MI6 got penciler Mike Perkins to put his sketch book
down for 20 minutes this month to talk Sir Charles
Basildon and his continuing adventure in the hit comic
series "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"...
Interview - Mike Perkins
2nd March 2004
MI6 got penciler Mike Perkins to put his sketch book down for
20 minutes this month to talk Sir Charles Basildon and his continuing
adventure in the hit comic series "Kiss
Kiss Bang Bang"...
Sketch books at the ready...
You conceived the series KKBB. How did the idea develop from
the initial seed into what the published series became? Were there
any changes made from the original concept by the time it came
I can't really say there were substantial changes to the initial
concept. They were just rounded out and finely honed by a collaborative
process involving the whole team. One particular change that came
about when it was decided to go ahead with the series is, for
your own well being and continued enjoyment, something I cannot
reveal at this time..
How did the character development come about? Did you
create sketches of the main cast before Tony Bedard worked
on the characterisation, or was it more of an iterative/genetic
The characters arrived pretty much fully formed. I knew
what I wanted to see in a book of this kind - and hopefully
offer to the readers something they expect to see within
this genre - but then a little bit more. I worked up the
character sketches, passed them along to Drew (Hennessy
- the inker) who then passed them on to Laura (Villari -
the colourist) and then worked with Tony who took the initial
descriptions and fleshed them out.
'growing up in England,
the Bond films simply seep into your consciousness'
You're a life-long fan of the espionage genre. What
were the main influences you drew upon from that enormous
back-catalogue of material to create the style of KKBB?
I think, growing up in England, the Bond films simply seep
into your consciousness and unwittingly become a part of
your character - partly due to the fact that every bank
holiday there would be one of the films being shown. Even
if you didn't watch them entirely - you would still know
everything about them simply by the fact of them being on
in the background . So, without a doubt, the initial influences
were Bond and the Steed and Mrs. Peel Avengers episodes
- although since coming up with the concept I've also been
strongly influenced by Danger Man and current shows like
the excellent Alias - as well as books full of twists, turns,
secrets and multiple meanings such as The DaVinci Code by
Above: Charles Basildon
What aspects from the 1960's were the most interesting to
weave into Basildon's world?
Definately the bold design aspects and mod fashions. Who doesn't
love the sleek world of tuxedo's and cat suits? It's also interesting
to explore both the political and sexual attitudes of that time.
We're talking about a world where The Cold War is in full swing
and yet equality for the sexes was trying to find it's place in
the old boy network.
Above: Mike Perkins
'Who doesn't love the
sleek world of tuxedo's and cat suits?'
Similarly with Fleming's world he created for 007,
there is an intriguing blend of real-world and fantasy.
Could you tell us about which aspects of KKBB's setting
stay true to the period, and which aspects are a product
In Kiss Kiss the whole thought process revolves around the
fact that we're trying to be as authentic as possible -
which should not be confused with being as realistic as
possible. This comic is not a Le Carre novel - there are
comics which deal with the realistic attributes of the spy
world superbly (such as the excellent Queen and Country)
- it's definately on the side of the Bond films, the majority
of which deal with authenticity but present it in a bombastic
way. That's the flavour we want to offer to the readership.
'As with the Bond films,
the opening sequences are always exciting...'
Bond is usually summed up as "Girls, Guns and Gadgets".
How did the period setting affect your art work of these elements?
What were your favourite aspects to draw?
It's astounding how far the technology has advanced since the
mid 60's. So I have a whole heap of reference material to dig
through just to make sure I'm accomplishing that much talked about
authenticity. A mobile phone at that time may have been carried
on your back - the computers were, most probably, as big as a
room. We may approach the gadgets at some point - but Bond does
that stuff so well that it may feel like we're covering old ground,
which, as you may know in a genre like this, is a very easy thing
to do - but something we strive to avoid. We try to approach things
which may seem familiar but handle them in an unexpected way.
And, of course, drawng the girls is always fun.
What were your favourite locales in KKBB to create
for the page?
As with the Bond films, the opening sequences are always
exciting to get my teeth into. The opening of the first
issue, in Cambodia, was a lot of fun to draw. The Russian
gulag was a chance to play with atmosphere - as was the
underwater opening of the third issue.
Could you explain the typical process you work through
to create a KKBB adventure?
Myself, Tony and Drew will often get together to openly
throw ideas into the pot. We pretty much know the direction
we're heading in but when you're brain storming like that
something more exciting may rear it's well-coiffed head.
Tony will then get those ideas together in the form of a
script with panel descriptions and dialogue. Sometimes I'll
suggest a change in the dialogue - to have it more resoundingly
English. He'll pass it on to me - and I'll create a rough
layout of the page which I'll then blow-up in size and start
pencilling. Passing this on to Drew to ink. He'll then perform
his magic, scan it in and send it to Laura - who will add
the perfected finishing touches
Right: Cover art for Issue two
lot of the time Stephanie has Catherine Zeta Jones's lips...'
Due to the spate of comic-book movie conversions lately,
we can't help but ask, who would you cast for the main characters
from KKBB if it were a movie (question also to Tony Bedard)?
That's not actually as easy to answer as it seems. When I draw
the characters they're an amalgam of different actors, actresses,
models, people I know. A lot of the time Stephanie has Catherine
Zeta Jones's lips - and Kate Beckinsale's figure with a lot of
Diana Rigg's poise and attitude thrown in. Basildon on the other
hand is a melting pot of all the Bonds, Frank Sinatra and me,
Tony and Drew!!
How did your career progress to the point you are at now?
Did you always want to be a comic book artist?
I always wanted to be a comic book artist - ever since I came
across my first comic ( probably when I was four years old). My
first professional work was for 2000ad - a Future Shock - which
then led to a Judge Dredd strip and more illustration work in
comics, books and magazines. I started inking other peoples pencils
as a favour to fellow comic strip artist Phil Winslade and found
that I really enjoyed it. This progressed on to working for CrossGen
and moving to Florida where I inked Butch Guice's work on Ruse
before developing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Title: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Released: Issue #1 January 14th, #2 February
Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciler: Mike Perkins
Colorist: Laura Villari
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
What advice would you give to anyone wanted to start a career
in this genre?
Practice, Persevere and Publish.
Aside from KKBB, if you could suggest one other title for
people new to the world of comic books to read, what would you
Okay , let's start from the point of view that your normal book
reading public would like to avoid the superhero trappings - and
then assume that if they're checking out this site then to some
degree they must be interested in this genre. By narrowing it
down to that degree I'd say - go out and pick up the Queen and
Country trade paperback graphic novels. And while you're at it
you can sidle over on the shelf and pick up the collections of
Ruse at the same time!
Many thanks to Mike Perkins.
Interview - Tony
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" Announced