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35 years later, a Gibraltar-based comic book comes full circle

Tony Wicks had always dreamed of becoming a comic book author, and this interest was first piqued when his comic story ‘Power Pack’ was published in this newspaper during the early 80s.

Then aged just 13-years old, Mr Wicks teamed up with Adam Plater to produce Power Pack - an Avengers inspired comic.

This excitement of having his work published in the local paper at such a young age left an “indelible” impression on Mr Wicks who has since “never stopped creating comics”.

Mr Wicks was born to a Gibraltarian mother and spent much of his adolescence in Gibraltar before returning to the UK.

Now aged 50 years, Mr Wicks combined his love for comics and his close links to Gibraltar to produce ‘Tales of Alameda’ a semi-biographical comic book based on an alternate version of the Rock.

The comic book written in English includes Spanish phrases and features a reiteration of the Rock with a much more sinister feel and even an orchestra comprised of Barbary Macaques.

The publication of this book marks nine years of work for Mr Wicks, who pressed on with finally completing the comic in the last 13 months.

Ricardo is the main protagonist in the comic and is from the Alameda, an island paradise.

Through the comic Ricardo tries to come to terms with the impending loss of a second parent to illness, without having made peace with the loss of his first parent.

Mr Wicks told the Chronicle the inspiration for the story was on his early adolescence in Gibraltar and the period of time between his late father becoming ill and his family returning to England for his treatment.

“The illness was nearly a year in duration, and it had a massive impact on our rather idyllic family life, and ultimately affected where we settled afterwards,” Mr Wicks said.

“25 years later I felt the need to make sense of that time, and examine how it had changed my approach to family, so I wrote a semi-fictional script based around my father's experiences at the time.”

In his comic Gibraltar is instead known as Alameda and is an island.

“I've kept most of the early events concerning my Father confined to Gibraltar, rather than the UK, which entailed changing the time line slightly, for the sake of the story,” Mr Wicks said.

“The story is now told from a more personal view point, via Ricardo's life, a character who is closely based on myself. Despite these changes, my brother read the completed comic book, and knew exactly what I was referencing, which I was very glad about.”

The comic book was originally scripted the book as simply ‘Alameda’ in 2010, over a 3 month period.

The finished script was for a slightly shorter strip, and was as detailed as a screenplay, including camera angles, detailed frame layouts per page, full dialogue and prose.

“It's always bothered me that I was unable to do the script justice and complete the story as it existed then,” he said.

“My art style at the time just wasn't clicking with the feel of the story. I think I was trying too hard to perfect every line, and because the story was extremely personal and important to me, it became overworked.”

Mr Wicks rewrote the comic in 2018 and is thankful he waiting until he was better prepared to tackle to subject.

“Things I thought were a certain way back then, I've realised were completely different, now that I've matured, and so it was both exciting and cathartic to be able to use fantasy and supernatural elements to illustrate that epiphany,” Mr Wicks said.

“Gibraltar has a certain magical nostalgia for me, so these parts almost wrote themselves at times.”

Mr Wicks has fond memories of the Rock, with his family leaving Gibraltar in 1986 aged 16-years.

“My days at Bayside Comprehensive, the beautiful summers, spent swimming and snorkeling at Catalan Bay, the Montague Pavillion, and Rosia Bay, plus the night time barbecues on the Lido (now gone) with friends and family,” he said.

To grab a copy of Tales of Alameda contact Mr Wicks on Facebook and Instagram:
www.facebook.com/tonywicksart/ or www.instagram.com/tonythewicks/.

Alternatively books can be purchased from UK bookshops direct at www.c2d4.com