Biotech adventure comic by Dave Follett: digital edition
A massive congratulations to Dave Follett, whose comic book Uncle Silas 1: GENETIS has just been released on Comixology.
A ‘biotech adventure’ under the genre of science fiction for ages 9+, the comic follows the adventures of Selena and Tommy. They must race against time to save their missing Uncle Silas, a scientist, from his laboratory greenhouse which is filled with astonishing nanotech-infused plants that are rapidly evolving out of control. Eeek!
We spoke with Dave about how the comic evolved over many years of weekend graft, and what inspired the terrifying tendrils and obnoxious organisms .
A vague plot and a ridiculous amount of research
The concept for the biotech adventure began way back in 2003 when Dave was working casually at News Ltd and the Art Director asked if Dave had any new ideas to pitch.
“I said yes (but really I didn’t), and came back to them a week or so later with a couple of samples and a vague plot,” admits Dave, who’s Kookabarry strip was running in The Telegraph at the time.
Then, according to Dave, came the challenging bit… finding a modern setting in which to base his adventure. At the time he was reading a lot of books based around gnosticism and ancient myths. He chose science fiction as a genre to give a sense of escapism, and a setting loosely based on a modern day version of the gnostic genesis/garden of Eden, which he thought would give him great scope for play.
“I ignorantly thought I could simply make things up and get away with it,” says Dave. “Turns out I’ve done (and am still doing) a ridiculous amount of internet searching for scientific research and inspiration.”
Dave poured a huge amount of energy into building the world, characters and plot, and while it was never printed in a newspaper, it was picked up by Dark Horse Comics for their worldwide New Recruits program in 2006. Dave finished the rest of the story over four years on weekends and it was finally published in 2010.
New digital edition: Dave’s Director’s cut
This new digital edition is Dave’s Director’s cut: landscape format, updated science jargon and terminology, and a new font. PLUS Comixology has a super sexy Guided View option which lets you read the book by screen-sized panel so you can now see all the glorious detail tendril by tendril, up close.
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A marathon effort
Dave describes creating this comic as a marathon effort, explaining that every stage has its own hardships and joys from sketches to pencilling, from editing the dialogue to creating character arcs. While he says that his art has improved over time, he’s most happiest with his development as a writer and storyteller.
“I’ve learnt so much from reading up on screenwriting, so when I’m then able to make edits on plot that improve the work then I feel that’s my biggest achievement. It gets satisfying when I can see what’s wrong or weak and I’m able to improve it, and extend the emotional connection to the reader.”
The second book in the series is now under way, and will be set mostly underground in the Naracoorte Caves in South Australia, home to a collection of megafauna fossils.
“The next book will involve greater character development, world building, thrills and spills, and Monsters!,” shares Dave. “I can’t wait to finish Uncle Silas 2: EARTH so I can start work on Uncle Silas 3: WATER which will be set in Whyalla – home to the Giant Cuttlefish.
“I want younger readers to be enthused about helping to find creative solutions to Climate Change. This will become more apparent as the series progresses. We can all help and make a difference.”
Dave is also developing a Fantasy comic series called Fia & Miguel, which he is finding a lot easier to develop as there’s no need for scientific research.
“The first book is nearly completely roughed out, so I’ll be working on final art this year for sure,” says Dave. “I’d love to get it published and even made into a Laika movie (I can dream…).”
Uncle Silas 2:EARTH is being serialised monthly on Dave’s Patreon page. David is based in South Australia, the location for his Uncle Silas series.