While contrOVersy still rages around Cut's decision to run (irant Morrison and Steve YCowell’s strip The New Adventures ()fHu/t'r. a rather more benign 30th(‘entury icon is treading the streets Ol ( ilasgow . lar lrom his home turf. The ligure. his seedy mac bathed in the glow ol a streetlight. lights another cigarette and sets oll through a metropolis that‘s caught between its No Menu ( 'r‘ty‘ stereotype and its updated image as a place ol garden lestiy‘als and culture.
l lc's 'l'lie Bugle .lltur. the perennial layourite ol nostalgic moy'ie btrlls titttl dctectiy'e Itoy'el latts. transplanted lrom the old Bogart llicks by three ol the leading lights ol British comics. Scots writers .lohn Wagner“ and Alan ( irant and artist Robin Sriiith ( lrom l.iy‘erpool ). who hay'e all distinguished themsely'es on the pages ol the cy'er-popular 2000.41). It‘s also the lirst publishing y‘enture ol l’at .\lan l’r‘ess. run lrom the AKA comics shop in ( ilasgow ‘s Stockw'cll Street.
Now about to enter their lor‘ties. (irarit and Wagner can look back with a certain satislaction on the impact they"y‘e made our the last ten years. (irccriock-born \Vagner created Judge Dredd ( the neo-lascist cop w ho is 'l‘he law . arid enlorces it by all rriearis necessary) and co-w rote the strip with (irant lor eight years. l’hey write it alternater now . btit so w ell do their styles doy‘etail that it‘s hard to tell who‘s written which story without checking the credits.
As ilto cap all this. ( irant recently realised a long-held ambition by beingcommissioned towritc latmari in Detect/w ( 'omrt'y. ’l haye more work than I can handle.‘ he says. ‘and the more work I get the more I manage to do.‘ A repetitiye
strain iniury in his wrist is testament
to this. but he hasn't always lound it
"l'he idea ol Illlt’ Bugle .lltni w as lirst raised between John and I about the years ago. when we were determined to spread our careers abroad. We had a hit in this country Witlt Judge [)I't’tltl. lttlt we wanted to work lor American companies as well. llowey'er'. all that the major publishing companies wanted at that time were superheroes or mutant stories. And although .lohri and 1 both hay e a lot ol experience w riting that kind olthing. and we etiioy it. we wanted to do something dillerent. So we came tip w ith this idea lor the Bogie Mari which w as to be set in Arrierica. \Vc wrote ptit't ol the lirst script and sent it oll w ith high hopes around the American companies. along with two other proposals that we‘d come tip with. The Bugle .litur was the third proposal and out ol all olthem it was the one which really made us laugh. Although it was widely admired by the editors who had read it they said they couldn‘t see their companies publishing that type ol material. it was just so tar outside the mainstream.‘
'l'he idea lay in their lilcs tor some years. until Robin Smith. lor reasons unknown. suggested they re-established the character in (ilasgow. Suddenly ey'erything clicked. ‘ll someone had suggested
6'rite list 14 dimly rust)
'l‘he Bogie Man is the latest hoiiie—grow n strip in a comic-book renaissance. \‘y'riter Alan (irant (who is also a writer lor Batman and .ludge l)redd) tells Alastair Mabbott how the man in the mac swapped the
l lollywood l lills lor a ci
that to us try e years ago l think w e might'y'e hit lucky with the ~cr ip'. then. because it was the added elerrient that the story nee-led. it sc‘ it somewhere botli ol tis knew f Although tarrriliar‘ enough w tilt the \Vest ( 'oast. Alan ( tram grew up outside l'dinbur‘gh ur the mining yillageot \eyytorrgrarige. and quickly deyeloped an urrtiuenr habl thirst lor'readingmaterial. deyouring not only eycry corrrrr. within reach btit eycrythuig he eoulrl get his handsori. ‘.‘\ly lather wa- .1 cowboy book larratic. I read eyei y cowboy book that he got trorrr ihr. library. and when l truished them l went on to my mother r'orrrariirc s hart two daughter s the same age as !Il'.
noyels. A lrreiid ot my rrio‘hcr
brother and I. so each week w e parcelledupourcoirrics oar llrll\/)1H'\;tlltllit/r’)'\ themwiththcgirlsand li’rmtys arid/rtrt'ys and all tlrc rest if It.
It sounds like a tarrly good
rllltl \‘vl. tl‘lir'r“
grounding lor the krrrd ot genre wot l. he would do w hen he star tcrl r lltll.j himsell. ( ir‘ant laughs a lillle' deletisiyely at the thought.
‘\\'cll. I guess so. yes. but ll wasn't deliberate at the time l r arr rerrierribcr by people like .lohii \\ .rgrrcr azrrl (Slit/(IAN lotirider t l’at \lills always much more impressed yy Ill) the girls' comics. l he actual stt ir res w ere much. much better w r'
lltt\t\.ic‘l'.l.ill_". rcpeai “
ty ol precious lew heroes.
