The launch of Revolve Comics

Derry's newest Publishing House has big plans for Northern Ireland's comic book market

Revolve Comics is the newest publishing house to have launched within the city and is spearheaded by none other than Danny McLaughlin, former Head Writer and Creative Director of the award winning Zombies Hi! comic book series.

Striving to create not only entertaining comics, they also provide a wide range of services with a special focus on projects that will have a social impact, an example of which is a comic they recently produced for kids who have been diagnosed with diabetes. The comic explains the lifestyle changes which are involved with the condition and is delivered in an engaging way.
Danny takes pride that his Revolve Comics “Connect, Educate and Engage” with the audience.
We caught up with Danny to find out how the journey on the comic book road has been, and to find out what we can look forward to seeing from Revolve Comics in the future.

You have a rich creative past in comics, tell us a bit about your involvement in the comic book scene and also in Irelands answer to the walking dead- Zombies Hi.
Well I have always been a big geek at heart! I've read comics when I was younger but it was only when I started reading some DC comics, specifically Watchmen, did I see the possibility of comics being hard hitting and knew I wanted to get into writing and writing for comics because my mind was exploding with stories- I just needed to get them down on paper.
After a few stories were published and the spark had caught, I fanned the flames and help found Uproar Comics. I was the Head Writer and Creative Director and found myself penning the award winning Zombies Hi- a zombie apocalypse in Derry that the horrors of the past kept coming back, namely the troubles along with the zombies of course. This whirlwind introduced me, or introduce the scene to me.
I've made a lot of friends within the scene in Ireland and further afield. Now with my new venture Revolve Comics I want to get people to know the stories that have been building up in my head and also to create comics with a more social impact and that can be more beneficial for the reader- i.e. a comic for kids to explain the lifestyle changes etc once they've been diagnosed with diabetes. Essentially with Revolve there will come Revolution!!

When and how did you first get into comics?
I think every young person grows up looking up to the likes of Superman, Batman, Spiderman the list goes on and I always picked up comics at my local newsagents once and a while. But when I was 18 a friend handed me a book that would change my life, as stated above, Watchmen. This book seemed to way ahead of anything at the time and I would still consider it to be way ahead of anything at the moment.
When a comic can be included in Time Magazines 100 Greatest Novels you know you’re on to a good thing. This book is mature yes, but not gratuitous like a lot of comics. It handles philosophy, psychology, the human spirit along with superheroes- this was not done in the 80's when it was first published. This more, for the lack of a better word, "Highbrow" attitude drew me in. I saw comics as malleable and a proper format for my writing which I was beginning to brew upon.
I started jamming with ideas with friends and the excitement was electric for me. Then I read a comic by the same author, Alan Moore called Swampthing about a man who became a swamp monster thing- he realised he is not human so he set out to discover himself and find out what he could do- to explore his limitations and also powers- so I decided to do the same! That's when I started writing.

What is your creative process when building a new comic from scratch?
Well like all great things, they start with an idea. A lot of pulling and stretching the idea to see how it fits together with other things, and what you can extrapolate from the concept to start to hammer a fully formed idea and then a story can emerge from the primordial concept soup, which I see most people struggling to get past - because people like the soup, because once you begin hammering it into a plot and the original idea begins to gets further away and sometimes the hard work is actually working out the logic. But the soup to logic stages, for me, is the most fun!
Once a fully formed story idea coming into being I begin scripting, usually I will have the ending all worked out before pen to paper. I script it up and work on panel descriptions but sometimes it’s good to give the artist a bit of freedom and to get the artist inspired for their role. After the Artist roughs up the script then it’s on to editorial - does it work? Will the reader read it the way I want them to etc.? After I am happy then the Artist fleshes out the roughs with the full pencils, again editorial eyes on it throughout.
Once happy, the inking, the strong black line around everything that comics is famous for, and then colouring. Once the art is completed I myself letter the comics. I find myself looking for the best dialogue for the reader, usually tweaking pretty much every piece of text. And once you have the lettering sorted you add some sound effects which can be either a nightmare or so much fun- i.e.- how do you spell a fork being thrown and sticking in wood and ringing a bit- "bringingngngng" or "Wubongoign"-whatever is best for the reader to get the idea across. But that’s it, then you have a finished comic.

Revolve is your new production house which was officially launched last weekend, how did the concept come about and what type of work do you do?
Revolve came about because I wanted to create a community of comic creators who could come and go as and when because a lot of people do freelance work so the concept of a revolving door became slightly apparent. It is also a way for me to work with people to hone their skills and also to do facilitate workshops to young people and influence the new generation of storytellers etc- so if you look at the title logo "Revolve" and the "R" is in a different font as a logo the word that is left in one font is (minus the R) is "evolve"- which I love. Revolve is to be a creative space for people to find out their limitations but again their powers (sound familiar?).
Revolve will be launching, along with loads of other stuff, an anthology at some point for up-and-coming artists and writers (which I have come to call "revolvers" in my own head) so stay tuned.

Tell us about your new comic Solstice- and when will it be hitting our shelves?
The quick pitch which I wrote for Solstice is:
A fantastical world with mythical grandeur that will take your breath away. Gods that are both benevolent and malevolent who interfere with their "Wars Celestial". In the face of all death- one girl has to live up to her family's legacy.
The first issue of "Solstice" will be released in a few weeks’ time, a date still to be confirmed. But if you keep your ears to the ground on our site http://revolvecomics.com/ and on our social media Facebook and twitter etc. we will let you know!
Thanks to Derrylivelist for picking my brains and I hope you all come and join the Revolution! :)

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