Name: THE ADVENTURES OF ZIP
Mission: TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE THAT NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, IT’S TOUGH TO BE DIFFERENT
One of the things I love about writing The Spiralling is that I’ve started meeting people online who I haven’t actually met in person before. A friend of mine saw a post I put up and told me that her brother was keen to have a feature. So without further ado let me introduce Mike Scrase.
Mike can’t remember a time that he wasn’t creating stories, “I began even before I knew how to write. I was dictating stories to my parents so they could write them down for me. A variety of story telling mediums have always given me a buzz: a feeling of dread when the stakes are at their highest, excitement as the drama plays out, euphoria when the protagonist success, or a lingering unease and thoughtfulness should there be an unhappy ending. I want to inspire all these feelings and more in others.”
It’s been over 20 years since Mike first started writing and he’s racked up a few impressive credits. He has written for a Bristol based sci-fi anthology comic called ‘The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel’ and he has also illustrated for a children’s book named ‘Fairy Tales I Just Made Up: Snarky Bedtime Stories for Weirdo Children’. His current project at the moment is called ‘The Adventures of Zip’.
‘The Adventures of Zip’ started after Mike had worked on a few short films because he wanted to work on a project that required a smaller team to produce. The concept came after he read a Cracked article called ‘7 Awesome Superpowers (Ruined by Science)’. He thought that even though the article was presenting perceived flaws of comic book fiction its premise struck him as having story potential.
“I was born visually impaired, and I believe that many problems that disabled people face stem from society’s inability to encompass citizens with a diverse range of capabilities and skills. I thought I could use the idea of a superhuman’s powers (and thus, their uniqueness) making them struggle to cope in daily life, even though they flourish in heroics and crime fighting, as an allegory for the place of disabled people and other minorities in society.”
Since Cracked.com was the website that sparked the idea for his comic Mike often looks to them for inspiration by reading the non-fiction articles. “I also have to give credit to Nigel Kitching and Richard Elson, who wrote and drew some of the first (and some of my favorite) comics I ever read. I still have a drawing which Richard Elson illustrated and signed for me at a convention when I was ten.”
In 2011 before Mike had illustrated any of issues of the comic and was just writing the scripts, he had a psychotic episode and spent two and a half months in a psychiatric hospital. “While it was a pretty terrifying experience, now that I can look back at it and be removed from the situation, I feel like I have insight on mental illness from an angle that not a lot of people have. It ended up inspiring me, since my memories of life under section were what I based my script for The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel on.”
Mike usually works on the comic by himself but for Issue 6 a guy named Michael Smith helped him with the illustration by handling the pencilling and inking. “We were some of the only people in a screening at the cinema, and after the film we were walking out, I made a joke about the film which he laughed at, and we started talking from there. Later I discovered that he actually didn’t understand the joke, and was just laughing to be polite!”
In the future Mike would like to get more artists involved on the comic “not only to divide the labour and increase the amount of work I can put out in a certain amount of time, but also because I’d love to see other peoples’ interpretations of my characters and scripts.” Recently he received an email with his first ever fan art, “It made me feel really good and I felt very proud because it was always my dream to inspire other people. I would love to see more people coming up with fan theories, cosplaying as my characters, and writing fan fiction, that would be really flattering and make me very happy.”