Zeros Volume One cast

Zeros Volume 2 cast:

Retrospective (1 of 12)

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the characters from my comics universe (all of my comics, The O Men, Spandex and Zeros are set in the same world). 

So let’s start at the start with…


The UK Ultra Knights were apparently the first superheroes in my world, from back in the 1960s. They appeared now and again in The O Men series as secondary characters but played a significant part in the storylines.

There was UNION JACK (at the top), the tough and powerful leader, father of Rob/Fox and Kelly/Vixen from The O Men. We eventually found out that he wasn’t as noble as he appeared.

Then, left to right (sort-of):

DOCTOR O would go on to be one of the main characters in The O Men series.

There was ULTRAMIND, a telepath, the mother of Grace/Magenta from The O Men. I liked her a lot.

Also, the married couple, SHADOW and DENSITY.

STARMAN eventually turned up in The O Men series.

And of course, if you read The O Men, you’d know that there’s someone missing – censored from UK Ultra Knights history and the world’s memories!

– The O Men series (five books) is available on Amazon Kindle.

Retrospective (2 of 12)
PSI-SQUAD was a team which preceded The O Men and they played a key part in O Men storylines. A lot of the characters came from comics I dabbled with when I was creating them in my early years and teens. I had a lot of fun coming up with the team’s names, following the PSI-SQUAD acronym.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Grant Morrison and his Zenith series really influenced my comic work – in terms of the dialogue, the action and the twists. I also loved the story of the old Zenith superteam, Cloud 9, and the hidden (made-up) history there. You didn’t know all of the characters but there were intriguing hints about what happened to them. I tried to bring that kind of mysterious feeling to PSI-SQUAD. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.

So the characters were:
PERCEPTION – such an important character for The O Men and Miss Scarlet.
SHINE – originally I was going to call her Salubrior lol. Shine became an important character later on in the O Men series. If you hadn’t noticed, a Zeros hospital is named after her (The Marinder Kaur Hospital).
INFERNO – I’d have liked to do more with him but couldn’t really fit him into the stories.
SPIRAL – a very mysterious character. We did find out what really happened to him in the final O Men issue.
QUEST – good old Rob/Fox from The O Men.
ULTRAMIND – good old Grace/Magenta from The O Men.
ASTRAL – her fate was a mystery but she eventually had a huge role in the final O Men issue as she monitored the events of the entire O Men series. This wasn’t planned from the start, but I’m so happy about how it came together.
DEBRIS – he’s one of those characters that I didn’t always have a huge feel for.
– The O Men series (five books) is available on Amazon Kindle.

Retrospective (3 of 12)
THE O MEN Volume One
This was my first solo small press series, based a lot on stories and characters I’d had in my head for years. I actually saw it as X-Men meets Watchmen meets The Invisibles meets Eastenders. I call it a ‘supersoap’.
I loved the characters and the series and it seemed to find an audience in the world of the UK small press. I created it all with pen and paper (and tippex and scissors) in the evenings (and weekends) after my full-time job.
In the series, ex-superhero Doctor O gathers some other ex-superheroes to help him fight an old enemy – Anathema. There were many mysteries in the series and I had answers for all of them – including who Miss Scarlet really is and why the series is called the ‘O’ Men.

The main team consisted of (left to right):
MISS SCARLET – an unpredictable character – deadly, sexy, mysterious and funny, and she has a fascinating power. I love her and she always just seemed to write herself. Every time I write or draw her, I smile.
GRACE/MAGENTA – Another huge favourite. She comes across as a pretty and sensitive telepath but she is an absolute powerhouse.
DOCTOR O – a very cold and manipulative leader with many, many secrets.
BRAINSTORM – a weather-controller. He was a character I often struggled to connect with but I did get there with him now and then.
ROB/FOX – the field leader – a very optimistic, cheerful guy – I loved writing him.
– The O Men series (five books) is available on Amazon Kindle. I do have physical copies of the books – let me know if you’re interested in getting any of them.

