Thursday, 4 August 2011

Meet the Crew - Writer, Jamie Gambell

My name is Jamie Gambell, and I am the writer and creator of the Hero Code.

I am from England, but live in the USA with my wonderful wife and three year old son.

I work in films and television as a Production Sound Technician, and have been writing comic books for several years. My first mini-series, Omnitarium - a gothic horror set in the confines of a Victorian gaol (which I pitch as “Charles Dickens’ Assault on Precinct 13”) was released under the Ronin imprint in 2009. The completed trade is available at, and the whole series can be read on-line at

I also worked as AEIC on the anthology series, Samurai The Graphic Novel (issue one is available from here).

I’ve been working on The Hero Code for years, with development of the series as it appears now starting at the end of ’09, the start of ’10.

1. What is your process for working?

A lot of the work goes into plotting and planning. I write a very rough note version of a plot outline, pretty much just a list of beats and characters. From there I may do some very rough thumbnails for my own purposes, to see how the flow works.

Once I’ve gone through this process, I write the script out in full. When I’m ready to go on a script it can be done pretty quickly, anything from a day to a week - depending on time available. I’ll write the script out and let it run for as many pages as it needs, then work on editing it back, making sure each page works, the general flow works and that the characters have a true voice.

The editing is done over a period of time. I’m lucky enough to be ahead with the scripts so that I’m able to revise and edit for a good amount of time - but it’s also important to know when to walk away!

2. How long have you been creating?

I’ve been writing fiction since childhood. I used to create my own comics or picture stories at primary school. Comic scripts, probably since the late 80’s early 90’s. I submitted to Image when they first started and to 2000ad. With the internet and connectivity now being what it is, there are more opportunities to connect with artists and fellow creators, so turning the scripts into finished books is easier than it was back then.

3. Who or what are your biggest influences?

In comics, I grew up with 2000ad, so pretty much every writer on that book from the 70’s and 80’s influenced me somewhat. I found American comic books soon after that, and the creators in that period all seemed so incredible to me - the 80’s often gets overlooked as a creative period because the explosion of the polished 90’s is so very apparent and influential, but the period of books before that were so wonderfully entertaining. Especially before the “Comics aren’t for kids” push.

Comics should be for everyone.

Away from comics, Robert Anton Wilson was a huge influence. The ability to merge seemingly contradictory ideas, and hold them up as true, however absurd, really appeals to me.

I also love G. K. Chesterton. He gives us a world of wonderful, poetic hyper-realism. In a way similar to comic books. He asks you, as a reader, to accept a premise, and then immerse yourself in that created world - he never shatters the world, but it isn’t our world. As a reader, that balance of suspension of belief and acceptance is wonderful.

There is a certain amount of wryness which should be inherent in comic books. I think too much weight has been put into making them heavy and “real” despite the fact that they are so far removed from reality.

The men are over-pumped ideals, the women totally unrealistic depictions - they should be presented as gods, as mythological folklore characters passed through the filters of history and the modern world. Instead we settle for these flat attempts to show them as being “just like us”, grounded in out faults rather than our aspirations.

4. What else are you currently working on?

I have a story which I worked on with Andrew Ross MacLean and Jesse Toves appearing in the Samurai book. I also have been working with Karl Altstaetter on his story, Saved.

I have a sequel for Omnitarium at the planning stage - which sees the story shift slightly, moving forward a few decades from the first arc. Blutstein has been held at her Majesty’s pleasure for several years, and Robert, the young boy from the first story, is now working for an occult special branch for the crown, battling otherworld enemies of the state.

A family of vampires from the Sanguine line (there are different types of vampires, linked to the four humors of the body politic) have arrived on British soil, seeking asylum from a new foe, and Robert seeks help from Blutstein as a specialist consultant on the issue.

It’s going to be great fun, big action adventure - part Mission Impossible, part Dirty Dozen - with a healthy dose of conspiracy laden political intrigue, taking part during the fin de siecle.

Along with that, I have a graphic novel, working title Limbo, that I’m finishing off the plotting on. It’s a noir murder mystery set in the afterlife - a man who’s soul is condemned to hell has 24 hours to solve a murder in purgatory in order to absolve himself of his past crimes.

And of course, more Hero Code - I have the first two arcs completed, and I’m working on a couple of stand alone stories, a spin off story (which will make sense within the main story) and the third arc.

5. Finally, If you were a superhero, what would your power be?

A healing factor would be nice! I played soccer badly for several years, and there isn’t a day that goes by where some joint or part of my body asks me why I bothered!

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