The first issue of The77 anthology has been on sale for a few weeks now, but here’s another in a series of “Meet the Creator” interviews conducted by Morgan Spiceman, just in case there are a few hold outs there who haven’t bought it yet…
This time out, it’s a quick chat with Mike Powell, writer of the story “The Last Man”, drawn by Phil Elliott. He also runs the popular Facebook group Why I Love Comics.
What is The77?
Mike Powell: The77 is a new anthology full of the spirit of 1977, the year that punk broke, 2000AD launched and Star Wars came out. Many of the creators working on or featured in the first issue like Ian Gibson, John Wagner and Tharg-himself, Steve MacManus are all alumni of classic 2000AD with others like Kek-W and Steve Austin the cream of the current crop.
How did you get involved?
Mike: I knew the editor BenKSy from Why I Love Comics
and his excellent 1977-2000AD Facebook Group. He’d read my story “The Dummy” when it was published in last year’s Comic Scene Summer Special, alongside Steve Tanner’s Flintlock and Andy Clift’s Captain Cosmic, and asked me to join the team.
What is your story about?
Mike: It’s very much in the style of a classic “Tharg’s Future Shocks”. It’s beautifully illustrated and coloured by the mighty Phil Elliott, who’s worked with Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore in the past. It really looks amazing.
The story’s been described as “Brexit in space with killer robots” – and that seems about right to me!
Who are the characters?
Mike: On the surface, the main characters are the humans
of the future who are living with the consequences of living on a polluted planet with no natural resources left. Really, the main characters are their robot servants who can see who’s caused this devastation and decide to do something about it.
Where did you get the idea for the story?
Mike: I’m naturally drawn towards this sort of story, having grown up on a steady diet of “Time Twisters”, “Future Shocks” and “Tales of the Watcher”. As for the Brexit angle…well, it was in the news a fair bit last year!
What are your hopes for The77?
Mike: I’d love to see it flourish and continue to be published regularly. It would be great in the future to see it available to buy in mainstream outlets like Forbidden Planet.
Hopefully, it will inspire a new generation of comic fans, like 2000AD and Warrior did when I was growing up.
How long have you been writing?
Mike: I only really started last year. Since then, I’ve written for the anthology Bad Vibes, which downthetubes ran a feature on, had a story published in David Lloyd’s Aces Weekly and the first story I produced with Phil Elliott, “The Dummy“, appeared in Comic Scene.
I’m currently developing a strip for The77 with illustrator and writer Sarah Millman, creator of NPC Tea, who’s also written and drawn for Rebellion’s 2019 Tammy and Jinty Special, working on new material with Phil Elliott, and a strip the second volume of Andrew Richmond‘s horror anthology, Dr Mondo’s Shock-a-Rama, again with Phil.
Who are your favourite writers?
Mike: I love writers who can mix the dark with the very funny and the absurd like Daniel Clowes, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Then there’s Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Steve Gerber, Jim Starlin, Al Ewing, Brian K. Vaughn…
What are your favourite comics?
Mike: I grew up reading pretty much anything Marvel and DC published, as well as reading 2000AD, Warrior and Eagle. I’ve recently enjoyed Rusty Brown by Chris Ware, Patience by Daniel Clowes – and Saga and Immortal Hulk.
What are your influences?
Mike: Different elements from different comics: the world-building and atmosphere of Sandman, everyman figures like Peter Parker at the centre of extraordinary events, humour from books like Captain Britain, Ambush Bug and Sam and Max: Freelance Police.
What characters would you love to write?
Mike: Spider-Man, Doomlord, Rom, anything in the Star Wars universe.
Who would you like to work with?
Mike: Alan Davis, Fiona Staples, Kelley Jones, John Ridgway, Chris Weston and Brian Bolland!
What advice would you have for upcoming writers?
Mike: Keep at it. Try different genres. Redraft. Play to your artist’s strengths. Have fun with it!
• Check out Mike’s Facebook group Why I Love Comics
• You can pre-order The77 direct from the team, too. Message the team via the title’s Facebook page or email – firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order. Payment by PayPal
The first issue of The77 costs £6.95 for the standard print edition with a cover by Ade Hughes (£4 PDF). Please note the Variant Cover edition by Nick Percival has sold out
Also offered are a copy of the comic, plus a signed writer’s script (£17); a copy of the comic plus an A3 signed cover print by Ade Hughes (£17); comic plus T-shirt (£20); or the comic plus A3 Ian Gibson signed “Lifeboat” print (£27).
Interview cross posted with thanks to Morgan Spiceman