We Comiconverse With Bambos Georgiou

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
September 13th, 2017

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

We Comiconverse With Bambos Georgiou
Comics
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The wonderful world of comics is full of firsts; first issues; first stories for certain characters; first experiences of the industry. Each first is a starting point to larger experiences which are as varied as the genres in the comic book industry.

To coincide will a previous article based around my own personal experiences, I wanted to find out how ‘first’ encounters have shaped the way creators have engaged with the comic book world. Over the next few weeks, we at Comiconverse will bring you the thoughts and memories of a few comic book creators.

Bambos Georgiou

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Comic book journalist, editor, letterer, inker, writer and one of the team who set up the online comic anthology Aces Weekly; Bambos Georgiou has had many roles in the comic book industry. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in the industry and worked with many more. Over the years he has worked on such titles as Ghostbusters UK, The Bogie Man, Doctor Who and even Spider-Man. He has also produced creator owned work such as Slash Moron, which features in Aces Weekly an online anthology comic he set up with David Lloyd of V for Vendetta fame.

He has had a number of first experiences, maybe more so than any of the people I’ve spoken to. He has seen the industry grow, shrink and morph from one entity to another. And through it all have come the opportunities to try new things.

 

Issue 1 Cover for Warrior

 

Comiconverse: Everyone is introduced to comics in a different way, sometimes through family, sometimes through friends, often by self-discover. What was your initial introduction to comic books and how did this come about?

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Bambos: I was a huge fan of the Gerry Anderson puppet shows and when TV21 came out I begged my mother to buy it for me - even though I couldn't read at the time. But because I had an older brother there were always a few comics lying around. First ones I remember were a MARS Patrol by Wally Wood and a coverless X-Men comic with Frankenstein's monster on the first page.

Comiconverse: After discovering comic books there would come a point where a certain title or run of issues became a ‘must read’ and ‘cannot miss’. What was the first series/title that you thought you just couldn’t put down, the one that turned you from a casual reader to an obsessive one?

Bambos: Again that would have been TV21, with art by Bellamy, Embleton and Noble. I loved Fantasy from an early age. I had every issue but #2 and they were almost falling apart because I just looked at them again and again and again.

Comiconverse: As we’re talking about firsts, do you have a favourite First issue of a comic? Is there one #1 that you feel is a particular good example of a first issue?

Bambos: Warrior #1 holds a special place for me. It was being put together in the basement of Weird Fantasy in New Cross, which was my local comic shop. This young guy called Garry Leach used to bring his pages up to show me. When it came out I wrote a detailed LOC (Letter Of Comment), just like they printed in Marvel & DC Comics at the time.

Comiconverse: At some point in your life you must have thought “I want to produce a comic”, when was the first time you actually wrote or illustrated a comic? Did it ever see the light of day?

Bambos: While at West Surrey College of Art I read a book about Underground comics and realised that you didn't have to be Neal Adams or John Buscema to draw comics, so I went kind of cartoony and drew and printed Ratman, with a friend of mine called Helen McCookerybook providing three (much better) pages to complete the issue. I'd provided 3 illustrations for her fanzine called Brenda before, so I was returning the favour.

Comiconverse: What was you first professional job in comic books and what did you learn from this experience? (this doesn’t have to be as a creator, it could be Marvel Tea Maker or DC currier)

Bambos: I think it was a script for Sid's Snake in a Whizzer and Chips annual, or it might have been a Sammy Shrinks script for same. Accepted by Bob Paynter, who was very encouraging, but unfortunately the British humour comic was fading fast. What I learnt was that (like Sammy) the market for comics in general was shrinking.

Comiconverse: What was the first mainstream comic you had published? How was it received, was it a success?

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Bambos: Starblazer #195, one of the worst comic book experiences of my life. No one noticed, I didn't know it had been published until last year. The whole process nearly put me off the idea of writing for comics. It took real perseverance to bugger up Starblazer, but they got there in the end. Starburst, 2000AD and Dr Who Magazine all started up around the same time and have lasted.

 Comiconverse: What was the first comic you worked on that you were really proud of? What was different in the production to previous work?

The Bogie Man from Fat Man Press

Bambos: A1 or Bogie Man, they both came out around the same time. Bogie Man; I was part of it from the beginning, I knew the creators and they chose me for what I could do. John & Alan had seen my lettering on Genghis Grimtoad, and I've always assumed chose me because I could letter in different styles. A1; Just a great line-up. Get good people and let them do what they do best (what a brilliant, and seemingly novel, idea). I just pitched in and helped. Great feeling to have gone from a Garry Leach fan to student to working with him. Also my swansongs for lettering, just when I was getting good at it as well.

Comiconverse: The comic industry is a sort after profession with thousands of people wanting to get in on the action. What advice would you give to someone producing their first comic, whether this is a script, art portfolio or even self-published comic book?

Bambos: Make it short, you learn with each job. There's something magical about seeing a job in print, you suddenly see all the mistakes, and you can fix them for next time. (Mistakes are invisible before publication - this is a little known scientific fact) Better to see the mistakes in a 3 page strip than in a 90 page graphic novel.

Comiconverse: Are there any comic books you would recommend to someone who has never read one before, a title to become their ‘first’?

Bambos: Different books for different ages. A young boy around 10 I'd say early Judge Dredd, no frills, easy to understand and still packs a punch, with great scripts and art. Young boys don't want to be fobbed off with something that's appropriate for them, and Dredd seems very inappropriate. Young girl I'd say Smile (no real experience here). Or there's always Tintin for all younger readers. Older readers, Maus, Persepolis or Joe Sacco (my wife had always steered well clear of comics but eventually these books converted her). Basically you want something that's easy for them to read format wise. That first comic can be make or break.

Bambos is currently working on Anno Dracula with Kim Newman and Paul McCaffrey. He is also working on a number of other projects some of which can be seen in Aces Weekly.

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