Smart Bomb!! is a new 48-page, all-ages colour comic masterminded by Will Overton, which fellow Tuber Tony Esmond had sight of in print form at last weekend’s Leamington Comic Con. Set in an alternative gamingverse, one where TV games you’ve never heard of (yet, somehow, find oh-so familiar) are the norm, Smart Bomb!! is a mix of comics and video games magazines in the grand tradition of UK weekly anthology comics of times gone by.
The comic includes contributions by Phillip M Jackson, Damien Sparkes, Eddie Sharam, Neil Roberts, Jamie Woodhead and of course Wil Overton (in a homemade cosmic cat costume).
Tony plans to review the comic at some point so I don’t want to steal his thunder, but I thought I’d give it a quick plug and thumbs up of this latest edition of Will’s project (he’s published another version in the past, hence the convoluted numbering on this one), because it’s obvious from the standard of art and story featured that this is one project you should keep an eye on, as you can see below.
Will is an illustrator and designer with over 20 years of experience working in advertising, newsstand magazines and video game development, a veteran of ’90s video games mags and ex-Rare concept artist. He’s used to providing everything from concept sketches to finished illustrations, from monsters to logos and pixels to vectors, and has really delivered on this tribute to traditional British comics anthologies, while giving the whole project a really modern and lively edge. Fantastic stuff.
“I’ve been a comic fan for as long as I can remember,” Will told Pipedream Comics recently. “I grew up with UK anthology weeklies, whether they were funnies like Whizzer and Chips or action titles like, er… Action, Starlord, Warlord or 2000AD. I’ll even lump Marvel in with that as their UK titles were basically the same format. I definitely had a Mighty World of Marvel childhood so I guess it was obvious that I’d want to emulate the same kind of comic if I did one myself.
“… Having worked on games magazines in the ‘90s, that period (Super Nintendo, Mega-Drive, N64 and the first PlayStation) is still very special to me but I was also a massive fan during the ‘80s micro era so I guess the mag is a mix of all those,” he says of the title’s format. “I wanted the comic to be very colourful and eclectic in its design so I guess it was obvious that it was going to take cues from the those classic mags of the age.
“Smart Bomb!! will be digital and a physical comic. The reason it was digital first was just because I was a bit impatient once I’d finished it and also because I thought I could offset some of the print run costs with digital sales. Gumroad seemed like a good choice for digital because it’s relatively cheap, people can get an immediate download (in as many file formats as you care to upload) and it has good analytics.
“I have submitted it to ComiXology but I’m not sure they’ll be that interested. If anyone else has any good alternatives to suggest I’m all ears. Comicsy is a great site and lets me show page previews (which I can’t seem to do on Gumroad) and eventually the physical comic will be available there.”
• Digital copies of Smart Bomb!! Lv.1-2 are avaialable on Comicsy and Will tells us physical copies will be available shortly.
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.