Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! #1
Part 1 of a 2-part Department of the Peculiar adventure by Rol Hirst (writer) and Robert Wells (artist).
Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! #1
Part 1 of a 2-part Department of the Peculiar adventure by Rol Hirst (writer) and Robert Wells (artist).
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, September 2 2019 11:00 AM UTC +00:00.
Update: Stretch Goals Announced
Today we are adding a couple ofstretch goals to this campaign:
Stretch Goal #1 (£800) - An Extra 4-Page Story
If we hit £800, we will add an extra 4-page story to the comic. This is a DotP-related prose story called 'Learning To Fly', written by Rol, with spot illustrations by me (Rob). Going forward, we see stories like this becoming a regular feature of the comic, and as with this story, they will go under the banner 'Rol Hirst's Tales of the Peculiar'. I've designed a logo for the feature which has been added to the bottom of this page. Like the rest of this issue, work on this story has been completed (I finished the last illustration on Monday) so adding this feature will not cause any delays to the comic and we still expect to go to print before the end of September.
Stretch Goal #2 (£900) - Print and Logo Sticker
If we hit £900, we will also send every backer (apart from digital only backers) a print of the poster that's on the wall in the cover image and a sticker of the DotP logo. The print image and the logo can also be found at the bottom of this page.
As I write this, we are already at £707, so hopefully these stretch goals aren't too unrealistic and I am reasonably confident that we will at least be able to add the extra story.
We will not be adding any further stretch goals to this campaign.
Update: Guest Pin-Ups & Back Cover Revealed
Our guest pin-ups by Sean Phillips, Chris Weston and Mark Stafford, and our painted back cover by Phil Elliott, have now been added to the bottom of this page.
Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! #1 is the first part of a 2-part story about the DotP’s efforts to stop a ‘peculiar’ fellow named Gavin Leech, the manager of a hopeless rock band called Areshole, who discovers that he has the ability to make them superstars... but not without making a few sacrifices first.
This issue will have at least 28 black & white interior pages (25 story pages and 3 pages of guest pin-ups by Sean Phillips, Chris Weston and Mark Stafford), plus colour covers (painted back cover by Phil Elliott). The 25 story pages are complete, as is the cover (see below), and we have the guest pin-ups in our possession. If we hit our first stretch goal (£800) we will also add a four page prose story called 'Learning To Fly', written by Rol with spot illustrations by Rob, bringing the interior page count up to 32 pages.
The comic will go to press as soon as we receive funds from Kickstarter (2-3 weeks after the campaign ends) and you should expect to receive it in October 2019.
Those are the basics. For a lot more information about the Department of the Peculiar and for a 3-page preview of DotP Goes POP! #1, keep reading…
Welcome to the Department of the Peculiar. We are the department responsible for investigating peculiar occurrences, people and phenomena. In 2012, due to ongoing spending cuts, we attempted to raise money to help fund our department by allowing writer Rol Hirst and artist Robert Wells to turn some of our more memorable cases into comic books. Thus far, although they promised us that the comic book industry was thriving, that comic books were a guaranteed way to make money, and that a Department of the Peculiar motion picture and/or television series was a forgone conclusion, Hirst and Wells have failed to raise a single penny for this department - quite the opposite! - and only two of the comics they promised us were delivered before they scurried off to work on other projects.
As they clearly cannot be trusted, we have housed them in a secure wing of the Sanatorium - the former asylum for the criminally insane that serves as our headquarters - while they adapt at least one more of our adventures into comic book form, with a view to adapting further adventures down the line, if they survive their incarceration.
About this Kickstarter campaign
After carefully researching the comic book industry and weighing up the chances of a couple of elderly ne'er-do-wells like Hirst and Wells ever getting snapped up by a major publisher, we have decided to fund this project through Kickstarter. The main aim of this Kickstarter is to raise the money to print #1 (of 2) of Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! Any profits made beyond that will be used to fund the day to day running of this department (snacks, coffee, helicopters, etc.) while we investigate other 'peculiars' and finish work on #2. There will be a second Kickstarter campaign, hopefully before the end of 2019, to raise the funds to print #2 (the script is already written and the art is in progress). If you are reluctant to pledge during this particular campaign, to fund part 1 of a 2-part story, there will be the option of pledging for parts 1 and 2 during the next Kickstarter campaign, but obviously we would like to be able to fund the publication of part one now.
FAQ about the DotP:
Who or what is a 'Peculiar'?
