Ilford and Romford comic book creators introduce Moon in Beyond the Bunker

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 November 2017

Comic book producers Steve Penfold and Dan Thompson

Comic book producers Steve Penfold and Dan Thompson


Did you know that when you can’t see the Moon in the sky, he’s actually down here on earth, suited and booted and fighting crime?

Comic book producers Steve Penfold and Dan Thompson Comic book producers Steve Penfold and Dan Thompson

After a botched Celtic ceremony in 12AD, he has been destined to plummet to the ground, brush himself off and fight dark forces on behalf of the government.

He has no face, no mouth to speak, but he can drink a Coke float and no one knows how.

At least that is the Moon from Beyond the Bunker’s cult comic.

The company is made up of a Romford artist, an Ilford writer and an Argentinian illustrator, who combine to make thrilling and hilarious graphic novels, that are quitessentially British.

Comic book producers Steve Penfold and Dan Thompson Comic book producers Steve Penfold and Dan Thompson

Moon was created when Dan Thompson, 35, entered a film competition entitled “The day the moon got too close”.

“Everybody else was doing these mini disaster movies but we wanted to do something different,” Dan, of Ilford Hill, Ilford, said.

“So I put on a papier mache moon head as we made a cop spoof about the moon getting too close to the truth.”

In 2010 Dan met Steve Penfold, while working in London, and the pair immediately hit it off.

“We had the same sense of humour and immediately had a rapport,” Steve, 37, of Atlanta Boulevard, Romford, said.

Steve explained that Dan mentioned the concept of Moon one day, and he knew the potential it had.

“I said we have to do something on this because it’s absolutely genius,” Steve told the Recorder.

Dan continued: “I’d been trying to raise funds to do a proper web series about Moon and it suddenly hit us that a comic was a far better fit for it.

“There are no budget restrictions with a comic, you can make it as mad as you like, which really appealed to us.”

The main artistic differences between the pair are that Steve is a Marvel fan – Iron Man, Spider-Man and Hulk – versus Dan’s DC Comics, which created Superman and Batman.

So who is Moon?

“He’s the ancient protector of Britain, except the druid who summoned him was going through some stuff at the time and kind of botched the ritual,” Dan said.

“Every day he falls out of the sky, puts on a suit and goes to work at an underfunded government agency tasked with investigating crimes deemed too stupid for regular police.

“It’s kind of like CSI meets King Arthur except on a local government budget and the hero has a space rock for a head.”

Steve explained: “We obviously draw influences from American comics and Manga, but I wanted to make sure Moon’s style was British. I didn’t want to compromise on that.”

The process is very collaborative.

They start by brainstorming overall ideas for the story, jokes which Dan comes up with and characters Steve would like to draw.

“There’s a lot of back and forth between us, marking sure we get the focus and the details right,” Steve explained.

As the pair have been working together for so long, they can be very frank.

Dan said: “A script for a comic is basically a letter between the writer and the art team so they tend to be a lot less structured than say a screenplay.”

If it’s dialogue heavy he will take the lead, or if it’s action focused Steve will draw first.

After the script and the art is finished it gets sent all the way to Argentina, where colourist Ivanna Matilla will finish the job.

This process was taking around a year at the start, but recently the pair have been completing two a year, with issue six in its final stages.

Steve says 2018 is big for Beyond the Bunker as they want to publish four.

The comic has become a cult hit.

Steve tours all of the comic cons across the country, where fans can buy all of the comics and merchandise.

“We get people cosplaying as the characters, people doing fan art, it’s just brilliant,” Dan added.

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