Every year, in the countdown to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, we bring you a series of interviews with guests at the event. We round off this year’s series with a quick chat to the force of nature that is comics creator Zoom Rockman, a British artist and satirist whose comic strip, “Skanky Pigeon” first appeared in The Beano when he was 12 years old. He’s also on of the Festival’s Patrons.
Age 16, he became the youngest cartoonist in Private Eye magazine history, and has since become a regular contributor.
The Evening Standard named Zoom as one of the most inf;uential Londoners under 25, and his award winning comic, The Zoom! has attracted critical acclaim for its funny and irreverent critique of urban life as well as a cult following.
His work humours and heroes the everyday grime and energy of London and has become increasingly collectible. His solo exhibition last year at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden, was a sell-out event.
In addition to being a Festival Patron, Zoom is Young Ambassador for the world’s biggest arts charity, The Big Draw. He is passionate about promoting the importance of creativity in all school subjects and has been invited to speak about this at the House of Commons, advertising industry events and art galleries across the UK such as Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, and The Baltic Gallery in Gateshead.
Zoom, what are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Zoom Rockman: I’m working on a new Skanky Pigeon Comic called Doctor Coo– He travels though time in a litter bin.
Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Zoom: I’ve been working on a set of Churchill Drawings for Simpson’s in the Strand, which are about to be launched and put on show in the restaurant bar – and on the menus too.
How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Zoom: Get up. Work. Go to sleep. So really no plan, just do as much as possible.
What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Zoom: You can tell any story you want, and make anything happen, without even having to get up off your seat.
And the worst?
Zoom: Running out of paper and pens.
What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Zoom: Other projects.
Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Zoom: I haven’t really got anything to compare it to. I’ve grown up as a comic creator.
Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it?
Zoom: Yes, I’ve been twice and it’s my favourite UK comic festival.
Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Zoom: Art Spiegleman, I think he’s the best at what he does.
How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Zoom: They introduce you to new work, new people, and new audiences.
What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Zoom: Make your own comic so you’ve got something to show people.
What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Zoom: The Walking Dead. I read it on the Comixology Walking Dead App.
Zoom, thanks very much for your time, thank you for your support of the Festival – and we look forward to seeing you in Kendal this weekend!
ZOOM ROCKMAN 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.