Weston. Or if he was still around a Brett Ewins. Sheesh, this is difficult!
It took me a while to get the idea of comics such as ‘Action’, ‘2000AD’ and ‘Tornado’. I thought the big splash pictures at the beginning of each strip were a waste of my money. I preferred tight storylines in a couple of pages, and my comic reflects that.
Sharing the editorial page would be a half page Dredd ‘Daily Star’ strip, probably by John Wagner and Ron Smith. Tight scripts, short stories and a variety of creators over the forthcoming issues.
That would be followed by ‘Cheeky’s Week’ which, quite frankly, I’ve always regarded as my ‘Perfect Comic’ with its diary style strip introducing comics new, old, humorous or dramatic.
I think it’s always a good idea to have a launch gimmick to get people talking about your title. My gimmick would be ‘Dan Dare’ strips from different era’s scattered throughout the comic. One would be in the Frank Hampson classic 50’s style. One would be like 2000ADs Dan Dare. Another the 80’s ‘Eagle’ Dan Dare, with art by Ian Kennedy of course.
Further issues would have the Grant Morrison/Rian Hughes ‘Dare’ and then something more up to date. Eventually the strip would be phased out, except for the most popular, to be replaced by some classic small press ‘Atomic’ characters like ‘Captain Scotland’, or my particular favourite ‘Nick Winter in the Two Dimensional Horror’ by Garry Marshall. The readers would decide, probably by a twitter poll rather than a voting slip!
Time to throw in some ‘Look In’ strips, probably illustrated by John Burns or Arthur Ranson. Some ‘Sapphire and Steel’ followed by ‘The Tomorrow People’ and alternating between Buck Rogers / Six Million Dollar Man / Bionic Woman – all of them particular favourites from the 70’s/80’s.
Next up would be the time travelling antics of Adam Ant, a brilliant concept for the pop stars own strip from Topps comic. This would be followed by another dandy highwayman, ‘Dick Turpin’, again from Look-In. Both very dramatic!
No ‘Perfect Comic’ would be complete without some stunning black and white work – how about the Hernandez Brothers ‘Love and Rockets’ and some Hunt Emerson before immersing ourselves in some shorter Sunday newspaper style adventures for Zorro, Flash Gordon and Tarzan.
I’d keep the Sunday comics theme running around the centre pages so I could pack in some Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Spider-Man (I’m not a big Marvel Fan you’ll notice), Dick Tracy, TinTIn, Little Nemo In Slumberland, James Bond, Modesty Blaise, Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts (alternating with Fred Bassett, Garfield and Andy Capp), I’m not a big fan of the ‘Mail on Sunday’ but when it launched I bought the paper for their unique 16 page Sunday comic supplement, which I loved to read, and it would be great to have a newsprint pull out as part of the comic. As I said I love short, tight comic strips and I think it takes great skill to write and draw something that captures the imagination and keeps the narrative flowing in such a short space of time.
Some more strips. A bit of football perhaps. A smidgen of the magic, realism and soccer mayhem of ‘Billy’s Boots’, which I loved, and ‘Roy of the Rovers’. Perhaps some ‘Jon Stark, Matchwinner for Hire’, wouldn’t go amiss from time to time. This would be followed by TV Action style ‘Doctor Who’, as it reminds me of life on a Saturday growing up – comic reading, football results and tea time sci fi! The only thing missing is Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks!
The beauty of this section is I can chop and change it depending on my memory and mood. While I’ve been doing this column I’ve been reminded of long forgotten comics and characters I loved that lasted a short while and disappeared into comic heaven. I’d like to try them out but for my launch issue I’d have to throw in ‘Captain Britain’ by Alan Moore and Alan Davis, early ‘Miracleman’ from Warrior and some of Alan Moore’s best writing (in my opinion) on DC’s ‘Swamp Thing’. I’d also interchange with one off stories like Misty, ‘The Collector’ from Eagle, ‘Thargs Time Twisters’ and ‘Future Shocks’ and perhaps some Wagner/Grant and Ian Gibson ‘Robo Hunter’, which is probably a very apt story for real life sci fi happening now as well as very funny! And from time to time I’d just throw in some DC ‘Mazing Man’ or ‘Justice League’ as I thought they were a hoot! But I’m slightly cheating here, rather than editing!
After a final ‘Dan Dare’ flourish I’d end alternating between the Sunday Posts ‘Oor Wullie’ and ‘The Broons’ (I’m assuming that most of the population outside Scotland won’t know about them or possibly wouldn’t understand them – look them up!) and end with the ‘Numbskulls’, which I think appeared in the ‘Beezer’ (and others, probably). I loved the idea that my whole brain and body was being controlled by these little critters, particularly if I’d do something stupid (wasn’t me, it was the Numbskulls!)
Finally a title is required. Atomic? ComicScene? Concorde was never used as an airplane inspired title, was it? But I think I’d go for ‘Eagle’ – as every generation needs to experience such an eclectic mix of strips under that title, so it’s about time we brought it back. Why not?
However if I can’t use that name I’d go for ‘Wonderland’!