Noel Clarke on his new comic The Troop
Growing up in a “rough place” in the late ’70s and early ’80s, comic books were often Noel Clarke’s refuge from the world. Now the filmmaker is penning his own superhero series for Titan Comics. Billed as “an edgy soap opera with violence and superheroes”, The Troop appears to emulate the group dynamics of Chris Claremont’s seminal Uncanny X-Men run, although according to the author any similarity is entirely unintentional.
“With the X-Men, that’s classic stuff and this is just me,” Clarke says. “But isn’t almost every comic a soap opera? It’s a story. It has beats to hit, and hopefully it hits them but, within that, people have to relate to some of the characters.”
Having risen to prominence playing Mickey Smith in Doctor Who, Clarke has since mostly concentrated on writing, directing and starring in his own movies like The Anomaly, which should have stood him in good stead for scripting The Troop. “I found it tough at first; harder than movies even,” he admits. “I’m not saying my films are masterpieces but I tend to write decent dialogue and speeches.”
Illustrated by Joshua Cassara, the five-parter is the first instalment of a proposed quartet of interlinked titles, which also includes the forthcoming Girl 1, which “is connected to The Troop quite strongly”.
Made up of a 10-strong roster that includes its Australian leader Terrain and Brazilian triplets Jade, Trace and Element, Clarke’s teenage protagonists tackle some important social issues, such as youngest member Virus’s habitual self-harming. “When she does that and eventually stops, some girl somewhere might get it and might stop as well, or at least relate to that character and find an escape in her,” he says. “But I make no bones about it, Virus might not and something worse might happen, which is what also happens in real life.”
The Troop #1 is published by Titan Comics
on 9 December.
We’re not sure what the little girl is holding, but we’re not entirely comfortable with it.