Meet The77 Creators: Writer and Former Tharg Steve MacManus

Meet The77 Creators: Writer and Former Tharg Steve MacManus - art by Colin MacNeil

Steve MacManus caricature by Colin MacNeil

Here’s another in a series of “Meet the Creator” interviews conducted by Morgan Spiceman with the writers and artists involved in The77 comics anthology.

The Sheerglam ConspiracyThis time out, it’s a chat with writer and former Tharg Steve MacManus, writer of “The Tinkling Triangles” with art by Brendon Wright, which will debut in Issue 1 of The77.

What is The77?

Steve MacManus: As I understand it, The77 is a new quarterly publication inspired by a deep affection for the comics of the 1970s. Its mission is to provide a platform for contributors old and new to share their comic strip passions.

How did you get involved?

Steve: I was asked by Ben K Sy of The77 if I would be interested in seeing one of the scripts found at the back of my novel, The SheerGlam Conspiracy, drawn. I said, “Sure!” Next thing I knew, Ben was back in touch with the news that he and his co-editors had selected “The Tinkling Triangles” – and even had an artist, Brendon Wright, ready to draw it.

What is your story about?

Steve: The Tinkling Triangles” are a dysfunctional family pop group who have reformed to tour their Greatest Hits across the galaxy. Unfortunately, an underhand act sees them board the wrong spaceship – one they discover that is bound for the war planet Hades!

Who are the characters?

Steve: Well, as you would expect, there’s Ma and Pa Triangle. Then there are their kids Tiffany, Donut and Little Timmy Triangle.

Brendon has visualised them perfectly, capturing each family member’s idiosyncrasies. His style for the strip evokes memories of that great Spanish artist, Casanovas. I feel blessed the script found its way into his Kiwi studio.

"The Tinkling Triangles", a wacky five-page strip for The77 written by Steve MacManus, with art by Brendon Wright

“The Tinkling Triangles”, a wacky five-page strip for The77 written by Steve MacManus, with art by Brendon Wright

Where did you get the idea for the story?

Steve: One plot strand in The SheerGlam Conspiracy is the development of a new anthology comic for readers of the time, being the early 1970s. In the book, we see the creation of comic strips for the first issue. Being an anthology, the new title (with a working title of Blaze) needed a science-fiction strip to tick that particular genre. But I also needed to tick the comedy box so I combined the two, which I hope readers will agree results in a black comedy.

What are your hopes for The77?

Steve: My editorial instincts tell me The77 has an incandescent future. The fact that its Kickstarter was subscribed twice over shows that there is an audience mega-eager to engage with its proposition (apologies for the marketing blurb). Here’s to the next The77!

How long have you been writing?

Steve MacManus. Photo: Steve Cook

Steve MacManus. Photo: Steve Cook

Steve: My first professional comic strip was “The Swots and Blots” for the Valiant Summer Special, circa 1974/5. Then, Pat Mills took me under his wing and oversaw my scripts for two ideas he had for Action, namely “The Running Man” and “Sports Not for Losers”.

From there, Pat added me to his stable of writers for “M.A.C.H 1” in 2000AD. At the same time I also contributed a script to one of IPC’s photo romance titles!

Who are your favourite writers?

Steve: Fave writers include P.G. Wodehouse, Patrick O’Bryan, and Somerset Maugham.

What are your favourite comics?

Steve: Battle Picture Weekly. Early (1960s) DC comics. And in my youth, my low attention span was assuaged by Newspaper strips such as “Andy Capp”, “Carol Day”, “Flook”, “Fred Bassett”, “Rip Kirby” and “The Gambols”.

What are your influences?

Steve: At the age of 67, I have shed all my early influences, apart from the joy of an occasional money off coupon at the store. Today is a different matter: I am energised beyond description by the young people I meet at comic conventions. Where the last forty years went, I have no idea.

What characters would you love to write?

An illustration of the fictional characters Psmith (left) and Mike Jackson by T. M. R. Whitwell in P. G. Wodehouse's story "The New Fold", published in the UK magazine The Captain in 1908.

An illustration of the fictional characters Psmith (left) and Mike Jackson by T. M. R. Whitwell in P. G. Wodehouse’s story “The New Fold”, published in the UK magazine The Captain in 1908.

Steve: Only those that I ‘created’. Although if pressed, I could probably concoct a passable Psmith short story [based on the P.G Wodehouse character].

Who would you like to work with?

Steve: Scarlet Johansson.

What advice would you have for upcoming writers?

Steve: It seems to be the case in any industry that perseverance is the killer quality that will see you through to the next stage. Take Oasis. JK Rowling. Neither were immediately successful. And so that is my advice. Vincero.

• You can pre-order The77 now. Message the team via the title’s Facebook page or email – to place an order. Payment by PayPal

• Join The77 on Facebook and Twitter @77Comic and Instagram @The77 comic 

Follow Steve MacManus on Twitter @Mac_1

The77 - Provisional Cover

The77 – Provisional Cover

Artist Brendon Wright is online at | Follow Brendon on Twitter @brendonwright

Read Colin Noble’s review of The Sheerglam Conspiracy 

 • The Sheerglam Conspiracy by Steve MacManus is available now from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | If you enjoy the novel, be sure to join The Sheerglam Conspiracy Facebook Group, for more on the book and forthcoming sequels

Interview cross posted with thanks to Steve MacManus and Morgan Spiceman

Categories: 2000AD, Comic Creator Interviews, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features

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