by Nevs Coleman

First Class Comics Review.

First Class Comics Review.

Sometimes, you’re behind the counter and something throws you for a loop entirely. A lot of the times in this business, we grumble and complain. About Marvel. About relaunches. About prices and variant covers and whether or not Iron Man would really have done the things he did in Civil War. So imagine my surprise on one particularly rainy Saturday afternoon spent bagging the umpteenth pile of back issues of Jinty and checking all the story pages of The Four Marys are there, when in comes a lively dad and his kids.

While this is a more rare occurrence than it used to be, what made it special was that it wasn’t just a case of “Dad dragging children about while he buys a load of stuff and they look bored’’, or worse, as I have seen, “Dad buys himself Marvel Masterworks and DC Archives whilst kids scream for just one issue of Marvel Super Hero Squad or Tiny Titans and are told to get a job” – by their Dad.

No, this was different because Lively Dad’s (Tim Egleton) kids (Ellie and Lily) were, remarkably, well into comics. They knew stuff that was happening in comics that had completely passed me by. Frankly, it’s hard not to like someone who asks you where the back issues of Millie The Model are kept…

They also weren’t shy about telling me that they were producing a magazine about their love for comics. In less than a year, they’ve published six issues of First Class Comics Review, which is more than any other comics magazine in the UK has managed to achieve since Comics International stopped being edited by Dez Skinn. They’re interviewing the likes of Mike Deodato Jr, Eric Shanowar, Todd Dezago, Colleen Coover, Sean McKeever and Chris Giarrusso, with more to come from David Hine in the next issue. Oh, and they had a road trip to KaPow! Comic Con as well.

All this while Ellie is doing her GCSEs, mind you.

Given that this level of output is pretty remarkable for anybody in the comics industry today, I wanted to learn more about Tim, Lily and Ellie:

1) Guys, I guess the first question I need to ask is: what prompted you to do this?

Ellie: Well, Lily and I have grown up reading comics and love them. When we were at Richmond’s Ace Comics we were talking to Guy and Richard about how there isn’t a UK comic magazine anymore so we decided to do one and from there it progressed into a bi-monthly thing.

Lily: At our local comic shop, Ace Comics in Richmond, we were talking about how there’s no UK comic magazine. The following day we decided that we would write our own magazine.

Tim: I thought it would be great to see a comic related magazine done from a younger perspective. Ellie and her friends were 14 and Lily was 8 when issue 1 was released.

I think it’s a fantastic project for all of them, I just proofread and pay for the publishing! I will leave it to the girls to answer your questions as FCCR is all about them and their friends.

2) How did you get into comics?

Ellie: I got into comics through our dad. He would read us comics at bedtime, I think the first comic he read me was Batman #500 and now I’m a huge fan and collector.

Lily: When I was a few months old, dad read me the Peter Parker Spider-Man comics with Black Cat in and so she grew to be my favourite character.

3) What are your favourite comics?

Ellie: I would say any comic with Jean Grey or Harley Quinn in and recently I’ve just got into Romance Comics through the Marvel Romance TPB I picked up at the Disney Store in Florida last summer.

Lily: I’ve always loved Tiny Titans and recently I have grown a love for Archie comics. I also enjoy reading Millie the Model and the Super Hero Squad.

4) How did you find your team of writers?

Ellie: All of the team are my friends from school. We have Arun Kakar who writes a different feature in every issue, such as the Big Debate where he puts across an argument such as in FCCR #6: “JLA vs Avengers, who would win?” And the fans can vote through the poll on our site. Arun also conducts many interviews, such as in FCCR #2 he asked Paul Tobin a few questions and in FCCR #4 he interviewed Mike Deodato Junior. Then we have Abi Pehnryn-Lowe who, with help from Beth Vince (who drew the Poison Ivy cover for FCCR #6), writes the Manga Corner and “How to Draw” section. And last but not least we have our Tech Guy, Kieran Pereira, who writes the Tech Corner every issue reviewing a comic-related app or two. He also colours Beth’s covers.

Lily: They’re Ellie’s friends who I also know.

5) How do you decide on what you want to write about each month?

Ellie: We always end up deciding what we’re going to write when we write up next issue’s features. I guess we just write whatever we’re in the mood for, like if we’re reading Batman we’ll write a Batman article. We also write our articles around what season it is, like in FCCR #3 it was October so we wrote up a Marvel Monster article for Halloween.

Lily: If we’re into something we tend to write about it if it fits in with the issue’s theme.

6) Who’s been your favourite interviewee so far?

Ellie: I’ve enjoyed interviewing everyone, really, but Todd Dezago’s was extra-special as he was the first interview we ever did and he’s also a super nice guy! It was also fun doing Simon and Terri Reed’s (from http://www.reedcomics.com ) interview as that was our first face to face interview and they were both really nice.

Lily: I’ve enjoyed them all but Todd Dezago and Chris Giarusso have been my favourite.

7) Who do you want to interview in the future?

Ellie: I would love to do an interview with Greg Land, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Greg because I love his art and remember writing about it in my Year 5 book review on Phoenix Endsong. It’s just getting hold of their contact details that we find tricky so we can actually interview them.

Lily: I would love to interview Art Baltazar and the Archie Comics crew.

8) What else would you like to do with the magazine?

Ellie: It would be great to get it to reach a larger audience as we love hearing good feedback on FCCR! It’s also great to talk to people about comics and see what aspects of comics they’re interested in.

Lily: I would like to do a signing at a comic shop as that will be a lot of fun. :)

9) Which Comics Conventions have you been to?

Ellie: The first comic con we ever went to is the National Collectors Market down in London which has about 120 stalls filled with toys, comics, CGC’s…everything really! In April we also went to Kapow Con which was amazing! It’s great talking to comic creators and coming home with a stash of signed comics. Even though it’s not a Comic Con we also attend free comic book day every year which is always fun!

Lily: Kapow Con and the National Collectors Market which I enjoy buying loose Heroclix’s from at different stalls.

10) Finally, who would win a fight between The Hulk and The Thing?

Ellie: This question’s always a tough one to answer. I know Arun would say Hulk as he did this in FCCR #5’s big debate, but I think I’m going to go with Thing as he will always end up finding some way to win.

Lily: It is hard to answer because they are equally strong but because Hulk can’t really control himself, he would win.

For those of you aren’t picking up First Class Comics Review, it’s available these ways:

– Any Ace Comic Store
– Limited Edition Comix
– Online at www.firstclasscomicreview.com (where PDF’s are also available.)

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