JCA Stats: Founder, writer of Kaiju Steel and Mystery Boys. Tweeter of flaming fingered proportions @stevemcollier
I grew up in SW England just in time to be exposed to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,Sonic The Hedgehog and Jurassic Park. The late 80’s and early 90’s were a great time for kids’ tv and films. Spielberg, Thunderbirds, Disney, Bucky O’Hare and the various superhero cartoons were always on. My love of reading was fired by serialised adventure and mystery novels such as The Three Investigators, Hardy Boys and the Adventure series by Willard Price which I ate up alongside the Redwall saga and anything by Robin Jarvis. Comics were always there alongside the other mediums. TMNT and Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic were favourites as well as the weekly Beano reading after a Wednesday swimming lesson accompanied by a Twix bar!
Later, the words ‘anime’ and ‘manga’ reared their heads with a higher profile in the Western world and soon I was hooked by Ironfist Chinmi (oh wow, you read it backwards)! Naruto, Death Note, Bleach, Blood+, Ghost In the Shell, Akira, anything by Studio Ghibli, Robotech, Appleseed: Ex- Machina… The worlds and characters created by these amazing artists and writers were so detailed and the work put in to them was deserved of the utmost respect. The films too- Battle Royale, Gojira, Zatoichi, Seven Samurai… incredible. Japanese culture was so intrinsically tied to these stories it was impossible not to fall in love with Japanese culture.
After starting to write for film and finding it frustrating getting things made without the contacts and experience one gains at film school, my interest turned to comic books once more. Powers, Usagi Yojimbo and Walking Dead are probably my favourite series. I can only dream of aspiring to such heights!
I briefly attempted to develop as an artist and somewhere online those efforts can be found in the form of various incompleted webcomics. Writing became the real focus.
I wrote for MCMBuzz.com for a while which is something I really enjoyed but I found it hard to balance the time for it with everything else. It did give me the confidence to try new things and my hugely enjoyable experience reporting from MCM Expo in October 2011 prepared me for the oncoming social media onslaught I now initiate every day!
I began Japan Comic Aid April 2011 after being glued to news broadcasts on March 11th during which I, with the rest of the world witnessed huge swathes of the Japanese coastal region being wiped off the face of the Earth within minutes. The impression it made was deep and lasting and even to this day I can’t begin to fathom the scale of it.
Japan Comic Aid started small (just a Twitter account and an email address) as I began my hunt for writers, artists and like-minded people to get involved. I received a huge number of rejections due to the nature of the project (non-profit) and I understood that people’s paid jobs must come first. An artist needs to earn a living after all!
I had a number of stories I wanted to tell and I was incredibly lucky when I received three emails from Andy Clift, Ken Bastard and Lee Killeen. Ken was ready to do his own thing and the stories I had ready to go were a perfect match for the artistic styles of the Lee and Andy!
Japan Comic Aid was a go!
I still have my day job and I struggle to divide my time between my life, my work and JCA. It’s just the way it is. I still love film. I listen to a lot of music (pop punk’s not dead!) and I live with my incredible girlfriend in Buckinghamshire. I watch cartoons (Generator Rex, Samurai Jack, Thundercats, Avatar), too much tv (Walking Dead, Southland, Homeland, Glee) and the only games consoles I own are Japanese (best games) so it’s safe to say I haven’t changes much since I was seven!
Working on the JCA project has literally been the most worthwhile thing I have ever done creatively and I enjoy every second even if that is writing this horribly lengthy self assessment!
I really hope you enjoy what we have done here and that you support the cause wholeheartedly. I’m proud of all the people working on it and everything we’ve achieved so far. Let’s keep it rolling!