Saturday 28 April 2012


ROUGH Cut Comics celebrated World Book Night at a special event held at Meadowbank Library in Polmont.

Organisers brought us together with fellow Glasgow publishers Metaphrog, ex-2000AD editor Dave Bishop and new Scottish outfit Emancipation Studios to promote comic-books and graphic novels within this annual promotion for the written word.

Q&A: World Book Night panel (from left to right) Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers (Metaphrog) Ed Murphy
(Rough Cut Comics Publisher), James Lundy (Emancipation Studios) and Dave Bishop (ex-2000AD Editor).
The event attracted an enthusiastic crowd on a Saturday evening … all of whom were keen to get a ‘behind the scenes’ view of comic publishing.

Metaphrog creators John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs always provide a fantastic peek behind that curtain with their highly imaginative workshops surrounding the creation of their hugely successful Louis books – Louis: Red Letter Day, Louis: Lying To Clive, Louis: The Clown’s Last Word and Louis: Dreams Never Die.

Metaphrog were commissioned to adapt The First Men of Mercury, a poem by Edwin Morgan into comic-form, and their work was distributed to secondary schools in Glasgow … and this emphasises their commitment to educating youngsters in the merits of the comic-book format as a means of communication.

Since 2008, Rough Cut Comics has concentrated on producing its artwork in the format of graphic novels … the cumulative effects of manufacturing comic-books for ten years now.

But it’s not only our collected works in its trade paperback form. We chose to produce ROSE BLACK: DEMON SEED as an original graphic novel; and although we missed out a three-issue mini-series in the marketplace, the book has made a bigger impact in terms of graphic novel presentation.

The World Book Night event gave us a unique opportunity to talk with “book readers” as opposed to “comic readers” … and unfortunately, there’s still a distinction.

But thanks to the influence of the library (Polmont has a large and varied selection of graphic novels) and Waterstones (who also had a stall at the World Book Night event) that distinction is becoming a little more blurred.

The Q and A at the end of the evening underlined the ever-growing influence of comic-books amongst library users.

And that’s something that must encourage further growth within the UK’s comic-book market.

Great new companies like West Lothian-based Emancipation Studios, run by lifelong ‘fan-boy’ James Lundy who also operates the Heroes and Idols site, is a perfect example of its growing form in the marketplace.  It was great to see youngsters get a ‘behind the scenes’ glance at the workings of comic-book writer/publisher … as James has just penned his company’s first title Wired.

Rough Cut Comics introduced many new readers to our graphic novel THE SURGEON, which received an introduction from Ramsey Campbell on its recent reprinting. In light of the new Avengers movie, youngsters also grappled on to our FREEDOM COLLECTIVE comic-book; a direct tribute to the legends of creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

These events are great opportunities to discuss the books we make with the people we are pitching to … and there are so many we haven’t yet reached.

I’d like to thank the organisers/staff who ran this hugely worthwhile comic-book event. They provided a great environment to talk “comics” and we were thankful to get the opportunity to promote Rough Cut Comics.

Friday 13 April 2012

BRITISH model Amanda Swan is being presented in her first comic-book title AMANDA SWAN: THE HELLFIRE LEGACY, published by Rough Cut Comics.

Amanda is known mostly for her sensational photographic work produced all over the world. She also featured as the ‘Modigliani’ model on the Sky Arts series in which notorious art forger John Myatt teaches aspiring artists how to paint in the style of the greatest artists.

For the new comic title, Amanda is recreated as a mysterious vigilante whose origins appear to date back to the Hellfire Club of Victorian London.

The dark thriller has been pitched as an amalgam of Highlander and From Hell … featuring an iconic heroine who is crossed between Cat Woman and Lara Croft.

Here, we interview Amanda about her work on the comic-book and her comic influences …

So Amanda, how did you manage to become a comic-book heroine?

 I was initially approached by Rough Cut Comics to portray one of their own comic-book characters at photographic shoots and live events. I’ve always thought of myself modelling ‘in character’, so this was something which really interested me. But during discussions for this, we brought up the idea of allowing me to be portrayed as a character in my own comic. We spoke about what kind of character I’d like to be and what my interests would be. They showed me a script, which I loved …and then, we were off and running.

How does it feel to be a comic-book character?

I’m used to seeing photographs of myself in all kinds of dynamic poses. But it’s really strange to see yourself drawn and coloured. I suppose if I was acting in a movie, I’d have been involved in ‘recreating’ these big action scenes in the story. So it was strange seeing me riding through the streets of London on a motorcycle at high speeds; climbing up tall buildings and fighting with guns and knives. It was wicked.

Did you read comics as a child?

You know, I was really more into books than comics. I was never out of the public library and if I had one wish as a child, it would have been to have my OWN library with thousands of books. I loved Enid Blyton and Hans Christian Anderson … lots of childhood folklore stories. But I used to get those comic-book annuals which would have been a collection of the weekly comic-book stories. They were always popular at Christmas-time.

What did you read? Anything we’d know?

I never read Marvel or DC Comics, which were very popular. I wasn’t really interested in the likes of Spiderman or Wonder Woman. I think my favourites would have comics which names like Bunty, Mandy and Judy. I liked ‘girlie’ comics, but there was one called Misty, which were slightly more supernatural stories. But these reminded me a lot of the Famous Five stories, which were a favourite of mine.

You definitely have a comic-book heroine’s figure. How do you maintain it?

Honestly, I don’t do anything. I think this is just my natural physique. I don’t exercise much these days, but I try to eat the right foods and maintain a healthy living. I’ve always been well-proportioned and when I do put on any weight, it seems to go to the right places. I think I am very lucky that way.

What would you like to see your character doing in future comics?

I like the idea of being a crime-fighter and standing up for the rights of the under-privileged. I think that’s something I really feel strongly about. But certainly, in comic-book terms, I’d like to perform more outrageous stunts and visit more exotic locations. The first one was set in London, but like a great James Bond movie, I’d like to see me somewhere like exotic India or Vienna. After all, it’s much cheaper to do these things in comics, isn’t it?

To purchase copy of AMANDA SWAN: THE HELLFIRE LEGACY priced £4.99, go to: