****LEGO is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorise or endorse this web site. Visit the official LEGO website at http://www.LEGO.com****
****Please note that I am using a standard thumbnail image for all the full size pictures on this page. This is purely being done to save myself some time.****
I'm aware that there are several outstanding issues from this storyline that haven't been resolved. (Namely, what happened in the garage between Topham and Tallon). These points will hopefully be revealed sooner rather than later. It will depend if I have the time to do what I need to do in the short term. If I don't then the issues will be resolved at a later date. But they will be resolved.
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 of my 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 storyline.
Me: Do you leave clues or Easter eggs in the series?
Banff: I do. Some clues are easy to follow and provide 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 and his exploring of different ways of telling a story using the written word and images. And that's what I try to do in my stories. Obviously, Eisner is at the top of the Premier League, whilst I'm in the reserves for the local pub team.
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.
Me: What have you learned about creating a mini-comic every month?
Banff: I'm never sure how a particular story is going to work out. A creator may start out with a certain idea for a story, but find at the end, that something else has been achieved. This might be better than the original idea or not. When people start out on a creative journey, whether it is a book or painting or comic and so on, it is an adventure. It's an adventure in that no one knows for sure the paths they will take. Crossroads will be reached, decisions will have to be made and ideas comes to mind as the work progresses.
One thing Iím finding is that I always want to add humour to my stories which is a little bit annoying sometimes when Iím trying to do a serious story.
Me: Whatís with all of these newspaper titles on the first page of the Guard stories for example, Yorkton Courier or Snowy Bay Mail?
Banff: In my own little world in my head, The Guard adventures are published in numerous newspapers around the globe. (Note, as far as I'm aware, all the the newspaper titles are fictional). The newspaper title featured for each issue of The Guard, indicates which newspaper a particular story was taken from.
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 updates for an overall story, whereas I like to give readers a full adventure every 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 Ė
Banff: I would start with the following issues, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 17 and 18. The Character Biography Cards would be useful and of course the Index. Other than that I would start with issue 1 and carry on from there.Me: 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 loyal readers (including some 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 (overdone in comics in my opinion) 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, although that could be very violent, if you read between the lines, panels) 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? Are there any you rather forget about?
Banff: I like all of stories (apart from one or two), but then Iím biased! Stories that spring to mind are -
The story I least enjoyed creating is #4 The Kill. It was an absolute slog putting that one together! See the background notes for that story.
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. Human beings have a powerful mind that is constantly working on ideas consciously or unconsciously. Have a problem at home or at work? Something that could be done better? Don't fret, your mind will churn it over and come up with a solution. And more often or not the answer is a simple solution. In my case it may involve the marrying of two ideas together to produce one fused idea. And remember the good thing about writing / drawing a comic is that the impossible is possible.
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 those series characters that have adventures in different countries. It opens a series out and gives it variety. 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 story 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 I think it adds something to the overall series for readers and for me. It's great to look back at a particular story and see how it was put together. I can refer to this information if I should need to use the idea again in another story.
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.
Me: What can readers expect from this series going forward?Banff: Hopefully, stories that continue to entertain and to be told in as many different ways as I can. As readers know, (if you've read issue 50), The Guard and Whistle have left Yorkton. And the next batch of stories will be following our hero as he travels around the globe seeking adventure and work. We'll see how that goes.
Me: I assume there are still things you want to achive with the comic?Banff: Yes! One of these is to work with other people in producing a comic. So one person writes the script, another takes the photographs, another builds the sets, someone does the lettering and so on.
It would also be a challenge to create a story using large Lego sets on a grand scale. An entire street in a city for example.
Me: Did you ever want to work in the comics industry?Banff: I don't recall this crossing my mind when I was younger. I was too busy reading comics or books and being distracted by other things. (Those who know me will say I am easily distracted!) 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. So I don't worry about that at all.
Me: How long will the series run for?Banff: I will continue to produce comics whilst the interest and time is still there. Hopefully, that will last until the series is completed. But as always with life, you never know what is around the corner. So we'll see.
Me: Happy 50th issue. Thank you for your time.
Banff: Thank you.