Wednesday, 11 October 2017

PIG PAL PEOPLE: MARC MAKES COMICS, YOU KNOW!

Back in August fellow pig pal Dan Whitehead graciously allowed me to probe his brain with questions regarding his write-up about Oink! in the pages of Big Issue North for our comic's 30th anniversary.  Oink! had definitely had an effect on Dan as a child and was one part of the puzzle which inspired him to follow his dream of being a freelance writer.  It gave me an idea.  What about other pig pals?  Who else out of those young readers went on to do something with their lives thanks in part to Uncle Pigg's porky publication?  So here's the next instalment of Pig Pal People (I've just edited the title of Dan's interview!) and this time it's the turn of an insanely talented humour cartoonist by the name of Marc Jackson.

This is what you get when you ask Marc for a photo.

Marc is also a member of the Oink! Facebook group and after some chat over there he got in touch directly to talk about his comics.  Marc's style and sense of humour is something which wouldn't look out of place in a modern day Oink! and I'll definitely be investing in his self-published comics, so look out for some write-ups at a future point.  But it's not just his independent work we'll talk about here, as he's been featured in The Beano and Aces Weekly and also organises a comics festival in Macclesfield!  Here's a pig pal who really grabbed his dream and ran with it with all four trotters!  It wasn't just inspiration Marc took away from Oink! too, as over the years he's cultivated friendships out of the comic and one of its contributors in particular helped open a very big door for him.

Here was a great story, a great guy and some truly great, creative comics.  I just had to include Marc as part of this semi-regular series!

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Me: What are your overriding memories of Oink! and how important do you see it when you look back on your life and where you find yourself now?

Marc: My memory of Oink! is the general craziness of the comic.  I would have been 11/12, something leapt out at me and initially this would have been the art.  I really enjoyed Ham Dare, which Lew Stringer wrote and I'm a big fan of Lew.  My dad introduced me to Dan Dare when the Eagle relaunched and that strip and art really resonated with me.

Me: You've specifically mentioned Lew Stringer to me as being a huge inspiration to you, can you elaborate?  Was there anything in particular about his drawing style, story-telling etc. and did you follow him in other comics of the day, such as other Fleetway humour titles and Marvel action comics?

Marc: Lew's worked leapt out at me from the pages of Marvel UK comics that Lew worked on - Transformers, Action Force etc.  I loved Macho Man and Combat Colin and looked forward to those strips as much as the rest of the comic, maybe more some weeks to be honest.  It was the fact he was drawing in a way I wanted to, I found that fascinating in a comic with more realistic art.



Me: You ended up creating two brand new characters for The Beano!  How did that come about?

Marc: Yes, the two characters I created were Lenny the Lettuce and Dawgtective and it was actually Lew (can you see the theme?) that gave me a contact from the editor.  I submitted a number of things over a couple of years and one day, after sending lots of greatly improved strips I'd worked on, they came back to me and wanted to run with Lenny, which was incredible!  I couldn't believe I was going to be in The Beano, it was a great moment.  The year after I submitted Dawgtective and they liked that one too, in fact he ran for a little longer than Lenny the Lettuce.

Me: You've also organised your own comic festival!  How did that come about?

Marc: Yes, I organise MACC-POW! a mini yet mighty comic event in my hometown of Macclesfield and have done so for the past two years.  I was approached by a local arts festival called Barnaby which runs every two years for ten days and fills the town.  The event was my contribution, in fact it was Lew who I first asked to come along and it went from there.  It has been great to meet him and I consider him a comics pal now, which is pretty crazy after all these years.


MACC-POW! has been very well received and this year I grew it, bringing twenty-seven creators to the town, some old faces, some new, all inside the Town Hall building.  It's been great to bring comics to the town in such a way.  We also have live Skype link-ups from the US.  Both years we have had James Kochalka and this year Tillie Walden, a current indie comics up-and-coming star!  Next year it will grow again and I welcome back Lew and David Leach who attended this year for the first time, so there's another Oink! link right there!

Me: On to your self-published comics.  Are you still working for other publishers or are you concentrating on your own titles now?

Marc: This year I was commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and received a grant from the Arts Council England to create a new comic called Here Comes Cat Stevens!, a spooky mystery comic that is inspired by classic Scooby-Doo and the Netflix TV show Stranger Things.  It involves a cat in a red jacket, his friends, pizza and the possibility of a monster that only orders said pizzas to eat the delivery guys!

You can read a preview of Here Comes Cat Stevens!

I'm very proud of my work on this and look forward to showcasing it this weekend (14th/15th September) at the festival, whilst running workshops that are based around it, one of which is inside Pizza Express that I have also created window graphics for, featuring two of the characters.


I've also self-published a new adventure comic series, launching #1 over the weekend, called Robo Hats which is a sci-fi comedy adventure for all-ages.  There will be four issues of that, hopefully a second before Christmas.  I'm also serialising it on my Patreon page.

PIG OUT ON MARC'S COMICS!

I think Oink! readers would enjoy all my work, but particularly my sci-fi comedy comic Goons of the Galaxy which appears in Aces Weekly, an online anthology comic from David Lloyd.  It's a gag driven romp into the ridiculous!

You can read a review of Goons of the Galaxy on
the Adventures in Poor Taste website, or click
the Aces Weekly logo to go to there instead

My comics are inspired at times by cartoons more than comics.  I like to put a lot of frantic energy into them and keep them fast-paced, packing lots of ideas in along the way.  Plus they are bright, bold and hopefully great fun to look at!

My inspirations also come from Calvin and Hobbes, my favourite comic strip, Groo the Wanderer by Sergio Aragones one of my all-time favourite cartoonists who I'll be working with at the Lakes and cartoons like The Pink PantherRen and Stimpy, Spongebob and lots more!

Wish to sample the crazy world of Marc's Comics?
Just click the logo!

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Marc's characters are certainly original, his premises are certainly barmy and his sense of humour is certainly on point.  Thanks very much to Marc for taking the time out to take part in this post and for all the information.  I'm looking forward to getting stuck into his creations and in the meantime here's a list of links you may want to check out to catch up on everything so far, as well as those future titles mentioned above.  

Don't forget if you're able to attend Lakes that Marc will be there this coming weekend, running workshops and showing off his latest work and previewing Here Comes Cat Stevens!.  As for myself... what's the best way to get to Macclesfield next summer from Belfast I wonder...









Great stuff!

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