An Interview with the some of the creators at Panels Comics – Thought Bubble 14th November 2015
MS – I first heard of you work through your collaboration with Erin Keepers on Cosmic. How is the series getting on and what are your future plans for the comic?
LW – Cosmic started off as a collaboration in the Creating Comics module on the MLitt in Comic Studies in 2013 and has spiralled off from there. It has two issues so far and Erin [Keeper] is currently in the process of creating the script for issue 3.
MS – Do you find it harder now that you don’t live in the same city when collaborating?
LW – It helps that we had time to work together on the MLitt so have a good relationship from there. Erin now lives in Florida but we often discuss work via email or by sending images and scripts through facebook and chatting about comic ideas on that.
MS – So do you guys have a plan for Cosmic in the long-term?
LW – Erin has got about three arcs lined up in her head and for the current arc we are working on we are looking about eight to nine issues.
MS – How long does it roughly take you to create the comics together?
LW – It really just depends on commitments, Cosmic Issue #1 took longer than most as I was doing it over the Summer when on the MLitt. I’m hoping to get the next issue done in around three months next year. If I leave anything long enough I find my art style is always developing so images can change quite drastically.
MS – That’s my concern for when I get onto the art process of my comic in the Creating Comics module, I’m not sure I’ll be able to draw the same things repeatedly!
LW – Yeah I tend to overcomplicate my designs and make them really detailed then I have to rein it in a bit because they are hard to replicate for so many panels.
MS – So do you mainly work on Panel Comics now or are you still involved with Universe?
LW – I’ve mainly moved away from Universe stuff after leaving University and moving to Glasgow but I help out if they need me and Chris [Murray] and Phil [Vaughan] are always very supportive of our work and try to help out where they can. For example, I did five pages for the Masters Comics Creative Space issue.
MS – So are you planning to be involved in the Dundee Comics Creative Space?
LW – I’ve been lucky enough to get to do some workshops down at the Creative Space recently but with living in Glasgow and currently working full time it depends on our ongoing commitments as to how often we can get down to use the space. I loved studying in Dundee and it would be great to get something similar in Glasgow.
MS – So was your original degree in art?
LW – No I was originally studying Creative Writing down in Wales in Aberystwyth before starting the MLitt at Dundee. In fact the whole class came from lots of different backgrounds, for example I think Nathan [Langridge] started out having studied film at University, Erin also did film in Florida and Norrie [Millar] was at Duncan and Jordanstone. It is such a unique course, it is very diverse and has lots of people coming from lots of different backgrounds.
MS – So am I right in saying a lot of you from the MLitts class are now involved in Panels Comics?
LW – Yeah there are about six of us involved, me, Erin, Jess [Telusa-Fandango], Nathan and Faye [Stacey], who Nathan and I now live with in Glasgow, but other people from the class and within the comics community dabble in and out like Norrie.
MS – In addition to collaborating with writers you are also working on a solo creation Meteor which has recently had issue #1 published. How did you find working by yourself on the comic as both artist and writer?
LW – I really like doing both but it is nice to do it at the same time as working on a collaboration it keeps me on track with my solo work and stops me from self-doubting myself too much. I find you are more likely to over-edit when working alone.
MS – Have you got a run time for Meteor?
LW – I am hoping for it to be two four issue miniseries.
MS – Scrolling through the comic’s table I noticed a little sketch comic book, Sex and Romance for the Modern Entity. That sounds like an interesting one-shot what is it all about?
LW – It is pretty much me commenting on living with Nathan and Faye and all the weird couple stuff they do. As an asexual I find a lot of the stuff bizarre so it was mainly created through chats with them about their relationship and is a mash up of their ideas.
MS – Last year you and Cale Ward won the Dundee Comic’s Prize for your collaboration on The Stoor-Worm. Are there any plans to work with Cale on other work?
LW – Yeah we are actually trying to turn The Stoor-Worm into a series, we have a second issue lined up it’s really just finding the time to work on it.
MS – So what are the plans for Panels Comics in the future?
