One-Woman War Machines! Gryphons! Invisible-ish Men! Smoke Angels! Angry One-Eyed Donkeys!
This is VANGUARD, a new anthology comic featuring four (would be) on-going serials, written by myself and illustrated by some of the best talent working in the UK small press arena.
The idea for Vanguard came about when, at the start of the year, I was going through my files of old story ideas to see which ones I could resurrect and turn into comic scripts. Having gotten into the comic-scripting game last year and been lucky enough to have a number of scripts accepted by various publications, both online and print, I was keen to revisit these old ideas, which were languishing on my hard-drive gathering cyber-dust. I came across three stories in particular which I've been working on, on and off, for the best part of the last ten years, originally with the idea of developing them as novels. That plan has been going nowhere fast for a long time though, and with three half-completed manuscripts and no end in sight for any of them, it suddenly occurred to me that all three might work a lot better as comic strips. A quick trial at creating 6-7 page "part ones" for each of them made me realise I had three pretty much 'ready to go' comic series on my hands, ones I was sure would make for some entertaining reading. But what was I to do with them?
There aren't many places you can submit series ideas to in the UK small press, as most outlets prefer to publish one-off 'future shock' style shorts or fan-fiction type scripts based on existing characters. One exception to this is the excellent PARAGON, brainchild of Davey Candlish and home to stars Jikan and Battle Ganesh. I was lucky enough to get to write some scripts for Jikan last year, and also had my own series "ICARUS DANGEROUS" picked up by the comic (episode 1 appeared in the most recent edition). I realised that a comic like Paragon would be perfect for what I had in mind...but since I couldn't find another comic like Paragon, I thought to myself...well, why don't I make one?! And so the idea was born. I put out the feelers to see if I could get any artists interested and was quickly able to 'sign up' small-pressers DAVID BLANKLEY, LOUIS CARTER and BRIGONOS MAC GIOLLA CHOMHAILL to the cause. With LIAM"GHOSTPOCKETS" BYRNE agreeing to do a colour cover (and a fourth 'dark horse' strip joining the roster, with art by another great small-press artist OWEN WATTS), all the pieces fell into place and I decided...what the heck! Let's give it a shot. The worst that can happen is I put a few quid into getting it printed and have a nice looking comic on my shelf to show for it. If I actually manage to sell a few, all the better!
So, the first issue of Vanguard is very much an experiment, to test the waters and get some feedback on the stories, see what works and what doesn't. The AIM is to produce a regular - if infrequent! - comic that will develop the stories and characters within and allow them to reach their natural conclusions. The plan is that there will be 2 issues of Vanguard published each year, probably Summer and Winter editions, though how feasible/workable this is all remains to be seen.
Vanguard follows the 2000ad formula of offering a varied menu of tales, and will hopefully feature something for everyone, with sci-fi action and butt-kicking heroines, fantasy adventure featuring Gryphons and Smoke Angels, a modern-day supernatural mystery thriller featuring a cast of cursed, tragic heroes with strange abilities, and a retro-style "animals on the rampage" tale starring one very pissed off donkey!
Synopsis of all the stories can be found in the following entries, along with sample pages. If any of this tickles your fancy, please do take a chance on us and give it a try. We've all put a lot of work into producing the best comic strips we can and I'm confident you'll find plenty in here to enjoy!
Thanks for reading!
Dirk van Dom,