Tuesday 24 December 2013

Interviews Jim Wilkins & Alasdair Shaw aka In Print Comic by DJ Forrest

How did you guys get started in the Comic business, had it been something you’d been interested in since childhood?  Had you guys known each other a while before you put the website together – love the website by the way?

Jim:  Thanks it’s lovely to be interviewed. I've been interested in comics and drawing comics ever since I could read... even before I could read I used to draw comics. It's only in the last five years I decided to do something about it. In 2010 I self published my own comic with writer friend Ben Cook called Neutron Boy. The comic was released at a Sci-fi event in my home town and sixth Doctor Colin Baker was on hand to give us some great publicity shots on the day. The next thing for me was after that was to draw what I've wanted to draw – Doctor Who! Christian Crawley from Kasterborous got me in contact with Alasdair... then the magic began!
We started the strip on The Reprint Society website in April 2011 and then to increasing popularity through the powers of Twitter and Facebook moved to its own site at www.InPrintComic.com in 2012 along with own Facebook page and Tumblr blog. 

Al:  For as long as I can remember I’ve loved comics. I can still vividly recall being given a copy of a Spider-Man Annual to read in the car whilst my parents were hunting for somewhere for us to stay (we lived on an island at the time and had to dedicate whole days to viewing houses on the mainland). The reason it sticks in my memory is because the story it had was “The Death of Gwen Stacey”, it made quite an impact on my impressionable mind and showed me the power illustrations can add to words.
I didn’t meet Jim until I’d already decided to set up the Web comic. I love comics and I love writing, but I’m pretty poor at drawing. So when I decided I had a story I wanted to tell I decided I’d best find an artist. The good folks at Kasterborous put up an advert for me, Jim replied to it and the rest is history.

Your characters often centre on two main Doctors, the 8th and the 7th, were these your two favourite Doctors?

Jim: Tom Baker. All day long... I'd be having Tom in that Tardis chair shouting and throwing things at the TV if I'd had started writing the strip. Tom was my Doctor growing up and the first WHO strips I read was in Doctor Who Weekly when it first started in 1979 so I hold Tom in high regard. I haven’t done much of Tom in In Print so far... But I'm sure we'll see the Fourth go centre stage one day! Seriously though, Seven and Eight are absolutely the right two versions suitable for the In Print saga. They've been so pleasurable to draw and have quite taken off into a style of their own since the strip began. Although they'll be a lot more to the In Print characters and story over the coming months. Now Alasdair on the other hand.... I could safely say that one of our main characters is his favourite...  

Al:  Oh I’m a 7th Doctor man all the way. I have been ever since Battlefield, the Doctor took on mythic proportions for me then. I was gutted when he was cancelled, but given the sheer volume of books that followed the cancellation and what the authors involved were able to pull off without the BBC looking over their shoulders, well it probably worked out for the best.
7 and 8 take centre stage in the strip as they were the Doctors that dominated the books and the strip started life as a way to increase awareness of the reprints. It’s taken a whole new life from there, but 7 and 8 will always be the centre of the strip for me.
Although I do like the idea of 4 sitting in the chair hurling abuse at the telly like a Gallifreyan Father Jack…

How long does it take from start to finish putting your episodes together?

Al: I tend to write the scripts in arcs. Getting the basic premise can take the longest time, once I know where I want the arc to leave the characters the strips write themselves a lot of the time.

Jim:  When I get the Scripts I usually set about drawing all the characters I need separately, this can take a few days, then scanning and colour them. I already have a huge library of the In Print characters and can piece them together so I take from this when making the Episodes. I make each frame separately for about 4 or 5 episodes at a time... add them all to each page and add all the lettering at the end. This can take 3...4 weeks, but sometimes I can turn out an episode in a couple of hours if I'm mostly using pieces I have already in the library.

Do you cover any other characters other than Doctor Who?

Jim:  Well with In Print, we've had DJ FOO... which I think suited a funk dude with an afro...bit like Samuel Jackson. We showed a bit of SHERLOCK and Watson... Star Trek! We've done Star Trek too!

Al:  I don’t tend to stray away from Whovian characters unless a really strong idea comes to me. Or Jim pesters me long enough to include a cameo for a character he’s just drawn. (Joking!) In all seriousness though, Jim will on occasion plant an idea or a character in my head like a little seed and it’s scary how often an idea can come from it. The Sherlock and Star Trek references are both there because Jim drew them first.
Although we have some surprise guests over Christmas and New Year when Jesse Lax is doing a guest run to give Jim and Nesshead a small break.

What are you favourite and least favourite Doctor Who characters, either human or non human?

Jim:  I like Alpha Centauri, I was bugging Al to have him in the strip for ages...
Al: See?!
Jim: Abslom Daak and Frobisher are my favourite DW characters from the comic strips I read when I was young. Least favourite character from 50 years of Doctor Who? ...Mel.  

Al:  The Valeyard. I just adore the idea of the Valeyard, only the Doctor would have a living, breathing dark side. I also have a soft spot for the Master from Scream of the Shalks. Best Companion Ever. Apart from Jamie of course.
Least favourite? Has to be the Rani for me. Don’t ask why, I just can’t stand her.

How will the 7th and 8th Doctors in your comic strip cope if the 12th Doctor is female? (this question was asked before the result of the 12th was announced) Although I can visually imagine the look on their faces!

Al:  7 will probably warn 8 not to try kissing her, apart from that I think they’d be ok with the idea. Although I love the fact that you love our characters so much you can picture their reactions. That makes me smile.

Although Jack Harkness only appears in that one clip on your website would you ever consider doing more of a Torchwood themed episode?

Jim:  We've done 'Companions' .. that had Jack in it. If I had a good script I'd probably want to draw a Torchwood story. I even wrote a Torchwood story myself a couple of years ago.

Al:  Oh you’re going to love our guest run over Christmas and New Year…

What was the hardest character to draw?

Jim:  I think only the faces of the older Doctors, really... and usually if I'm drawing them for the first time. After I've initially drawn them, it's not usually a problem.

Have you both worked for other comics before setting up the In Print Comic website?

Al:  Nope, this is my first effort with comics. Jim on the other hand…

Jim:  Not for any major companies. A couple of web-comics for sites, self published my own comic back in 2010, a few Fanzines and magazines and one-off commissions to whoever wants one!   

If you could create any new character for your comic strip, what would you create and would they be good or evil?

Al:  I hate to be a spoilsport, but I wouldn’t be comfortable creating new characters for In Print. I feel it’d kind of go against the spirit of the strip.
However I am working (kind of) on a wholly original concept with an old co-worker of mine called Studio 616. Every character there is new.

The two Doctors that feature in your website, is this any depiction of you guys, who is who?

Jim:  Ha ha, I think I'm taller than Alasdair, and I'm quite laid back so I'd probably be Eight...

Al:  To be fair and 5’8” a lot of folk are taller than me.  That and I’m Scottish.

All artwork posted up with kind permission from Alasdair and Jim. 

You can find In Print here at:

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