“It’s tough at the coal face of indie comics” Steve Tanner on 10 years of Time Bomb Comics and Ragamuffins Redux

Not only will October 14th be the date of the excellent Nottingham Comic Convention (more on that soon), but it will also be the anniversay of one of the small press scene’s most charming publishers – Steve Tanner and Time Bomb Comics willbe celebrating a decade of small press and to celebrate this, will be releasing a revived version of their first ever book. We step bak in time with Steve to find out why!

Congratulations on making it to 10 years of small press self publishing, how will you be celebrating?

Steve Tanner: I think that’s quite a big thing, especially considering how many small indie comics creators and publishers burn brightly but only for a short time.  You see, it’s tough at the coal face of producing indie comics, so I kind of think I’ve earned my stripes by lasting the distance, which is why I was keen to mark the occasion by creating and publishing a book that would represent where Time Bomb Comics is today and acknowledge where it started.

So can you tell us a bit about this book you’ll be releasing at Nottingham in October?

ST: Ragamuffins Redux is a complete graphic novel that I’ve just opened a pre-order for on Kickstarter, which can be best summed up by some wording from the campaign promo page:

Time – an infinite chronal tapestry with endless interwoven strands that occasionally fray, work loose, or tear completely. Rips in time. When that happens the tear could spread, rippling outwards and causing devastating anomalies. Worse, it could bring about the Epochalypse. So the Chronoverse has to be repaired – Fast.

And that can only be done by the Ragamuffins – Gorgeous George, Ruby Redd, Pussywillow and Lord Kevin – a group of bizarre Paradoxters tasked with the care and repair of universal time.

So is this a new book you’re creating for the occasion or a revisit to a classic Time Bomb title? 

ST: For some, especially those who were part of the UK comics community back in 2007, this will seem a little familiar.  Ragamuffins Redux is a remake of the very first Time Bomb Comic from a decade back, and serves to revive the characters and the concept ready for the next ten years.

So why revive this particular comic?

ST: Long out of print, the first Ragamuffins comic really is stuck in the past – it’s what I think Time Bomb was then, not what I believe it is now. But you always have a soft spot for your first born, and truth be told I always liked the idea behind Ragamuffins and originally intended for more stories featuring those mysterious Paradoxters.

The original Ragamuffins was a 20 page black and white one-shot produced with bags of ambition by myself and small-press artist Andy Dodd, but with the benefit of hindsight it was a nicely printed mess. The story was compressed so much it was baffling; the art was rushed to meet a print deadline; the lettering we completed ourselves using Word shapes ellipses and Comic Sans. Yes, really.  Yet for all that, some people still liked it, and it gave the confidence to carry on.  And Time Bomb’s second release (Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead) was definitely a much more polished affair, and gave me a fascination with the 18th Century that’s evident in my current series Flintlock.

So what can we looks forward to in this redux version?

ST: So to set that up, I’ve revisited the past and produced with artists Mike Bunt and Ben Lopez a greatly expanded retelling of that original tale to finally do the Ragamuffins justice. The story has space to breathe. The art is now full colour. Bolt 01 is providing some proper lettering.  It’s what the book should have been, and serves as a bookend for the first ten years of Time Bomb Comics and the opening chapter for the next ten.

And where can people get it from and help support you and Time Bomb Comics?

ST: The Kickstarter pre-order is now open until 28th September and the campaign can be found at on Kickstarter here.