And that led to the idea of using Facebook, which turned out to be surprisingly well-suited for a project such as this. A Facebook group has a discussion board for user participation, a wall for announcements and a gallery for showing the results, which could then be commented upon. One element I didn't consider, originally thinking that I'd end up with a small group of 20 or so friends making the suggestions, is the network aspect - where friends of friends see what their friends are doing, get interested, and join up too, so the group ended up with about 175 members during the voting process (I tried to avoid using the word 'voting' as it brings to mind all that is horrible about modern 'entertainment' - but that's what it is, and it's a successful format, I guess).
I'd already made my own list, but once the suggestions started coming in, I decided to keep out of it in case I influenced anyone's thinking. Top of my list for A was Asterix, but I ended up having to draw Axel Pressbutton - no problem, I was a subscriber to Warrior and it remains one of my favourite comics to this day. At least I got to draw Obelix later on (I had Oor Wullie on my list). And I felt sure I'd get to draw Judge Dredd - a character I've never drawn properly before - yet I ended up having to draw Judge Death instead. Funny how people's minds work!
Out of the 26 characters, 3 are from Warrior, 2 from The Beano, 4 Marvel, 1 DC (I don't count V) and 4 are from 2000AD. 6 are women, the rest male (5 are non-human). 12 are British creations, 9 American, 4 Franco-Belgian, and 1 is Japanese (though 3 characters are Japanese).
I've been asked which is my favourite, a very difficult question! Character-wise, there are so many there that mean quite a lot to me. The British comic characters from the early eighties coincide with a time when I really enjoyed my comics - so the Warrior characters (especially V and Marvelman) and the 2000AD ones (mainly Judge Death and Nemesis - I've never read Zenith, which came later). The ones I've known longest and have a great affection for would be Captain Haddock and Obelix (see this blog entry) - both sidekicks to title characters. I'm a huge fan of Leloup's Yoko Tsuno. Drawing-wise, I'm happy with nearly all of them... but they all have niggles too, which as any artist will tell you, is all they can see when they look at their own work!