The Wedding Present shares its stories - in comic book form

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Biographies are as much a vital part of rock music history as electric guitars and amps that go up to 11.

Formed in Leeds in 1985, The Wedding Present have been captivating audiences for almost three decades.

And now they have started to tell their story – in comic book form.

“I’ve always been a massive comic book fan and this is a comic with me in it,” says frontman David Gedge.

“I’ve been into comics my whole life, there’s just something about medium that’s always appealed to me – I think it’s the combination of the word and image.

“I remember my dad used to bring me Marvel and DC comics home from work, and just thinking ‘this is brilliant’. Then I got into all the British comics and the graphic novels in the 80s,” he says.

The comic, entitled Tales from the Wedding Present, brings together a range of stories about life on the road as a touring rock band.

Now into its fifth issue, the project was started by group’s former bass-player Terry de Castro.

In 2007, de Castro started doing research for a traditional biography of David Gedge and the band.

“She did quite a bit of research, interviewed my parents, that kind of stuff,” says David.

“It didn’t have momentum for some reason and just fizzled out – which I thought was a real shame.

“I contacted a friend of mine who’s a comic book artist, and asked if he’d make a comic book out of the research that had been gathered. I sent him all the stuff and he started turning it into short stories to do a comic book,” he says.

Comic artist Lee Thacker has been a fan of The Wedding Present since he first heard them on the John Peel show in the mid-80s.

Today, the Birmingham-based artist balances comic illustration with his career as a primary school teacher.

“I’ve probably seen them every time they’ve played locally over the past 25 years or so. I’ve always been a fan, always followed them, and I think I always will,” says Lee.

“The band used to do their own self-published fanzine back in the late-80s called Invasion of the Wedding Present.

“Fans used to contribute artwork to it and comic strips – so I got involved way back then. I had a few comic strips published in that and David really liked them,” he says.

“When we eventually finished the first Tales from the Wedding Present, I thought that was going to be it – I thought it would just be a one-shot comic.”

“We did a print run of 300 copies – they sold out really quickly, so we printed another 200 more.

“The fans really seemed to like the comic, so they sent a load more stories,” he says.

“The style is very cartoony – I’ve had to make it very simplistic.

“Because I’m drawing real people, it’s a bit more difficult because I don’t want to insult them or anything.

“I’d really like to collect them into a book eventually. I think once we’ve done eight issues, we’ll release it as a book and see how it does. I think David’s goal is to do it for as long as we can.”

David sees the comic genre as one that has often been overlooked and underappreciated in the UK, and hopes that the adult storytelling within Tales from the Wedding Present will inspire fans to read more.

“In Britain, comics and graphic novels have always been looked down upon as an art form - it’s like pop music in a way,” says David.

lThe Wedding Present will be performing at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, on Thursday, July 26.