Once upon a time, there was a man from Glasgow, and his name was Andrew Hope. He dabbled in comics a bit, at a time when lots of people in Scotland seemed to be dabbling in comics. Specifically, he drew the only two issues of UK comic company Trident Comics’s The Shadowmen, dated May and September 1990, respectively (which were written by a young Mark Millar), and wrote the six-page opening episode of Falling Angel in Trident #8, dated October 1990. There was no Trident #9, as the parent company of Trident Comics, Neptune Distribution, went to the wall not long afterwards. And that appears to be the entirely of the all-too-brief comics career of Andrew Hope.
Or is it?
On the 14th of September 2012 Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston posted a story called Andrew Hope Returns To Comics After Twenty Years With A New Marvel Project, which quoted two tweets from Hope’s Twitter account – @sputnik67 – both dated 15 June 2012, which seemed to tell an interesting story.
‘@mrmarkmillar Mark! You were right! Axel Alonso IS a nice guy! Super excited!!!!!! Was it okay I name-checked your ass?!,
and the second one, tweeted to Marvel Comic’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said
@axelalonsomarv Great phone call, Mr. Alonso. Marvel Comics and Andrew Hope can do great work together. I KNOW it.
So, what is the EiC of one of two biggest comic companies in the world doing talking on the phone to a Scottish ex-comic writer you’ve never heard of? Fortunately, the Internet is the most powerful research tool in the world, and that’s where I went looking for more information.
First of all, there a few more interesting tweets on Hope’s Twitter account:
19 June 2012: @axelalonsomarv How much of a big deal has this turned out to be, Axel?
14 September 2012: YEAH! It’s official! I am Marvel Comics’ newest writer! Looking forward to entertaining y’all!
Can’t wait until my top secret Marvel Ccomics project is revealed! You’re all going to love it. Yes, that means you.
What a day it’s been! Thanks to everyone for the kind words and congratulations for my new Marvel Comics gig! I will update regularly!
19 September 2012: Thumbnails in for issue one of my Marvel book, and as Tony the Tiger would say, they look GRRRREAT!
6 July 2013: Comicbookresources just rang the dinner bell and emailed me a bunch of questions about my secret Marvel project! #excited #comebackkid
W00t! Secret Marvel project to be announced ahead of SDCC. So, next week? #thewaitisalmostover
All y’all muthafuckas better start following me NOW, or get lost in the rush. #getinonthegroundfloor #iwastherefirst
7 July 2013: MTV is interviewing me next! #secretmarvelproject
So, there’s all of that, for a start. Hope also made a post on the Millarworld forum on the 2 November 2012 where he says, amongst other things,
My name is Andrew Hope. I last worked in comics a loooooong time ago (drawing The Shadowmen, written by Mr. Mark Millar, whom you may have heard of), but now I’m back, baby. Bleeding Cool ran a story on me maybe about two months ago when it became official. I’m currently writing a project for Marvel that will be loved by some, hated by others, etc, etc. The artist is grafting away at issue one right now, judging by the text I just received. — DO NOT ask me what I’m working on, because I have an NDA in my Marvel agreement.
Actually, I’m not sure how seriously he’s really taking his NDA (non-disclosure agreement) as, on his Facebook page he has a public post, dated either Friday 5 July or Saturday 6 July (depending on which timezone Facebook thinks it’s in when I’m looking at it), that says,
First interview request for my top secret, miraculous Marvel project, from Comicbookresources, even. Not sure how much I want to actually say … but I suppose I can reveal here and now that my series features a character with a cult following, made famous by an extremely famous and successful British writer a number of years ago. How vague is that?
And a quick look through his friends on Facebook finds Jon Campbell, the man behind Emotiv, who bought Mick Anglo Ltd from Mick Anglo, along with its most famous property, which would seem to confirm the assertion in the piece on BC that Hope is ‘Represented by Jon Campbell, the man who represented Mick Anglo to Marvel, Andrew Hope now living in Minnesota, has just landed a writing gig at Marvel for next year. (Although it’s just possible that Rick Johnston is telling little white lies when he says in the next sentence What, we have no idea, but he seems rather pleased.) The extent of the friendship between Glaswegian comics writer Hope and Glaswegian musician and all-round entrepreneur Campbell can perhaps be guessed at through this exchange, also on Facebook, dating from January this year:
Andrew Hope: Man, I wish I could see one of your shows, amigo.
Jon Campbell: I might fly you over for one?
So, what have we got so far? Andrew Hope, Scottish comics writer for a very brief while, way back when, is a friend of Jon Campbell, who brought a very famous property to Marvel Comics. Hope is going to be writing something for Marvel which he describes as featuring ‘a character with a cult following, made famous by an extremely famous and successful British writer a number of years ago.’
Now, it seems that all of this is to be made public at this month’s San Diego Comic Con, with the possibility of it actually being actually broken before that. There’s really only two characters that fulfil the description he gives. One of them is ZENITH (written by yet another, although entirely unconnected, Glaswegian), which is unlikely for a number of reasons, not least the various ones that have been highlighted in the splendid Laura Sneddon’s excellent MAD MENTAL CRAZY series of articles. Which really only leaves one possible explanation for all of the above.
Marvel Comics have hired Andrew Hope to write MARVELMAN.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid is currently on a self-imposed medical sabbatical from writing Poisoned Chalice, but couldn’t resist the urge to pop his head up to write this piece, and will now be going to have a little lie down. He urges you all to read Laura Sneddon’s MAD MENTAL CRAZY and to go pledge all your money to Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins‘s His Heavy Heart on Kickstarter. Thank you!