Retrospective (4 of 12)
These were characters that have always been with me since I was a kid. I never really developed them too much, they were mainly just fun villains who appeared now and again – kind-of like Marvel’s Wrecking Crew. I’d say they were probably inspired by Marvel’s Serpent Society – I loved those guys.

There was the leader BEELZEBUB – literally the Lord of the Flies – he could spit flies out! 
ARACHNID was an interesting-looking giant spider guy. 
MISTRESS WEB – was a sexy web-spinning lady.
SPIDRA – a naked lady who can control her large hair!
FLEA – high-jumping cheeky villain!
MONEY SPIDER – I have no idea about this guy lol. Probably some kind of thief.
At the top, there’s BUTTERFLY – I don’t know much about her. I think she’s mute. She was my homage to a very old X-Men enemy, Dragonfly, who seemed to be generally forgotten about.

Retrospective (5 of 12)
I created quite a few villains for the O Men. 

The main Big Bad was ANATHEMA – a powerful, twisted lady with a huge hatred for Doctor O. I enjoyed finally showing her origin in The O Men Volume 3.
Anathema led ‘THE VICIOUS CIRCLE’, consisting of BLACKIE (psycho with a knife), SPIDER (spider-controller), LORELEI (half-skull-faced lady with a death touch) and THE TWISTED SISTERS (they blast energy when they touch).
Other villains included the savage HOUND, memory-altering ECLIPSE, reality-altering MALICE and weapon lady JEOPARDY.
A late addition was ISABELLE – an enemy of Dr O and Anathema. She became a big part of both Spandex and The O Men, and I’d say she’s evil incarnate. She might just turn up in Zeros at some point…
I did have some male villains too! The mega-powerful CASTLE, anger-controlling FRENZY and his brother, the dastardly PAIN-KILLER.

Retrospective (6 of 12)
THE USAviors
These guys were the O Men universe’s version of the Avengers. The O Men always saw the team as perfect versions of themselves, but The USAviors were pretty dysfunctional in their own way.
They turned up every now and then in the series and were often action-heavy and pretty violent. Just when the epic final Volume 1 storyline was peaking, I shifted the attention and gave The USAviors their own issue – which ultimately tied in with the O Men Vol 1’s epic final ‘Vicious Circle’ story arc.

The team consisted of:
ELITE – cool-headed, no-nonsense leader.
HOTFOOT – a flighty, superspeeding lady who ended up being crippled in a fight. Her mother, Busybody, joined a short-lived O Men team.
SUGAR – a shamless homage to Rogue of the X-Men. I had a little subplot which showed that she was homesick, and that reflected how I felt when I first moved from Birmingham to live and work in London.
KAMIKAZE – a Japanese superspeedster who had a huge fling with Miss Scarlet (under the influence of the emotion-controlling Molly Valentine) and was soon after murdered by The Vicious Circle.
GIRL VII – twin sister of Kamikaze. A cyborg lady who was secretly working for Doctor O. Her name was inspired by a Saint Etienne song and the idea is that when she got a new cyborg body, her name (the number) would change.
UNDERDOG – I loved this guy – I saw him as my Wolverine. The idea was that he’s a spirit who inhabits corpses – so essentially he’s a superpowered zombie. You can see a female version of him in the final O Men issue.
Then there were three (admittedly) throwaway characters who joined the team and didn’t last long – MR MUSCLES, SUPERBMAN and CASSANDRA (I did like the latter character – she was a psychic who was influenced by Lilith from the Teen Titans).

Retrospective (7 of 12)
THE O MEN Volume Two and Volume Three
After Volume One of The O Men, the original team were not around. This was exciting for me because it was almost like a fresh start. Volume One was tightly planned and plotted and Volume Two was really new to me. 
So I gathered a new team – which was fun – but they only lasted one issue – which was fun! Then I set about building the real new team.
Volume Two was very experimental for me and it included an awesome anthology issue, where I got some of my fellow UK small pressers to contribute pages.
As I got up to issues 6 and 7, I was really burnt out and I needed a fresh start. I decided to put The O Men on hiatus and create a new project, Spandex.
Spandex took about 4 or 5 years to create, and after that I went back to finish off The O Men.

