Crowdfunding Spotlight: David Robertson’s “Tay Bridge Disaster” comic

The Tay Bridge Disaster by David Robertson 1

Independent, thought-provoking comic creator David Robertson has launched a modest Kickstarter for his new work The Tay Bridge Disaster, a collection of newspaper style strips focused on the fall of the Tay Bridge in 1879 which caused the death of at least 75 people, perhaps more.

“I grew up in Dundee, and have always been fascinated by this event,” says David. “The strips cover many aspects of the story, including the build up to the bridge’s completion, including fears expressed in the media regarding its safety, and accidents during the building, the first trains to cross the bridge, and the disaster itself in December 1879.”

David, been working on this comic book for a few years and has launched his crowdfunding project now all the art is complete, The work also deals with the aftermath of the disaster, including the effect on designer Thomas Bouch, the recovery of the 224 engine, and the decision to rebuild.

David is not alone in his fascination of this tragic event, and he also covers its depiction in the arts and media; Theodor Fontane and William McGonnagall’s poems, newspaper printing’s improvements affecting illustrations of the disaster, Walter Benjamin’s radio show, C.Horne’s ballad, and Hatter’s Castle, the novel and film which both depicted the disaster. He also notes the names of the victims on current day memorials. 

David Robertson is a prolific independent comic creator in the UK, publishing both anthologies featuring both his and others works, contributing to many others. Works include Bell Time (reviewed here) and more.

Recent projects include Mount a Rescue, available from Buy Small Press, which includes guest art by Clio D, Zu Dominiak, Damon Herd, Olivia Hicks, Rebecca Horner, Vedis Huldudottir, Asuna Ikeshima, Paddy Johnston, Marc KC, Tim Kelly, Francesca Mancuso, Norrie Millar, Emma Oosterhouse, Neil Paterson, Ludi Price, Mike Sedakat, Veddabredda, Pam Wye and Cherish York.

Check out The Tay Bridge Disaster by David Robertson here on Kickstarter

 Follow David Robertson on Twitter @FredEggComics

• Bell Time is available at the Fred Egg Comics shop

Mount a Rescue is available form Buy Small Press

Categories: British Comics, Comic Creator Spotlight, Crowd Funding Projects, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features

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1 reply

  1. As a lifelong railway enthusiast, photographer and writer of transport related articles, I have been aware of the Tay Bridge collapse and its background ever since I was a child. While I admire David Robertson’s wish to create a comic style version of the failure of the bridge, invent the idea that the word ‘botch’ came from a corruption of Bouch’s surname?

    Click bait?

    From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

    late 14c., bocchen “to repair,” later, “repair clumsily, to spoil by unskilful work” (1520s); of unknown origin. Middle English Compendium says probably the same as bocchen “to swell up or fester; to bulge or project” (though this is only from early 15c. and OED denies a connection) which is from Old North French boche, Old French boce, a common Romanic word of uncertain origin. Related: Botched; botching.
    As a noun, “a bungled or ill-finished part,” from c. 1600, perhaps from the verb, but compare Middle English bocche “a boil, a pathological swelling, a tumor” (late 14c.), used especially of glandular swellings from the plague, also figuratively “a corrupt person; a rotten condition” (late 14c.), “a hump on a cripple” (early 14c.), which probably is from Old North French boche, Old French boce, a common Romanic word of uncertain origin.

    One should beware of coincidences, and that includes invented ones. From the film The Man who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”.

    Much more likely is the story that Marx and Engels had planned to travel on the train that was crossing the bridge when it failed. But they changed their plans in order to spend (more) time with a friend in the city. Or one or the other was unfit to travel on the intended day.

    Another piece of verse:


    As I woke this morning the sky was grey,
    as was the less than silvery Tay.
    I saw the bridges – not one, but twae –
    and neither bridge had gang arae.
    The trains and cars sped, one and all –
    no thanks to dead McGonagall.

    Or, also long dead, Thomas Bouch.

    © Eric C. Hayman 15 May 98, Dundee, on the view from my hotel window.

    And another legend(?): David Robertson is the great great great grandson of the founder of the Robertson jam and marmalade manufactory. And his childhood nickname was Golly.

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