How do you come up with Babbage’s more fantastical devices?
Fantastical? If you poke around the Science Museum there’s all kinds of machines that make the stuff in the comic look sensible!
You often start with a historical event and then spin out into increasing levels of insanity. How do you decide what details to incorporate and where to break from reality?
Mostly I just free-associate – I knew as soon as I heard about Babbage’s campaign against street musicians (true!) that his arch-enemy would have to be someone called ‘The Organist’. He has an army of monkeys, because street organists had A monkey so THE Organist would obviously have lots of them. That sort of thing! I read a lot of comics when I was a teenager so my brain is kind of infested with stuff like that, it gets thrown into the mill and ground up with whatever bit of history I’ve been reading.
You are an animator, and there is a clear animation influence throughout your comic. Have you ever considered doing a Babbage and Lovelace animation?
Heh, I draw comics to get away from animation! But I might mess around with some stuff for my own amusement at some point, you never know.
What is in the future for Babbage and Lovelace? Will they ever get around to actually fighting crime?
Well, right now they’re impatiently waiting for me to get out of a crunch on the current film I’m working on, so I can start drawing them again!
The big thing I’m working on now is an iPad app, which will have some of the comics I’ve done already with notes and some pretty cool fancy iPad-y stuff; and the even bigger thing is a new comic called “User Experience” – although whether it’s crime-fighting or not depends on your definition of “crime”! It’s all set inside the Difference Engine and features George Eliot falling afoul of Babbage’s War on Error. After THAT I’m dying to draw Vampire Poets, my Magnum Opus; that one definitely has crime.
What do you think our present would be like if Babbage and Lovelace had teamed up to fight crime?
Ice cream wagons wouldn’t be playing cheering tunes, I can guarantee that!