♦ Portsmouth Comic Con took place two weekends ago and here Tripwire’s editor-in-chief hosted a panel with Kingsman: The Red Diamond writer Rob Williams and artist Simon Fraser so here is the audio from that panel…
Welsh comic writer, Rob Williams kicked off his career writing Cla$$ War for Com.X, with artist Trevor Hairsine, Williams went on to work for 2000AD where he began his collaboration with artist Laurence Campbell, writing Judge Dredd, Low Life and Family for Rebellion.
Williams got into comics from journalism as he recalled in an interview with ScifiPulseNet back in 2014 which Downthetubes reproduced: “I was a journalist who had slipped into making corporate videos. That had me writing scripts for visuals, and I’d always been a comics fan, so I figured I’d try writing a script. That was Cla$$war #1. I had no idea what to do with it but a friend told me about a new British comics company starting up – Com.X. I gave them the script, fortunately they loved it and agreed to publish it, and when Cla$$war came out that led to work with 2000AD and it went from there. Over time my journalism work became less and my comics work increased.” downthetubes Rob Williams
In recent years, he has written DC’s Martian Manhunter, co-created Unfollow for Vertigo and is currently writing Suicide Squad, featuring Harley Quinn, for DC.
He was a reader of the 1980s Suicide Squad comic, which he revisited before he started his run on the book, he revealed to us in a chat we did with him back in 2016: “I reread the Ostrander/Mcdonnell run from the 80s, becuase that’s the core of the Suicide Squad concept and did a lot of the character dynamics very well indeed. Rebirth is really about us all going back to the core concepts of why people loved these books in the first place. But you always want to bring your own voice to anything you do. So it’s a merging of the two.” Tripwire Rob Williams Interview 2016
He felt privileged at the opportunity of working with DC’s publisher Jim Lee, who drew Suicide Squad when Williams started writing it, he mentioned in the same chat we did with him in 2016: “A thrill. I loved Jim’s X-Men run back in the day. I bought his Punisher War Journal before that. So, from a lifelong comics fan’s point of view, it’s something I’d never have believed would happen. From a professional point of view, Jim does dynamic superhero visuals better than just about anyone, and he’s very easy to work with. Hugely collaborative. And he brings with him two of the best in the business in Scott and Alex. It’s a ‘win the lottery’ comics gig.” Tripwire Rob Williams Interview 2016
He also just finished Kingsman: The Red Diamond, a six part series drawn by fellow Portsmouth guest Simon Fraser, published by Image and based on the characters created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.
Fraser is from Scotland originally but he relocated to the US a number of years ago. He has read comics since he was a child as he admitted in an interview with 2000AD Review back in 2002:”My inspiration for getting into comics was…comics! I read a lot as a kid and it slowly dawned on me that some people out there made a living drawing this stuff….what a great job! Also Roger Kettle who is the writer of ‘Beau Peep’ and ‘a Man Called Horace’ is a family friend so he showed me it was possible.”
In fact, his first comics job led him to 2000AD, he recalled in the same interview: “I was working on another Fleetway publication Roy of the Rovers which was actually a very difficult job for me to get as the Editor knew that I wasn’t that interested in Football, so he was reluctant to hire me. From there I did a couple of full colour Dredd samples for Dave Bishop and he gave me the Shimura job.” 2000AD Review Simon Fraser interview
He sees himself as being part of a long Scottish comic tradition, which he spoke about in an interview in the Daily Record back in 2009:I’m of Glasgow stock so I’m pretty good at telling stories, which is a good skill to have in this line…There are an awful lot of very good Scots comic people. I think it must have something to do with Scots being natural storytellers.” Daily Record Simon Fraser interview