“A high stakes game of politics that gambles the future of British democracy.” Queen’s Jamie Me gets grilled about Kickstarter funded comic Queen
It’s a momentous time-period for UK politics right now, with the rise of the SNP and a new Conservative government in Downing Street, but that’s not nearly exciting enough for a tense political thriller. How about if you throw in a bit of murder and intrigue for good measure?! That’s the basic premise behind Jamie Me’s Queen a new Kickstarter-funded digital comic. So we put down the smoking gun and unleash our ‘inner Paxman’ to find out more!
Give us a bit of the background behind Queen, where did the idea come from and what can we expect from the comic?
JM: Queen was born during my time receiving therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I would daydream about this character confronting corruption in the world. Slowly this developed into a story about Emily Green, the Deputy Prime Minister, and her questioning her position. This somehow leads to the murder of Prime Minister Daniel Camden. Readers can expect a high stakes game of politics that gambles the future of British democracy.
UK politics is a bit of an unconventional source, what inspired you to focus in on that and how different is the world of Queen to the current state of politics? Is it a close approximation with characters based on reallife politicians or an exaggerated parody of the current UK situation? How important is it for you to keep things close to reality or did you intentionally make the story an obvious satire in order that it had it’s own voice?
JM: How can you not be interested or inspired by politics? It affects us all. The characters in Queen have their own unique objectives, but the situation they are in is very similar to the last five years of British culture. There are differences in certain historical moments, but this is a United Kingdom that feels familiar to the reader. For me keeping things grounded in realism is key and that is how I plan to speak to the reader with the messages my story transmits.
Do you think the UK is becoming a more politicised place in 2015 and do you think that makes for a more receptive audience for Queen? Any plans to include topical events?
JM: Everything to do with Queen is timed and executed in a way that is socially relevant. In the UK it’s now more important than ever for people to realize how important politics are, and this is my creative answer to some of my concerns.
You’ve created ‘an alternative history’ for the UK changing the names of politicians and certain services (like the NHS) why do that rather than use existing politicians and institutions?
How did you hook up with artist Bernard Gita? Did you have a specific idea of the kind of art you wanted Queen to have before you started, or did it evolve in time as the two of you got to work on the early pages?
JM: Bernardinus contacted me within 45 minutes of the job going live for Queen. It became painfully clear that I’d stumbled upon the artist I was searching for after talking at length with him. What many might not see yet about the artist is that he is incredibly intelligent, socially aware on a worldwide level and a top level creator. The style was presented by Bernadinus based on what I was looking for. We have this understanding about what we are aiming to show readers and it translates to these detailed pages you are seeing.
You’re funding the book via Kickstarter, how are you finding that process? What are the pros and cons of doing it that way and any plans to expand the release of Queen beyond Kickstarter a digital release on ComiXology for example?
JM: Most will probably put a brave smile on, but I’ll be honest… it’s one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done in my creative life. The positive for me is that I can tell the story exactly how I want without outside interference. The negative is that the level of stress doing the PR on my own, having to drum up interest, is very difficult for me. My therapist said that I have to push past these situations though and constantly challenge myself. I think I’ve actually defeated a bit of my condition by putting myself out there to fail. A ComiXology release is certainly an option I’m considering. Who wouldn’t? It’s like the gold standard of digital comic platforms.
Will Queen be a complete arc of a story or could it evolve into an ongoing story? How much have have you got planned/started so far? And how much does that depend on your Kickstarter funding?
JM: The storyline you are seeing now is going to be 5 issues long. The universe however is a place where I put the majority of my ‘realism’ stories. It really all depends on Kickstarter in all honesty. I lost my website to pay for artwork, I’ve lost a stone in weight and I’ve put all my money into keeping production going. That may sound a bit crazy but I want this more than anything. I hope people can feel that in my work.