Saturday, November 4, 2023

If it wasn't so comic it'd be tragic


The old Missing Comics from 1998-9

Many, many, many years ago, back in the very late 90's, I used to write, illustrate, and publish comics. This was back when Autocratik was "Autocratik for the Masses", a play on the REM album name, 'Automatic for the People'. 

My main comic was called Missing, a planned 90+ issue series about a hotel on the Scottish border, after England had become the 51st US State, and after global warming at raised the water levels to the point where cars needed to be amphibian, and highwaymen used surfboards to attack unsuspecting travellers. There were subplots of psycho boyfriends, the local sheriff department, kidnapping of the President's daughter, and weird metal bands. So much was planned, but alas it only lasted four issues and looking back at it now it's a little 90's and a bit cringey. 

After Missing was cancelled due to losing my distribution, I published one more comic for the legendary artist D'Israeli (Consequences) before pulling the plug on comics. I had ideas for a weird story involving a massive cathedral, motorcycling paladins, and an alien creature being worshipped as a god, but didn't get very far. 

Original sketch for I in the WILD major arcana

Since then, things have been very quiet with my drawing. I gave up completely, only really putting pencil to paper when I was storyboarding the webseries, or doing my initial sketches for the tarot cards for WILD

WILD was always going to be a square book, and I found a company making cool square sketchbooks for artists (so of course, I bought three, one of each size). 

However, I realised my art wasn't up to scratch for WILD, and Stoo and I recruited my old friend Gareth Sleightholme to do the Tarot deck, which came out brilliantly.

I thought about using these sketchbooks to do something different, something autobiographical, but I only really got a handful of pages into it before I gave up again, mostly due to the frustration of what was in my mind not making it onto the page.

During the pandemic I was inspired to do something, to finally get drawing and creating again. And again, my mind went to something autobiographical. Maybe it was the stresses of the pandemic, and the weird paranoia it brought on, but I really just wanted to get things on paper.

I went to the art department of our local department store where they had a great deal on A5 exercise books that had blank, sketchbook quality pages. I bought ten of them, inspired by artists I'd seen on Instagram, and thought this was going to be my next creative pursuit...

But once again, what I saw in my mind just wasn't what came out on the page. Frustrated, I gave up again, and those many sketchbooks seem to taunt me from the shelves next to my seat. 

I keep getting the urge to draw, but I just don't seem to be able to do what I want. Maybe I'm too impatient? I remember when I was working on Missing I used to work on that daily, determined to get it done, but looking at it now I kinda think it was pretty awful. 

Will I ever go back to comics? Will I get over my own self-doubt and hyper-critical self-depreciation? 

Who knows, but for now, I'll remain a lapsed comics artist...

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