So anyway, the characters in Volumes Two and Three of The O Men included:
VIXEN – Rob/Fox’s sister – a troubled but upbeat character who I really loved.
SHINE – a former member of PSI-SQUAD, and an interesting character to write. She was a little restrained in her personality, but not so much in fights.
STRANGE – an interesting, enigmatic character – he was fun to write and draw. There’s a big reference to him in Zeros.
MOLLY VALENTINE – the kind of character I love to write. Sexy, dangerous, morally dubious. She kept me on my toes.
SERAPH – She was a fun, background character in Vol 1, and I promoted her to regular team-member – with a few changes and updates.
ASYLUM – he was a shameless ‘homage’ to Crazy Jane and Legion, but I had to do it.
DEBRIS – He was part of the Grace/Stuart dynamic – but Grace was the character I was most interested in. In Volume One, he wasn’t that interesting of a character – but we found out that there was a reason for that. He comes back in Volume Two and there’s a change – and I definitely found him more interesting to write.

Retrospective (8 of 12)
This was my LGBT superteam series. It was at a time when I needed a bit of a break from The O Men so I put this team together (mostly of characters who had made brief appearances in The O Men). The series lasted for 7 issues and 1 special, and it kind of went from being a stand-alone fun series to something more complex.
I created it because I felt it hadn’t been done before and also I wanted to represent gay characters in a natural way (apart from the powers, obvs). These were the 00s, and gay people were still being explored (and often mocked/attacked) in the media. I wanted to show readers that gay people are just like everyone else. Just like me and all my gay friends at the time.
It’s interesting how the gay community has changed so much since creating Spandex. Non-binary wasn’t a household word when I created it, and the trans scene has changed so much. Maybe my characters would have been different if I was creating it now. 

Anyway, my team included:
DIVA – sexy, fun and very powerful. Like, really really powerful, as readers will know from the huge twist in issue 6.
GLITTER – a fun character who really grew on me.
MR MUSCLES and BUTCH – super-strong twins who fleshed themselves out for me as I was writing the series.
PROWLER – loved this guy! He could absorb the powers of any gay person. There’s probably a lot of me in his character.
INDIGO – teleporting French lady, probably inspired by Alpha Flight’s Aurora. To be honest, I wish I’d made her trans.
LIBERTY – complex leader-type character. A lovely person but often forced to make dodgy decisions.

– The Spandex series (8 issues) is available on Amazon Kindle.

Retrospective (9 of 12)
I love Japan and Japanese culture. I’ve always loved manga and Japanese films (especially J-horror – whatever happened to those kinds of movies?) and I was learning the Japanese language in an evening class for a few years.
So I did go to Japan in 2010 and it was pretty life-changing, and you do get to see the ‘real’ Japan (not the Japan that is shown in some films and TV shows – it’s not all sumo and ninja parks and having to raise the shower head as Bill Murray does in Lost in Translation – not all Japanese people are short!).
So Japanese elements (and my own experiences) crept into Spandex. Issue 2, ‘Pink Ninjas’, was set in Japan and I did a couple of Japanese-themed extras. One was ‘Japandex’, where I invited artist friends to create Japanese-themed Spandex art and the other was a small fake ad in the back of issue 2 for ‘J-Team’, a fun-looking Japanese superhero team.
I deciced to flesh these guys out and introduce them into the stories so they made a few appearances in Spandex, and they even had their own spin-off strip – I did a 4-page manga-styled comic featuring the team.
They were just a fun presence in the series and there was a final twist to them that ‘came out’ at the end – it hadn’t been planned but it made sense.

