Tag Archives: Magic Lamp Boy

A brief History of Comics what I did – part 1.

I can’t remember when I started getting into Comics, I think it was when I was ill off school and my mum brought a Judge Dredd comic. A Best of 2000ad collection that included ‘The Graveyard Shift’ by John Wagner and Ron Smith. It was brutal. My lingering memory was of ‘bite fighting’ and the back end strip, ‘Shanty town’ where a ‘stub gun’ cut through anything, including the arm of a Judge Ocks who shirked it off saying something like ‘I needed to loose some weight’ while bandaging his own stump.

I read the Marvel UK reprints of Transformers, and years younger always waited to read my brothers Beano after him. I know I got into comics ‘properly’ later at college, and had an extensive collection of 2000ad’s but as a kid I’d sit up all hours of the night on school days making up comic strips on pieces of A5 paper, an obsessive judge dredd/beano hybrid thing, about a guy on a hoverboard who worked for privatized police as a ‘criminal pursuit agent’, tiny massive adventures made up on the fly with only a pen and paper and my imagination.
For a birthday present I wanted a book, ‘How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way’. Before amazon and the internet, it was really hard to get hold of and I took my mum to Grainger Street market in Newcastle to order it from Timeslip, a grungy comic book shed shop. Timeslip eventually relocated to become the toy friendly branch of Forbidden Planet, but back then it was weird and wonderful and felt strangely forbidden. In time I’d get my comic on the self of Forbidden Planet. Only the Newcastle Branch but it was a start.

Epic adventures played out on A5 sheets of paper.


Tony Blair becomes John Steed with overtones of The Prisoner. Three, twenty two pages issues.


Magic Lamp Boy, One shot and news strip.
Produced while at Sunderland University. Dismissed by every lecturer I had until they saw the finished thing. I printed copies for review and they all bloody kept them, then praised it later. Cost me loads to reprint. I also did a news strip for the student times newspaper.

Buying the Farm.
For the Student Times Newspaper. Everyone was banging on about some bloke called Royston, and Viz was cool. I’d just got into the work of Robert Crumb and watched trainspotting. So I did a few strips about what happens to funny animal cartoon characters when they are old. I still had lecturers for whom the words cartoon and comics were interchangeable. The illustration lecturers did my head in the most, old fashioned and utterly dismissive of that advances in technology even then. Rewards were there for students who could illustrate something that looked real and photographic. An utter waste of creativity.


Virtual Obscurity.
Final year at University, I did a feeder course for my Degree, (feeding of other courses, bums on seats, etc) so got to formulate my own brief for the final year. The previous year one shot comic went down well, so I got to dig my own grave by proposing another more elaborate ‘graphic novel’ which tied into my essay on the histoy of comics and speculated on the potential future of comics. It included ‘digital colouring’ and I’d never even used a computer. I learned how to use photoshop .


A 1960’s Psychologist in his own clinic doing wacky experiments. I pored over my old A level psychology notes and all the wonderfully messed experiments that were done in the name of science, plenty of mileage for stories I thought. Great character, but by my own admission a dull comic. I forked out my heard earned cash to get this printed at a proper printers, and then delivered to my house. I felt big.

Magic Lamp Boy series.
A5, Nine issues, 15(ish) pages per issue. If I could have done Magic Lamp Boy forever I would have*, and my world would be a different place. I got reviewed. People were looking, and reading. I photocopied issues in a hardware shop in Chester le Street where everyone stared and no one understood. I was forcing glossy paper into the photocopier’s bypass tray to make the covers look cool and the paper melted and the man in the shop got cross, then posted them out across the small press network. I bought a scanner and fiddled with images. Then internet came along and decided to eat everything and share it around for free. I honestly believed it was the end of the comics industry. It was 1997.


1980’s Time Machine – Comic Archive #1

Lots and lots and lots of years ago I made a comic. Actually a made a few comics… a lot of comics. I love comics. My brother got me into it when he started drawing them. He always did  stuff first, and I copied him. Comics, comedy, moving to Manchester, he did all these things, and I copied him because he was a lot cooler than me when we were young ‘uns.

He started with ‘the adventures of Mark Mushroom and Tom Toadstool’, fun stories of two anthropomorphic fungi, followed by ‘Blogford Town’, about a footy team. I started reading Marvel UK reprints of Transformers and Punisher, watched loads of 80’s action movies  like Aliens and Robocop. I came up with loads of random ideas for comic characters,  some were good, most were rubbish, some were really cool but had really crap names like ‘ The Night Law’. I was 13 and just wanted every character to the Punisher (but better than the Punisher because I had drawn them).  My bother drew some as  strips which are as hilarious as they are violent. I just kept churning out ideas, it would be a while before I settled on a character and draw ‘proper’ comic strips, but I loved drawing, and still do. Today in 2013 I have fancy posh graphics tablet, back in 1988  just an A5 drawing pad and an HB pencil and too much fizzy pop, all I needed.

Virus,  Kristoff, Buying the Farm, Facade, Virtual Obscurity and Magic Lamp Boy – these names mean nothing to any but me really, but between 1988 (where this archive starts) and 1998 I got drawn into comics big time, drawing till midnight on school days and going to small press conventions in far away towns with no idea where I was going to sleep that night. I’m getting ahead. It was 1987.