A “graphic novella” is not what you’d expect from an advertising agency, even from Mother, which is known for its subversive campaigns. But the agency, under the name Mother comics, has produced “Four Feet From a Rat”, a 16-page insert included in Time Out, London’s weekly listings magazine.
The comic includes four London-based stories, written by Mother and illustrated by artists from graphic novel publisher Mam Tor. It was produced as part of a contra deal with Time Out.
“The artists responded to our stories with a level of illustration I really wasn’t expecting,” says Mark Waites, Mother’s creative director. “We aim to contribute to any medium we work in and I hope this is a contribution to the graphic novel culture.”
The stories cover a variety of themes from the far-out to the prosaic: aliens examining an inundated London assume that construction cranes carried our noblest heroes; night-bus drivers turn out to be androids; pigeons and budgies battle for territory; and independent traders fight against multinational corporations such as “Tesda” and “Sucks Coffee”.
“We’re as fed up as everyone else with the homogenisation of everything in London, just because we are an advertising agency doesn’t mean we don’t notice this brand uniformity,” says Waites.
Famous for creating ITV’s Monkey, the Pot Noodle “Fuel of Britain” and spoof Orange Film Board adverts, Mother has always had an eclectic range of inspiration. “People would be surprised to realise how much graphic novels reach into other mediums,” says Waites. “Film directors are often influenced by them.”
The fourth story, “The Little Guy”, is to be continued, with three more editions of “Four Feet From a Rat” planned over the year.
The Crane Gods
images Liam Sharp
images Dave Kendall
images Kev Crossley
The Little Guy
images Chris Weston