Ahead of the bigg launch of Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure on 5th November (at Thought Bubble and online), here’s the complete strips featuring (what became) Untitled Cat, Untitled Ghost and Untitled Ape…
This monstrosity was saved under the name ‘ugly cat’ and was from a real-life story that Gareth Brookes recounted to me (it wasn’t about him). It was originally part of my banal pig funnies where i did a three-panel gag strip every day for a month way back in 2007 and it didn’t have a title. On the comments, Gary Bainbridge described it as ‘the untitled cat one’ and the name stuck. That’s why all these characters have this nonsensical name.
Next, the above strip was a strip for MEAT magazine where the idea of Untitled Cat wandering through bizarre landscapes started to materialize (again the strip didnt have a title). We never saw John again, and Cat’s character was to become a bit more robust.
The above strip is from Banal Pig Comic #4 and this is where Untitled Cat’s character and look (obnoxious and fat) starts to take shape. The ghost (untitled ghost, of course), features in the story of Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure too, and this strip can read as part of that narrative if you really want to.
Here’s the first appearance of Untitled Ape alongside Untitled Cat. This was deliberately unfinished and I was never that happy with it, but the elements are there- Cat riding on Ape’s back, the galloping and screaming, but as with Cat’s first outing, Ape looks horrendous.
I did this for the Observer Jonathan Cape competition around 2009. As you can see we’re getting into the fantastical territory that we’d see more of in UAEA. At the time, my pal Gareth Brookes was obsessed with cryptozoology and duendes so that was what this was all about.
The story of UAEA was taking shape when I produced this Untitled Ape spinoff for Banal Pig’s Showcase back in 2010. There’s some good drawings in here that point to elements of the book, like the lightning, the boat and the munching a guy’s head, but some of it is not really consistent with the final narrative of the graphic novel.
Ah, here we go! A strip for the first Comix Reader and all the elements are starting to come together- a more streamlined Ape, a pointless quest and a trek across various landscapes. This became the blueprint for Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure, which began as a webcomic in 2011, and five years later (another story, which I might tell soon) it’s now a lovely book, and I’m very much looking forward to it finally being out in the world, so please look out for it and let me know what you think…