Red, White & Blue issue 4

On the 26th of April I finally put the finishing touches on Issue 4 of my own British adventure comic, the Red, White & Blue (cover dated Jan-Feb 2011, ahem). It contains 5 stories in both text and strip form, plus an editor’s page in the style of The Boys’ Friend and such-like story papers from the 1900’s.

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The cover

As this is a proper British adventure comic it has parts of stories on the cover, in the same way that The Boys’ Friend, Eagle and Victor did! Usually the story on the cover will be the colour story, but in other issues (starting with the next) a new/important story will be given it’s first page on the cover to promote it.

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Why yes, photo reference was used heavily here!

An interior story called “A Sting in the Tail”, a short complete strip about speedway racing. Based extremely loosely on real events… which a friend on Facebook posted on his page once.

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Now this is a wall of text!

The complete Sexton Blake text story, and the primary reason for this comic being so late. It’s almost 25,000 words crammed into 10 pages… at 7.5 point font! Other pages do have some block illustrations. The story itself is called “Sexton Blake in Hong Kong” and is set in 1900. That’s the pre-Tinker era, when Sexton Blake was assisted by a Chinese boy called We-Wee. In this story he leaves the detective’s service after getting homesick… though in the actual Blake canon he did feature in one more story in 1901!

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Thuuuugs!

Tigers of Punjab, a war-adventure serial set during the Partition of India in 1947. Like Action, Battle and 2000AD this is a more “hard hitting” story – or it was, at any rate. I have now converted it into a more generic adventure story rather than a harsh criticism of Imperial policy. (Though not a criticism of the Empire itself… you ought to know me better than that!)

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 That actually says “Korea Sky” in Korean… I doubt Altavista would be good with fancy compound words!

The continuation of Sarah Millman, and also part of the text serial story called The Day of Green Skulls. I needed a filler, so this story is actually just based on an amalgamation of the two places I’ve worked ful-time at getting attacked by crazed animal rights activist, with the main character being based on me! (As one of the scientists, of course, not the attackers).

So when can you buy this? Erm, well, actually quite possibly never! There appears to be no conventions I can reasonably get tables at between now and August, when I hope to emigrate. Also the use of Sexton Blake prevents me from setting up an online shop. I used to think the character was in the public domain, but actually he still belongs to IPC. Reportedly IPC don’t mind “non profit” fan fiction, but the setting up of an online store rather than selling comics at car-boot-ish conventions could eventually nudge my publications into profitable territory. Yep, I’m just producing these comics for fun!

I could always maybe cheekily ask IPC for permission to use the character. Well stranger things have happened – Spaceship Away gets published despite the Dan Dare Corporation being a bunch of petulant childish mud-slinging vermin, after all.

Issue 5 is cover-dated Mar-Apr… so I doubt it will be on schedule! However as we do have time off at the moment I have managed to finish the Sexton Blake tale for issue 5, a rather more modest 10,000 words… and set in the 1980’s! In the previous issues I treated the text stories as afterthoughts, and worked on them at work, using time at home after work to concentrate on the “hard” drawing and inking. However it turns out I really need to use relaxed, stress-free time to write the text stories in, or else they turn into mush.