The countdown has begun to this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October (13th – 15th). We’re delighted to continue our “Kendal Calling” interviews with top indie comic artist Marc Jackson, whose new book, Here comes Cat Stevens! was commissioned by the Festival and gets its official launch at the weekend…
Marc is a cartoonist, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, who lives with his daughters Nancy and Florence and his wife Jane. His comics have appeared in the Beano, Aces Weekly, Macclesfield Today, NYC’s Brooklyn Red-Hook Star Revue, Comic Heroes Magazine and Moosekid Comics.
He also organises MACC-POW! a one-day comic art event in Macclesfield (back as part of the Barnaby Festival) and also run regular cartoon drawing workshops in Libraries and Schools all around the UK.
downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Marc Jackson: Well I do a regular comic for Comic Heroes Magazine called “KA-PUNCH!” – the next issue is out later this year. I’m self-publishing a new four issue mini-series called ROBO-HATS that will hopefully launch at LICAF and will also be available online, five pages a week, after the event. Then, if I can manage it a new issue every two months, with the same online schedule.
Plus, I’ve just pitched a new comic to Missed Deadline magazine, for a new super-hero idea I have. I also have the final instalment in my Goons of the Galaxy mini-series coming to Aces Weekly later this year.
downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Marc: Well currently, I have to say Here comes Cat Stevens! for a number of reasons. It’s my first official published comic book, LICAF have commissioned it as part of their working with artists programme (find out about this one, aspiring cartoonists/ writers, this could happen to you!) and it was funded by a grant from the Arts Council England. It was so amazing to hear that I was successful in my bid for funds to create it.
It’s an all-ages spooky mystery comic, with nods to both Scooby Doo and the Netflix show Stranger Things. I approached this differently (as I try to do with each comic of mine) creating some really bold and lively panels and it came out really well!
downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Marc: Yep of course, you have to plan. Basically, I know what needs doing and I get it done. Whether it be writing a plot, drawing, colouring and even promoting. I don’t waste time, because you never know, so if I have a job, I knuckle down. I also work from home and have a young family, so time is precious for all involved and I maximise what time I have to create as best as I can.
downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Marc: Being able to create characters and having people you have never met and say great things about them. That’s very inspiring.
downthetubes: And the worst?
Marc: It’s not the worst, it’s just I’d like more of it. Sometimes the gaps of the paying work can get a little too wide sometime, but I’m very good at knowing how to approach folks to even sometimes create opportunities from nowhere.
downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Marc: The usual social media elements I suppose, but when I’m busy, I really try to ignore that. Plus, anything that is happening outside my window that I sometimes have to ring the council about and have a moan 🙂
downthetubes: Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Marc: Well it’s easy to self-publish, you just need an idea and a small budget to print. Don’t get carried away, just run off maybe 20 copies and sell them, then move up your numbers. In terms of finding a publisher, there are more ways to get in touch with someone and show them your work, or present an idea. I see new magazines come out and literally go to the inside front, find out who is in charge and email them. That can work and is exactly how I got “KA-PUNCH!” in Comic Heroes.
downthetubes: Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it? If you haven’t, what are you expecting?
Marc: My first year was 2016 and I loved it, it was incredibly infectious and inspiring as a creator and fan of comics.
downthetubes: Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Marc: Sergio Aragonés, because he’s my all-time favourite cartoonist and wow – it’s actually happening at this year’s event. Dream big kids!! Plus, the mighty Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes!
downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Marc: By looking after them. I organise a one-day event in my hometown of Macclesfield in Cheshire called MACC-POW! and my focus is looking after them and creating a family of people that all want to be involved and most importantly want to come back. If you can be passionate about other people’s work, as much as you are about your own, that will come across to them.
downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Marc: Go for it, if you want it, it can happen!!
downthetubes: What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Marc: I read a lot of old comics as well as new ones, so my literal current favourite is Man without Fear by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. I was given the full original set of five issues for helping a friend out in finding a good home for his collection of over 300 comics. Plus I re-read MUDMAN by Paul Grist, which is a great series and look forward to it returning next year with new issues!
downthetubes: Marc, thanks very much for your time and we look forward to seeing you in Kendal in October!
Book Your Festival Tickets Now!
• Book your tickets for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival here. This year’s events programme includes live draws, masterclasses, interactive talks and a chance to get up close to the best comic creators in the world!
Marc Jackson Online
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.