Mel Croucher | Graphic Novels and Cartoon Serials

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Rebel Of World Zero

"This graphic novel was first serialised in Sinclair User magazine from 1987 to 1988, and originally titled Citizen Kane. I was angry at the time, having quit Automata and turned my back on mainstream video games, and the story targets the exploitation of young programmers as the corporates were moving in. I reckon it's more relevant now than it was back then, but now I'm more amused than angry. There are only a handful of actors in it, each playing several parts. That idea came from Robin Evans, and I love the way he makes the audience work at identifying who is really who. The character of Matt Wiper is thinly disguised. The human jukebox is based on a very real event."

Frozen Stiffs

"I think FROZEN STIFFS is my all-time favourite collaboration with Robin Evans. It started out as a screenplay for a tv sitcom, about an upper class twit and his savvy secretary. In 1938 they decide to freeze themselves for fifty years to escape the looming global war. So they thaw out in the present, which was then 1988. When we wrote it there was a civil war going on in Northern Ireland, books were being banned, legislation against homosexuality had just been passed, our Prime Minister Thatcher labelled Nelson Mandela a terrorist, the nurses and dock workers were on strike, in other words it was no future paradise.

I took it to a friend who was commissioning editor at Channel 4 TV, but they wouldn't touch it. Possibly because the pricipal characters were naked in nearly every shot. Then we tried it as a graphic novel, but it only got published as a serial in a glossy mag and a bit later in newsprint. Then we thought it would be fun to make it a vertical comic strip, so we did. FROZEN STIFFS got canned when we stuck to the original script for a print version of episode 21 in the hope it would still get adopted as a tv sitcom. Here's those first 20 episodes, along with the one that was never published."


"This was our first attempt at something more ambitious than a simple comic strip. We based it on a comedy serial broadcast by a commercial radio station we were involved with. I was also publisher of the magazines it appeared in, so it was all very incestuous. The stories were always dictated by the fact that we only had one full colour page to play with, followed by one page in monochrome. Robin was much more interested in developing the character of Stephanie Snurg, a young woman with attitude, and we soon got bored with Willi Nilli. Subsequently, I think our women have always been the most interesting characters we have came up with, and certainly the funniest."