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Home ¦ Features ¦ Nigel Kitching Interview Part 2

Nigel Kithing - A 2000 AD Review Interview

24 May 04

Back to Part 1

The Light Brigade
Skully from The Light Brigade
2ADR: How would you say the world of comics differs from your previous work in the world of advertising?

N K: Ah yes, my work in the World of Advertising… how easy it would be (and has been in the past) to make this previous career sound ever so glamorous. The first thing I should tell you is that the office was in Darlington. This should give you a clue as to how grand this job actually was. I spent most of my time doing press ads for local hi-fi retailers and garages. More than once I have produced the headline ‘Super-Special Summer Savings’. I suppose I did work on some biggish jobs – I once lost the agency quite a bit of cash by changing all the prices on an ad so they were wrong. It’s a long story but rest assured it wasn’t my fault. I really wasn’t a great talent but there was one thing I could do that gave me the edge. I could do the whole job – I could meet up with the client take the brief, work out how to spend the budget, produce the artwork, write the copy, book the space – the lot. And let’s face it, creativity wasn’t required and wouldn’t have been appreciated anyway.

But the main difference was that when I quit I got away from all that shitty office politics stuff.

2AD R: Your first comics work was Nimrod, although your first professional work was for Harrier Comics. How did these come about, and was your initial experience in the world of comics all you’d expected?

Nimrod - Nigel Kitching's first strip
(view larger version)

N K: Nobody should know about Nimrod… where did you get this stuff?

Nimrod was a strip for a fanzine whose editor worked in a comic shop in Darlington which was how I came to meet him. It was a sci-fi thing rather inspired by Kirby’s New Gods. Actually one scene in the first episode is so close to a scene in Miracle/Marvel Man I’d really like to believe Alan Moore ripped me off…

Harrier: I don’t really remember how this came about. I had been sending illustrations to fanzines and I think this came as a result. Harrier can only be counted as ‘professional’ work because I was paid for one page - £9, I think it was.

I really don’t know what I expected really. I had the idea that I was taking the first steps towards real comic book work, I suppose. I really wasn’t any kind of overnight success, was I? A friend tells me that I am just stubborn and there may be some truth in that.

2ADR: Your next work was on The Light Brigade with a pre-Sandman/Miracleman Neil Gaiman, for the aborted Borderline anthology. It ended up being produced in the self-titled Trident anthology. Was the cessation in activities hard to deal with in a strip already someway towards completion?

The Light Brigade
Panel from The Light Brigade by D'israeli
(view full unpublished page)
N K: I’d drawn 12 pages of the Light Brigade when we finally realised that there was actually no financial footing to Borderline. I’m sure I was bitterly disappointed when it all fell apart. Funny how you don’t remember these disappointments clearly over time. Maybe it isn’t really healthy to dwell on such things.

2AD R: What was it like to work with a pre-fame Neil Gaiman, and how did you find coping with writing on your own after the second issue?

N K: Neil is just Neil. He’s full of himself and, as Jonathan Ross says, his own biggest fan. Some people don’t like that but it doesn’t bother me. When Neil and I were working on The Light Brigade one of the first things he made clear was that we would share the copyright 50/50. Only right, of course, but I liked his attitude. When Neil wasn’t able to continue writing The Light Brigade he had a replacement writer lined up which didn’t please me as I figured I could write my own stuff. Still, Neil didn’t force the issue and so I took over. Early on Neil would edit my scripts but I soon realised that I really needed to handle the strip in my own way and I was better off taking control. Neil and I are quite different writers. For one thing Neil’s a very successful writer…

But I like Neil Gaiman. He was always very helpful to other people and introduced quite a few people to DC who went on to get work there. He introduced me to DC with a very complimentary opinion of my artwork. The editor in question looked through my stuff with the strained patience that you often see in this kind of situation. Once Neil was out of earshot she gave me a steely look and told me my work was too ‘off-centre’ for Vertigo. Which was ridiculous, my work wasn’t too off-centre it was just too crappy.

2AD R: You also drew The Saviour for Trident, written by Mark Millar. How did you find this as an experience, and what was Millar like to work with as a writer?

Image from the unpublished final issue of Saviour
(View larger image)

N K: Mark’s a nice guy. Not at all the sort of person you would imagine from his writing style. His scripts were always very professional – everything you needed was there and it all worked as far as the artwork was concerned. He’s the sort of person who can get straight down to work first thing in the morning without all that desperate staring blankly into the mid-distance business that I go in for. When I stayed with him once I saw him finish up a proposal in no time at all. It was like all the ideas were there perfectly formed in him mind. Quite different to me again.


Go to part 3

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Original content (c) 2002 Gavin Hanly (contact 2000AD Review).