The 80th anniversary of the first air raid of World War Two that took place in Britain is just around the corner and with a comic-book retelling of those events being produced by creator Colin Maxwell, I took the chance to catch-up with him about the history, the comic & the Defend Fife World War Two Festival it’s being released at.
How did you get involved with making Raid on the Forth?
I first found out about the story of the air raid just over five years ago through my son who was in the Air Cadets squadron at Rosyth. I realised that most people had never heard of the raid or knew much about it, and after a bit of research I thought it was a great story that needed to be retold. It’s the first time that the brand new Spitfire aircraft was involved in combat – that’s an interesting event in itself.
What was it like researching this one?
It took a while to gather all the information. Fortunately there have been other books and reports written and a lot of the historical records are available, so it was relatively easy to piece together the facts. However, there are still a lot of misleading articles on websites which have been poorly researched. I also didn’t expect there to be so many eye witnesses, or families of eye witnesses who wanted to tell me their stories. It was great to speak with them and get a real sense of the impact of the event.
Was this a different project than some of your previous historical ones?
With my medieval stories, there’s lots of missing or conflicting information, and as a writer or artist you just have to make some stuff up. That wasn’t necessary for a more modern story where the facts were more readily available and I still had to rely on a few experts for some details that I could have got wrong.
Do you think you will do more modern war comics?
Yes. I’m planning the story of a World War Two Polish submarine that escaped the Baltic Sea and made it to Britain. It’s a fairly well known story in Poland, but the submarine came to Scotland and began running missions out of Rosyth Naval Base. Their escape story sounds more like fiction than fact. I doubt many people in Scotland know about it.
What’s it been like being involved with the Defend Fife World War Two Festival build up?
It’s been a great event over the past two years, and it just gets bigger and better. I was asked to work on a comic that they produced for the first festival, but was busy working on another project at the time, so couldn’t get involved. I did, however, create some artwork for an exhibition they had. This time round I’m more involved with the event and will be visiting schools to do art workshops and creating public artwork for the event.
What can we expect from the launch event at the festival?
There will be lots of re-enactors, military vehicles and also a battle re-enactment. A Polish company that makes toy building blocks are coming with a display of models, there will be games for kids to play, an evening dance, exhibitions of artwork and wartime memorabilia, and lots more to see and do. I believe DC Thomson are bringing a Commando Comics stand to the event, and perhaps an artist or two.
What else are you working on just now?
I’m currently finishing the artwork of episode three of my Steampunk comic ‘ElectroMagnetic’. It’s hero is based on the real-life scientist James Clerk-Maxwell. The final two episodes (4 and 5) are being scripted too. I’m hoping to have this series completed by mid 2020, and then I’ll start on something completely new.
Get your tickets for the launch event as part of next month’s festival through the link below: