“So, the song came first,” Iman tells me when I ask him how the comic book came about. “We were thinking of ways to publicise my second single [Stranger Days], and when we initially tried to shoot the music video last year, both our first and second location fell through on the day of shooting, so we were forced to film at a park. After we wrapped up filming, we looked over the footage of the day, and we just felt like it didn’t look good, so we pretty much left it. Later when we were on holiday, it was actually Azeez, my director who I sent the music video Take on Me by A-ha to because I thought it was really cool, and it was from there that he got the idea. Because we’ve known each other for a long time, he already knew that I was a comic book fan and that it would be something I was into.” And thus, Stranger Days was born; the comic book that serves as advertisement, but is also a separate product in itself.
Iman wrote the comic book in a couple days, and then they found an artist to commission for the artwork accompanying the song. After much deliberation, they arrived at a design they liked and wrapped the whole thing up by January, but they just “worked on a bunch of other stuff until we felt like it was time to release it.”
Having seen the Stranger Days comic already appear on my timeline, I wonder if a possible series is in the works. “Well, initially it was only supposed to be a one off thing, but the response to the comic has been more than we ever expected, so we’ll probably do more in the series.” Iman did not mention when we would get a sequel unfortunately, but it was clear that there would be one with similar apocalyptic vibes.
I was also curious about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of representation in comic books. “With everything that’s going on, making our work political or aligned with that wasn’t intentional, but organic,” he informed me, to which I responded that it was some lucky timing “yeah, I guess. I just wanted my character to reflect me, so whilst I wasn’t making a deliberate statement with his race it was only natural that he was black, and he goes through things that people from my background can relate to.”
The relatability is what caught my eye; I hadn’t seen a comic book from the UK in years, let alone one where the main protagonist was black. The fact that it was accompanied by Iman’s music, which ranges between hip hop/rap with a bit of alternative rock was a bonus.