The first story
I started Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan more or less on a whim. I was at the end of my second year studying English Literature at the University of Groningen, and rather more deeply involved in student politics than is healthy for anyone. I remember watching the BBC a lot, just about anything that happened to be on, sucking up the language and the news, which seemed so much more interesting than the Dutch news. The charm of the exotic, I suppose. One program I liked to watch was a comedy series for children, Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, which had Tony Robinson from Blackadder in it, playing the Sheriff. In that series, Robin was an amiable but incompetent boob, and Maid Marian was wearing the pants. It could be pretty funny.
Maid Marian was obviously an influence.... another one was Asterix, which I'd rediscovered around that time. In the years before that, I'd come under the influence of artists like Moebius with their free-form, slightly mystical way of creating comics. I was inspired by that to make comics like The Lives of X!Gloop but that was running out of steam. It was time for me to do something else, and it seemed to me that Asterix-style humorous adventure was that something else.
There wasn't much else to it; I combined these two influences and wrote and drew a derivative work. Arthurian legend got worked into it. A year or so earlier I got the idea of what would happen if Sir Gawain reacted to the idea of a beheading contest in a psychologically realistic manner, and I used that at the appropriate time.
I finished the work, printed up a few Xeroxed copies, sent them to infozines, sold them to a few people and told those people I wanted to make several dozen stories using that cast, setting and title. Turns out I'd end up doing just that, although for the past 5 years I've been leaving the traditional format pioneered by René Goscinny behind me.
Throughout the creation of the first story I was helped by my old school friend Emiel Hoving, who supported me morally by laughing at my jokes, drew a logo for me and helped out with the original cover art, which was giving me trouble (just like the latest iteration of the cover art would do 14 years later). This new translation and web version of The Green Knight's Belt is dedicated to Emiel, because I can and because I want to.
October 15, 2005.
Foreword to The Green Knight's Belt The URL of this comic is http://www.rocr.net/?p=GKBfrontispiece