Comic book readers in the UK will be well aware of the big news of this week, the resurrection of some of Dundee based publisher DC Thomson’s classic, lost characters by the Glasgow League of Writers. The group will be featured each week in Comic Review, the weekly digital version of Comic Heroes, the magazine dedicated to the world of comic books. Each issue is released digitally on a Friday and Geek Chocolate have an exclusive series of interviews with all of the creators involved. First up, director of the 9th Art Festival Gordon Robertson talks to Gary Chudleigh and Graeme Kennedy, the men behind the re-boot of Invisible as well as indie classic Villainous and some other stuff that you’ll read about below.
GR – Introduce yourselves.
GC – I’m Gary Chudleigh, the writer and letterer of Invisible. I’m from Glasgow, and enjoy reading and making comics.
GK – I’m Graeme Kennedy the artist on Invisible. I’ve been involved in Indie comics for a few years, working away drawing comics in any spare time I can find.
GR – What made you choose Rick as your character?
GC – To be honest I went into this project looking for a challenge, there were characters who were strong superheroes or sounded really cool that I could run around twenty story ideas for and didn’t really grasp me. But then I found The Invisible Dick and it caught my attention as well… it’s called the invisible dick! I was intrigued to read more because a title like that would never work with a modern audience. I then looked into the character and found out he isn’t some super powerful hero, he’s a school kid who can turn invisible. No cool powers. No money. No muscles. Just a geeky kid. Perfect.
GK – Gary approached me about working on Invisible, I liked his ideas for the character and it was a great opportunity to work on a new (for me) genre.
GR – Tell us about the comic.
GK – Invisible tells the story of high school student Rick Dickson who discovers one day that he can turn invisible. It’s high school drama with a supernatural twist, and there is a definite Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe to the world of Invisible, as a huge Buffy fan it’s a real fun project to be a part of.
GC – Yeah, huge Buffy fan here too. Ultimately I wanted to tell a story about growing up and dealing with adolescent problems in an exciting and uniquely Scottish way.
GR – What changes did you feel you had to make to the character for a modern audience and why?
GC – The title. Straight away, the title. When people Google our comic, I don’t want unsavoury results. This comic is kid friendly folks.
GK – There have been a few iterations of the Invisible Dick character over the years each with their own various changes to his back story and how he activates his invisibility powers, so we had a lot of varied source material to draw on but at the same time we didn’t feel the need to be too precious with any single aspect of the character. This gave us great creative freedom as we aren’t tied to one particular origin and let us expand out the cast of friends and foes the Rick meets in his adventures.
GR – Were there any specific comic influences you brought to your reboot of the characters?
GC – High school era Spider-Man and Buffy were my two biggest influences. They had these great metaphors for growing up and the burden of responsibility. With Invisible, I wanted to take those sort of themes and apply them to my high school experience, adding in my own unique flavour.
GK – In terms of art influences I am a massive fan of Mike Oeming’s work on Powers and his new comic The Victories. Specifically for Invisible I looked at Bruce Timm as I wanted to give Invisible that bright cartoony style as well as classic comic artists like Jack Kirby. I like to give each project I work on a unique style and try and draw on as many influences as I can to find the style that suits the particular world or story.
GR – What other projects are you working on?
GC – I’m working on two or three projects at the moment, all at different stages. I’ve had self-published works in the past but I’m now developing material for pitching to big publishers in the UK. Be sure to keep up to date with me at my website.
GK – I am currently working on a couple of projects. iHero is an exciting ‘what if’ style story about an iPhone like device that gives its users super powers, where I’m on art duty with Luke J Halsall, an up and coming writer and member of Glasgow League of Writers. We launched issue one at Glasgow Comic Con last year and we’re working on the second issue now. I’m also working with veteran comic writer Jim Alexander on a dark and gritty crime story. I like to keep busy with projects and try and work across a variety of styles and genres, which is one of the reasons I was excited to start work on Invisible. It was a real challenge to adapt my style and create a new comic universe with classic characters.
GR – Can we expect to see more of Invisible soon?
GK – Yes, we are aiming to have the first full issue done by July. Beyond that we are still planning where to go with the future issues, but the new universe (invisi-verse) we have set up has loads of potential for some fun and exciting stories.
GC – I can’t express how much I’d love to write more Invisible. I already have four or five more plot ideas whirling in my head, dying to get out! I could happily branch it out into an entire series, but we’ll just need to see what the right step is next, whether we publish a collection on our own again or seek new opportunities with publishers.