Something we’re really looking forward to here at TC Towers is the upcoming graphic novel from Com.x, Forty-Five. Rather than try and explain the story...
It’s not often that someone comes up with an idea for a project which sounds great the moment you hear it… forty-five interviews with forty-five superheroes, illustrated by forty-five different artists. What more could you ask for?? That’s the essence of new hip graphic novel Forty-Five, and we caught up with it’s author Andi Ewington to get the full story.
Hi Andi, welcome to TC, how are you doing today?
I’m great, all the better for having just consumed a bacon muffin with brown sauce!
For those unfamiliar with your work, could you tell us about yourself in 3 easy-to-follow steps?
What does a normal day-in-the-life-of consist of for you?
6.30am: Stumble out of bed and into the shower.
6.50am: Breakfast – Feed myself and feed my son.
7.10am: Cycle to work or bus ride to the station
9.05am: If by some miracle my train is running on time I arrive at An.x
9.30am – 6pm: I’ll be doing a multitude of things; designing computer game packaging and advertising.
6.10pm: Begin the arduous journey home.
7.30pm: Cycle home from the station or if I’m being lazy, I’ll blag a lift from my wife.
8.00pm: Give my sleeping son a kiss on the top of his head then, I take a bath.
9.00pm: Watch (usually one or two of the following) Eastenders, 24, Lost, QI, Silent Witness, Harry Hill’s TV Burp!
10.45pm: Wash up from dinner and prepare rucksack for next day.
11.15pm: In bed, ready to start all over again.
Your new graphic novel, Forty-Five is coming out very soon, how would you describe the story in a nutshell?
It’s a series of interviews with superheroes, instigated by a journalist who wants to find out what lies in store if his unborn child is born with superpowers.
Forty-Five cover art
One of the big concepts behind Forty-Five is the idea that each superhero interview is illustrated by a different artist. How did you go about making a list of people to involve?
Initially I contacted several artists that already had a good relationship with Com.x (John Higgins, Trevor Hairsine, Liam Sharp, Sean Phillips). Once I had this nucleus of talent attached, it was a matter of sourcing other well-established artists (Jock, Charlie Adlard, Dan Brereton, Frazer Irving, Boo Cook) contact details then pitching the idea to them. It simply snowballed from there! Word spread quickly, some artists approached me online or at Comic conventions, others would be recommended to me via already secured artists. I even found a few online at places like Deviantart.com.
Once you had your set of artists confirmed, do you think that had an impact on the storylines at all? Did you adjust any of the stories to suit the style of the artist? Could you just talk through the process between you writing, and artists creating images, and how the two linked together.
The process involved me outlining all the plotlines and characters and breaking them down into their separate interviews then, if an artist I’d contacted expressed interest, I would either pitch them a number of characters from which to choose or I’d supply them with the complete, rough draft of the story. They would select the character they most had an affinity with and the relationship just bloomed from there! The artists came onboard throughout the writing process; they weren’t all commissioned at the same time. I had to wait for a few people to finish other work or I would need to find a few replacements because some artists were unable to jump on board when they had planned to, so the artists’ impact on the writing was fairly minimal, I didn’t have to change much although, there were several occasions where an artist would add subtle nuances to their respective page that I thought pushed my writing further, so I’d go back and adjust the transcript.
Liam Sharp’s contribution
What would be your 3 standout characters from the book? And are they because of the story, the art, or a combination of the two?
That’s a hard one to answer, because after so many months of writing them, I have an affinity with them all. However, some stand out scenarios for me are the last moments of Stateside, an elderly Super-S on his deathbed; X, a rogue Super that realises that he’s being used and is now on the run from his former employers; and last but not least, the mysterious BlueSpear. I’ve picked these three characters because of their stories, and I’d really like to explore them further. Plus, the accompanying art pages are top-notch too!
The book also features some awesome development sketch pages
Now that you have this great bank of characters, do you think you’ll be exploring the world of Forty-Five more in the future?
Most definitely, in fact I have already signed a second contract with Com.x to produce a 40-page one-shot. It’s going to be about BlueSpear and it’ll fill in some of the blanks left over from the ‘Forty-Five’ interview. It’s going to be created in standard comic-format, i.e., sequential art. It’s totally kick-ass and action-packed. I’m co-writing it with Eddie Deighton (Com.x’s owner and founder) and Calum Alexander Watt, the original artist on BlueSpear from ‘Forty-Five’, is back on art duties. It’s coming along very well.
Friend of TC Lee Carter’s contribution
What would be your advice to any budding comic writers or artists out there who are hoping to get published?
I know It’s a bit of a cliché, and a tough one to implement with the superhero genre, but try to write what you know; draw from your own personal experiences if you want your characters to be believable. Try to make your stories original and unique. The last thing a publisher wants to read is a pastiche of another superhero book. Oh, and stay away from writing Werewolf, Zombie or Vampire stories – you wouldn’t believe how many pitches for those I see dropping into Eddie’s email inbox every day!
Andi Tong’s contribution
Who are you comic book heroes? (artists, writers…. etc )
My heroes are very limited and a little more left-field than you might think; writing-wise, Bill Watterson was, for me, a genius and captured my childhood perfectly (even though I grew up on the less-than glamourous streets of Romford). His work still makes me laugh out loud to this day. Gary Larson runs a very close second. I also love Jim Krueger’s work and Kurt Busiek. Artist-wise; I know it’s been said thousands of times by other interviewees, but I love the art of Alex Ross and Adam Hughes.
What’s the most interesting thing you bought recently?
I’m going to choose a set of Hot Wheels racing cars and launcher, which I bought for my son, Zack. He’s only 20-months old; a little young to play with it now, but I’m not!
What’s the plan for the rest of 2010?
Carry on promoting ‘Forty-Five’; finish the script for BlueSpear with Eddie and get the art underway; work hard to make An.x a continued success and spend as much time with my wife and my son as possible. After all, they are why I do what I do.
Finally, what’s the one thing everyone should do today?
Indulge in a bacon muffin with brown sauce.
If you’d like to find out more about Forty-Five or keep up to date on anything related to it, then the best b=place to go is the official Forty-Five blog!
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