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University of East London trio on how East London Small Business Centre helped them launch their own comic book

Comic authors Casper Willcok, left, Daniel de Sosa and Sajan Rai (pic: Isabel Infantes) Comic authors Casper Willcok, left, Daniel de Sosa and Sajan Rai (pic: Isabel Infantes)

Monday, February 10, 2014
8:27 AM

A trio of comic-book fans are hoping to take their self-produced magazine into a globally-recognised art form.

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Casper Willcok, 22, from Birmingham, Sajan Rai, from Slough and Daniel de Sosa, 24, from California, all met while studying illustration, graphic design and animation at the University of East London.

Within a month of graduating last summer, the group had already set up their own company, writing and producing their own comic book, Backwards Burd, from their East Ham studio flat.

“It might be a bit over-ambitious to say we want to be the new Marvel,” he said.

“But the long-term plan is to set up a branch in California, producing material that promotes up-and coming comic artists.

“We’re already amazed at how far we’ve come since graduating. We were all so excited about the idea and really wanted to strike while the iron was hot.”

With help from the East London Small Business Centre the group were able to turn their shared interest into a marketable venture.

Currently selling about 150 copies, the friends have been busy promoting their work at comic-book conventions and are already sending copies across the Atlantic and the upcoming sixth issue will benefit from UK-wide distribution.

Featuring character like Kitty Jenkins, an inter-dimensional, time-travelling cat Casper insist people like their “off-the-wall” humour.

But he stresses the art-from that’s helped launch some of Hollywood’s biggest franchises shouldn’t be underestimated.

“It’s pretty labour intensive, but there’s a lot to be said for comic books” Casper explained.

“Although it’s often thought of as a relatively low-quality art form, it actually taps into multiple areas of the brain.

“By combining text with pictures it’s easier for people to retain more information.”

For more information or to view the book online, visit www.backwardsburd.com

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