Despite a being tough for everybody, 2020 was a good year for creativity – and in particular, collaboration, including writer Nic Pillai and artist Dan Stirrup, who began the rather marvellous web comic, GREYSCALE, a paranormal Noir with a kick in the tale, set in Folkestone, Dover, centring on a detective alien.
Author Nic, who’s Assistant Professor in Creative & Critical Practice at Univeristy College Dublin, describes the strip as a “mish-mash of sci-fi, Fortean fun and Brexit woes”, and they have been publishing since January and are just about to reach the End of Act One cliffhanger, episode 20. The full story will run over 60 episodes.
Although initially serialised throughout 2021 over on Instagram, if you’d prefer a more traditional format, then head to this page here on Dan’s official web site, where he’s presenting new full page strips as they are completed.
Dan – an illustrator, director and animator based in Folkestone, and Managing Senior Creative at Cognitive Media, will also be sharing some behind the scenes notes and sketches as the project progresses.
“A few years ago, on a stormy night flight over the Irish Sea, I doodled a Roswell alien wearing a fedora and captioned it GREYSCALE,” says Nic of the strip’s origins. “I couldn’t have imagined then that the little guy would be getting his own comic strip! Me and Dan have been friends for twenty years so working with him on this is a joy. I grew up in Kent; he lives there now.
“I’ve always wanted to write a newspaper strip,” Nic continues.”As a kid, I used to carefully cut ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Doonesbury’ out of my grandad’s paper. I did the same for Lee Sullivan’s ‘Doctor Who’ strip in the Radio Times. Collections of McClusky’s Daily Express ‘James Bond’ and John Ryan’s ‘Harris Tweed’ shared my bookshelf, along with countless Look-In annuals found at boot fairs. It’s an honour to be working in that tradition, learning as we go, making each other laugh with words and pictures.”
The strip is a wonderfully barbed story, not only a fun adventure, but with the kind of barbed humour and a moving lyricism about it, evoking memories of reading strips by Eddie Campbell and Phil Elliott, back in the 1980s, when I first discovered independent comics. I do hope the team collect this up in print, but it’s presented in a format that’s easy to read, and enjoy, on mobile devices or laptop, so do give it a look.
Oh, and you should definitely check out Dan’s animated short “All in the Same Boat?” while you’re over on his site, a short film that grew from a conversation with a group of collaborators in the midst of the UK coronavirus lockdown, because it’s absolutely brilliant!
“The visual world I created was a response to the script written by Cath Heinemeyer, and the film was produced by Neil Howard and Cathy Smith,” Dan notes. “It was picked up by Build Back Better – an organisation campaigning for a fairer, greener economy to be built as the world seeks recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.”
Well worth five minutes of your time!