Hello everyone, Carlos here. Over the past 2 years I’ve been working on the Brighton’s Graphic War Project, a collaborative anthology of Graphic Novel stories written by young people, set in Brighton and Hove during World War 1. It’s great to see it finally published, in both Print and eBook form.
This is where it all started. This year had a lot of stuff about WW1 going on, on TV, in Museums and the like. It was the centenary of the start of the war. I was lucky enough to meet the QueenSpark Books staff when they visited my school.
Originally, my story was very different. My Oscar counterpart did actually have psychic powers and the story was set in the trenches. Still, the basic idea of my protagonist creating the legend of the Angel of Mons was there. I signed up for the full project and that’s where it really started.
I stuck with the idea of doing something based on a World War 1 Ghost story or supernatural story.
I brought up my ideas in a meeting in early 2015 at The Keep, and wrote a draft shortly afterwards. My first version of Oscar was actually called John! He still had psychic powers at this point.
By July 2015, the story was closer to the published version. Still set in the Trenches, John was now called Oscar and was a stage magician rather than a man with psychic powers. Originally, Oscar made the film whilst on the battlefield, rather than having it pre-recorded.
My story originally didn’t have much of a connection to Brighton, which would be needed for my story to make the cut. I researched some pre-World War One Ghost Stories in Preston Manor, and they formed Oscar’s backstory. Since ‘The Bowmen’, another famous adaptation of the Legend, might have not been in the public domain by this point, this made the stories different enough to be published.
Late in 2015, the story took on a shape similar to the one it was published in. The main differences were that the ending was longer, the middle of the story was still set in the Trenches and the title was “The Magician’s Ghost” not “The Flickering Phantoms”.
Towards the end of this year, we were assigned artists as partners. I was teamed up with James, who was also working on a script of his own for the book, as well as illustrating my story. Hats off to him!
Early in 2016, I was sent an email asking me to add more text to make it more clear what was happening. I added some text, but told the staff I wanted to keep the story “ambiguously supernatural”, for lack of a better term. I wanted people to wonder if there were real ghosts or not. The staff understood and agreed, and were fine with it.
Shortly after, James sent me some emails with suggestions and improvements. In his brilliant research, he found out two things that became part of newer drafts of the story: 1. we might have to use artistic license for the pepper’s ghost trick as it requires a glass pane 2. The Battle of Mons took place within the City of Mons itself. He suggesting changing the action from the trenches or a rural setting to the city itself.
At first, I was unsure about the idea of changing the setting, but then I thought of something. The City would probably have glass windows for the Trick to work, and in my research, I had found out early film reels were quite flammable. What could be a more exciting climax than outrunning a fire in the city?
Also, around this time, I think I did my posing in WW1-period clothing, that was eventually used in my bio in the book and on the first page of Flickering Phantoms.
I kept improving and refining my script. I was glad to have my main script finally finished. After doing all that story writing, writing non-fiction about myself and what inspired me to do the story was a piece of cake. They asked us to do mini-bios about ourselves and annotations for panels. I easily did both in a few days!
That was it for Brighton’s Graphic War until the Launch in November.
On the 11th of November, Remembrance day, the book was finally launched. It was an epic feeling, seeing my work finally in print. I did an interview, I signed copies of the book, I got my own copy and a free copy of another Queenspark book of my choice!
Then I did so more signings on 12 November at Dave’s comic shop. It’s great to finally see my story in print and eBook form.
So that’s it for my Brighton’s Graphic War blog. I hope to collaborate with some of these people again.
Brighton’s Graphic War is available in print and eBook form, and will soon be available to borrow from Brighton & Hove Libraries. Five copies of this book will be distributed for free to every Primary and Secondary school in Brighton and Hove. eBook available for purchase here.
To visit QueenSpark Books’ project blog click here.