Talking to Ed Doyle has been amazing. Ed has been the creator of modern UK comics for some time. I asked Ed to tell me a little about himself. His answers were wonderful, I wished to find out a little about the man before chatting about other things.
"I love chicken curry. My least fave movie was the last Avatar as it was the same as the first only with fish." ..and that is a perfectly fine comment.
Note: Sentinel founders, Alan Holloway on the left and Ed Doyle on the right.
Paul: Could you please describe how your relationship with comics began? What might have been your very first comics? How much might they have cost you and where were they from?
Ed:. My love for comics started with Prog 1 of 2000AD. At the princely sum of 8p I was transported to a world filled with Dinosaurs, space adventures and tons of Sci fi goodness. I was mesmerised by the pages of art that I was looking at. It just popped out from the shelves at my local Newsagents amongst all the other titles that were on display.
Paul: Can I ask if there were any artists or writers that truly inspired or impressed you at a young age?
Ed: Brian Bolland, Mick McMahon, Dave Gibbons. Their art was so different to each other but I liked that variety. I was amazed at the amount of detail they could put into each panel, unbeknownst to me that they drew double the size of the printed page. Any time I got my copy of 2000AD, I would go home, have a good read of it and started copying the art that I seen.
Paul: As a creative person, how do you describe youself? Are you an artist? A Writer? An editor? Is there a label you prefer?
Ed: Artist. I love drawing and entertaining people with the work I do, be it comic strips or single illustrations.
Paul: Would it be fair to to say you had a creative relationship with a wonderful man known to many as Bolt 01?
Ed: I did. I first got in touch with Dave Evans back in 2019. He had seen some of myself and Alan's work. We started emailing each other and Dave sent me a script to work on. It was Bonjo from Beyond the Stars written by Matt Sharp. It suited my cartoony style so I drew it and sent it back to Dave. He liked it and printed it in Issue 35 of Zarjaz.
Photo Credit with thanks: Jeremy Briggs
Paul: Can you describe Dave Evans a little please?
Ed:I never spoke to him in person, only via emails but the vibe I got was a guy who knew his comics and who loved helping those starting out in comics by getting their work published in his fanzines, Zarjaz, Dogbreath and Futurequake. Plus talking to others who knew him very well. We were to meet up at Lawless Comic Con in 2020 but the pandemic came along and that was that Dave. He was very encouraging. He would point things out regarding the strip work. Suggest changes to a scene etc. He was a good editor. Alan knew him personally so he would have a much better insight.
Paul: Could you please desribe the book you carefully created in Mr Evan's name and what it means to you please?
Ed: Back in 2022, I suggested to Alan that we should create a tribute magazine to honour Dave Evans who was also known as Bolt-1 and get those artists and writers who contributed to his 2000AD fanzines Zarjaz and Dogbreath, to contribute to this. Firstly we asked permission from Dave's family to do this and they agreed. So we put out the call online via Facebook and we were overwhelmed by the response from the Indie Comics community and also from professional comic book artists and writers too. Our plan was to have a 64 soft cover mag.
Paul: Please tell me more.
Ed: Then we decided , since we both loved the 2000AD annual back in the day, to go with that style. As more strips started to come in, the page count increased. From 64 pages it went to 96 and finally ended up with a 146 page tome. It was also decided that proceeds from the sale of this annual would all go to charity and Dave's family nominated the charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. In the end we got 60 contributors who provided original strips both in colour and black and white, varying in length from 1 page to 7 pages . Plus single pin up art pages too. All genres catered for from Sci Fi to Horror. I'm very proud of this book and the way everyone rallied together to get it done in honour of Dave.
Paul: It goes to show how nice the people in the comic industry generally can be I think. Is there a chance of a second printing run of the book?
Ed: No that is it. We printed 200 copies. All individually numbered. When it's gone, it's gone
Paul: Has there been any talk about a sequel. Being produced in a Annual format it feels a sensible question?
Ed: Yes there has been talk, surprise surprise but we feel this is a unique one off tribute.
Paul: Maybe a director's cut of the book with extra content?
Ed: I think it's a fairly jammed pack publication as it is. 30 comic strips, 13 pin ups and a lovely feature on Dave's Doodles. For those who don't know Dave, he would do a drawing of a comic book character on a post-it note and send it to those who bought a copy of Zarjaz, Dogbreath or FutureQuake. It was a nice personal touch.
Paul: Was was there any content for the book you declined or thought was not right for publication?
Ed:Yes. Some had drawn 2000AD related strips. We couldn't use those as we were not allowed by Rebellion. Even though Dave's Zarjaz and Dogbreath fanzine were 2000AD related, we couldn't carry on them. So all strips in Bolt-01 are totally original strips, creator owned I might add.
Paul: Is there a chance the 2000AD related strips might see the light of day of one day, perhaps online?
Ed: Not with us but Sector 13, the 2000AD fanzine published in Belfast, will probably have them. I know for Issue 7 (out 4th of June) they have the original cover image that David Broughton created for Bolt-01 at the start featuring Dave with a few 2000AD characters that unfortunately we couldn't use.
Paul: What comics do you read currently? Are you a DC or Marvel fan?
Ed: I'm not a big superhero fan. I tend to read Indie Comics, more variety in stories and art. Fave comic for me is Cinecrypt by Ash Redburn. It's a horror comic based on schlock 70s and 80s movies done in a photo strip style. Brilliant.
Paul: What is your opinion about digital comics? Do you prefer reading paper comics or do you like reading comics on a laptop or tablet?
Ed: I'm old school. I like to hold a physical copy in my hands. Digital versions are cool for those who prefer them.
Paul: For my almost last question I must ask. I apologise. You said you are not into superheroes, but I ask everyone. If you could have any superpower what what would it be?
Ed: Speed so I could drawing a 96 page graphic novel in an hour
Paul: My final question is simple. What does the future hold for Ed Doyle? Is there anything in the works? Or is there anything you would like to utterly shamelessly promote?
Ed: Myself and Alan are working on 2 strips for 2 separate anthologies. One is a western horror strip for Paul Deadeye's Grimm Prairie Trails and the other is a fully digitally painted horror strip for Pete Howard's Splatterpunk anthology. Both hopefully out the end of the year.
Paul: Thank you for you time sir.
Ed: My Pleasure Paul