Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Two degrees of separation from Robbie Williams. The artwork from Williams’ new album ‘Intensive Care’ is courtesy of Frank Quitely. He’s also done some comic strip work in his time – New X-Men, All-Star Superman, We3, The Greens – you might have heard of maybe one of them. Anyway I sat next to Frank, or Vincent to give him his other name, at a signing in the Moir Hall in Glasgow earlier this year. I entertained the long queues as they waited to see him. By then my one fan had been chased out of the hall by a couple of underfed police dogs. Doesn’t that surely qualify me as two degrees of separation from Robbie Williams? (The sitting next to Frank Quitely bit, not the underfed police dogs.) Don’t make me sing ‘Angel’ on the karaoke to prove it.
But for all his huge celebrity you know what, Vincent hasn’t really changed. It hasn’t gone to his head. No J-Lo antics for this lad. For a start we’d then have to call him F-Qui (as in ‘Bridge over the River F-Kwai’). In fact I’d even go as far as to say Vincent is the nicest guy in comics. Case in point, take a London Comics Convention, a dark dank Sunday morning, where Vince would gingerly step over the dead bodies in order to go to church. No doubt to pray for all the lost souls of us comics creators. Y’see I’ve known Vince for a long time. I remember oh around 12 years ago when Vincent, me, Robbie Morrison, Colin MacNeil, Gary Erskine, Rob McCallum, David Alexander (no relation) and a host of others used to meet up at the Tron in Glasgow City Center sipping on cappuccino mixed with Becks and talking well…a lot of shite really, but it was comics shite, so that made it all right.
And a world away I remember walking into the San Diego Comic Convention centre in 2003 and looking up at the sprawling expanse that is the DC booth, which is the centre point of the convention. And seeing two enormous banners one featuring the Endless as drawn by Frank Quitely and the other The Authority as written by Robbie Morrison. And it struck me that the centrepiece of the largest comics (and more besides) convention in the world could be traced back hundreds-of-miles-and-slightly-less-years away to that young eager open-eyed congregation from the Tron of Old Glasgow toon. I still say John McShane should write a book about it.

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