'h. stories in the boys comics; they
«.‘ti-rrr rather than
‘." 1. r 'roritorthcrrthrills.‘ l.tl‘r. .ﬁrarsrruirtesrrr l )(' lhorrruruV l lK tioril>cpartirient.
yy her; he rust met the youuglohrr
\\ri:'ttyi.1‘tw‘ irlc'tlri'tedll‘. ilt‘i‘tl
1r tram: .‘tc'rrrr". bat lll‘-lll\l attempt toyyrt'_m ~~ rsirvarl'. lirsl t‘l. lyyclycrrrs ..|rr‘crrts r' a‘r‘.orls.bascd
on t Ils er. tutttrwlr wa srr't titutc
'.\lt.tl 1h. trunk-e ‘urserl Heater»
t‘ti xy i“hull-all;lytl.l‘lll(il'ttlll
hr: hehadnotutur'e it‘sasltttt'wtllct llett“st‘ttttyletll‘y lltttr“.iltt_‘ltlltisc‘ll intotheworldol worn; i\llcllllll.llltt'.lllL'ltlll)( to with-st tries with iitleslikc'l ‘ylairi; ta ll -llis \rrgr‘l~ and 'l Stole to ll .ar \rwrtiorr‘ lor rrraga/incs of ‘lly / «tit/1.} and //:'/tr". type. “'l llrrgw
rrry Baby olt tliel oudou orreot mine.~ he recalls. l lrgy might hay c changed that one. 'ar:lly . but the'. published it.. (t: trrf7 it."~.' .rthirrpt at corrricsy‘.rituigcorrrcidcdwiththe
adycrrt o. the photorstrip. which hit
th: rrzart. :1 like aneyplodirigshell. lt w is tirewrorrg Titrrctostat‘t.atttl. lr-rllusrtrreri.hegay;uparidrrioyed lult t. rror'lz \t 'htspoirit .lohri \‘y.t;‘tt.'l.\‘ltr'tlltllke'(ilktltllldtll‘c‘e'tl
‘yorkirr rrr illtlcsall along.
re err“. is the toiy. \\ agitet called lr'. Ill fr W‘st‘r 'o care til d [‘tl//le‘s rrragaxrrre. lrectiuseihethen—new .ft/W l/twsrs taking upso much ol his
warts surprise ( Itattt touud he
w as quite adept at making up puzzles and. despite haying no liking for them at all. sold them by the hundred. l‘his somehow led to a scripting iob tor ll’("s lirrztm and an eight-and-a-hall-year partnership with \Vagner. working lrom the latter‘s rambling larmhouse. In the last 1S months they haye worked independently ol each other. but reumtcd tor Hie li’ogic .lltm.
llie creators are members ol a kind ol elite. though ten years ago they would hay e laughed at the idea that they could get so much personal
adulation lrom their comics work. l luge crow ds ol tip to a couple ol thousandcan swarm toasigning session; Alan ( trant is routinely asked to address places like llatlield l’olytechnicand(arribridge l'niy ersrty Science l‘iction (‘lub. to namebut two.
‘lt constantly surprises rue how much people think ol us because ol w hat yye do. ll we wanted to we‘d lirid it quite easy to get on tclcy‘isiori. and the local papers just run a teature on rrre. and people phone up and say . w ill you do this or will you come on that. Without being rude about it. most ol it is a waste oltime. It may w ell spread an appreciation ol comics btit it doesn‘t actually sell any more comics ol a particular type specilrcally the ones that I write. I think that ll you like the idea ol lame you cart cary e your‘scll a yery nice
career in comics. Some people are actually held in adulation. they are idolised I‘m glad that I‘m not.‘
\cy erthcless. the high prolile ol creator‘s is an indication ol how healthy the scene is. A lew years ago it would hay c been insane lor‘ l‘at \lan l’ress to try something so ambitious.
‘Vyc thought that it was going to be a tair'ly small—scale allair in comic terms, \\ e were thinking in terms ol selling about .‘ylllllltlcopies olit. but the interest that‘s been shown eyerywhere isabsolutely phenorrierial. And we beliey'e that they 're going tor a lirst print run ol llllHlHH. which is incredible.
-thtlgl/l only sells llllHllllla week and that's .15 pence. When you think that it‘s a comic yy hicli is being done on such a superlicially small scale by a small shop in ( tlasgow. they are actually out there competing with the big boys right lrom the start. Our e\pcelatiotts haye risen with the interest that‘s been shown in it.‘
Btit is it. potential readers will want‘ to know . Bogie himsell prowling around ( ilasgow . an obsessiy'c irrritator. oracharacter without any prior know ledge ol the chainrsrrrokinggumshoe'.’
‘l le may seem like a stereotype l lurrrphrcy Bogart dctectiy'e.‘ answers ( irant. ‘but about hallway through the lirst issue the plot takes a lrs‘t l-degr‘ee turn. and you’ll see he‘s anythingbiit.‘
“Hie li’ogle .lltm' Lyt1_/our—r'.ypyiu'series pub/[slim] by [in Man l’rt'spy‘, (i/useoii', 1/. .L’ h repugt's. ’l'Ilt’ﬁrs't Lyytlt’ tip/rears lateJu/yfrtmz newyttgt'ntsp ( 'mrlucl .‘l Rxl ('(miics, liter/1111Street. (ii'tisgowg 552 373/ tortm'I/rt’r (fetal/s.