A Bristol comic book adventure…maybe?
I’ve always wanted to write my own comic book. In fact at one point I thought my limited drawing skills might stretch to also providing the art for my little comic. This was clearly a dream too far!
For a few years now I’ve been playing with the same idea just as a bit of fun but I haven’t really taken it anywhere yet. The idea was for a **very** Bristolian comic book adventure. A mix of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Warehouse 13 and the A-Team. In my head it is drawn by the amazing Sydney Padua (whose Brunel inspired the whole blooming thing for better or worse!)
So I thought I’d share the premise and some character sketches and see what people thought. (This was inspired by a brief Twitter conversation with a couple of more artistically gifted types!)
Greater Bristol (the city encompasses everything that was once Avon) has become a place out of time and yet nobody seems to really notice. Steam ships exist alongside electric cars. Mobile phones alongside the telegraph. The ‘Docks’ exist as they did at their peak but so does the Cabot Circus shopping precinct.
The Bristol tram network still operates and burned out First buses can frequently be seen — victims of the ‘Battle of the Buses’.
Balloons operate as a rival to the trains. They are **always** in the skies above the city (and often cause problems by landing in unexpected places.)
The city retains ‘Bristol Time’ and as such everyone is always 10 minutes early for meetings with anyone from outside the city. They always complain.
There has been an ongoing ‘cold war’ between Bristol and London for decades. Bath sides with London and much of Clifton is occupied territory but for the most part the city has retained its independence. This can be seen by the decades of growth and civic works the city has enjoyed. (see Locations.)
This is changing though. In recent years the influence of London’s agents in the city, the Venturers, has increased and now their ‘Mayor’ has the power to bring the city to its knees.
That is if the motley crew of Bristol loyalists don’t save the day first.
The Bristol Pound, the local currency, is backed by the ‘Bank of Blackbeard’ which was founded by Edward Teach after his retirement from piracy and funded by his ‘treasure’.
There is a financial crisis, fuelled by ‘The Mayor’, as rumours circulate that the ‘treasure’ is nothing but a myth. Brunel and his band must find the treasure before the Venturers do and ensure it is used to save, and not destroy, the city.
There something about Earthquake and that causing South Bristol to be zombie infested. Ashton Gate is now a zombie prison. Not sure how this fits in yet.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel: ‘The Engineer’
Leader of the Bristol faction. Arrogant. Focused. Displays the kind of fervour only a convert to a cause can display. He is the ‘man with the plan’. He lives a double life as he retains a high profile public persona as the leading ‘enginepreneur’ of the age.
Mary Willcocks: ‘The Princess’
Street smart, ‘sassy’ and more than a little bit sneaky Mary is the wild card and newest recruit. She is the protege of Archie and sees him as a brother figure. Mary has minimal interest in the ‘cause’ and just enjoys the adventure. Often encourages W.G. to indulge his own reckless side.
Elizabeth Blackwell: ‘The Doctor’
Chief rival to Brunel for leadership of the faction and they regularly clash. She is fiercely intelligent but unlike Brunel also capable of great empathy. Her sister has sided with London much to her disgust.
Archie Leach: ‘The Charmer’
In this reality Archie never became Cary. He did grow up with all the charm, looks and acting skills though. A consummate con-man but hopeless ladies man. Do they sense something he hasn’t accepted himself yet?
Paul Dirac: ‘The Scientist’
Dirac is a scientist of uncanny ability. In fact his talents have brought his scientific reputation in to disrepute as accusations of unusual experiments are circulated. He is uncommunicative and rarely makes eye contact with people or even speaks in company. Apart to Brunel who he respects and Backwell who he cares for. In his own way.
W.G. Grace: ‘The Sportsman’
Grace is big, bold and brash. He treats all of life as just another game even where there is significant danger. He is prone to acting before thinking and occasional unexpected moments of rage. The majority of the time though he is the traditional gentle giant.
Banksy: ‘The Mercenary’
A double-agent, man of mystery and master of disguise Banksy plays both sides and his only loyalty is to his next pay day. He operates in the shadows and yet at the same time seems to have his own publicity machine. There is some suggestion he may be related to Brunel but this is never overtly acknowledged.
Never referred to as anything else. Flamboyant but dangerous he is the point-man for London in the city. Every chance he is a sociopath and even his London paymasters are not sure he can be controlled. He is charismatic and his relationship with London is not public knowledge.
The major landmarks in this version of Bristol come from Eugene Byrne’s Unbuilt Bristol book
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is almost a character in of itself. The Bristol faction have their not so secret headquarters based there. This base is part ‘Batcave’ and part ‘Frankensteins lab’.
The SS Great Britain has been moored at the beneath the bridge for years as well.