Some years ago, around 2004, I was working in an awful job, dealing with PPI claims. Telling people who were sick, very sick, or dying why they didn’t qualify for gage payment took its toll on my soul, and I sought an outlet – which I found in a new comic idea. I’d sit at my desk in rare downtime, doodling ideas and building an idea based on the very job that was slowly killing me. Over time this idea blossomed into Deathridge, a name that had bounced around my head for some years previous after reading a customer’s name in a previous job.
The basic story follows Boris as he goes about his daily routine, until something snaps. He wakes up the following morning and starts again, but everything has changed…. he then meets Doris and finds that she is not all that she seems. But then… neither is he…
Deathridge went through several changes in design, becoming darker for a while, before I settled on a straight cartoony style, which was to serve as a counterpoint to the gruesome story.
For my own benefit as much as anyone else’s, I made an 8-page prologue issue and gave it away locally on Free Comic Book Day 2014. It set the tone for the coming story quite well, and got a small amount of interest from a few people.
The first couple of issues were already available at that time, with issue 5 having a variant cover starring the two owners of the comic shop who were helping to promote it. Besides the cover I also redraw one page to include them as disposable characters! It was great fun and stirred up a little interest. Later that year I shared a signing table with Paul Cornell, who has written for Doctor Who (Comics, TV and Novels), Batman, and various Marvel IP, amongst others. That was cool, though I was somewhat unnecessary! I got a cool t shirt out of it though.
Volume One of Deathridge followed in Summer 2014, collecting issues 1-6, and launched at London Film & Comic Con 2014. I sat at the table of Alternate Universe Comics, who through some magic had won the right to sell the convention exclusive Stan Lee Pop Vinyl Figure. Which meant I got to meet Stan Lee. And step on his toes. More fun! I even sold about 20 copies of my book, which was alright.
As a creative person, my mental state is often fragile, and I suffered something of a set back when I lost focus and lost the will to continue the story. I’d rushed to meet arbitrary deadlines, become disenfranchised from my own work as I wasn’t happy that I’d failed to make it the best I could. So I gave up for a while.
Which leads us to the present day – in which I’m pleased to announce I have a plan. I’ve been playing with a particular style in my daily sketches this year (bitlandgaming.deviantart.com) and will soon begin redrawing Deathridge in this style. In full colour. I’ll largely follow the format and layout of the original book, making some edits to art and words as required to bring it closer to my original vision.
It’s quite an exciting time – I’m feeling quite positive in myself thanks to some fairly significant changes I’ve made to my lifestyle, and it definitely feels like it’s time to sort myself out and grab my life by the balls. And if/when the comic turns out as good as I’m hoping, I’ll be ready finally to continue the story for those few fans who gave me good reviews back in the day. And prove wrong those who didn’t.