Comic Book Illustrator
Comic Book Illustrator at CM Comics
Nor the never ending propoganda comics about the 2nd world war.
I loved the flashy, full colour American comics. With heroes who had fantastic powers. Led soap opera type lives. My uncles were all in the Merchant Navy. So I was supplied with all the comics they could bring home for me.
Spiderman and X-Men
When I left the world of Computer Graphics in the early 90s. I was unsure what I wanted to do next.
I’d gained a lot of confidence as the Artistic Director at Probe Research. I was determined to make good use of it. Being a comic book illustrator had so far only been a dream though.
So at 50 decided I’d had enough of carrying his name around with me. I went back to my original birth name of Chris Ryan. Anyway – I put together a comic.
Brit Force was the comic. It was a take on the X-Men, but a British team of heroes. 30 pages, black and white, pencilled, written and edited by me. With the dummy copy in place I set about getting feedback and orders. It was good. I went for my first print and sold in this country through Virgin Megastore and Hamleys toy shop in London mainly.
The CM Comics Line
The Brit Force comic was handled through 2 of the largest ditribution companies. Diamond Comics and Capital City.
At the time in the UK no other comic company was doing what I was doing. Because Brit Force sold well. I thought hell why not do more comics. I took on some of the best freelancers around the UK. My home at Maybush in Southampton became a veritable comicbook factory. 12 different titles a month at our peak. Most of which I wrote but could never have drawn them all. We had Alley Cat, Wild Card, Stray Dogs, Death Heart, The Monoverse, Brit Force, Lionheart, Stonehenge. We were even able to start doing colour covers.
America has a top 100 list of comic books rather like the record charts and Brit Force was actually outselling the major British comic Judge Dredd/2000 A.D from IPC Magazines in London.
Looking back I was being over ambitious far too early. Which meant I was over stretched. When the bubble burst I had no protection. The bubble did burst.
Comic Book Distributors
The big boys were getting fed up of sharing their spots with the small independents. While they couldnt just wipe them out they had other ways of getting rid of all but the very cash rich ones.
They pushed Diamond and Capital to raise the limits of issues needed to be ordered by the American stores and almost do it overnight. They raised the numbers to something ridiculous. I didn’t meet that criteria. Along with many other companies and they dropped the CM Comics range.
Titles at the printers that had to be paid for. All of them cancelled in one fell swoop. Trust me it was a lot of money.
To cut a long story short. CM Comics was bust and so was I. It resulted in me going bankrupt. Do I regret it? not even slightly. It fulfilled a dream and regardless of what happened it was a blast, and a brilliant experience!