At London’s MCM Expo I was able to sit down with Peter Cooper, writer for 3rd Phase Studios, and pick his brain on the British Comic Industry.
There is so much great work going on in the British independent industry at the moment as creators are finding new ways to fund their projects. 3rd Phase Studios is one such company that found it’s funding on Kickstarter. 3rd Phase Studios specialise in sci-fi comic books and graphic novels, just one of the sub-genres growing in the British independent industry. At this year’s London MCM Expo I managed to secure an interview with talented writer Peter Cooper who had some great insight into the currently British Comic scene. Going into the interview I wanted to find out about Peter’s experiences with Kickstarter and what he thought drew fans to 3rd Phase Studios work:
PL: As you have gone through the process of crowd funding (through schemes such as Kick Starter) yourself, how useful would you say that is to British comic book creators?
PC: It’s a really important resource. Not just because it allows people to generate funds for their own projects but also because it has its own entrenched community, which the creators then have access to. If you’re a fledgling artist trying to get out there and trying to make a start, it’s a great way of getting noticed and building up your own following. Especially if you’re less savvy with social media. Even if you are an established artist it’s a great way of reminding people that you are still out there creating new things. Personally, I’m really happy crowd funding is there because it gives access to a whole new world of creativity.
PL: Would you say that to inform and mould your own creative projects?
PC: I would say so. I mean, in terms of inspiration, you see so many new creators on there working on whole new stories with really interesting art styles. It’s really great to see what other creators are doing, both across the UK and worldwide. There are creators from all over the world taking a chance on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It’s really useful.
PL: Fantastic, would you describe the British Independent Industry as growing?
PC: Absolutely. Every single year we come here to London Comic Con and we travel all around the world to New York and places like that, in fact we’re hoping to go to Japan next year. Every year this convention gets larger you see that, not just in sales, but you also see it in the space this place takes up. Every year, it takes a little bit more of the hall, it gets a little bit longer, a bit larger, a few more stands here and there. That is a great indication that there is not just a growing interest in the convention in general but also the comic village, which seems to get larger too. There are all these new faces coming in, new people looking to create stories and get their stories out there. That is always a fantastic thing!
PL: Do you think readers are looking for graphic novels based around different genres instead of just the typical super hero books?
PC: Given the fact that I create sci-fi epics, absolutely. It’s really interesting, we get a lot of people who will come over and be like ‘wow, you’re creating a book that isn’t capes, that’s really interesting.’ And there are so many people going around looking for a sci-fi book, there aren’t many out there. Same as there aren’t that many ‘slice of life’ comedies, or things like that. The great thing about Comic Village is the fact you see so many different kinds of stories out there. Whereas if you go out to New York Comic Con, very often you will see Marvel and DC over and over again. You see a lot of fan art out there, which is good because it shows a really love for the media and the characters we all know and love. However, here at comics’ village, there is actually a ban on fan art. If you look around all the stalls here you will not see a single piece of fan art. That’s because London MCM Expo is trying to promote new IP’s and new stories. I’m all for that. That’s what keeps the comics industry and this environment from growing stale.
PL: How important would you say social media is to a creator in the industry at the moment?
PC: That’s a difficult one. If you want to maintain your following and you want to get people talking about you or to you, about what it is you’re creating, then you need to have social media. It’s great to be at London MCM Expo in person. That’s one of the reasons Adam and I always come over here. It’s a great opportunity to talk to your fans, to engage with fellow creators and followers. To be able to do that on the digital plane, as well as here, it’s really important if you’re going to try and make a go of it.
PL: How would you describe the MCM Comic Village and how important do you think it is to you as a creator?
PC: It’s a really really positive environment. It’s a creative environment. I have not met a single person here who I have not liked. That’s a really important thing. There is a really strong community spirt in comic’s village and everyone mucks in, everyone is really positive and shares their work. It’s a brilliant environment that supports the entirety of the industry and supports each other.
PL: Would you say that is indicative of the comics industry in general?
PC: Maybe not. But to some degree this is our industry. There are not that many independent British creators out there, especially not in comic book stores or on shelves. Our book isn’t in comic book stores right now, I wish it was. To be able to come to these events and engage with these other creators year in year out. That’s one of the reasons I keep doing it.
PL: Amazing. Finally, are there any projects that you would like to tell our readers about?
PC: Well we’ve got two books currently, our big book is ‘TELIKOS PROTOCOL’. Which is a Sci-Fi epic adventure on the grandest scale, if you like aliens, explosions and all that stuff, then go for that. We also have a new book called ‘Drone’ which we just have the first issue of, so far. Both were funded on Kickstarter, so both of them are real ‘grassroots’ stuff, with fantastic art work by Adam Burn, certainly worth a look.
How can you get involved?
If you’re looking to pursue the industry it really is worth picking up ‘TELIKOS PROTOCOL’ as it serves as a great example of Sci-fi work in the industry. You can also follow Peter Cooper and the rest of the 3rd Phase Studios team on their website at: http://3rdphasestudios.com/ and on Twitter at: @3rdphasestudios. If you want to locate your nearest convention try: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com and check out my article on London’s MCM Expo here.
Photos by William Shacklady