Southampton’s legendary icon Sir Bevis of Hampton is to become a comic book hero for the first time, thanks to a collaboration between emerging writer Matt Beames and Tec Hub’s Marcus Pullen of Blue Donut Studios.
Marcus, one of the founding members of Eastleigh’s digital business hub, will design and draw the illustrations based on a script worked on by both him and Matt, which aims to breathe new life into a somewhat forgotten character.
The creation of the comic book, to be titled ‘Blood and Valour’, is part of Eastleigh Borough Council Culture Unit’s Digital Arts Programme Eastleigh (DAPE), a programme that aims to support new talent and emerging businesses working with digital arts to explore inspirational and exciting new ways to present work.
The medieval romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton, his love Josian and his giant companion, Ascupart, were immensely popular in the Middle Ages and featured battles with lions, giants, and even dragons, making Sir Bevis one of the earliest examples of the blockbuster action hero.
It will form part of the two-year Road to Agincourt project, marking the 600th anniversary of the famous battle in France, as King Henry V was known to have read and loved tapestries depicting Sir Bevis’ adventures across Europe.
Matt Beames has also written ‘The Legends of Sir Bevis’, a play adapted from the original texts to be performed by Year 5 pupils from Freegrounds Junior School in Hedge End and Norwood Primary in Eastleigh at The Berry Theatre on March 10th, funded by the Agincourt 600 memorial fund.
The comic will have an initial run of four 26-page issues, aimed at an older audience, but both Marcus and Matt are hopeful that it will become an ongoing series.
Marcus, whose debut The Last Dead End is now available as a motion comic alongside giants Marvel and DC on Amazon’s Comixology store, said:
“Comics can be a very useful tool to kindle an interest in a subject, and they are now taken a lot more seriously than in the past.
“The UK has an excellent reputation for producing comics, and our intention with this is for people to buy into it as an example of great British story-telling in its own right that will sit well in comic book stores and libraries.
“We want to make local history more accessible, and show that history is more than just papers in journals; it is people, how they felt, and the stories they told.”
Matt Beames said:
“I am an avid comic book reader, and one of my biggest influences as a writer is Neil Gaiman, who wrote the utterly fantastic Sandman comics.
“This is the sort of story that lends itself so well, because of its scope and size and the melodrama within it. Bevis fights dragons, giants, and serpents, so there’s so much material to work with from an artwork perspective.
“It is a medium that I love as a form of storytelling, and I am relishing the opportunity of having a go at writing something for it.”
For more information about Sir Bevis & Ascupart, go to www.roadtoagincourt.co.uk.
Check the gallery below for some early artwork designs, courtesy of Marcus Pullen.