With The77 Issue Three now on general release and the Kickstarter for Issue Four in progress, here’s another in our series of “Meet the Creator” interviews conducted by Morgan Spiceman with the writers and artists involved in British comics anthology. This time out, he chats with comic artist Neil “Backbird” Sims, shortly before he mysteriously vanished into a time-space vortex…
Neil describes himself for the purposes of this The77-focused interview, his tongue firmly in cheek throughout, as “a vagrant of no fixed abode, lately I have been wandering the island known as England when I came across a market…”
What is The77 to you?
Neil: An old woman sold me a lamp, she said it was magic and called it The77.
How did you get involved?
Neil: I got involved by rubbing the lamp. A genie appeared called Benksy and instructed me to scribble a story in 43 minutes and all of my dreams would come true.
He said he’d also enslaved another soul to come up with the story called Alan Holloway or summit, it was called “Temporal Anarchy”.
Since then, I’ve been trapped in a vortex absorbing scripts from other unfortunate vagrants like Barrie Tomlinson and Dave Heeley.
What is the story you’ve drawn about?
Neil: I’m not allowed to say what the whole thing is about because it could put the very nature of reality into a paradox, youl have to go buy it.
I sincerely hope that f****** evil life force from the lamp is hunted down and destroyed or I envision bitter peril for us all!
How long have you been doing art?
Neil: I’ve been doing art since 1874, it has slowed down big time!
Who are your favourite artists?
Neil: I don’t like other artists… they normally smell.
What are your favourite comics?
Neil: I like the black and white fat and skinny ones with the bowler hats.
What are your influences?
Neil: My favourite influence is wine and tabs.
What characters would you love to draw?
Neil: I’d love to draw Kate Beckinsale, if she was in the room at the time.
Who would you like to work with?
Neil: I’d like to work with John Wagner but he’s retired, so maybe I should ask that damned genie to intervene?!
What advice would you have for upcoming artists?
Neil: Upcoming artists? I’d say go to university!!! Forget your crazy dreams! And never buy a lamp from an old lady!
At this point in the interview, Neil looked away at something in the room beyond his webcam. His eyes bulged like eight balls, he muttered “Ben” and, perhaps, something like “What are you doing with my lamp?” … and vanished. There might have been screaming. Weirdly, there was a distinct whiff of frankincense emanating from the computer…
The77 Issue Three features a stunning cover by Ade Hughes featuring Anat from ‘V’ | Available for priced £6.95 for 64 pages in oversized format.All editions and back issues, posters and other merchandise available from Get My Comics here
Contributors include Dave Bedford, Conan, Conor Boyle, Steve Bull, Joe and Jeremy Dunn, Phil Elliott, Sinclair Elliott, Anna Evert, Filippo, Bambos Georgiou, Morgan Gleave, Dave Heeley, Ade Hughes, Kek-W, Hal Laren, Mac, Leonardo Manco, Sarah Millman, Michael Powell, Jon Roydon, Andrew Sawyers, Neil Sims, Lew Stringer, David Thomas, Dan Whitehead, Brendon Wright
Variant 1 cover by Paul Williams; Variant 2 cover by Neil Sims
The77 is also available from these UK comic stores: Atomic Comics, Bath; Calamity Comics, Harrow & Hatfield Castle Bytham; the Community Village Store, Lincolnshire; Gobsmack Comics, Horsham; Heroes, Isle of Wight; Krackers, Taunton; Mega City Comics, Camden, London; Millennium Comics, Northwich; Not Just A Comic Shop, Eastbourne; Ryhall Village Store and Post Office, Rutland; Scorch Comics, Eastbourne; Sheffield Space Centre, Sheffield; and Wow Comix Bury LLP, Sale and Stockport