Section 12 (Lost Adventures)Have you ever thought about creating your own comic book? And if not, why not? After all, creating your own mythology can be a very therapeutic experience and take your life in weird and wonderful directions. Well, my mate Len created a comic book,  more than one in fact, and it altered his reality and changed his point of view. Want to know more? Then please have a look at this…

1) What are your own origins, Len?   My origins aren’t exciting enough to be in a comic book because I’m not an alien and I’ve never been bitten by anything radioactive. In fact, my first exposure to superheroes was through reruns of the old Batman TV show (the 1966 version), and shortly after that, I first discovered the comic book medium. Otherwise known as that cheap form of entertainment where heroes wear colorful costumes and the good guys always win. I mean, what’s not to love about that? Nothing, right? Which is why I've been a lifelong comic fan ever since, along with being a comic creator.

Section 12 (Image)
2) What inspired you to create the ‘Section 12’ comic book?   Believe it or not, my main source of inspiration came from the rejection letters I received from major comic book publishers. Well, I spent almost a year submitting pitches and samples to large, mainstream publishers, but most of the replies I received were simple form rejection letters, stating they were only interested in “proven” writers. Eventually, an editor from Dark Horse Comics reached out to me and suggested that I stop writing stories for established characters, and start creating stories for my own characters and try submitting them to smaller publishers. Which I did, in 1993, when I created my first ‘Section 12’ story that was accepted and published by Dilemma Productions. Working with Dilemma has been a wonderful experience for me, as I’ve met some of my best friends there and produced some of my best work.

3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   My first version of ‘Section 12’ was focused on a government agency that was designed to keep scientific failures out of the public eye (keeping in mind that I wrote it way back in 1993, years before shows such as 'The X-Files', 'Conspiracy Theory', and many of the other evil government tales that have become popular ever since). As for my next version, though, well? That’s a completely different story altogether.

Section 12 (Declassified)You see, in 2015, our creative team discussed the pros and the cons of bringing ‘Section 12’ into the 21st century. But if truth be told, I wasn’t quite sure if I really wanted to do this or not. On the one hand, I didn’t want to re-draw and re-write the original books because I loved them so much, while on the other, I liked the idea that we could use technology developed in the 21st century to make better comics than we did in the 1990s. So, in the end, I made the editorial decision to use both ideas simultaneously.

Initially, I published the original adventures under the new name,  ‘Section 12 (Flashback)’, and set the stories during the time period they were originally created. Then after that, I published a series of modern-day stories with the updated title, ‘Section 12 (Declassified)’, which included an all-new cast of characters and a revised plot (click here for the rundown). So essentially, both titles work in conjunction with each other, even though they occur during two different points in history (which, in many ways, makes the ‘Section 12 universe a much-more deeper universe than a lot of others).

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   Well, looking at song lyrics from the 80s (which is an era I usually gravitate to), I would like to choose 'Live to Tell' by Madonna, or else, 'Our Lips are Sealed' by The Go-Go's. When taken out of context, some verses really hit the mark.

5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I would have to say Stan Lee because he helped create the Marvel Universe and was one of the best pitch-men ever. I remember hearing a story about how he once jumped up on his desk and explained to everyone how “big” a villain Galactus was going to be. Heck, it’s precisely that kind of energy that helps you stand out from the crowd, especially when you're competing with other indie creators, and it was this quality that I admired about Stan the most.

The Adventures of Track Suit Man
6) What have you learned about yourself through this endeavor?   In 2013, I had a viral weekly Facebook series about a frequent flier I’d regularly see at the airport. Every week, this man would dress-up in a ridiculous tracksuit, push ahead of everyone else, carry on too many bags, and always try to get on the plane first. Then one day, a good friend of mine, Mike Kelleher (who’s also a fellow comic creator), said to me, ‘You have to do this, Len. You have a great comic book story on your hands and it needs to be in print’. But I thought to myself, ‘I can’t make a comic! Not me!', as I can’t draw, I don’t know the first thing about marketing, and I feared there was no way I could put this together on my own.

One year later, however, I proved myself wrong, big time, because I managed to publish the first issue of ‘The Adventures of Track Suit Man', before giving birth to my very own imprintLenovations Press. I did it. I figured it out. I found some new talented artists to fill in the gaps, and now, ‘The Adventures of Track Suit Man’ is one of the best-selling comics from Lenovations Press.

So, with this in mind, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I learned that I needed to have as much faith in myself as other people had in me. Well, given enough time and inspiration, not only was I able to make my first comic book a reality,  but I was also able to establish a simple process to create more comics from that moment onwards.

Rescued Comics
7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Diversification is what keeps everything balanced for me. Well, I am a Libra, and besides comics, I have two other jobs and I’m a father of two wonderful children. I would also like you to know that Lenovations Press publishes fan art and provides a number of top quality services, including freelance coloring, lettering, as well as our Rescued Comics project, which takes old coverless comic books and creates new covers for them.

8) If ‘Section 12 (Flashback)’ had a motto, what would it be?   “Find out the government’s best-kept secret”.

And on that note, I would like to thank Len for telling us about Lenovations Press, before encouraging you to check out their official Website, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages.


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