Stan Lee: In the world of comic books there are none bigger as far as I’m concerned. For those who started reading comic books back in the sixties like I did, you were either a Marvel or a DC fan. Marvel had Spiderman, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Avengers, Conan The Barbarian and Tomb Of Dracula, while DC had Batman, Superman, Aquaman and the Green Lantern. I was and will forever be a Marvelite. My parents supported my hobby of collecting every comic I could get my grubby little mitts on, purely because it was the only way they could encourage me to read. The characters Stan Lee had a hand in creating and the sense of justice and right and wrong he instilled in me, leaves me in no doubt that he has been the greatest influence in my wish to be a writer of some kind. Nuff said.
Gerry Anderson: While Stan Lee was capturing and feeding my imagination in the comic book format of the Marvel Universe, Gerry was probably responsible for the biggest early WOW! factors in my life with his many T.V. Shows. While I was aware of Supercar and a little more of Fireball XL5 in my younger days, Stingray was the start for me, with a cool hero in Troy Tempest (modelled on James Garner), a reliable side-kick in “Phones”, what is still the sleekest looking submarine ever imagined, a crotchety boss in Commander Shaw, a classic evil bad guy in Titan, and as for the love interest… my early dreams of Aqua Maria are certainly not suitable for publication here. The follow-up, Thunderbirds was great, but it wasn’t until the Zero X story arc was featured in the show that they really got my motor running. Those early years of space exploration and discovering the alien rock snakes really sparked my imagination and many a plasticine monster and L.A.V., (LEGO Assault Vehicle), was created because of them. The change to normally proportioned head sizes that came with Captain Scarlet and the slightly more Sci Fi approach with the Mysterons and his indestructibility had that show garner the title of my favorite kids programme ever. The Daleks in Dr Who may have had me hiding behind the couch, but I have to admit to finding Captain Black an equally scary proposition, (but as I was older then I hid my fear really well). The wonderful adult live action show that was UFO with the coolest sounding spaceships ever, expanded my horizons even further. The boys toys that show had me saving up my pocket money to buy were some of my all time favorites with Sky-Diver and Dinky’s Mobile 1, constantly pulled into action Captain Scarlettalongside my old M.S.V. (Maximum Security Vehicle) and S.P.V. (Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle), and the sleek red saloon car from the Cap’t Scarlet show. The acronyms like S.I.G. (Spectrum Is Green), S.I.D. (Space Intruder Detector) and S.H.A.D.O. (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation) have stayed with me forever, just like Dr Who’s T.A.R.D.I.S., (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). While some people will attempt to write Gerry off as JUST a kids show legend, I consider him to be a major influence on anything remotely Science Fiction based since 1961 when Supercar first screened, especially when you consider how many wonderfully different future worlds and machines he helped create. I’m indebted to SFX magazine for running articles on Gerry in their issues 232 & 234 following the great man’s death in December 2012, as even I had forgotten how much of an influence his shows really had on me, and I had criminally neglected to feature him here on my website in it’s first incarnation. A few years ago while visiting the excellent Andromeda Book Store in Birmingham I picked up a copy of Simon Archers:- “Gerry Andersons Fab Facts”, lucky for me, it was signed by the great man himself, and it will now and forevermore remain a treasured item on my bookcase. My thanks to SFX Magazine for a well timed reminder on a true Sci-Fi great, and thank you Gerry for fuelling my imagination so FABulously in my formative years.
Greg Pak: I stopped reading comic books in 1978 when I joined the army, as I figured it was time to grow up. With the Marvel Planet Hulkand DC back catalogues suddenly becoming the Hollywood go to vehicle for great stories and amazing films I considered going back to them. By simply picking up a graphic novel on sale in a UK bookshop in 2006 written by Greg Pak, I was totally hooked once more. The book was the Omnibus edition of “Planet Hulk” and it quite simply blew me away. Both the story and the character development took the Hulk I knew of old to a new and different level. With the Silver Surfer and an inter-woven love story plus the honour code of the gladiators it simply got me back into reading comic books again.
Omega Man – Richard Matheson: I first saw the film “The Omega Man”, starring Charlton Heston as part of an old Friday night horror movie double bill on television. I really enjoyed the film as it was a mixture of both horror and science fiction, I even went out and bought the book I enjoyed it that much. I found it fascinating having the lead character trying out all the old vampire legends to see what worked on these new vampires. I really liked the way Richard came up with the scientific approach rather than the supernatural one, so with what I’ve written in “The Unsired”, I have to thank him for putting a similar line of thought into my head.