A 'peculiar' is what our hysterical counterparts in the United States usually refer to as a superhuman, a meta-human, a mutant, or something along those melodramatic lines. In other words, it is someone, or something, that has developed 'super-powers'.
Traditionally, Americans who develop such abilities have tended to dress up in colourful costumes, take the law into their own hands / commit extravagant crimes, and generally show off a bit.
However, here in Britain, super-powers are not seen as the next level in evolution, or a licence to punch people - they're just a pain in the backside and a bit bloody peculiar! Nine times out of ten, a Brit who develops superpowers after getting bitten by a radioactive daddy long-legs (for example) just goes to the doctor, takes a couple of weeks off work to adjust, and then has to pull themselves together and jolly well get on with it.
However, very occasionally, a peculiar gets a bit carried away and needs taking down a peg or two, which is where we come in.
Who are the members of DotP?
At present, there are five known members of the main team, all peculiars themselves:
Lisa Cole is the Department of the Peculiar's current director. As far as we know, she is immune to all illnesses. The story of how her peculiarity developed will be revealed in DotP Goes POP! #2
Malcolm Drake was once known as the New York crime-fighter 'Viral Mal' (silly but appropriate name). He has the ability to make people sick, and unlike every other American, he doesn't like to be the centre of attention. He left the US in an attempt to escape the 'super-hero' lifestyle, as well as some personal demons, but Director Cole had other ideas and enlisted him into the DotP. We found out how his peculiarity developed in Department of the Peculiar #2 (2013), but there is still a lot we don't know - like why he sees his dead parents everywhere he goes.
Scottish soothsayer Karine Murdoch tries to see the future using clocks, one of which is usually hanging from a cord around her neck (what's wrong with a wristwatch, Flavor Flav?). Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. We don't know a great deal about her yet.
Thea Ajuoga is a 'Neoteric Witch', which means that her spells and potions only contain thoroughly modern (often artificial) ingredients. DotP Goes POP! #1 will be her first appearance in a comic book.
Ian Popplewell is our over-anxious IT expert. He is, by all accounts, a peculiar, but we have seen no evidence of his particular peculiarities so far.
Other past and present employees - most notably Roddy and Bronwyn - have been referred to in passing but have yet to appear in a DotP comic.
Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! #1 Preview (pages 1-3)
About Previous DotP Comics
The only other DotP comic books in existence are Department of the Peculiar issues 1 and 2 from 2012 / 2013, which together told another 2-part story. If you want them, both issues are available to buy as part of this campaign. However, you don't have to have read them to enjoy DotP Goes POP! Some of the characters alluded to in DotP Goes POP! have yet to appear in a DotP comic, and although we saw some of Mal's origin story in DotP #2, there is still a lot we don't know. We know almost nothing about his life as a super-hero in New York and we don't know what happened to his parents.
When Hirst and Wells eventually complete the two-part story that is planned to follow DotP Goes POP!, we would like to put a trade paperback collection together, which will include DotP 1&2. At the very least, we will re-scan the original art for these issues before collecting them, and, in our crueller moments, we have considered asking Wells to digitally re-ink the entire story, so that the art is consistent with the newer stories, but life is probably too short for that sort of nonsense, Wells is probably too old, and there are other things that we could force him to draw instead.
Anyway, for now, a limited number of copies of issues 1 and 2 (2nd printings from 2013) are still available, and digital (PDF) versions are included with every reward. Here are the covers to those issues and a few panels from inside...
About the Original Art
Wells now produces his art entirely digitally but pages 2-16 of this issue were pencilled on paper just before he went all-digital and later inked digitally. Most of these pages were drawn one tier at a time on A4 (210mm x 297mm) sheets of Bristol board, with three A4 sheets, each containing 1-3 panels, making up each page. The only exceptions to this were page 2, which was drawn on two A4 sheets, and page 7, which was drawn on one A3 (297mm x 420mm) sheet. These pencils are being offered as rewards, so the images below demonstrate the sort of thing you could be getting.
About Hirst and Wells
Rol Hirst is a writer and English teacher whose previous comics include The Jock (which ran for more than 30 issues in the '90s), PJANG and Too Much Sex and Violence. Before we detained him, he lived in Huddersfield with his partner, Louise, and their son, Sam.
Robert Wells is a cartoonist and illustrator who has been writing and drawing comics since the early-1990s. His debut graphic novel, 'Back, Sack & Crack (& Brain)', was shortlisted for the Myriad Editions 2014 First Graphic Novel Prize and published by Robinson / Little, Brown in 2017. Before we detained him, he lived in Kent with his wife, Lesley, and their two dogs, Arthur and Porsche. They did not choose the name Porsche.
