Friday, 21 October 2011


ROUGH CUT COMICS released its first comic in November 2001 ... so celebrations are in order, right?
Well, after a decade creating and producing a range of popular titles which have attracted overwhelming credibility in the international comic-book marketplace, we’re far more interested in just getting started on the next 10.
In the past, we’ve organised parties to promote our key titles: from our launch night at Bristol Comic Con in 2001; our SURGEON showcase at San Diego Comic Con; a fifth birthday party at Glasgow’s Baby Grand; and a FREEDOM COLLECTIVE re-release cheese and wine in Berlin.
That’s excluding the myriad of late-night drinking sessions at Bristol and Birmingham.
While it’s always good to celebrate reaching another milestone, the real celebration in this day and age is quite simply … the NEXT milestone.
We never really imagined we’d ever go even one year.
Our first comic-book was devised solely to help raise the last piece of finance for the film production of THE SURGEON.
What was the inspiration behind that idea?
Back in the 1980s, film producer Milton Subotsky had approached Dez Skinn to produce a comic-book version of The Monster Club, the movie project based on R. Chetwynd-Haye’s horror stories. Subotsky was trying to create for vehicle for horror film legends Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and John Carradine.
Artist John Bolton had been producing comic-book versions of Hammer horror movies for Skinn’s inimitable House of Hammer publication and he was roped in to the produce the movie adaptation, which eventually brought in the final phase of cash at the Cannes and green-lit the film to be directed by Roy Ward Baker.
Twenty years later, our future Publisher Ed Murphy was working with the Film Development Corporation in pre-production with THE SURGEON feature film.
The project had attracted Richard E Grant (who stepped in after Harvey Keitel pulled out) and The Thick of It’s Peter Capaldi. The horror-thriller would be the debut feature film of Adrian Wright, an original member of the Human League who was then directing pop videos.
As a former contributor to NME, Murphy had long promoted the comic-book industry with his features on Alan Moore, Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison. A huge fan of 2000AD from Prog One and a collector of the aforementioned House of Hammer, Murphy felt a comic-book adaptation could help promote the project for international pre-sales.
Murphy’s early friendships with writer-artist Rob Moran and some of the Electric Soup team gave him a solid ground in putting the comic-book together … and it was planned and budgeted as a two-issue mini-series. The 32-page title had its editorial pages “typeset and pasted-up” the old-fashioned way and printed on web off-set press.
Jaeson Finn provided the artwork and his cinematic imaginations forged his career as one of Britain’s much sought-after storyboard visualisers for feature films such as Doomsday and Centurion.
Thanks to the tremendous team, Rough Cut Comics’ debut title was a monster success … with orders of 8500 copies through Diamond Comic Distributors.
It may be somewhat ironic that the marketing tool for the film didn’t prove effective, but it sparked a huge readership as a comic-book. Over the years, it has attracted interest from directors Sam Raimi and Russell Mulcahy; as well as British author Ramsay Campbell, who provides an introduction to the new trade paperback of THE SURGEON.
It’s these little facts and figures which lead us to the conclusion that Rough Cut Comics is an important British comic-book company.
Sure, the last few years have been quiet for us … but we’ve stayed in business by constantly re-printing our popular titles, while working on a series of original graphic novels (unfortunately, we don’t reckon the 32-page mini-series is a viable option for an indie outfit anymore).
Those include ROSE BLACK: DEMON SEED, the innovative reworking of vampire mythology mixed with spy-girl comic style; and AMANDA SWAN: THE HELLFIRE LEGACY, a supernatural adventure based around the British model who features in the comedy thriller The Don of 42nd Street.
We’re also paving the way for a new FREEDOM COLLECTIVE project, our unique tribute to Stan the Man and King Kirby which has attracted a huge following of fans … including Alex Ross and Grant Morrison.
So I think we’ve got good reason to go on for another 10 years.
Hey, that’s right … we’re ten years old next month. No need for any extravagant gifts.
But if you do want to give us something, then go tell a friend about Rough Cut Comics. If they’re on Facebook, ask them to look us up … and “like” us.
Then like you, they’ll be part of the next 10 years.