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“The Trigan Empire Inspired Me” – James’ Story

Remember why you liked comics in the first place?

Our Comics Empower Project continues!

This time, James tells his story:

When it came to creating the story world for my own comic book series, inspiration largely came from the deep, varied and intricate worlds of The Trigan Empire and Star Wars.

The version of “Trigan” that I had as a boy, was a huge hardback graphic novel about 4 cm deep, (pictured below).  It was made up from almost twenty years of weekly publications, from the mid sixties, right through to the early eighties.

Star Wars has been expanding and exploding for even longer.  But even at the first film, Star Wars hinted at a much wider universe, the possibilities of which are endlessly enthralling.

When it came to DC style comics, my favourite was, and always will be, Spider-Man.  He was always much more vulnerable than many other super heroes.  We can imagine ourselves as Peter Parker much easier than Superman or the Hulk.

The editions that I read saw him battle against villains such as Dr. Octopus and The Vulture.  Classic superhero stuff!  But Spidey always felt more down to Earth than other superheroes.  I love a bit of gritty realism mixed in with my fantasy.

But The Trigan Empire is unique.  It’s quite different from everything else out there.  More dated, perhaps (it’s old fashioned science-fiction), but inspiring nonetheless.  The detailed cityscapes (search Google images to see some), from that hefty hardback, stuck fast in the back of my mind.  So when it came to designing and writing the script for my comic book Kroma, mental snapshots from long forgotten storylines came to the forefront and inspired the establishing shots.

As well as those already mentioned, my youth was also filled with Tintin and Asterix books, I found Tintin to be more adventurous than the average superhero comic churned out by Marvel and DC.  The adventures crossed borders and dealt with a wide range of bad guys, fascinating, but with an injection of humour.  I guess it was my destiny to engage in adventurous travels abroad after loving Herge’s Adventures of Tintin so much.

During the late eighties and nineties, I discovered Judge Dredd and the Sandman; modern, off the wall, with obscure characters and stories.

That new wave of comic/ graphic novel lives an in entirely different world.  I don’t know a lot about that genre, but the concept of other realities and levels of consciousness just beneath the mundane of our day to day lives, is tantalising escapism with a touch of class.

Still, The Trigan Empire dominates when it comes to what inspires the look of Kroma.  Perhaps the others will inspire my next project, whatever that may be.

I haven’t seen a copy of “Trigan” for about twenty years, (I can barely remember the actual stories from the odd mix of mythological Roman centurions set in space), the imagery is still there, hinting at its epic, fascinating and deep story world.

Subconsciously, I must have always wanted to create a world like that.  And all these years later I’ve finally begun my own odyssey.

James Dee, London, UK

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Category: Comics Empower