This will be a long post, but I’ll start off with the heart of the matter first:
I will be launching my two webcomics: W.I.S.P.A. and Sealers Stories later this year!
Having finished writing my PhD (awaiting submission and examination) and accomplished what I wanted to do, I can turn my attention more to working on these two comics. It’s something I have always wanted to do, but I have never really shared or publicised, and it is definitely time to change that.
First, let me give some backstory on where this all started.
Drawing comics is something I have done since I was a kid, and was really all I wanted to do. I created and drew many different comics and characters growing up, and having access to the internet in 2003, I found out about the new world of webcomics, which I definitely wanted to get involved in. So in 2004 I started running three webcomics (yes, three) until 2007, totalling 100 strips for each. Being sixteen, it’s safe to say that the comics I did were a little naïve and haven’t aged well. In 2008 I started university studying fine art, which is a bit of a departure from my background in comics and illustration, and so my comic work was put on the back burner for a long while, and I wasn’t sure it would ever re-surface with my career going in a different direction.
In the beginning of 2016, with my PhD well underway, I just randomly had the urge to do something with my comics again. Being older and (debatably) wiser, I started planning out stories, ideas and characters old and new, and settled on two comics (more on those in a bit). Obviously my PhD had to occupy most of my time, and so I would work on my comics on the weekends or odd evenings, and I’ve slowly been plugging away at them, building a backlog of comics and properly planning out the story arcs for each.
W.I.S.P.A. (Worldwide Independent Spies and Professional Agents) is a comic I first came up with when I was around thirteen, and honestly hasn’t changed that much. It follows the work of a secret agency whose agents handle the extreme and unconventional assignments and operations nobody else is able or wants to. It’s a mixture of humour and action, and was one of the original three webcomics I ran from 2004 to 2007, and briefly restarted in 2011, after I finished my undergraduate degree. The basic idea has stayed quite consistent over the years (which is a novelty for me) and has always centred around the core team of six agents: Slick, Trent, Becki, Hotshot, Strafe and Tracker.
Sealers Stories is more difficult to pin down as to its origins. It’s a mixture of a number of comics, characters, stories and ideas I’ve been trying to work on ever since I was at least ten, consisting of a group of kids who end up with some special powers, and their resulting adventure. Some of the elements of Sealers Stories date back to that time (one character in particular), and the rest are a mix of two different webcomic ideas: one which I scrapped for the other, which was one of the original 100 webcomics run. It has been hard work putting these ideas I’ve had for the past twenty years into a story, but I feel happy with what I’ve managed to accomplish. As a result of all these influences, the content and characters is large and varied, but all weaves together to create a very particular and interesting setting, all the while focusing on the eight teenagers at the heart of the story: Alex, Vicky, Brad, Ted, Sam, Kelly, Stuart and Jet.
Both comics are a mixture of humour and drama, with self-contained stories that also contribute to larger story arcs. W.I.S.P.A. is composed of “episodes”, which in turn make up a number of “seasons” I have planned. Sealers Stories likewise is structured into “chapters” which make up the various “books” of the story. I have a lot of ideas planned for both of these comics: they are essentially my children, my life’s work: I am more familiar with these characters than I am with most people, so I want to do them justice. But also I know that I cannot wait forever until I have perfected every little detail, and so I am deciding to launch them now and to let them grow.
The images above are “promotional posters” featuring the six main characters (will eventually be seven) of W.I.S.P.A., and two posters for Sealers Stories: one featuring the heroes, and one featuring the villains, since Sealers Stories focuses a lot more on the wider cast than W.I.S.P.A.
So a couple of smaller bullet points before I wrap up:
- I am still considering the exact date I will launch the comics. I have one in mind, but I want to be sure on what’s going on in my life post-PhD before I commit to it.
- I have an idea for an update schedule, but I want to be sure I can keep to it, so it won’t be too strenuous on me while I work any other jobs.
- Ideally, I would love to do this full-time, but to do so would require these comics to make enough money for me to at least live on. With that in mind, I will be setting up a Patreon for fans to support the comics and in return get various rewards (early access to comics, bonus sketches, commentary etc.). Obviously the more financially sustainable my comics would be, the more time I can focus on them and cut back on my other work.
So there you have it. Hope to see you again soon!