I had the idea for Eugene Manx about five years before his 2007 debut, however the idea in question didn't really fit in with the established continuity of the Felney universe, as it was at the time. He first appeared in a dream, set in Tokyo circa 2010, and featured a secret agent with a talking, high-tech Toyota MR2 Mk1, which was able to change colour, and shape to a degree. He was using it to infiltrate a large criminal gang. And that's as far as the dream really got. His eventual apperance is exactly what he looked like in the dream, though. Only the dream (which alternated between the styles of Manga and 60's British comics) looked better than my scribblings. I had several ideas to create a comic based on this dream, in these his car became various iterations of the MR2, and one planned (and almost started) story involved him working with the German police to stop a terrorist attack at the 2006 World Cup.

I later had a "prequel" dream about him, in which he met a villain in a chalet in the south of France, and after foiling some nefarious plot chased his quarry across the coast, both of them driving Aston Martins, before they crashed off a cliff. Eugene was rescued by a passing boat and his enemy got away, shouting "I'll be back!" in a bubbly voice XD. This dream ended with a newspaper and voiceover in "French", which was actually just random babble in a French accent.

In another idea, I planned to make him British and the star of a 70's-set "Professionals" type story, after yet another dream involving a failed assassination attempt on the Norwegian Prime Minister. This one involved the criminals getting away in a World War 2 vintage Mosquito bomber, which Eugene hit the fuel tank of with a lucky shot. It ended with them flying over a landscape reminiscent of an early 90's Acorn computer game called Lander, and wondering aloud how they had used up so much fuel so fast.

Finally, on the 7th of September 2006, I was browsing the directory at Keenspace, and felt inspired. I turned to my desk, picked up the pen and decided to "just draw something!", Eugene Manx was born! I did the logo before the character, and as I drew it I decided to make it into a classically styled newspaper adventure strip, in the style of Modesty Blaise, Garth etc. All of which I'm too young to remember (except for vague recollections of seeing Garth in the Mirror when I was very young, but ignoring it because it wasn't funny). Now set in 1950, it follows a former Wehrmacht officer and Allied double agent helping to hunt down escaped war criminals. The very first version was just scribbled with biro, in the same manner as Insanity Please, but I decided to draw it "properly", and copied the format of the newly-restarted Felney.

Eugene Manx continued as a webcomic for a while, but eventually stalled, as I'd not scripted the story, and didn't know where to take it. At the same time, my plans to create a print comic were turning away from doing a sick, attention-seeking horror paper, and towards doing a classic styled British adventure comic. It needed a strip to launch it, and what better than the Boys' Own yarn I had sitting in my lap? Re-started with better artwork and an actual script (a radical idea for the time!), Eugene Manx was the very first thing readers of the new Red, White & Blue saw when they opened the cover!

The first story was printed in the first three issues of the RWB, as well as appearing online. When Eugene returns to print, this page will also be updated, though there may be "bonus" stories, in print elsewhere, which will not be mirrored online.



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