After recently discovering and loving Biggol by Ioan Morris, I just had to find out more about it……cue the interview!!
What was the inspiration for Biggol?
I don’t think it’ll be a surprise to anyone to find out Doctor Who was a big influence, not so much the programme itself as its production and the culture around it. In 2014, the BBC Archive website added a collection of documents detailing “The Genesis of Doctor Who” (now only available through the Wayback Machine) and that’s what initially fired up my imagination. I love archive and genre TV and felt like I knew that world well enough to have a bit of fun at its expense, while being as authentically niche as possible when it came to the details.
Is this a story you had been working on for a while?
It started life as a little fanzine with a handful of faked documents and a two-page comic that I put out around 2015. My friend Rhys was a big fan of the zine and the two of us considered turning it into a radio comedy, which obviously didn’t happen, but we did end up sketching out more ideas about the characters, the history of series’ production and that sort of thing.
In 2019, I was a bit down on the idea of doing comics in general and hadn’t put pen to paper in a long time. I didn’t know where the next idea was going to come from and whether I could be bothered to put the time into developing an idea if it did arrive. Thankfully, Past Me had done a lot of legwork on Biggol, and I rediscovered all these documents that had been sitting on my computer or Google Docs, so that initial step of getting started on a project felt less overwhelming.
How was it working on both writing & art duties?
Since that’s how I’ve done all my comics, that feels like the natural way to do it. There’s not really a distinction in the process for me. In this case it was slightly different, because I had a portion of the written materials already done, so it was a case of translating them into comics form. It took a few months to get everything down in loose sketched form, then another 3-4 months to draw it properly, then who knows how long cleaning up and tweaking after that. I also chose to do the lettering separately afterwards which turned out to be a wise decision.
I tried to approach it like I was making a documentary – accumulating footage (in this case shorter strips of 1-4 pages), then editing and rearranging them into a coherent structure after the fact. It’s broadly chronological, which provides the thread to return to when it goes down its many rabbit holes.
There’s so much in each issue but did you have to leave anything out?
I think it’s all in there bar some drawings I’d intended to act as chapter breaks in a graphic novel edition. All the pages were completed before the first issue was released, and they largely remained in that order, although there were some tweaks to make sure each issue contained a similar amount of material. The one thing I added was the very last page (the inside back cover of issue 5), which was done in the weeks before the fifth issue was released. In releasing Biggol over the course of 13 months, I ended up refining the work as each issue came out and was happier with the ending. A bit convoluted, but it worked.
How did you become involved with Carp Publishing Endeavours?
Initially, I tried to pitch a full Biggol graphic novel to publishers and sent off some hard copies I’d had printed, but there was zero interest, ha! Not that I blame them, it’s ridiculously niche.
I’ve known Josh Hicks (CPE CEO) a long time now. We’ve shared many a long trip to comic shows and are each other’s first port of call when it comes to notes on a new comic. He’d set up Carp Publishing Endeavours in order to distribute the hardback collection of Glorious Wrestling Alliance and offered to put Biggol out in pamphlet form as CPE’s first original work. I definitely feel that the Hicks seal of approval has made a big difference when it comes to reviews and coverage, especially compared to previous self-published work, plus having another person to filter ideas and offer feedback is always helpful.
I should also give you and your website (as well as Pipedream Comics and Broken Frontier) some public thanks for supporting Biggol. Without comic shows, it’s really been the only way to get the word out there.
Will we see more from the Biggol characters?
Never say never, but I can’t imagine it at the moment. I don’t think a single stone was left unturned in that world. Maybe they’d work in a different medium, but I don’t have any plans for that right now either.
What else are you working on just now?
I’ve got a few ideas in various stages of development. The one that’s most likely to be completed first is a single-issue story, similar in tone to Biggol, that’s set in the world of comics. I find it easier to finish stuff when there’s a comics show deadline to aim for, so fingers crossed it’ll be done by Thought Bubble. Unless a publisher would like to offer me a massive advance, I think I’ll be sticking to shorter works for a while now.
MASSIVE thanks to Ioan for taking the time to chat all about Biggol and you can get hold of the issues over on the Carp Publishing Endeavours website. You can also keep tabs on what else Ioan & CPE are working on through the links below: