And here I am, with far more mediocre skills at best, but blessed with unashamed self-publicity. If only I could help.
Terry Wiley first came to prominence in Britain in the nineties, co-writing and drawing the sci-fi comedy drama More Tales From Sleaze Castle and it's sequel Sleaze Castle, self published from Gratuitous Bunny Comix with writer Dave McKinnon.
Starring the mature student Jocasta Drabble encountering multi-dimensions in her dorm room, it was Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy injected into A Very Peculiar Practice. Cerebus meets Love And Rockets.
I was an instant fan and befriended the pair, and was probably terribly annoying to boot. Dave moved away from comics, while Terry continued, creating the prose/comics mix Surreal School Stories, Jocasta's mysterious stories as a schoolgirl and the comic Petra Etcetera, following her younger sister's more abrasive and confrontational adventures, away from sci-fi/fantasy, creating with co-writer Adrian Kermode something more akin to This Life.
He has however recently returned to the form. He drew Trip Into Space for the Image anthology This Is A Souvenir last Christmas, he's been lettering for Classical Comics titles and has currently put out the first issue of his new drama series Verity Fair, with a second issue out for the Thought Bubble comics convention in Leeds.
His writing reminds me of Alan Moore on BoJeffries Saga and Skizz, of Kieron Gillen on Phonogram, of Roger Langridge on The Muppet Show. His art a beautiful amalgamation of Paul Grist, Dave Sim, Posy Simmonds, Leo Bazendale, Jamie McKelvie and Bryan Talbot – and he can, if he wishes, imitate many a style. And also he's a star colourist and letterer.
For any mainstream company, he's a star waiting waiting to happen. Of course he'll never actually publicise his work, never show anyone a portfolio, never try to actually sell a copy of Verity Fair from his convention tables, just hope he can telepathically call people over.
And he just so happens to be a true comic book genius.
I've been talking to him about making his work available digitally – right now it hasn't even been pirated. When it is available, I'll let you know. I'm hoping this article, and any attention it gathers, may help persuade him to do just that. Or for a publisher to take a chance and find out more. When he's stopped being mortified by this article's very existence, that is.
He is my favourite comic creator of all. I'm hoping you'll give him the opportunity to become one of yours as well.