If you require further information about the Department of the Peculiar, our peculiar employees, or our explosive adventure in the music industry - Department of the Peculiar Goes POP! - feel free to contact us during this campaign.
For information on how the UK exiting the European Union will impact our ability to deal with peculiar phenomenon, see our 'A Most Peculiar Brexit' web page (still under construction).
Department of the Peculiar is also on Twitter: @DotPeculiar
Guest Pin-Ups & Back Cover
Here are our guest pin-ups by Sean Phillips, Chris Weston and Mark Stafford, and our painted back cover by Phil Elliott...
About the Guest Artists
Sean is the Eisner-winning artist of Criminal, written by Ed Brubaker. As far as I am concerned, Brubaker and Phillips are the best creative team in comics and Criminal is the best comic being published by a major publisher right now. He has also drawn The Fade-Out, Kill Or Be Killed, Fatale, Incognito and Sleeper (all written by Brubaker), as well as Hellblazer, Marvel Zombies, Judge Dredd and much, much more. Somehow, he also finds the time to draw album and DVD covers.
Chris is one of the best artists in comics. For US publishers, he has drawn, among other things, The Invisibles, The Filth, Ministry of Space, Fantastic Four: First Family and The Twelve. Here in the UK, he has drawn, and continues to draw, many Judge Dredd stories for 2000AD. He also does storyboard work, concept art and film posters. He worked as a costume designer on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
After years spent toiling in the small press salt mines, London-based Mark co-created the Dark Horse graphic novel Cherubs! with Bryan Talbot, and since then he has made beer labels, theatre posters, graphics, record covers, and gallery show pieces, as well as a steady stream of self penned strips for various anthologies.
His fruitful partnership with the writer David Hine has so far produced a version of Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space (for The Lovecraft Anthology Volume One) the BCA short-listed Victor Hugo adaptation The Man Who Laughs, and the 'tale of rural unease' Lip Hook, all for publisher Self Made Hero. Their creepy serial The Bad Bad Place, running in Meanwhile magazine, is about to be collected into a hardcover by Soaring Penguin.
A project in collaboration with the British Council/Arts Council Korea in Busan has resulted in the short book Kangkangee Blues, a love story, of sorts, printed by the LICAF (Lakes International Comic Art Festival) fund, which will be available at the festival. He has happily been the free-floating and loosely defined Cartoonist in Residence for the Cartoon Museum in London for over ten years now. He paints a bit now and then. When there's time.
This year, Mark will be at the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in Kendal in October (11-13), the Malta Comic Con in November (2-3) and Thought Bubble in Yorkshire that same month (9-10).
Phil has been active in the comic book industry since the mid-70’s. He launched and co-edited the Fast Fiction fanzine in the ‘80s where he introduced his bequiffed character Gimbley. Phil was a regular contributor to the influential Escape magazine and his other work includes Illegal Alien and Bluebeard written by James Robinson; Lucifer with Eddie Campbell; writing Absent Friends for Paul Grist; Tupelo with Matt DeGennaro; The Real Ghostbusters and illustrating Glenn Dakin’s Greenhouse Warriors, Mr Night and The Rockpool Files.
Using the pseudonym Charlie Trumper, Phil and Eddie Campbell created over 100 comic strips for the weekly music paper Sounds between 1984 and 1985. These strips were spread over three unique series: 'The Wonders of Science', 'Rodney - The Premonition', and 'The Mammy'. Phil and Eddie recently Kickstarted collections of The Wonders of Science and Rodney - The Premonition and a Kickstarter for a collection of The Mammy will launch at the beginning of September.
Earlier this year, Phil and I put together a comic called Malty Heave - a tribute to / parody of Heavy Metal magazine - and we are talking about Kickstarting a horror-themed follow-up soon. (First issue still available here.)
Here is the logo for 'Rol Hirst's Tales of the Peculiar', which is the extra feature that will be added if we hit our first stretch goal (£800). This issue's Tale of the Peculiar is a DotP-related 4-page prose story called 'Learning to Fly', written by Rol with spot illustrations by Rob.
Here is the print and the sticker design anyone who backs the comic (apart from digital-only backers) will receive if we hit our second stretch goal of £900.
Risks and challenges
The interior and cover art for this issue has already been completed and we have quotes from a reliable printer - a printer we have used several times before - so we do not anticipate any delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter