Thursday, 28 July 2011

Open House Day 58 - The Swansea Comics Collective

The Swansea Comics Collective

There came a day, in late 2008, when the world needed heroes. The call went out and a handful of brave men, and Anna Thomas, answered that call. Oh, yeah, and Maggs was there too, I think.

They weren’t the heroes the world wanted, needed, or even really cared about that much; but they’d be damned if they were going to give up their seats at the pub for anyone.

So, anyway…

The Swansea Comics Collective began life as an idea; an idea created out of a want. Pete ‘Meanwhile’ Taylor and Mark ‘Son of Ken’ Hughes wanted to create comics, they wanted to write and draw them and they wanted there to be a good local comics group for them to join. But, alas, there wasn’t; so they made one. Following in the footsteps of the Midlands based, Lottery funded, MC2 comics group, Pete and Mark put the word out, calling on any artists and/or writers who wanted to be involved in the creative process to sign up. Not long after we were regularly meeting at The Brunswick, discussing ideas and showing off our works. Unlike MC2, we hadn’t any outside aid, in the ‘early days’ we had the good ol’ subs box, which we regularly dumped any spare change into which funded our Ashcan issue of works in progress.

From these Humble beginnings we started to become more active within the Swansea area firstly running creating comics workshops for Swansea museum where we debuted our now ever popular ideas machine (three cardboard boxes one with animals, one with job titles and one with descriptive words to spark ideas amongst the kids, which even survived Waggy’s randomness like the amazing blue red) and our famous wall comic. As a result of this endeavour we published our ashcan issue with previews of our work in progress, which first went on sale at our first convention Heroes and Legends 3. These events made us flourish as a group as we produced our first issue of complete works; followed by the running of more workshops, in Port Tennant and a return to the Museum, as well as conventions including Cardiff, where SFX magazine mentioned our wall comic as being the highlight, and our recent adventure to Wales Comic Con in Wrexham.

With these successes in mind we have taken on our biggest task to date as we construct our own shared universe in ‘Copperopolis‘. The germ of the idea stared in a few places; one of our regular members, Moe, suggested a world of his making which, perhaps, some of our characters would also inhabit. The idea was a good one, but didn’t come to realisation until during our second workshop at Swansea Museum. The workshop was based around the Swansea Three Night Blitz of 1941. The workshop was quite a big success and brought us to the attention of the local press again for Pete’s and my (Adam) creation of short strips based on Elaine Kidwell’s experiences as a young Air Raid Warden at the time. From this point on the groups previously discussed shared universe started to take shape as piece by piece our members started to suggest ideas specifically for this shared world.

Here’s a little local knowledge, between the 16th and 19th centuries, Swansea had a booming copper trade; one of the biggest in the world at one time. So much so Swansea was dubbed Copperopolis. Pete explained this to us, and the name stuck. Shortly after the Museum workshop the time had come, and since then it has been going from strength to strength. Ricky and I have been ‘trusted’ with the creation of the world, as well as the plotting and writing of the main story line (and possible follow-ons), whilst the artists, and some of the other writers busy themselves with coming up with character designs, concepts for the various timelines etc.

Copperopolis (our Copperopolis) will be set in a world infused with semi-sentient ‘Cosmic Energy’ (WoOoOoOo!), an energy source that is attracted/conductive with copper. As expected with any ‘Cosmic Energy’ infused worlds ours will be fill with adventure, tragedy, laughs and of course Heroes and Villains and as diverse a range of genres and ideas that can be thought of. So to find out more about all of this as it happens follow our blog ( and our social media pages ( twitter @sccassemble and facebook!/groups/146259738719281 ) to see designs of characters and the city as they are developed.

Copperopolis Character designs

Bard Ass - Mark Hughes

Coal - Lee Philips

Nails - Lee Philips

Squid Eye Guy - Pete Taylor

                                                                The Eel - Mark Trantor

So let the call go out; whenever a geek is needed, whenever there are comics to be read, or whenever an argument about who Cyclops’ younger brother is; cry ‘it’s Havok’, and let slip the Comics Collective of Swansea!


By Ricky ‘Webberhead’ Webber and Adam ‘Waggy’ Wilmot

No comments:

Post a Comment