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 analytical skills made up for my lack of super-hero drawing when I was young, as I was able to recognise a lot of DC and Marvel artists’ styles. This cover was drawn by Todd McFarlane. What stood out to me was that there was an error drawing Batman’s left ankle, when the above reference he used had not included any feet.

My analytical skills made up for my lack of super-hero drawing when I was young, as I was able to recognise a lot of DC and Marvel artists’ styles. This cover was drawn by Todd McFarlane. What stood out to me was that there was an error drawing Batman’s left ankle, when the above reference he used had not included any feet.

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).