Friday, 29 August 2008

Carry On Dick!

In just over a month's time the next Time Bomb Comic - Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead - will be available at the October BICS in Birmingham. Our first title Ragamuffins launced at last year's BICS so it's a good way of rounding out Time Bomb's first proper year.
Pretty much as soon as Ragamuffins went off to the printers we were discussing what we would do as a follow-up. I was keen to do something historical. Andy wanted to do something with horses in it. We both wanted something that was completely different to what we'd just completed - a total change of pace, genre and style. I also was keen to have something quintessentially British and featuring something not seen in comics very much at all - highwaymen. And what better highwayman to spotlight than the one that everybody knows - Dick Turpin!
I admit that for a while I was mulling the idea of coming up with our own highwayman, a self-created character that would have all the iconic trappings of the highwayman mythos that we could further develop if need be. But really, what was the point? Dick Turpin is one of those quasi-historical characters that everyone knows. Ask anyone about Dick Turpin and they'll trot out the same stuff - Black Bess, that ride from London to York, "stand and deliver" - Turpin's as ingrained into British folklore as Robin Hood. And just like the bloke from Nottingham Turpin's a legend. Could I really pass up the opportunity to work with a legend? Interestingly, once I started researching Turpin I discovered that, as with Hood, Turpin the legend was vastly different from Turpin the man - in reality a thoroughly nasty piece of work with none of the trappings and traits that he's remembered for. How Turpin came to be remembered as a dashing anti-hero is a fascinating story recounted in James Sharpe's Dick Turpin - The Myth Of An English Highwayman which is thoroughly recommended for anyone interested.
The script for Dick Turpin And The Restless Dead was completed in November 2007 and summarily passed to Andy Dodd. Andy spent until March 2008 researching costumes, flintlocks and horse anatomy before getting to the artwork proper, by which time we realised the original Bristol Expo release date in May 2008 was a mountain much too big to climb. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, I got Andy to complete the cover artwork in time for the Expo so that we could have some fantastic high quality signed and numbered prints of it to sell and to get a bit of buzz about the project.
Which brings us to where we are now, with the artwork in the final stages and BICS on the horizon. The extra time it's taken Andy to complete the art really shows in the finished pages as you can see on the pages posted here, with a very "British comics" feel to it, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will be received at the BICS Time Bomb Comics table!

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