After my recent catch-up on Queen #1 from Jamie Me and already being impressed by his Start Again title, I got the chance to fire some questions in his direction to see what’s happening with his current campaign for #2.
What can we expect in Queen #2 and beyond?
First up, thanks for the interview.. I really enjoyed reading your Queen review too. It is awesome reading what people are “seeing” in the comic. In terms of what it is you can expect in #2 and beyond? We are starting up right where we left off, so if you found issue #1 interesting the wheel will keep on moving. The fun part about this project is nobody knows how we are getting to the Prime Minister dying, and people have their own theories. That is the greatest feeling ever as a creator, and I’m holding my cards close to my chest. My own family don’t even know.
Has the whole series been planned for a while?
It started back in 2011. I had this idea about a hacktivist using information to bring down corrupt business’ and beyond. Over the years many versions were thought up, but the one that stuck is the one you see now. Emily Green’s story fascinates me. As soon as I began writing about her it was like a forest fire. No way to control it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The entire project frightens me, and I think it brings out my most creative work.
What made you want to write a political thriller?
It is pretty fucked up really. I was diagnosed with OCD, and I had to come to terms with not going to work until I was able to control my condition like I am able to now. My doctors and therapist made that clear. I then get interviewed by ATOS, the government appointed company that dealt with disability claims, and they deem that because I “want” to work that I am fit for work. They did that for up to 10,000 people that ended up dead. It isn’t a nice thing to bring up, but vicious practices that the government endorsed need to be shared. You then look at the way “team blue” are handling the NHS, and how Jeremy Hunt has his name to an anti-NHS book, and you just know, you know deep down that the people in-charge do not have our, the majorities, best interests at heart.
What if a politician was disheartened by all this? That is how Queen started. The idea that someone in a position of power felt ashamed of their part in the UK government, and how they would react if an opportunity was presented to them to change things.
Looking back I remember seeing one of my friends with her newborn, and I thought about how life could be for a Mother without the access to free health care in the area we live in. That affected the Queen direction a lot. I wanted to write something that meant something.
Does the current political climate in the UK give you lots of reference for Queen?
Queen is about the current political climate. The histories are practically identical before the comic starts barring a few changes. For example, there isn’t a coalition in our 2015 version of events. When the story starts things change drastically… but similar stuff did happen in reality that I wrote.
Has the story changed any because political issues are so evident in the real world justnow?
I wouldn’t say so, because it is set in 2015 about that particular general election. History is repeating itself in the current general election, and the NHS is a vital part of the discussion. So if it looks similar to current events it is because the issue hasn’t gone away.
What has the response been like to the first Queen issue?
Honestly? It has far exceeded what I could ever have imagined. I’m at shows and you get people that don’t want to read about superheroes, zombies or whatever, but then I explain about how Queen is about challenging political corruption, and people light-up. I think they feel the same way I do. They look at the government with such disdain and anger that they want to land a blow on them, and this comic feels that way to them.
What attracted you to using Kickstarter again?
Kickstarter is a fantastic platform. It gives you the option to ask a large amount of people if they want to see a comic get made, and if they do it becomes reality. In the past you had to get a publisher to be on-board in a lot of instances. The problem with that is stories like Queen are seen as too risky, so they don’t published a lot of the time unless they prove to go over well with lots of people. That is when crowdfunding is great. It gives you options as a creator. That is never a bad thing. It has changed the comic industry.
What else are you working on?
It is no secret that I want START AGAIN #2, a superhero boy meets girl story, ready for Thought Bubble later in the year. You can’t write a better journey. A comic that is set in Leeds debuting at, arguably, the world’s biggest indie comic convention? I’m obsessed with these kinds of special moments. Queen launched during the General Election 2015, and START AGAIN on Valentine’s Day. I’m going to do everything possible in my power to make it a reality. Wish me luck!
You can check out Jamie Me’s campaign at the link below: