Actress, singer, impressionist and now, comic creator Jessica Martin (whose screen credits include the Doctor Who story The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, but is perhaps best known as an impressionist and voice artist on Spitting Image, impersonating the voice of the Queen) recently released her self published a short graphical biography of the 1920’s Hollywood star Clara Bow.
The comic is a precursor to a longer graphic novel, Elsie Harris Picture Palace, which the talented creator is still working on.
The title earned plenty of deserved interest at the Thought Bubble festival and now as well as being on sale online on her official web site, is now also available in Time Trek in Bromley High Street, close to the Churchill Theatre where she’s currently playing the Fairy Godmother in their pantomime, Cinderella, until 5th January.
“Despite her phenomenal popularity in her day, however, Bow’s name is one largely forgotten outside of cinema history aficionados… something that debut creator Jessica Martin seeks to address in her first self-published comics work,” notes Andy Oliver in his review of It Girl over on Broken Frontier. “What is captured so perfectly here is that very essence of Clara; the vulnerability, the insecurities, and that childlike bemusement she projected… Jumping backwards and forwards in time, she uses the limited page count to economically recount the most salient points of her protagonist’s career, immersing the reader in a real life melodrama, the poignancy of which would match any weepie that the silver screen of the time could have produced.”
Jessica describes It Girl as in part a means to build an audience and test the waters with a small work before wading into the deep end with no life jacket with he upcoming full graphic novel, Elsie Harris Picture Palace.
A multi-talented performer whose career has taken her from comedy impressionist to musical theatre leading lady, she graduated from Central School of Speech and Drama and shortly after developed a solo cabaret act as a comedy impressionist. She went on to have television successes on LWT’s Copycats and Spitting Image alongside Harry Enfield and Steve Coogan.
She then starred as Sally Smith in Me and My Girl at the Adelphi Theatre, also appearing in Olivier Award winning shows, Babes in Arms and The Card at The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Other leading roles include Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy Theatre. She also featured in the World Premiere of Marguerite at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.
As well as playing lycanthrope Mags in Doctor Who‘s Greatest Show, Jessia also provided the voice for the Queen in the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas Special Voyage of the Damned.
Her recent theatre credits include The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Lottie Ames in Mack and Mabel at Southwark Playhouse last year and the Lady of the Lake in the 2011 tour of Spamalot alongside Phil Jupitus.
Time Trek is one of Bromley’s last independent retailers, so I’m sure they’d be grateful for a custom boost. They’re at 46 High Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1EG. Telephone: 020 8313 0677
• Jessica’s debut graphic novel Elsie Harris Picture Palace has its own blog at: www.elsieharrispicturepalace.com/blog
• Jessica Martin’s official website is: www.officialjessicamartin.com
• Jessica Martin’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/jessica7martin