Up, up and away! The most wonderful synchronicity is bringing Supergirl star Chyler Leigh to Liverpool next month. The visit is in support of THE FAB 4000, a brilliant new comics project developed by comics creator Tim Quinn, artist Jorge Pacheco – and the staff and pupils of St Vincent’s School for Sensory Impairment.
Last June, comedian Ken Dodd introduced comics writer and editor Tim Quinn to Dr. John Patterson, the Head Teacher of St Vincent’s School for Sensory Impairment and Other Needs, a residential school for children across the country, including Wales. It’s the only church school in England for Visually Impaired Children, and it’s at the forefront of developing new ways to enable young visually impaired people to create their own stories.
“We clicked,” says Tim, whose numerous credits include work for both Marvel UK and Marvel US and is a former humour editor of America’s The Saturday Evening Post.
“John’s kind of nuts … in the coolest of ways!” Tim tells us.
“It turned out that the students of his school were crazy about super-heroes,” he continues. “This was thanks in no small part to the American TV series they tuned into following the adventures of Supergirl.
“And so a plan was hatched. Working with American cartoonist Jorge Pacheco we created a brand new super-hero team, THE FAB 4000, based on the kids of the school who share a common bond in that they want to help people across our planet who are less advantaged than themselves.
“In other words, they have SUPER-COMPASSION, the very best super-power in the universe.”
Why Walk When You Can Fly?
And this is where the magic comes into this story…
Chyler Leigh is an American actress, best known for her portrayals of Janey Briggs in Not Another Teen Movie, Dr. Lexie Grey in the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, and Alex Danvers in Supergirl.
“Chyler heard about the students’ project,” Tim reveals. “Together with her husband, actor/ musician Nathan West, she runs a fantastic organisation called Charity Pulse whose aim is to give a showcase to ideas designed to help create a happier world.
“They immediately saw the potential in the themes behind THE FAB 4000, ‘the world’s largest super-hero team’!”
Chyler and Nathan asked if it would be possible for them to come and visit the school and meet the students.
“I assured them that I felt I could make that happen,” says Tim.
“They then suggested playing a benefit concert for the school while in Liverpool,” he reveals.
“Chyler and Nathan and East of Eli are currently playing gigs across the US and have just had a sellout at the legendary Troubadour Club in Los Angeles,” he explains, “and asked me if I knew anywhere with a stage in Liverpool…”
Well, not only is Tim a well-connected comics creator – he’s also an integral part of Liverpool’s music fabric, which he helps to promote in various ways and via many different outlets. This is a guy who hangs with The Quarrymen, the band whose early line up included the young John Lennon, after all!
“I replied that indeed I did and asked if they had heard of a venue called The Cavern Club?,” Tim grins.
“We were speaking face-to-face via Google Hangout at this point and the affect my question had was a joy to see. Yes, they most certainly had heard of the venue.
“A quick dash into town to see those Marvels Bill and Jon who run the Cavern proved to be instantly successful as they happily became members of THE FAB 4000 and gave us the club for the afternoon and evening of 29th May. There really are many wonderful people on the planet.
“Both Chyler and Nathan are thrilled to be heading to the Cavern,” Tim tells us. “They’re lovely people, bless them.
“They are even organising a website for The FAB 4000 and its spinoffs.”
Changing the World, Inch by Inch
So, from a chance encounter, THE FAB 4000 project has rapidly grown from a humble Liverpool origin story and into a world-spanning event that will also see the launch of THE FAB 4000 comic next month.
“The story is getting bigger by the day,” Tim tells us. “Members of the school choir will be joining Chyler and Nathan on stage at the Cavern for a few suitable tunes (there could be a Beatle song in there). And Chyler will join Nathan’s band East of Eli for a full concert.
“There will be a superb auction on the day with wonders donated by the Supergirl cast. And there will be guest stars! And more.
“Oh yes, and we will be filming,” he reveals. “And everyone will have the opportunity to join a real super-hero team!
“An extra bit of amazement is that Chyler and Nathan are also organising lessons in photography and drama for the kids of the school,” Tim tells us. “More on that as it develops!”
If you think this project is amazing enough already, it doesn’t end with event in May. There is even bigger news to come soon – so watch this space!
• There will be two shows at the Cavern Club on 29th May 2017 at 4.00pm and 8.00pm. More details soon on how to book tickets!
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.