LW – We are hoping to get funding so we can help young artists and writers who want to be involved in comics get together to do some workshops with them. From there we are hoping we can maybe get an anthology of the work done, like the Universe publications.
MS – As Letty previously mentioned the MLitt course is very diverse and gathers students from all over. What were you studying prior to attending the Masters course?
NL – I had a background in Scriptwriting for Film and TV which I studied down in Bournemouth before moving up to Dundee for the Masters, so I’m more focused on the writing side of comics.
MS – From what I have heard you seem to have been a pretty close-knit class?
NL – Yeah we were the class of September 2013-14. We were very close and spend loads of time together in and out of the studio whilst also doing lots of collaborations together. We used to go to Madeline [Gangnes’] flat a lot to hangout and did many things together over the year.
MS – So what are you working on at the moment?
NL – I co-created Sosmonaut with my friend Isaac [Hoar] who I lived with whilst at Dundee. Basically it is about the last Communist in space. He is out on his spaceship when he gets news that the Soviet Union has fallen and instead of coming home as he was asked to by ground control he refuses and goes to try and spread Communism throughout space. There is a lot of alien encounters and attacks and it’s just a good fun story really.
MS– So what were your influences for Sosmonaut?
NL – Well I love everything sci-fi so that entire genre really. Admittedly I know next to nothing on the Russian history side of it haha.
MS – When will the second issue be out?
NL – It’s been written and is currently with Isaac. We are hoping to have it out by April/May next year for the start of conventions. The second issue is going to be much better, on the first we didn’t really know what we were doing and had to rush a bit with lettering to get it out on time for conventions.
MS – What made you decide to work with Isaac on the comic?
NL – We lived together for three years and as soon as we moved away we realised that we should have collaborated together. He studied animation at Duncan and Jordanstone but kind of fell out of love with it and wanted to work more on comics. He was the one that actually introduced me to lots of stuff, I’m relatively new to comics and have only really properly started reading them in the last four, five years.
MS – Roughly how long does it take you to write a script?
NL – Well I started Sosmonaut in September last year and finished writing it by the end of the month. It probably took me about a week, including edits. I then emailed it to Isaac who thumbnailed it then we re-worked it together. Over time it got less formal and we were just facebooking each other stuff. Isaac is really good at seeing the potential on the art side of things, for example there was a section of Sosmonaut when I wanted to show the main character travelling through the space ship. I had originally thought of it as panel to panel narration but Isaac had the idea to cut out the panels and just do a whole page of the ship where the readers could actually see inside it and watch the character travel through. It works so much better and its one of the great things about collaborating.
MS – And finally, what does the future hold for you and Panels Comics?
NL – This full time! Right now we are all working full time whilst writing comics so ideally we would love to just be doing comics 24/7. We are trying to turn Panels Comics from being just a bunch of people doing stuff to a business. My sister-in-law runs a Drama workshop called ‘Unique Voice’ that goes around schools teaching drama to schools and 90% of their funding is from the schools so ideally we would love to do a similar thing with comics.
MS – What’s your background in comics? Unlike Letty and Nathan you didn’t come up through the MLItt Comic Studies course.
FS – I moved to Glasgow with a new job almost a year ago and needed a flat and by coincidence I ended up sharing with Letty and Nathan and we all happened to be doing similar things with comics. I was originally doing a mixture of comic related stuff, this is actually my third year selling at Thought Bubble but my first time as part of Panels Comics.
MS – Letty mentioned you did art, how would you summarise your style?
FS – I do all sorts really, both art and writing. I’m very undecided, my style changes depending on what I am trying to say, I normally try to find if there is a more interesting way to tell the story. When I do create more experimental comics I tend to bind them myself instead of mass printing them.
MS – How did people react to the more experimental comics?
