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On pages seven to nine, there appears to be two city residential houses side by side. (Lego modular building 10218: Pet Shop). In fact there is only one. I took a photograph of the house then carefully moved the building to the right of the first building, rearranged flowers, added a bike to make it look as though it was a different house. I then combined the two pictures and used that in one panel. Having established that there was a row of houses, I then didn't need to show that view again. The remaining shots were close up views of just the first house. Except for the first panel on page nine, where I didn't bother to show the house again, having already shown the initial scene on page seven.
Issue 50 Q & A with myself about the first fifty issues.
Me: Congratulations on your first fifty issues.
Banff: Thank you.
Me: Is there an overall plan to this series or is it just a random collection of stories?
Banff: A bit of both. When the series first stared it was just a random selection of stories, but as I found I enjoyed creating the stories, so I started to get ideas about what I would like to achieve and do with the series. (Some ideas are on a Star Wars scale (big sets) with a cast of thousands. Sadly, these ideas have to remain as ideas. I have to stick to what is achievable). I now have a rough map of how the series will progress and how it will end, assuming I still have the energy and enthusiasm. Each story adds to the overall pushing forward of the story.
Me: Do you leave clues or Easter eggs in the series?
Banff: I do. Some clues are easy to follow and give clues to upcoming stories. Other clues are very obscure and wonít be revealed until a much later date.
Me: You think of yourself as a bit of a Hitchcock, as in the director?
Me: As in you or rather your Lego self making an appearance in some of your stories.
Banff: Ah, I see what you mean. I thought you were suggesting my work was on a level with the great director. Which it isnít. This series is strictly amateur night. But I do occasionally add my Lego self into a story, usually in the background.
Me: How can readers keep track with what is going on? The series does jump around a lot.
Banff: The Guard Index is a readerís guide to the series. (As it is for me. Itís easy to forget what has happened previously and Iím constantly referring to it to remind myself about plots and sub-plots).
There are a number of mini-series which make up the series as a whole. These are Ė
Me: So what is the motive for you in producing these stories?
Banff: Iím driven by the how to tell a story. Iím fascinated by the work that Will Eisner, one of the early legends of the comic industry
Apart from that if you have an interest in a particular theme you can explore that theme in your stories or if you want to get something off your chest, you can do so in a safe manner, where no one gets hurt. (I change names and situations). It's quite therapeutic and satisfying, in airing the problem.
I havenít though mastered the art of story-telling as in bringing the characters to life.
Iím finding that I want to had humour to my stories which is a little bit annoying sometimes when Iím trying to do a serious story.
Me: What can readers expect from this series going forward?
Me: Whatís with all of these newspaper titles on the first page of the Guard stories for example, Yorkton Courier or Snowy Bay Mail?
The idea behind the series
Me: Is it hard work producing a monthly comic?
Banff: Yes! A Lego comic creator has to write a script, build the sets, create characters, take the photographs, decide on layout of the photographs on the page, lettering and editing. So yes, we all have to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for our stories. Most other Lego comic creators like to produce a daily or twice weekly part of an overall story, whereas I like to give readers a full story for a month. Itís amounts to the same thing at the end of the day, itís just down to an individualís preference.
Each story brings itís own challenges. And it always surprises me how a story works out. I have thought of ideas and then thought Iíll never be able to do achieve that in a story.
Me: If a new reader comes to the series, which stories would you recommend he or she reads ĖMe: Do you have a large fan base?
Banff: Iím not sure. There certainly arenít millions, or thousands, or even hundreds of readers presently. I would have to advertise the series, in order to increase readers. But I donít really have the time to do that. It takes all of my time to produce a monthly story as it is. But The Guard is an amateur series, so I wouldnít expect there to be a big readership. Thereís plenty of better comics out there to read, than mine. I do have several young fans of the comics and if they enjoy the stories, then Iím happy.
Me: Anything we wonít be seeing in the series?
Banff: No dinosaurs or zombies (Iím a Vampire man myself) or pirates. Although I might relent on the third option slightly. Apart from that, no politics, extreme violence or adult themes. Itís not that sort of comic. The series is more a homage to the comics of my youth, The Victor (a British comic) and to the early US comics. I find these more of interest than some of the stories published today.
Me: Do you feel you have cracked the creating of a comic yet?
Banff: No! This is an ongoing project, where hopefully each issue is better than the last one.
Me: Do you have any favourite issues and ones you rather forget about?
Banff: I like all of stories (apart from one or two), but then Iím biased!
Me: Iím going to have to ask you this question, sorry, but where do you get your ideas from?
Banff: Not a problem. Same place as everyone else.
Me: The series moves around geographically quite a bit, Egypt, Turkey, England, Canada, the US and so on. Any particular reason for this?
Banff: Iíve always enjoyed stories that are set in different countries, that arenít always set in one place. An example being the Leslie Charteris, The Saint series, (books and TV series). Or the US TV series I Spy, where much of the filming was done in Hong Kong, Morocco, Greece, Spain, Japan and so on. You have to admire the extra bit of effort the creators put into those series.
Me: I like the way you provide notes about each stories and the Behind The Scenes pages showing how you achieved something or how a particular problem was overcome.
Banff: Thank you. I thought it would be a good idea to provide these answers to questions which some readers might be asking themselves or me. Also these stories are pro
Me: You provide facts in your stories?
Banff: This is an aspect from British comics. Young readers didnít such read exciting and entertaining stories they also learned interesting facts.Paintings. Working with other people to produce a comic whether they are a photographer or Lego set builder or letterer and so on. I donít think I would survive working in the comics industry. You have to be very good, very quick and I donít think Iím either. Also Iíve missed the boat on that one as Iím in my late fifties. Editors are more interested in youngsters.