Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started in comics?
I’ve wanted to make comics since I was small. I was an avid reader of them as a kid and spent hours copying my favourite characters out of them. It was something that never went away, and when I was 19/20 I remember sending some stuff off to The Dandy, who kindly took the time to reply, and while offering a polite “thanks, but no thanks”, they took the time to offer some useful tips about my work. In 2004 I once again took a wild stab in the dark and sent a series pitch to Cosgrove Hall Films (the home of Danger Mouse, Duckula et al) for a series I’d created called ‘The Carrotty Kid’ (think The Karate Kid, but with vegetables). To my surprise they loved it and optioned it, and over the course of the next couple of years we worked together on a pilot for it. Whilst, ultimately, the pilot didn’t get picked up, it led me to launching a Carrotty Kid webcomic, through which I recall making the online acquaintance of Jamie Smart (of Bunny Vs. Monkey fame). In 2010, he told me that The Dandy (which he was working on at the time) were about to do a revamp, and were looking for new creators to come aboard. So, I once again sent something in to The Dandy, this time my pitch for George Vs Dragon (a slapstick take on the St. George and the Dragon myth) which they picked up. I wound up working pretty much non-stop for The Dandy over the next couple of years, until the weekly folded in 2012. Then I hopped across to The Beano, where I’ve been ever since, writing for many of the characters including my current work on Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.
What is it about comics that you love?
It’s such a unique medium for telling stories, the combination of words and pictures working harmoniously to create scenes and stories that really stick in the mind. Almost anything is possible, and it’s always been a form I’ve loved for really capturing my imagination. I’m also a fan of the collaborative nature of it, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic artists over the years.
Who are your favourite characters to write? And are there any that you’d love to – but haven’t yet had the chance?
I really love writing for George Vs Dragon, I have a soft spot for it as it was my first professional work. I get to write and draw it too which is a joy, and its universe I love mucking about in. However, I’m also really, really enjoying writing for Minnie the Minx, she’s an icon and an absolute force of nature, and I really get a kick of setting her against the world every week!
What are you working on right now / what do you have coming out this year?
This time of year sees us getting commissioned for next year’s annuals, so I’m doing a lot of extra bits for those as well as the ongoing weeklies. I’ve just had a comedy skit picked up for BBC Radio 4 Extra’s ‘DM’s Are Open’, which was fun to do. I’d done a bit of radio a few years ago for Newsjack, so it was great to jump back into that. Finally, I’m really, really hoping to self publish a book starring my other creation, Lord Likely. He was the Victorian ‘hero’ of a web novel series I started back in 2007, which proved somewhat popular at the time, but he’s definitely taken a backseat while the comics work has ramped up, so I’m hoping to return to him soon. The writing is well underway!
What will you have for sale at the show?
I’ll be offering sketches, signed comics and (all being well) some prints. I’ll also be open to taking commissions, as recently announced on my website: https://www.fanton.co.uk/2023/03/commissions-open.html