Becoming runner-up at a Marvel UK competition (Part 1)
(Picture updates will be added)
When I was nine, I remember my Aunt Shirley coming to see me at my Nans (I’d lived with my Grandmother when I was young until I my very late teens after she passed away) and saying ‘We’re going to draw marvel comics in a competition on TV’. I got super excited, but didn’t say anything that would give that emotion away to her. I replied "‘what’s that?’ a rhetorical question that we both knew the answer to.
The competition had been announced on London Weekend Television (LWT) on a Saturday (around May in 1992) for a ‘Marvel UK Comics Workshop’ hosted by Marvel UK on a boat on the river in Embankment (The “Boat” part I had no idea about until we were on my way there).
I was told to bring a portfolio along with me of work I’d done. I brought along mostly video game related stuff, like drawings of Final Fight and X-Men. I didn't like them very much but thought that they would be ok for a nine-year-old. On the way there at Wood Green underground station, my aunt got talking to a friendly Yoruba woman in her 40’s, and it turned out that her son was also accepted to be in the workshop competition. I vividly remember him being fifteen years old and his name was Tunde. We got chatting and he said he was into Batman etc, then he showed me his drawings. I was amazed by the technique he had, but not what he drew because I’d read a shit-ton of Batman by my age to remember all of the cover art, and he’d just copied a lot of covers really.
My ego was telling me that I had nothing to worry about, and my competitive vigour announced itself. Deep down I knew I’d be as good at fifteen, and wished my comrade good luck on the entrance to a large boat just a walk from Embankment station on London’s South Bank.
On the boat, we’d been welcomed by Marvel UK editor John Freeman, and we were all seated on what looked like a banquet dining table, with the Laser-cut tumbler glasses. Missing the full dinner set of cutlery, but replaced with HB pencils, rulers, erasers and a stack of Marvel comics for each person to read (Death’s Head, Spider-Man and Captain Britain).