So as I mentioned in my own bio, by summer this year I'd long ago decided that the comic career had to be put on a back burner, concentrating instead on novels... until the Bristol comics convention this year.
Vince and I were in the bar, taking some time out from a busy day promoting the glossy final issue of Vince's long-running Sapphire comic, and the conversation turned to how Vince had intended it to be his last hurrah in the self-publishing world, feeling that the rewards couldn't really justify the long hours of pain involved in creating it. I know that pain only too well, of course, from the work I'd put in on my Gravestown comic and the strips in Raven, and I mentioned to him again (as I have many times before) how I felt that collaboration was the key - find some other idiot to do half the work, and suddenly everything seems so much brighter.
I asked Vince if he really did intend to retire from comics, as he had hinted in his editorial in Sapphire. He replied that it wasn't so much that he wanted to stop drawing comics, it was just that he really fancied doing something completely different. It transpired that what particularly appealed to him was the Griffin comic strip I'd begun in the final issue of our Raven anthology from a few years back. Griffin was a quirky detective, with a cocky sidekick, and although I'd enjoyed putting together the first part, it was clear that as Raven had long since bitten the dust, I had no further plans for the character. "Feel free to take him if you want," I said, "Do as you please with him, I'm happy with that, he's yours if you want him, I'm not using him". Vince replied that although that would be nice, he didn't want to work on it on his own, he'd had enough of the solo thing to last him a lifetime.
Well, quite frankly, I'd had two or three pints by then, and I was an easy target. "Well, what if I were to write it for you?" I foolishly suggested, taking another swig of beer. Vince saw how easily I'd fallen into his cunning trap, and by the end of the evening, we'd not only talked and talked and talked about what such a comic would be like, we'd even begun to flesh out the structure of the comic, the first story, and the way we saw it progressing afterwards. These conversations continued the entire weekend, every spare moment we had, our minds racing with ideas, plot suggestions, delightful twists, character development - it was probably the most intensive plotting session I'd ever had, and very much a precursor of what was to follow.
By the end of the weekend, we'd fleshed out our first three stories, got a good grasp on what we intended to do with the strip and what our two lead characters were like, and had even decided we were going to do it monthly...