The team consisted of:
SALARYMAN – like a Japanese Forge from the X-Men – a tech genius!
HARIJUKU GIRL – cute agile young lady.
SU MO – a super-strong woman.
MR TOKYO and FACEMASK – these were super-robots.
FUJI – giant guy – although we finally saw his face in the Spandex Special.
GEISHA – snake-like character.
CHERRY BLOSSOM GIRL – a late addition to the team – she turned up in the crazy crossover issue, Spandex #5.

Retrospective (10 of 12)
These were the main enemies of Spandex – a group of lesbian supervillains. They were a lot of fun, definitely – interesting, fun, complex and vicious.

They included:
PUSSY – I loved this character, she felt very three-dimensional. We found out that she has nine lives – every day. She had an interesting history with Spandex’s Prowler. She’s now known as Pussycat.
MS FANTASTIC – a lesbian robot – or rather, a scientist’s brain in a robot body.
SAGA – creepy immortal lady.
HAG – a cute young woman who could transform into a vicious old creature.
CRUSADER – sword-wielding woman with some interesting secrets.
INCOGNITA – really nasty shape-shifting lady.
THE 50-FOOT LESBIAN – I didn’t develop this character too much but she turned up every now and then. I loved drawing her and she’d have a different lesbian pop singer’s T-shirt on every time we saw her.
Also depicted but not in Les Girlz:
THE PINK NINJAS – gay ninjas… 
GAYZILLA – he turned up every now and then and always made me chuckle 🙂

Retrospective (11 of 12)

When I was finishing off The O Men, I was starting to get ideas for a new series, ‘Class’, about a class of superkids. A BBC TV show nicked the name, so I changed it to Zeros. 
There were a lot of influences and reasons for doing Zeros, and I’d say the main ones were:
– People kept saying my art is ‘simple’, so I thought I’d do an all-ages comic and play to those strengths.
– I wanted to do a comic that my nephew and niece could read (they were 8 and 10 when I started).
– I wanted to do a series that would still involve elements from The O Men and Spandex.
I also wanted there to be a big cast of characters, so for example, you have the three main characters in Harry Potter – but I wanted readers to be able to latch onto any of the 12 main characters in Zeros (originally, it was 14, but when I started drawing the classroom, they didn’t fit. I immediately cut two out – a little mole guy and a crow girl). I wanted all of the characters to feel ‘equal’, although a few of them have definitely become more prominent. 
I opted to do this as a webcomic because I just have too much O Men/Spandex stock in my small flat already and I can’t face having any more (and Federico would kill me). I also felt that after 20 fun years of comic con-ing, which were fantastic but a lot of work (to mostly break-even)- I felt it was time to ‘retire’ from them – although I still do the occasional one.
Zeros is all free to read at
I’ll list the characters in the Volume Two feature – the final one in this Retrospective.

Retrospective (12 of 12)
I’m halfway through Zeros Volume Two and – spoiler alert – the characters are all 10 years older. They’ve gone from 8 to 18.
We do find out a few bits and pieces about the missing years, particularly in the ‘Before Stories’ chapters, but I do like ‘missing pieces’ in my writing and filling in the blanks.

Let’s take a look at the characters and where they are now:
SUNSHINE – Sara/Sunshine starts to experience extreme anxiety and panic attacks, and has to learn if she can deal with them. I thought it was unique to have a superhuman go through this.
WILL – Very powerful – he can wish things to happen. So after a couple of near-disasters – and in particular, one with Sunshine – he’s now monosyllabic.
TOON – Cartoon-like character who always tries to keep upbeat – but is dealing with guilt after some of the events of Volume One.
MO – Lost her powers in Volume One and is trying to see if she can get them back.
GLITCH and BRAINS – They were dating at the start of the volume, but that went very sour. Their story is not over.
BUBBLE and SPECK – They’ve become very close, as shown in their ‘Before Story’.
UTOPIA – Feels very ostracised from her old class and is dealing with lots of secrets.
INVISIGIRL – We’ll restart Volume Two this week with her ‘Before Story’, where she does a spot of investigating.
REX and YUKI – They both have family issues which are changing their lives.