FS – I got great feedback on them which I hadn’t really expected. My first one was Girl: 22. At the time of creating it I was in a really bad place, I was a bit depressed and a bit pissed off. I had just finished University and had no idea what to do. It was basically a comic about me freaking out but people really responded to it. It was unique and experimental, I used acetone on some pages and I guess it was overall just a bit different but also pretty relatable for lots of people finishing a course and questioning their future. I sold it the first time I was at Thought Bubble and I am still getting feedback from it and have it people asking me to do another, a Girl:25 one but to be honest I am now in a completely different place than I was at 22 so I’m not sure how I would do another. It’s strange actually, there wasn’t a comics community when I studied in Norwich so I started up one. I still have the group on facebook and it is now run by another girl, it is unusual to see her now posting similar stuff to when I was doing Girl: 22 which I guess kind of just shows how relatable it is to people. Of course the site has progressed lots since I started it but it is nice to look back and see how my Norwich legacy has continued haha.
MS – What is it you like about Thought Bubble that keeps you coming back?
FS – People are so nice here and it really feels like a proper community. Although I enjoy conventions like MCM they are a lot more commercialised and people that go to them seem to already know what they want whereas at Thought Bubble people seem more interested in the smaller press and there is more time to talk with people who are often more willing to invest in your products.
MS – What other types of comics are you working on or have worked on in the past?
FS – I had a webcomic Camisado but it fell a bit by the wayside. I’m hoping to bring it back when I get the time. I have an interview with an engraving shop soon so hopefully if I get that job which is part-time I will be able to work more on comics.
MS – Having started off creating comics on your own do you prefer working solo or collaborating?
FS – Both are completely different. It can get tiring working on your own though and you can get yourself into a bit of a loop. With collaboration, such as the one I’m in the process of doing with Nathan, it is really interesting because there are things he wants to write about that I never would have thought of.
MS – I notice you also have Eye Spy Murder out which is the newest addition to Panels Comics. What is that about?
FS – It is about a crime solving optician. I love lots of detective programmes like Poirot, Diagnosis Murder, Columbo and Midsomer Murders so it basically stems from things like that. It centres around a woman in her late forties, fifties who is an optician. Her son’s partner is in the police force and she is basically just a nosey woman who wants to get involved in loads of the crimes he reports and in the end she solves most of them. It is really just a lot of fun and silliness.
MS – So what are your future plans for Eye Spy Murder now that issue 1 is out?
FS – I just did issue 1 to set the tone really but I am now happy to set it free for other writers and artists to play around with. I’m hoping we can expand it into a big series. What we want to do with it eventually is get people who want to work in comics to come up with pitches for it. I don’t want to be precious about it I would much rather lots of people were able to have fun with it.
MS – So what are your future plans?
FS – Well next I’m working with Nathan and then I’m lined up to work with Cale, he is currently torn between two ideas, we both prefer the other one to each other though so we are still deciding what to go with. I’m also currently signed up to Patreon which allows people to subscribe to you and hire you for projects. The way comics work has completely changed with sites such as this, people are willing to give a few quid a month to fund your ideas and though it may not seem much to big companies the money really does add up for the creators or for the smaller businesses.
Nathan and Faye
MS – It seems only right to also have an interview with you as a couple, seeing as well you are a couple, and you are going to be working on a new project together. So what is the new comic called?
NL – Yeah it is our first collaboration. It is called The Loneliest Lighthouse I did the writing for it and Faye will be doing the artwork.
MS – How are you finding working together?
FS – It is great that we live together whilst working on it because it is so easy to just fire off ideas at one another. We have sat together to thumbnail it and have done about two pages of the planned twenty four so far. We are hoping to get properly into it by the end of this year or start of next.
MS – Are you hoping to go onto do other collaborations after this one or is it still early days yet?
FS – We already kind of have another idea lined up about a magical chef.
NL – Because he is a ‘wizard in the kitchen’, get it?
HARLEY QUINN DEMANDS YOU GO BUY PANELS COMICS STUFF!!!
It was great to catch up with the Panels Comics creators, new and old, and see how they are getting on. They have lots of amazing comics out now and by the sounds of it lots more to come in the future. Many of Panels Comics creations are also available in digital format online on their site. You can find them at –