How It All Began (or: It’s All Mark Millar’s Fault)
By Gordon Mclean
I was at the first Kapow Comic Convention in a packed room for the Millarworld panel. Listening to Mark Millar and his comic cohorts discussing how great it is to work on creator-owned titles and have the freedom to create whatever they want give me the kick up the arse I desperately needed to get my own comic on the go. So I bought a notepad and pen after the Con ended and wrote the script for No More Heroes issue one on the train back to Glasgow.
The idea of starting a story with the main character receiving an anonymous text asking “Should I kill myself?” had lived for years in one of my notebooks. I thought it was a great opening but struggled to come up with a plot strong enough to follow such an intro. But at the Millarworld panel my brain dredged up the ‘suicide text message idea’ and suggested it came from a superhero. That was the key that unlocked everything and soon my brain was beyond packed with ideas for how to turn it into a comic mini-series – if I hadn’t quickly jotted it all down my head would’ve probably exploded Scanners-style.
Of course, every storyline throws some questions at its creator and mine’s was no different. The most important and obvious one was: did Dark Justice (the name given to the superhero) really kill himself as a result of the text message? If so, why? And if not, what really happened and why was the text sent? I spent a long time exploring different options because the last thing I wanted to do was follow up a great opening with a crappy ending.
Deciding I needed four issues to tell the story, I work-shopped each script with the members of GLoW (Glasgow League of Writers): a great bunch of talented people who gave me invaluable and honest feedback that made the final version of each script so much better. It was them that advised me to take out the sex scene between a marshmallow and a monkey (joke!……… Maybe).
Next up: an artist! I placed ads all around the internet and it was actually through Mark Millar’s Millarworld forum (see, it is his fault!) that Caio got in touch with me. Coincidence or a sign from the powers above that this was meant to be? Yeah, okay, it was just coincidence but nothing wrong in hoping, is there?
Anyway, Caio was an incredible find. He’s such a talented artist and when I looked at the samples he sent me I couldn’t believe he wasn’t already an established name in the industry. Still, it was lucky for me as it meant he was able to work on No More Heroes and make it look ridiculously good. I couldn’t be happier with how the final pages turned out!
The team was rounded-out by Kel, who was highly recommended to me by a fellow member of GLoW named John Lees. The fantastic job he did on the lettering meant that the art team were two-for-two in terms of providing high quality work that make my story look so much better than it really is (joke!……. Maybe).
And so here we are, with issue one ready for the world to enjoy and hopefully come back for part two (which Caio is currently halfway through drawing). I’ve tried to make this comic as fun and exciting to read as possible with a twisty-turny story that’ll keep you guessing right up until the final issue (there’s a big plot twist coming that I don’t think anyone will guess ahead of time!). I can’t wait for you to see how much of a bastard Jack Slaughter is in #2 and the nasty pre-sidekick past of Black Fury in #3.
I hope you like No More Heroes, I really do. And if you do like it please tell everyone you can to check it out: get your friends to pick up an issue, spread the work on forums and Twitter, buy a thousand copies and throw them out from a hot air balloon – whichever way you may choose to spread the word I will be incredibly grateful and in return will be able to keep making comics and not have to wander the streets shouting at strangers. A win/win situation, surely?
Life’s shorter than a gnome with no legs, so thank you for spending a wee chunk of it with me, Caio and the rest of team.
E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org